Jenny White has worked regularly with the Psoriasis Association to help raise awareness of psoriasis, and shares her perspective on living with the long-term condition below. Psoriasis Awareness Week runs from the 1st to 8th November 2015, and for more information visit here.
My name is Jenny and I've had psoriasis for a long as I can remember. Like many people I had it particularly badly in my teenage years and through university. I still have psoriasis and have several spots of it over my body at the moment.
In 2011 I contacted a website called TalkHealth and offered to write a blog about my experiences. I've always tried to take a pretty positive approach to my psoriasis and I wanted to share that attitude with others. I was lucky enough to grow up in a family where my sisters and mother had it and my father is a rheumatologist so has a really good knowledge of it! I felt sensitive about it but I had a rough understanding of what caused it and that most definitely was NOT catching!
While I was writing the blog I had my first flare up in several years and I decided to write about how it made me feel. I used titles like "psoriasis and shame", "The enemy within" and "you take the low road, I'll take the high road". Aside my blatant plagiarism I was trying to get across how psoriasis affected me. Not my skin. Me. Something which I felt was often ignored in attempts at treating it. What this blog also did was to bring me to an online community of people with psoriasis: sharing stories, tips for treatment and generally their feelings about the condition.
I even ended up in a twitter conversation recently with a young hairdresser who had been offered light treatment but was scared about the increased risk of skin cancer. She felt so ashamed of the plaques and was really very upset. Through a series of tweets to each other I managed to reassure her by sharing my experiences. That's a wonderful thing. That we can talk to each other now. We can share our knowledge, as patients, rather than just relying on consultations with doctors.