Emma - Plaque psoriasis Q&A

Emma shares her experiences of plaque psoriasis, how she manages the condition, what she'd most like other people to know, and advice for the newly diagnosed.

How does plaque psoriasis affect you?

For many years it was quite a big burden and big deal, but the more I’ve got to understand the disease, and understand different treatments and how to watch out for my own triggers, I’ve actually come to embrace it and accept myself for how I am. It is a part of me now, but it’s not all of me. It’s actually helped me to learn to respect my body a lot more, understand how I need to look after myself better and, I think, just made me more of a resilient, strong person, which is pretty great really.

How do you manage your plaque psoriasis?

For years I was using different ointments, moisturisers, creams, lotions. I tried UVB light therapy three times, which in the short term was great, but I found that I had worse flares after I’d finished having it. I’ve tried many diets. So now I’m taking methotrexate, which is an immunosuppressant drug, and I have that via subcutaneous injections every week. To help with side effects I take folic acid, and I also take vitamin D because vitamin D is great. But on top of that, I’ve completely cut out drinking, which was huge for me, and I make sure I look after my diet and body the best I can: meditation; yoga; light exercise; eating a more balanced diet.

What do you wish other people knew about living with plaque psoriasis?

The main thing, number one always, is that it’s not contagious. There is no way we can pass it on to you. Secondly, there is no cure and, if there was, we all would’ve taken it by now. And also understanding that it’s more than what’s on the skin. There are other health complications that come with psoriatic disease and it can be really, really severe, and chronic, and painful, so I think a lot more education and awareness is extremely beneficial so that people are more respectful about it, and a lot of us are more than happy to actually answer questions, so if you have any just ask away.

What advice would you give to someone who has just been diagnosed with plaque psoriasis?

Don't panic. It might feel like the end of the world, it will be terrifying, confusing and daunting, but there is so much information and support available out there. There’s a wonderful community of people online ready to welcome you with open arms and share their experiences and guide you through the processes of everything. Research – research is huge. Get to understand the disease and then get to understand your triggers and how your body reacts to certain things. Push and push and push with healthcare professionals. Don’t just accept the first treatment they give you as being the treatment. It won’t be the case. Everybody’s bodies work differently. With medication, one size doesn’t fit all. For you it might be diet, it might be medication, either or, doesn’t matter. Listen to your body, get to understand it, and know how best to treat yourself. And just remember that it doesn’t make you hideous or a monster or anything else you might think or feel. You’re still beautiful, wonderful, awesome. You’re accepted, you’re loved. It’s just an extra part of you, but it doesn’t have to control you. You’re the one in control of it.

Read more real-life stories from people living with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.