This content reflects the views of the individual blogger and is not intended to advise you about your health. Always seek advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare professionals.
Last year in March, when I was undergoing my A-level mock exams, I noticed a spot on my chest, which I thought nothing of. Three days later my skin broke out and my body was covered in tiny pink spots from my neck to toe. I was so shocked and confused as to what was happening to my skin. After coming out of the shower, I immediately showed my sister, Damini, who you may recognise as a QualityCareTM blogger, who suggested I visit my doctor the next day.
Due to my family history, I was in a fortunate position that my diagnosis happened very quickly, and my GP started my treatment immediately. One of the things I found challenging and confusing was the sudden change of not having to think twice and being carefree as to what I was wearing one week to then being very conscious of it. Another thing I found particularly difficult was having to include time in my morning and evening routine to apply creams, in addition to my exam revision, which I was finding time-consuming. Before my outbreak I never used to have much of a skincare routine and so I found this quite tedious and I could never miss one day. This new routine took me some time to adjust to.
I first learnt that I had psoriasis roughly around the age of 13 however, at that time I only had a couple of spots on my elbows and knees. It had pretty much no effect on me and completely disappeared until last year. This sudden outbreak came as a huge to shock to me as my skin went from one extreme to the other in a matter of a week. I realised that this was linked to stress that I didn’t even realise I had from my upcoming mock exams.
Here are some of the things that I learnt during this outbreak:
1. It’s okay to be upset
I felt quite down and “not myself” during the early days of my outbreak. It took me a couple of days to feel like myself again. But despite this, I know that it is completely normal to feel down sometimes.
2. Speaking to people
This really helped me. I’m a person who will speak to someone when something is on my mind. You’ve probably heard lots of people say this but speak to your friends and family, as it really did help me. Talking to someone helped me to make sure I was dealing with the emotional aspect of psoriasis instead of bottling it all up, which also helped me to process my emotions and feel more positive about the situation.
3. Realising that most people probably don’t really care
A lot of us tend to worry about what people will think in public if they were to see our psoriasis but the bottom line is even if they do see it, they probably don’t actually care. Someone may see it, which may cause us to start feeling anxious or conscious as to what they are thinking, but in reality, they’ve probably forgotten all about it within thirty seconds. This helped me mentally to be as I was before my outbreak – carefree. This is still something I have to remind myself from time to time.
4. Taking baby steps
My aim was to become comfortable in my own skin again and to get back to my normal confident self. This process meant stepping out of my comfort zone a little. I started off by going back to wearing normal V-neck tops where the psoriasis on my chest would be on show, to slowly being able to bring those crop tops back out when I went on holiday. Don’t get me wrong this may still be a struggle if I was to have another outbreak but taking small steps helped me to get there.
5. Finding a hobby
For me, it was important to keep busy to help take my mind off my psoriasis. The gym was a great way for me to de-stress, get a bit of me time and hopefully get into shape at the same time. So, I would suggest finding and focusing on your hobbies during an outbreak, whether it’s exercising, reading or cooking, find something that you enjoy that can help you take your mind of your psoriasis. Stress is a common trigger for psoriasis outbreaks, so having a hobby may help reduce the stress levels and give you something else to focus on.
These are just some of the things that helped me during my sudden outbreak, and I still probably have a lot more to learn. One thing I have learnt is that everyone’s journey is different. Whether your psoriasis is ongoing, like my sister, or flares and disappears like mine, I’ve learnt that by reaching out for help and actively managing my health to not let psoriasis get in the way of my self-confidence.
MAT-37414 August 2020
Article developed in partnership with LEO Pharma.