Olivia M's Story

Olivia's psoriasis made her self esteem and confidence plummet as she approached her second year at university. Now she wants other young girls who are in a similar position to know that it can get better.

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My name is Olivia McCoy I was 19 when I first got a psoriasis, I’ve had it for a year now. It was about 1 year ago the first psoriasis patch came underneath my boobs and chest when I was on holiday with my boyfriend. I thought it was a reaction to something I’d ate or just some sort of sun burn. However, when I got home and showed my mum she knew it was psoriasis as she was one of the worst case children in Liverpool when she was a baby and has had it her whole life. She always prayed I wouldn’t get it but sadly I did. It was just before I was going back to my second year of university and I think the fear of the unknown got to me knowing I was moving out and all of the assignments coming up...

Starting back at second year was tough, such a big step with so many assignments and the pressure was getting to me. My mum and dad tried to put off telling me that my dad was diagnosed with cancer as they didn’t want me to stress even more. I felt like my world had shattered and I didn’t see the point of anything, the stress of university, moving house and psoriasis. It covered me from scalp to toe, sometimes my hair would even come out, which being a 19 year old girl isn’t ideal. I just felt like giving up.

We went to the hospital first and the nurse gave me a cream which didn’t do a thing, she said it could be ringworm but we knew is 10009 percent wasn’t. It got worse, scaly and flaky and red raw, this resulted in an angry mother and another trip back to the doctors. They then provided me with stronger topical creams like Dovobet gel, this was great for calming the scale and would cool it off, however it did sting like mad and it just made my hair so greasy and wasn’t actually getting rid of it. I was really down and my scalp/ hair was CONSTANTLY greasy and wouldn’t ever dry with the amount of oils I had in my hair to heal the scalp. (I have plenty of girl problem stories to share that hopefully people can relate to)

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It got worse and worse to the point where my body would hurt to move. I was in pain, and couldn’t even get to sleep as it would hurt lying on it.

People tried to give me advice but it was so easy for them to tell me to relax when you just can’t, they say you still looked “perfect “even though you know they were just lying. I never went out, I literally locked myself away, my boyfriend was so supportive but I still felt so insecure as I didn’t want him to think I was ugly. Eventually, after lots of trips back and fourth to the doctors, I was sent to get light therapy for a 12 week course where I would go every Monday, Wednesday, Friday- this was also a pain as it was the last few months of university and the deadlines were coming in. Eventually the course ended and it went down a lot, however it hasn’t ever officially went away and I still have the white scale marks.

l decided to train my mind, to get up and be productive, I researched what helps psoriasis and decided to try my best to cut out dairy and replace milks with plant based milk and eat as many greens as possible which really helped and also helped me lose weight. I try to have a clear mind-set and focus on things as this can have an impact on your skin.

I would love to share my story and journey with psoriasis to young girls especially like me who are in the same situation and let them know it does get better, I feel like especially now a days with social media influencers and body image it's so hard to feel confident, but as long as you are happy in your own skin nothing else matters and I want to teach people to love the uniqueness of it and learn to love themselves.

Read more real-life stories from young people living with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.

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