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Ffion takes us on her journey, from having UVB therapy 3 times a week and trying to balance this with school, to learning to deal with the mental impact of psoriasis.
I've had psoriasis since I was 15 years old. It started on my scalp. For a while my parents and I just thought it was dandruff, however a few days before Christmas in 2007, I found a big patch, completely raw, seeping, itchy and painful behind my ear. I was diagnosed with psoriasis the next day and have had patches somewhere on my body ever since.
By the time I was 16/17 it was everywhere. I was having treatment in hospital 3 days a week, a combination of UVB and strong steroids. It helped a little, but it became clear that the cause of my psoriasis was stress. I’ve always been very shy and I always keep my feelings hidden, I keep everything inside.
Balancing hospital and school was difficult. Other than a couple of teachers I didn’t feel very supported by my school, other kids didn’t understand, many would throw nasty comments, although my closest friend always knew, and still does, how to make me laugh and feel better. I don’t really remember those years with much fondness, as the stress of everything was just causing my skin to flare even more - it was like being in a vicious circle. However, I do have some wonderful memories with my parents from that time too - going for lunch with my mam after treatment, and going for walks on the beach with my dad. The beach and the ocean has always been my haven.
I’ve tried a lot of different treatments over the years, like so many others who’ve written their stories, and I’ve finally found something that works for me.
My psoriasis has never been something I’ve really discussed openly, other than with family and close friends. It had a big effect on me mentally when I was younger, I’d find myself feeling very low. When I get a flare up I still feel myself getting quite low and quiet and I still get very emotional whenever I discuss my skin. I don’t know if reading this will help anyone else, I really hope it does, but making myself write it has helped me a lot.
I still have psoriasis, I know I’m never going to be completely clear, but it’s much milder now. I go through flare ups but I’ve learnt how to handle it. I’m very lucky to have an amazing family and fantastic friends who can spot a problem and signs of a flare up often before I do!
Over the last few weeks my skin has gone through a bit of a flare up, even though it’s not too bad, it still has an effect. Even though it’s not great at the moment, I know if it wasn’t for my family and friends, being able to talk to them, trust them, laugh, (and VERY often) vent to them, I’d be much worse. So if anything, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank them for everything, from the bottom of my heart.