As I’m sure anyone suffering a chronic illness knows, diagnosis is often a long and painful process, let alone coming to any decisions concerning treatment options. So, here is my attempt of compressing a lot into a little for you!
Roughly, this was the starting point of my psoriasis becoming noticeable. I had always had problems with my scalp being dry, flakey, especially when stressed. However, I never knew what it was and it wasn’t a major issue so it was mostly ignored.
It was slightly before September that I had begun to notice some small dry patches on my skin, but it was a maximum of about three patches no more than a centimetre big, hence nothing I would pay full attention to. Fast forward, a few weeks into the university term and my skin was only getting worse. The poor quality of life a student leads is one that psoriasis thrives on. I remember in particular, patches coming up over my breasts and chest area, then over my back.
After putting off visiting the doctors for as long as possible, I finally took the advice of my Mum (yes, they always know best) and booked an appointment. I remember going in, no worries, he’ll just give me a cream and boom it’ll be gone in a week! How wrong was I?
Prescribing me some sort of anti-fungal cream I was told it was just a rash and would be rid of after applying this cream each day. I did so religiously, eager to be rid of the issue and ready to forget about it even occurring. Looking back, I feel a little heartbreak, “ignorance is bliss” comes to mind. The moment of life changing realisation was yet to come and I wasn’t even aware of the possibility. I recall my Mum mentioning the word psoriasis a couple of times, saying it was something my Nan had suffered with. Once again, I had no idea what it was, what it did and just assumed there was an easy fix even if it was this thing I’d never heard of.
Surprise, surprise, the cream made no improvements to my skin.
Going back to the doctors, as things were getting worse, I decided to mention the possibility of psoriasis. My scalp was at an all time low, even washing my hair everyday big chunky flakes would be sitting in my hair and at the touch of my head a shower of snowflakes would fall (to put it nicely). This time the doctor agreed. I was prescribed Dovobet, a steroid gel and cetraben, a heavy moisturiser. Dovobet, applied every night. Cetraben, applied three times a day (is that even possible for a full body?!).
Still being unaware of what psoriasis actually really was I threw myself into the routine, slathering my entire body with dovobet every night; imagine a human slug…
Surely, just surely, after doing this for a couple of weeks it’d be gone and done right?!
Wrong. It was around this time I had started to do a bit of my own research on psoriasis. This also came with the unfortunate event of the realisation, I was stuck with this for the rest of my life. No known cause. No known cure. Not too fun to come to terms with, alone in your uni bedroom late at night.
Similarly to the majority of teenage girls, my body wasn’t in too bad a shape, but we all love to hate on our bodies (this is NOT ok by the way, my perspective has massively changed since being diagnosed with p). As soon as I realised that was it, my skin was never going to be pure and flare free again, I damned myself for not appreciating my body and longed for my clear skin to return. I’ll refer to it as the meltdown phase! Ever since, I have tried my best to love the skin I’m in, the knowledge that any part of me could change at any moment for the worse has encouraged me to remain body positive – you never know what could happen tomorrow!
For a long while I was slathering myself in steroid gel, ruining clothes, bedsheets, slipping on floors and leaving marks on walls. Long showers, washing my hair ten times before the grease of the steroid would finally depart. Repeatedly drowning myself in moisturiser each day, I never felt ‘dry’. It was seeping into my jeans, they felt heavy with product that soaked into them, even with frequent clothes washes. Moisturised fingerprints on every surface.
It was hell. You fall into this subconscious routine, every morning you wake up and what is the first thing you do? Straight to a mirror, top pulled up, bleary eyed but trying to focus to attempt to detect any progress, any little win you can cling onto, a suggestion of healing.
This was what I guess would be the first part of my journey, looking back it was a pretty dark time in terms of confidence of any type and in hindsight I had become fairly withdrawn compared to my normal self. I spent a lot of my time in my bedroom watching Netflix alone (not always a bad thing though!). Clothes, makeup, social life all varied depending on how my skin looked and felt. Thinking back to the time and how I felt, my heart sinks and I’m sure every person with psoriasis can empathise with that feeling of helplessness.
Now, not being a person that likes to end on a bad note, things did get better – a long time later. But I will get onto that on my next post, as my rambling has definitely gone on long enough here!
Writing this post has definitely brought back some of those initial emotions of discovery of psoriasis, so anyone who is just beginning their journey, stay strong and things DO get better – I promise!
If you have made it to the end of this post, thank you again for your time, I appreciate and value every second.
Speak soon, sending love and positive vibes,