2 posts tagged “psoriasis blog”

Spotlighted Blogger: Meet Psoriasis Patient Joni of “Just a Girl with Spots”

Posted June 6th, 2012 by

Psoriasis Blogger Joni of "Just a Girl with Spots"

Welcome to the latest installment of our “Spotlighted Blogger” series.  This spring we’ve been focusing on psoriasis patient bloggers, starting with Lissa in March and Alisha B. and Jessica in April.

Today, we’d like to introduce you to Joni (girlwithspots), a PatientsLikeMe member who writes a blog called “Just a Girl with Spots.”  How has she found acceptance with this chronic skin condition (which can cause itching, rashes and plaques) as well as the courage to wear a bathing suit?  Check out our interview below.

1.  Tell us about being diagnosed with psoriasis.

My diagnosis at age 15 was frustrating and dramatic. I was already super awkward – tall and lanky with a mouth full of braces – so to me it was the end of the world. The spots seemed to come on overnight and they took control of my skin. I felt self conscious and ugly all of the time. Even the word psoriasis felt ugly to me. I wasn’t comfortable talking about my skin condition to even the closest of friends. My friends and family knew that I had psoriasis, but not any of the emotions and stresses that I felt as a result of it.

At the time of my diagnosis, I didn’t understand why there was no magic pill that I could take and the spots would go away. Though told over and over, I also didn’t fully understand that my lifestyle and choices would help to play a large role in controlling my outbreaks. I played lacrosse and danced on the kickline, so I wouldn’t allow it to stop me from doing the things that I loved. But there were always the extra steps I had to take to cover it up to feel a sense of comfort – always two pairs of dance tights, leggings and long sleeves in the heat, extra make-up, etc. So even though I did the things I wanted, there was always something that held me back from feeling as carefree as a teenage girl should be.

2.  You’ve blogged about finding acceptance with psoriasis.  What are your top tips, and how does blogging play a role?

Not talking about my condition stuck with me until very recently, and it feels amazing to have finally let go of that internal struggle. Growing up with psoriasis was a challenge that I’m glad I had, it’s allowed me to find myself in a way that may not have happened otherwise. Blogging about living with psoriasis has been extremely therapeutic for me and is the reason why my skin is currently under control. It’s allowed me to get to know my skin on a deeper level and pinpoint what is and what isn’t working for me. My skin is always top of mind, but I always felt stressed and emotional about it, which was actually making it worse. Through a daily journal and blogging, my treatment plan is focused and I feel more relaxed than I ever have about my skin.

A Glimpse of Joni's Blog, "Just a Girl with Spots"

Psoriasis treatment is so much about trial and error; there are things that work wonders for others and would do absolutely nothing for me. It’s helped me to organize my thoughts and my own personal research to discover the right formula for me. For me, it’s eating fresh and organic foods that are higher anti-inflammatory, it’s exercising 3-4 days a week, using tea tree oil and heavy moisturizing creams and taking several supplements that I’ve found to be beneficial (daily multi-vitamin, omega-3 fish oil, milk thistle, turmeric, biotin, vitamin B-12, acidophilus). But I always find my biggest relief through the sun, so maybe it’s time insurance starts picking up the tab for my tropical vacations!

3.  I see you vacationed in Florida over Memorial Day weekend.  How did you cope with being in a bathing suit and “having spots”?

I had really wanted to find a new bathing suit for the summer that was white with red polka dots, so I could call it my new camouflage. I decided that instead of running from my spots, I needed to own them in my own way! But unfortunately I didn’t find one in time before I left for Florida! But even knowing and deciding that, I still had anxiety about being in a bathing suit. The past few sunny weekends had pretty much cleared up most of my upper body. But the spots on my legs have always been stubborn, so prior to the trip I had been treating them with a steroid ointment. That only left me with red spots and dark bruises, so not much better!

I decided the day before I left to stop stressing about it. I was going to Florida to celebrate the birthday of a close friend and I wanted to focus on enjoying the weekend, not hiding my spots. I posted about it a few days before I left and got several emails from friends with words of only love and support. I know that attitude plays a large role, but I also believe it’s necessary to only surround yourself with people who love you for you. And that doesn’t just go for people with psoriasis, that’s for everyone.

4.  What’s the most helpful thing you’ve learned at PatientsLikeMe?

PatientsLikeMe has shown me that I’m not alone in my struggles and feelings about living with psoriasis. Having the ability to connect with people who understand exactly what I’m going through has reinforced the reasons that I started my blog. People with psoriasis are always there to provide guidance, treatment recommendations, and most importantly, their love and support. If I can help at least one person with my blog, then I’ve done what I set out to accomplish.

Answering frequent questions about my own condition lets me track my progress and allows me to take a hard look at how my skin is reacting from day to day, week to week, month to month. PatientsLikeMe really understands how different conditions can affect your day to day health, but most importantly how it affects your mental well-being. You understand how important a healthy mentality is and the large role it plays in battling any disease or condition.


Spotlighted Blogger: Psoriasis Patient Alisha B. of “Being Me in My Own Skin”

Posted April 16th, 2012 by

Psoriasis Blogger Alisha B. of "Being Me in My Own Skin"

Welcome to the latest installment of our “Spotlighted Blogger” series.  So far, we’ve interviewed patient bloggers living with gastroparesistype I diabetesbipolar I disorderParkinson’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.

"When I started to really and truly love myself, accepting my psoriasis became a lot easier." - Alisha B.

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.