This past week I caved in. I finally listened to my parents and scheduled an appointment to discuss treatments for my autoimmune disease. While this was an anxiety-ridden moment for me, it was honestly the best decision I have ever made.
Ever since I was in elementary school, I have suffered from an autoimmune disease called psoriasis. For those that don't know, psoriasis is an autoimmune disease in which your body overproduces skin cells. Due to this overproduction, these skin cells clump together on your skin and form patches in various forms. Some cases of psoriasis are severe, while others could have a moderate amount of psoriasis patches (like me) or very few. If you would like to learn more about psoriasis, I highly encourage you to visit this website.
My journey with psoriasis has been quite the battle due to my stubbornness, my fear of going to the doctor's office, and my anxiety. When I was younger, I was never concerned about the patches of white, flaky skin on my elbows and knees. I would have other kids ask me the same old question of "Is it contagious?!" and have adults throw me a pity party when they saw my skin.
At first, I was not affected by it. When I entered middle school, hormones and all the other side effects of puberty made my skin worse. My patches became itchier, they showed in places I had never seen before, and in one case it even made it hard for me to walk (I had to wear extra cushioned socks).
I had tried ointments, creams, UV therapy (which was hilarious because of the big sunglasses I got to wear). But eventually, I gave up. I was constantly forgetting to put my medicine on. My father would, and still does, hound me about putting my medicine on every night, but my stubborn self saw no change when I would use it, so I stopped trying unless it got really bad.
It wasn't until I started college that my psoriasis had gotten to the point that it's at now: completely out of control.
If I had a spot go away, it would come back to another spot. My best friend (who is also my roommate) even noticed how it was spreading and not getting any better, despite my attempt to better my skin with specialty washes and lotions. I was starting to care more about my skin and appearances but was not seeing a change. This sent me into a world of frustration.
Since psoriasis is an autoimmune disease, that means it can be triggered when I am in stressful situations. Well, in case you didn't know, college is 1,000% stress.
When I came home from break, I assumed it would die down, but I was very wrong about that. I took it upon myself to do some research and learn about natural ways to help my psoriasis. These also did not help. My parents repeated to me that I needed to see the dermatologist, but I refused. When I say I hate the doctor, I mean I hate the doctor.
I attempted these healthy eating lifestyles I read and watched videos about and saw a change. I cannot tell you how much better my body felt and how happy I was mentally when I saw this change. After week two of cooking every meal and fighting my sweet tooth, I had noticed my skin was going right back to where it was. I looked in the mirror and noticed I had patches beginning to form on my face. That was the moment in which I broke.
It had officially gotten to a point in which I realized I needed to do something.
I called the dermatologist and scheduled my appointment, and something in me broke. I couldn't tell if it was me having a panic attack because I had to now go to the doctor's, or because I was happy I was finally getting the help I needed. I like to think it was because of the second reason.
The moment I hung up the phone, it felt as if I had a weight lifted off my shoulders. I wanted to laugh and cry all at once. I honestly think my mental state was just everywhere. This was a big moment for me. Not only did I take a step in helping my physical state, but also my mental state.
Thanks to my doctors, I have gained a sense of hope in tackling my autoimmune disease and could not be happier.
For those of you who also suffer from an autoimmune disease, you know how they constantly come and go. While I have figured out a treatment that may work for me, I know that I will never NOT have my autoimmune disease ready to creep up on me at any moment.
For now, I have said goodbye to the lifestyle of wearing clothes to cover my flare-ups and hiding behind my autoimmune disease. Psoriasis, you have been a major part of my life, but I most definitely can wait to see you again.