Life is a journey filled with hardships, heartaches and lessons, life with psoriasis make you feel those experiences even deeper, Jude’s journey with psoriasis wasn’t easy, but she found the strength to overcome all negative aspects of it, including a negative comment that broker her heart at the time.
Please tell us about yourself?
- Hi, my name is Jude, I’m 26 and live in Glasgow, Scotland.
What type of psoriasis are you diagnosed with, since how many years and as per your diagnosis, how severe was it and which areas of your body were affected?
- I have plaque psoriasis and was diagnosed almost 6 years ago now. I was diagnosed with Serve psoriasis and my face, scalp, genital area, legs, arms and belly button are affected.
How did you first find out, How did you feel about it at the time?
- I had just started my third year at university and noticed a small red mark growing above my left eyebrow I wasn’t sure what it was and went to the doctor after a few weeks when it didn’t go away. I’ve always had very skin issues from adult acne to shingles, and lots of rashes and reactions. My doctor thought it was just another reaction and that it would die down soon with some cream. I went away and started using the cream to no effect. After a few months, I decided to go back to the doctor as my patch was getting bigger and that is when I was told, I had psoriasis. Given another cream and told to try that, again, this didn’t work. In November 2014, almost a year after my initial diagnosis, I was finally referred to a dermatologist to receive oral treatment for psoriasis. At the end of 2018, I was also diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis.
How did it affect your lifestyle and work?
- I wasn’t bothered about the condition at first, even though it was on my face. However, in the run-up to Christmas 2013, just after I was diagnosed, I had a member of the public approached me as I was working on the High Street counter and told that she thought ‘people had to be pretty to work here’. I was devastated by this comment and it deeply affected my confidence. I became very insecure about my psoriasis I was fearful that everyone was looking at it and judging me for it. It became a very lonely place for me to be I felt no one understood what I was going through. I was heavily depressed and filled with anxiety.
How did you overcome the fear and stress of being affected?
- I eventually decided that I wasn’t going to let this comment get me down anymore. It didn’t happen overnight but eventually, I decided that if anyone had an issue with my skin and how I look, that is a reflection on them and not me. I never wanted to be known by or defined by my psoriasis. This is a condition that I have and I’m living with but I am certainly not defined by.
How do you feel now?
- Psoriasis has also been positive in my life. Through having the condition, I learned to accept and love myself more than I previously did. I’ve also met wonderful friends, through the online community, that I would never have met had not been diagnosed with psoriasis given opportunities to work with brands that I could of previously only dream of.
What triggers your psoriasis flare-ups?
- I think mostly stress; however, I haven’t been able to pinpoint exactly what it is as when I am no longer stressed it doesn’t go away!
What medications have you tried and what helped you and what didn’t?
- Too many to name, I think I’ve tried almost every cream and tablet available! I am currently on Methotrexate biologic injections for my PsA which has helped my psoriasis but not totally cleared me.
What home remedies have you tried and what works the best for you?
- I haven’t tried any home remedies as such. I do believe that having a holistic plan is vital to helping psoriasis.
Did you have “totally cleared” remission period and for how long? (If you are on remission now then you can answer the following: What has helped you to put your psoriasis on remission and how long it has been silent?)
- I was ‘totally clear’ for around 18months on the biologic injection Humira. I had to come off this biologic in March 2018 due to side effects.
What helps you the most to stay stress-free and To stay motivated?
- I find it really hard to stay stress-free, I am a worrier and incredibly anxious person so I stress a lot. I find that yoga and meditation help so I try to do this a few times a week! Looking after yourself is so important so taking a self-care day a week is a must for me!
What is your daily routine like?
- Most days I wake up at 6:30 am to get ready and head to work. I make sure I thoroughly go through my morning skin routine to ensure my skin is off to the best-hydrated start and take all my medication before I head out the door. At work I try to eat as healthy as possible and drink at least 2L of water – hydration starts on the inside! Then I’ll head home, make some dinner, do some blog work and reply to Instagram messages. Then I chill out for a little maybe read or watch Netflix before removing my makeup and going through my evening skincare routine. I used to be so scared of skincare routines when I first got psoriasis, however since I made it a big part of my holistic plan it’s really helped how my skin looks and feels! Then I head to bed around 10/10: 30 pm – I need at least 8 hours a night to function!
What is your advice to those who are newly diagnosed?
- Firstly, go and see your doctor or dermatologist regularly! If something isn’t working, keep going back until you get something that does. Secondly. You are not defined by your psoriasis. So many people with the condition believe that the condition is all people see and it can be so hard to change the mindset – I know, I’ve been there. Just remember, you are living with not defined by your psoriasis and if anyone says otherwise then that’s on them not you. Finally, if you look in the mirror and are constantly saying negative things about your psoriasis or appearance, start saying something positive about yourself afterward. Do this each time and eventually, your positives will outweigh the negatives. As humans, we can be our own worse critics, but this is one small step I took to help change my mindset!
What would you say to those who have someone close to them diagnosed with psoriasis?
- Listen. They will want to moan and complain about the condition. The best thing you can do is just listen – no unsolicited advice!!
What is Jude’s motto in life?
- Living with, not defined by! I constantly remind myself of this for all of my conditions. I am more than how I look, my skin, my autoimmune condition, and mental health conditions. They are part of me, but they in no way shape or form define me. I wish more people had this motto in life!