Welcome to the latest installment of our “Spotlighted Blogger” series. So far, we’ve interviewed patient bloggers living with gastroparesis, type I diabetes, bipolar I disorder, Parkinson’s disease and ALS, and today we introduce Alisha B., who felt alone in her struggles with psoriasis until “coming out” on her blog, Being Me in My Own Skin.
Alisha is currently participating in the WEGO Health Activists Challenge, which encourages health bloggers to write 30 posts in 30 days during the month of April. To make it easy, WEGO sends out a daily theme to tackle. Alisha has risen to the occasion and produced inspired posts such as “Dear 16-Year-Old Me” and “I Do This for One Reason.” How has blogging changed her? Find out that and more in our interview below.
1. Tell us about growing up with psoriasis – the physical and emotional impact.
Growing up with psoriasis was not an easy battle. I was not only dealing with the regular stuff like puberty and body image, but throwing psoriasis in the mix made it a lot tougher. I’ll be honest, confidence was not something I had very much of as a child. Although, I was not a depressed child. I was considered the class clown or goofy one among my friends, but deep down inside I was hurting.
I just wanted to be “normal” and in my eyes that was a life without psoriasis. I may have been this confident chick to somebody from the outside looking in, but I stopped myself from a lot due to my condition. Now that I look back on my teenage years everything I did was virtually shaped around my psoriasis. The decisions I made, the activities I participated in, the events I went to, even the clothes I wore.
2. What’s it been like “going public” about your psoriasis on your blog?
I started my blog in June 2011 after going to the National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF) conference. I remember sitting in a workshop they had about using social media to advocate for your condition. I had seen other psoriasis bloggers, and I remember saying to myself, “I can do that.” On the way home from the conference, ideas were flowing to my mind on different posts I could do, and it was a really great feeling.
Going public with my condition through my blog has been liberating! I wish I would have done this a long time ago. A lot of times I hid, uncertain of how people would accept my condition. But today, the more people I discuss my disease with, the more I realize that the things I was telling myself mentally were only because of my own insecurities. People are a lot more understanding than I could have ever imagined.
My outreach has also helped me to connect with other people dealing with psoriasis, and I no longer feel alone like I did just one year ago.
3. What are the most helpful things you’ve learned from other psoriasis patients?
I met a young lady named Kasi at the NPF conference. Her psoriasis condition was equivalent to mine. Her skin was very visibly broken out. She was so confident with the way she walked and the clothes she wore, it really inspired me to stop hiding. Kasi as well as others at the conference really made me feel good and encouraged me. I’ve had this type of encouragement from family and friends, but nothing is like the inspiration that you receive from people who are actually living with this disease. Other psoriasis “conquerors” encourage me to not be ashamed and to embrace my condition.
4. Tell us about the WEGO Health Activists Challenge and why you’re participating.
The WEGO Health Activists Challenge was suggested to me by the NPF. Doing the challenge is exciting because there are new topics to discuss everyday and I get to connect with other activists. I decided to participate in the challenge to bring more attention to psoriasis. A lot of people are silent about it out of fear of ridicule, and I was once one of these people. The more people who know about this disease, the faster the stigma will end.