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Danielle describes how her psoriasis affected her mental health and school life when she was young, and how, many years later, she has learned to embrace her skin and open up about her experiences.
My psoriasis journey started when I was really young, I had plaque psoriasis on my scalp but that was just the beginning. Growing up I never really thought anything about it, until the other kids noticed. I don’t know how many times I went home crying because I’d been asked if I had head lice or dandruff. Kids can be so cruel. Fast forward a few years, I learned how to fix my hair to cover it, or at least make it less noticeable. I would even dye my hair every few weeks as that seemed to help a bad flare up. I was managing it and that was good enough for me.
It wasn’t until I was 17 when my problems really began. I had got a viral infection (hand, foot and mouth) and I started to notice I had patches of psoriasis on my stomach. At first I wasn’t too bothered but it seemed with a blink of an eye my whole body was covered. It was the worst year of my life. My skin was in a horrible state, it would bleed constantly and I spent most of that year covering up my body or inside crying. After months and months of going to the doctor I was finally referred to a dermatologist who immediately sent me for UVB light treatment.
It was amazing, after a few sessions of my fancy “sunbed” and my skin was practically clear. I’m so grateful I found something that worked for my psoriasis, but I do look back to that time where I was at an all-time low and just felt very let down by my doctors. Having psoriasis knocks your confidence a lot and it was the little things, no fake tan, not wearing dresses, spending hours picking “bits” out of my hair and constantly feeling sad about it all.
My skin Is fairly clear now, I do have a few patches on my arm but I’m at a stage in my life where I don’t care. Before I had my son I would never tell people I had psoriasis, that was FAR too embarrassing. Now I’m open about it and it’s definitely helped my self-esteem. Psoriasis is a part of my life, whether I like it or not and I’ve learned to embrace the good, the bad and the ugly!