Tasia promotes self-love and self-acceptance through her psoriasis journey.
Psoriasis to me is so much more than just a skin condition now, it’s part of my identity. My name is Tasia Joseph, and through my story I hope to inspire those that may be struggling with self-confidence as a result of their psoriasis, and share my wisdom on what things have helped to clear mine.
As a brief backstory, I am now 20 years old, but psoriasis started to form on my body from the age of 3. At first, pharmacists and doctors were convinced that I had ringworm, as the psoriasis started off as small ring-like circles, mainly across the common joint areas (elbows, wrists, knees). This spread dramatically across my body very quickly, covering areas from my scalp, right down to my feet. After examination from a dermatologist, they immediately knew it was plaque psoriasis.
I have been prescribed almost every cream possible throughout my 17-18 years of living with psoriasis! Topical agents help to keep the psoriasis moisturised, which is extremely important to help itchiness and prevent flare-ups, however it is not a cure. I found that creams and shampoos with coal-tar helped relieve the itchiness the best for me.
Did you know that nearly 20% of people living with psoriasis had some form of depression? I would sometimes hear comments like ‘she’d be so much prettier if she didn’t have psoriasis’, which heavily affected my self-confidence, and I experienced very low moods as a result of it. This affected me mainly during my teenage years. With a combination of stress from exams, hormonal changes and so much more, my psoriasis was the worst it had ever been between the ages of 15-18. My entire body was covered. It would be extremely painful to touch, and would often crack and bleed. At this stage in my life, it also began to appear on my nails, which I became very self-conscious about. I would always keep my nails painted because of this.
My doctors recommended I do phototherapy, which occurred 3 times a week. This really did help clear my skin, but only for the duration of being on phototherapy. After a few weeks it would flare back up. I then tried methotrexate, in the form of both tablets and injections. This was also very effective, however I personally experienced very bad side effects. This resulted in me stopping the treatment and discussing alternative treatments with my doctor.
At this point in my life, it became important for me to learn what triggered my flare-ups. I changed my diet by cutting out meat and reducing the amount of dairy and wheat I consumed. I found a love in oil-painting, and paint to express my emotions, mainly focusing on skin, and portraits of people with skin conditions. I became open about my psoriasis and talked about it more with people. I am currently on biologics, which are injections I take every 2 weeks. These factors have ALL helped me to limit my flare-ups, to clear up large areas of psoriasis on my skin, to maintain peace in my life, and to improve my self-confidence.
I hope through sharing my story, I can reassure anyone struggling with psoriasis that you are not alone, and there are many different things you can try to overcome this! Find what YOUR triggers are, and find what brings you peace. Let’s all continue to spread awareness and support our community!