5 posts tagged “psoriasis blogger”

My War with Psoriasis: An Interview with British Blogger Simon

Posted December 17th, 2012 by

Welcome to the latest installment of our “Spotlighted Blogger” series.  Earlier this year, we focused on psoriasis bloggers, including Lissa, Alisha B., Jessica and Joni, and today we’re pleased to add a male perspective to the mix.  PatientsLikeMe member Simon’s witty blog, entitled My Skin and I, discusses his decade-long battle with psoriasis, a chronic autoimmune condition that can cause itchingrashes and plaques.  What has he learned along the way?  Find out that and more in our interview.

Psoriasis Blogger Simon of "My Skin and I" Relaxing and Enjoying the Holidays

1.     Why did you start blogging about psoriasis, and what’s the reaction been?

I started blogging as a way to vent my feelings. I don’t really talk about my feelings, even to my family, and found it very hard to explain what was going on in my head and in my life.

When I spoke to people about psoriasis, I kept a lot back and, to write it, even if I hadn’t published it, was a release. I decided to make it public partly as I needed my family to understand what I had been going through and also to help raise awareness.

The reaction has been positive.  I have been told I made a few people cry and even had other friends suddenly announce they also have the condition. This showed me that I wasn’t alone and that there are many people that feel the same way and hide their emotions. I am quite pleased that I haven’t had much in the way of sympathy as that’s not why I started the blog.  The worst thing is people saying, “you poor thing.”

2.     You write about your “war with psoriasis.” Are you winning these days?

Ask me this question on different days and I might answer it differently each time. I would say generally yes, although I have lost a few skirmishes lately. The last couple of months have been extremely stressful due to personal and work issues, which hasn’t helped, and psoriasis clings on to moments like that. Also, with the cold weather in the UK at the moment, especially with the sudden freezing weather, my skin is quite sore and dry despite using my creams.

My skin is still at a manageable state, though, and even though it has got a little worse over the last week, it’s nothing I can’t handle. I just have the slight wobble, then think of Christmas coming, and there has been plenty going on lately to keep my mind occupied. The dark space that psoriasis occupies in my head is quite small at the moment.

3.     You recently joined PatientsLikeMe. What’s your impression thus far?

My first impression is good. I haven’t been that active on the site but then I haven’t done much on the blog either recently, or on my food blog that I also write, purely because I’ve been so busy. The people I have come into contact with through the site have all been positive and friendly, which is great. There is a time when the purely psoriasis groups/sites get a bit depressive, and I find myself backing away.

What’s Simon’s other big passion beyond psoriasis awareness?  Food, as this photo of him preparing Coq D’Argent shows. Does he alter what he eats based on his psoriasis?  Click to read the answer.

Psoriasis does seem to bring a lot of anger with it, and I quite understand that.  I just wish my fellow sufferers were a bit friendlier to each other now and then. And there are some who are brilliant; in fact, you have interviewed a few already. It is quite sobering to read what others go through, and this helps me get some perspective on my own condition.

4.     What advice would you give someone who’s newly diagnosed with psoriasis?

I would say make sure you see your doctor (GP here in the UK) and ask for a referral if you think your skin is bad enough. Find one of the many supports sites, like this one, which can measure your severity. But if the doctor can’t seem to help you, ask to be referred no matter how bad your skin is. Also persevere with the medication, as your skin is very unique to you and, just because one treatment works for one person, doesn’t mean it will work for you. Give them time to work and, if there’s no response, try something else.

The other thing is to talk.  It doesn’t have to be to your family or anyone close. The most important person is your doctor – don’t just show them your skin, tell them exactly how it makes you feel. If you can’t tell anyone, then write it down. There are many support networks out there with people who have the same condition and who will understand what you are going through. One last thing:  do not give up the fight.

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Want to hear how other psoriasis patients are dealing with dry air, cooler temps and other seasonal changes?  Check out our recent Patient Voice report on coping with psoriasis in the fall.  Also, find all of our blog coverage of psoriasis here.


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.