I have suffered from Guttate Psoriasis, covering my feet, hands, arms and legs for about 10 years now. It is a heartbreaking and emotionally debilitating disease that greatly impact’s my quality of life.
Being overweight only contributes to the horror I feel stepping out of my house every day. Not only do I need to find an outfit that is figure flattering and fits my rotund shape. I am also constricted in what I can wear, as it must cover the horrid sores covering my arms and legs as much as possible.
Everyday I wake up in my bed to find small flakes of my skin SHED all over the sheets.
The irritation, soreness, pain, burning sensation, and bleeding can at times become almost unbearable. But its the staring that hurts the most.
The pained expressions I see on peoples faces when they see the top of my hand during a flare up, or the array of questions I am asked if someone catches a glimpse at my marked leg. “Oh my God! Did you get attacked by some sort of bug or something?’ They ask. I then have to explain to them that ‘No, I have psoriasis’ and as they cringe I have to reassure them that "I am alright and no they can not catch it, and no there is no cure".
Studies have shown that people with psoriasis have higher rates of depression, anxiety, and anger. In one study, 75 percent of participants reported that psoriasis undermined their confidence and decreased their quality of life. I can totally relate to this.
I was only 21 when psoriasis first appeared on my upper thigh and elbows. A good friend, someone I admired and loved very much committed suicide. The stress flattened me. I suppose the only way for my body to respond to the anguish going on inside was to display it. All over my body.
After many years of bathing in dead sea salt, using light therapy machines, dermatologist potions and lotions and all sorts of other supplements, diets and lord knows what else. Nothing worked.
In 2011, I began a strict weight loss program, assisted by prescribed weight loss drugs and dropped 30 kilos. My psoriasis cleared up almost over night.
I was so happy – deliriously happy! I became a totally different person. The anger lifted. The hatred. The sorrow. The disgust in myself and my body. I don’t know that I have ever felt such relief or utter amazement at how beautiful I am – under all of that SHEDDING flakey skin. It was incredible.
Unfortunately as luck would have it, later that same year I travelled over seas to South America. Following the instruction of a travel clinic GP I was prescribed anti-malarial medication as I was entering the Peruvian Amazon. It wasn’t until we arrived deep into the jungle that the uncontrollable itching began. Less than 24 hours after consuming the anti-malarial medication I was COVERED from head to toe in guttate psoriasis.
The absolute worst part is that there has not been a case of malaria in Peru for over 30 years. I was just the victim of an over zealous GP handing out prescription drugs like candy.
The misery set in. I began binge eating again. I just didn’t care about how I looked. In fact I didn't want people to even look at me.
Now exactly 2 years on and I am determined to cure myself of this SHEDDING skin of mine. Determined to SHED the weight I have gained back, SHED the bad habits and begin a new.
So let's shed shall we?