Can you please tell us a bit about yourself? What are your passions, hobbies, job?
My name is Grace. I am 19 years old and currently a full-time college student studying elementary education. I love music and singing! Choir was a huge part of my time in high school, and now in college I sing in an a cappella group.
What type of psoriasis do you have, and how long have you experienced the disease?
I have both scalp and plaque psoriasis. I have experienced both since I was around 9 years old.
Do you have PsA or other related diseases (comorbidities)?
Yes, I have psoriatic arthritis.
How would you describe your unique experience of having psoriasis?
I would say that for a long time, having psoriasis was difficult for me, especially as a kid and teenager. I never knew that psoriasis was a thing that was related to dysfunction of the immune system, and so I always beat myself up over thinking that I was doing something wrong. It was also difficult as a kid because it was visible to others and was something that I was super self-conscious about. After I got diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis, I realized that it was nothing to be ashamed about and that it was just a part of my life.
How does psoriasis impact your life day-to-day?
Psoriasis impacts my day-to-day life because honestly at times it can be really uncomfortable. It also impacts me daily as I do my hair because I have to take time to manage my scalp psoriasis and choose a hairstyle that won’t irritate it.
What areas of your life are most impacted by psoriasis?
I would say that psoriasis impacts me most mentally. Sometimes it can be really frustrating having to manage psoriasis on top of everything else that goes on in life. It also can be difficult to be constantly worrying about it making outings and events uncomfortable.
Does psoriasis impact your relationships?
I’m lucky enough that psoriasis has not impacted my relationships. Psoriasis – and psoriatic disease in general – runs in my family, and all my friends have been super supportive and understanding.
What do you do to manage and treat your psoriasis?
What do you know about psoriasis now that you wish you had known when you were first diagnosed?
I wish I had known that it was not something that is completely out of my control or life-ruining. When I was first diagnosed, I was younger, and so it felt so embarrassing to me, but now as I’ve grown older I have learned to manage my symptoms and not be ashamed of my psoriasis.
What do you want others to know about living with psoriasis?
I want others to know that just because someone is living with psoriasis it doesn’t make them unsanitary or unclean. Psoriasis has to do with an immune system response and is something that should be normalized, and nobody should ever have to feel ashamed or embarrassed.
Answers are lightly edited for clarity and style.