Jess P's Story
Jess was diagnosed with guttate psoriasis after moving to university last year. To mark her 21st birthday she has chosen to share her story; from managing time-consuming treatments, to the impact on her mental health and changing the language around psoriasis.
Hey, my name’s Jess, I am 21, and I have been suffering with guttate psoriasis since early October last year. This is a daunting story to share, but the prospect of hope or strength it may give others starting their treatment journey outweighs the fear of sharing this today. Especially as I know this would have helped me to hear when I was first diagnosed.
So, my story started when I moved out to university to follow my dream career path in conservation. Before I was able to settle in, I noticed my entire body from my scalp to my ankles became covered in these ‘tear drop-like’ patches, I was later told to be guttate psoriasis.
Personally, I found being amidst a pandemic to be bittersweet at the time, as lectures were optionally online and so I was able to isolate myself and hide away. My main interest was strength training at the university gym, as it helped me escape mentally and feel strong. However, I quickly discovered that wearing a jumper to cover my skin was not ideal when exercising!
Therefore, I went to the gym less and my days mostly consisted of scrupulously dotting topical creams on what seemed to be an endless number of patches, which was so exhausting. No treatment seemed to be healing my skin and mentally it began to torment my self-esteem, body image and state of mind, along with no hobby to escape it all. Luckily, after a lot of trial and error with my doctor, I am now starting to see a difference and am making moves towards my mental recovery too. Currently, I take a bath with an emollient daily and am using two creams twice a day to treat my skin. This entire process is still difficult to go through mentally, but I know consistency with my treatment is the best way to improve it.
Since returning home for Christmas my superwoman of a mum (Debbie) has been helping me through the whole process. To this day I am not sure how my journey with my skin would have gotten this far without her by my side. For any sufferers that are currently feeling alone whether applying treatments or just expressing how your condition is making you feel, I really urge you to reach out to others whether that’s family or a professional, as it really makes the whole diagnosis/treatment process slightly easier to confront.
The major change in my mindset towards my skin actually happened when I was still in my accommodation. I realised that the way I spoke about my skin was making everything worse… I no longer see it as a “skin problem”, “ugly” and “diseased” … instead it’s the skin I get to live in, dance in and move in!
Just as my mum has been my rock, I should care for, and love the skin I am in when it is unwell. No way am I a good model of self-love right now, but I would like to think I am slowly getting there! This perception I am trying to create is one that I hope yourself and everyone else can take away from my story so far, to keep going through the tough times to the brighter days ahead.
On that note as summer is on its way, I am going to push myself to wear shorts, unashamed of my skin to finally get the sunshine and vitamin D my skin needs and deserves!
Thank you for reading my story, please keep strong and be kind to your skin, it deserves more love than we give it <3