I have Psoriasis. This is a sentence I thought I'd never write, speak aloud or admit to. I thought I would be better off hiding it, hiding myself, sucking it up and ignoring the pain.
I have Psoriatic Arthritis. A disease I'd barely even heard of before it all smacked me in the face. A disease people thought I made up. A disease I thought I'd never write, speak aloud or admit to. I thought I would be better off hiding it, hiding myself, sucking it up and ignoring the pain.
Then, one day, my Psoriasis decided to have a "Let me show who's the boss around here" moment, and that was it. No more hiding. And then my life changed, and I figured out that I'd gone about it all wrong.
There are 7.5 million Americans living with Psoriasis, nearly 25 million of us worldwide. Fully 1/3 of us also have Psoriatic Arthritis. We suffer from one of the most common, but least understood autoimmune diseases there is. I didn't know any of this. One day, I started Googling, and found the National Psoriasis Foundation. That started me on this journey. I am now an Advocate, a Mentor, a Community Ambassador and now (apparently) a blogger. Because I'm on a mission. I don't want anyone else to hide like I did. I have discovered just a few of the 25 million strong of us, and I am hooked. I am awed. I have found my people. Other people like me! People who know what it's like to be in my skin. That's some heady stuff.
And what I've learned is: We aren't losers. We aren't gross, or dirty or contagious. But we have all learned to act as if we are. To be embarrassed, humiliated. To hide so that we don't offend other people. Like we can help how we look. We have a disease. Like Diabetes. Or Lupus. And we are suffering, physically, mentally, emotionally. And I have been there. I understand how it feels. And if I can make one person feel less isolated, less lonely, less damaged, then I have done my job. And maybe they well decide to do the same. There are those out there who do a lot more than I do, so I feel confident that we have a great chance to be accepted. And maybe find a cure. And wouldn't that be great?