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Jasmine, who was diagnosed with psoriasis as a child, talks candidly about the challenges of living with the condition, and how therapy is helping her to come to terms with her skin.
Hello I’m Jasmine, an 18-year-old living with plaque and scalp psoriasis. As a child it never phased me because no one really noticed and I was only thinking about things like High School Musical and playing with my friends. Secondly, there were no beauty standards that I felt I had to live up to and also no social media meaning there were no pressures to post a particular picture or look a certain way.
My skin got really bad from the age of 14 and I was completely covered from head to toe. This had a huge impact on my wellbeing and mental health. I never wanted to go out because I couldn’t cover all of my scars and essentially, I let the condition completely control and take over my life.
I constantly put myself down and as a result, I was always miserable because even though I knew that I should respect and love myself, I often had no drive to do so because psoriasis has no cure. This often made me think deeply about: Who would ever love me when I look like this? People will stare and judge so I’m not leaving the house.
The biggest thing I struggle with is acceptance. Acceptance of the fact that the scars on my body will never go - acceptance of the fact that psoriasis comes with excruciating pain not only physically but emotionally and acceptance of the fact that I will never look the way that seems ‘perfect’ to me and others.
Lockdown was very difficult because there were no distractions such as school work and being surrounded by friends to help take my mind off of things. Being at home every day 24/7 gave me nothing but time to be in my head, scrutinise and remind myself of all the things I hated about my body. My parents encouraged me to start therapy sessions which was a great help as it allowed me to accept my body and talk more openly about the psoriasis with my family and friends and even bravely on a podcast called ‘The Funk Diaries’ which is about mental health!
I have a lot of work to do as I am nowhere near accepting the fact that Psoriasis is something I have and it’s not going anywhere. However, I think that by sharing my struggle with others is taking a step in the right direction and it will help me to finally see that I am perfectly imperfect. Yes there will be people along the way who point, stare, gossip and judge but it turns out that they are just as insecure as I am and maybe they need a hug too.
I know I am a good, kind and loving person and that’s all that matters. If people can’t see past my scars then that’s fine and it’s their loss. However, this rule applies for myself also and even though it’s going to be hard for me to get to my ideal happy place I need to promise myself that I’ll at least try, and this is me making a start. I want to stand up to Psoriasis. I do not want to be defined by Psoriasis. I want to remove the stigma that comes with having a skin condition and help create awareness within the young community especially.