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Posts Tagged ‘Psoriasis’

You may have seen in recent tweets if you follow me, The Psoriasis Association, Get Your Skin Out or the numerous other Psoriasis awareness raisers out there that Instagram have started blocking certain Psoriasis hashtags. So that’s not the images themselves, just the hashtags to stop people being able to search by them. Why? Well there is no reason given and there is a campaign, led by The Psoriasis Association to get Instagram to answer. My assumption on the reason will be that someone didn’t like what they saw so have complained. Rather than looking into it, it seems someone at Instagram, or maybe it’s just an automatic process, have blocked hashtags. I hope it’s an auto process and there isn’t someone at Instagram who actually thinks we should be hiding, that would be a very sorry state of affairs.

In a world obsessed by body image this isn’t that surprising. We are told every day we must look perfect. Unfortunately world, we don’t and what a boring world it would be if we were all perfect. It takes some people years to come to terms with their skin whether it be psoriasis, acne, eczema, vertiligo to any other skin condition you can think of. It’s not just those with skin conditions. there are people out there for other reasons that do not fit the perceived definition of normal or beautiful. The reality is that our differences are what makes us beautiful. It took me over ten years to start showing my skin in public after years of thinking people are staring at me. The reason I started showing my skin  more is to show it is normal.

Going back to the hashtag censoring though I just cannot make any sense of this. Why the hashtag and why not the image. Has someone really seen a picture of psoriasis and said “Oh the picture is okay but I really don’t like you saying Psoriasis or PsoriasisAwareness. I just don’t get it. Why would you stop us trying to raises awareness of a condition. You do realise the main people that search for these terms are those with it, working in healthcare or know someone who has this condition. Why stop them finding resources? Are there really people out there going “I want to be offended today, I know I don’t like people raising awareness of psoriasis so I’ll just search #PsoriasisAwareness”?

So dear Instagram, in your own way you  are trying to censor us or our skin, I’m still not sure entirely what your point is as you won’t answer. In a funny way I wish it was as easy as censoring psoriasis, if I could censor it from my skin I would. Not sure if you realise this but I do not actually enjoy living with this condition, putting on lots of topical greasy treatments, flaking everywhere I go. Nature gave me this condition, it is not something you can just censor and hope it goes away. We are not living in the dark ages any more, there are no leper colonies to ship us off to so the “beautiful people” do not have to see us. In fact, if you consider yourself beautiful and are offended by the sight of psoriasis then maybe you need to look in the mirror, look deep inside yourself and see just how ugly you are inside.

I will not apologies that I do not fit your standards of beauty. I will not apologise if my skin offends you. If you would just like to speak to Mother Nature, God, whichever deity you think runs this world and ask them why they gave us this then please do. We did not choose to have a skin condition, it was given to us. Being bigoted or racist are decisions you make and there is plenty of that not getting blocked on social media. So I ask again, why censor something that is natural? We are not freaks, we are an amazing community of people who live with a chronic condition every single day of our lives and will continue to grow confident and will remain some of the most beautifully different people in this world.

What can we do to fight this? Well we could all delete our Instagram accounts. That means they win, whoever was offended by an image of psoriasis is proven to be right and that we should hide away. No, we don’t hide, we give an even bigger presence on social media, we tell the world we exist and you cannot just ignore us. The Psoriasis Association have started a campaign to gain a response from Instagram on the subject and I would be grateful if you would share this campaign and sign. Details are here. There are instances of censorship on Facebook too, although it seems more prevalent on Instagram. These are two of the biggest social media platforms in the world and sadly without them it makes it difficult to spread awareness.

For those with the condition, remember that no matter what Instagram or Facebook may do you are never alone, you have millions of friends out there and it is full of some of the most amazing people you could ever meet.

 

 

 

 

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Be more like Psoriasis

If you’re clicked this post you are probably thinking “What do you mean by be more like Psoriasis?” You see, I’ve been thinking. Psoriasis isn’t all bad, in fact it has some good sides. You may need to bear with me on this but believe me, it makes sense, well in my mind anyway.

Psoriasis didn’t’ attack me because of my age, colour creed. It just doesn’t care where you’re from, what language you speak or what your religious beliefs may be. Psoriasis will descend upon just if it feels like it.

Okay, so psoriasis may be a sadistic, evil little so and so but at least it doesn’t pick on you because of anything you’ve done. (Oh how I look forward tot he comments of “you must have lived a bad life, that is why you’re being punished”.) The thing is, that doesn’t matter either, whether you’re good or bad, your chances of getting psoriasis are pretty much the same.

Now I like to get a long with everyone and I, like psoriasis, do not care what your religious background, the colour of your skin or what football (soccer to my American friends) team you support. Let’s have a beer (or non-alcoholic drink of your choice, see I don’t even discriminate against tee-totallers), let’s share food (mostly steak but hey, if you’re vegan or vegetarian then grab something to your taste) and let’s just get along. In today’s world it seems we don’t do this enough.

So, like I say, let’s all be more like psoriasis (expect the making your skin peel and bleed, itch like billy-o, make us feel depressed and/or anxious and generally make us feel annoyed). Hmmm, have a feeling it is a good thing that I didn’t go in for professional debating.

 

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Let’s get something out there straight away. Yes I have a cold, no it’s not man flu. I’ve said this before, if you think man flu is bad try psoriasis flu. Okay so it’s not quite flu but even a cold when you have Psoriasis makes a cold all the more annoying.

About a month ago I went into work with a slightly tickley throat and thought I may have a cold coming on. By 11am I think it was in was on my way home with a banging head, sore watery eyes, ear ache and with little energy. That’s how quick a cold can  attack when your immune system is busy fighting something pretend infection. I don’t mean Psoriasis  is made up, one of the explanations of Psoriasis is that your body thinks your skin is under attack, hence the rush of blood cells to the skin and increased growth rate to repair it. Or as I like to put it “I’m not a hypochondriac, my skin is”. 

So while my body is busy fighting something that isn’t there, something like a mild cold can become a bigger issue if not treated quickly. So that day I totted off home, dosed up and spent nearly three days in bed so by Monday I was fit for work again. 

Added to this my skin flared up so I auvergne been having to up my treatment of that since then as well. Over the last week it has been looking a lot better and I’m getting it back under control and then, like I shouldn’t have expected it, I have a other cold. I felt the signs yesterday and started dosing up straight away and now panic sets in. Will my skin react to this cold? Well so far no, it actually less itchy than it was yesterday.

This kind of goes back to my thoughts that psoriasis never does what you expect it to do. It can react to situations or it may decide it can’t be bothered. The fact it hasn’t flared yet does not stop me worrying that it might just be a delayed reaction though. So the treatment of both the cold and my skin is increased. 

Years ago this was a real pain. I would moan and groan and complain that I have to look after too illnesses at the same time. When a cold leaves me with little energy I don’t want to have to worry about my skin too. 

Now, even though this may seem like a moan, it’s just something I do. I get on with it, “chin up”  as they say. Honestly this isn’t really a moan, more a get it off my chest, much like I wish I could get this cold off my chest.

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Hello all. We’re already half way through October and thoughts turn to dark nights snuggling up on the sofa, bonfires, fireworks and all things spooky as Halloween approaches. Now I’m English and Halloween is one of those holidays I haven’t always agreed with. Firstly it’s a made up thing, I don’t like people knocking on my door at the best of times so dressed up as spooks in the dark asking for treats and threatening to do something if I don’t is why I’m usually just out for the night. However,  I do like a party, well I do these days. Obviously there were times when I wouldn’t leave the house for fear of people recoiling at my skin but it’s Halloween and I have the perfect skin for that.

My skin has been improving but with the changeable weather, a busy life and a cold it has recently flared a little. Not too much but it’s back to itchy, flaky and some cracking so I make the perfect undead. So whilst all your friends go hunting for outfits we can all sit here quite content knowing we have a ready made costume and the best thing is, people will think it’s very realistic make up. If you’re worried about reactions to your skin and still not confident about showing it off, Halloween is your perfect opportunity. Mind you, I bet if there’s a competition for best costume we’d get disqualified thinking our “make-up” was done professionally.

This is just a bit of fun and just wanted to show that even with flaky dry skin we can still make something positive out of it and have a laugh. Believe me, I have been one to moan about this condition a lot so when I get a chance to use it to my advantage I will. So get out there, spook your neighbours and have a boogie to the Monster Mash.

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Psoriasis, what is it good for? Go on, song “absolutely nothing”, you know you want to. So often I find inspiration from music in dealing and talking about Psoriasis. I’m not always sure where it comes from, I can be sat having a cup of coffee as I am now and just say the word Psoriasis. Then something, often obscure, pops into my head which then leads to a post like this.

I actually think this is a good question. What is Psoriasis good for? I guess most people would say nothing as it is hard to often find a positive thing to say about Psoriasis.

Well luckily for you I am here to tell you what it’s good for. Firstly it gives thousands of people a job. Okay I’m sure we’d rather not have this condition but think of the nursing staff, doctors, scientists, pharma employees and vacuum cleaner makers that would be out of work. Yeah that last one is because we are the reason for powerful vacuum cleaners, forget pet hair, honestly my dyson gets used much more for cleaning up my skin. You may noticed I conveniently ignored the millions and possibly billions spent on treating Psoriasis and time lost in doctor’s appointments and depressions, I am desperately trying to find the positives here.

So what else is it good for? Well for many of us it has shown what we’re made of. Whether you have found this condition takes you to the brink of suicide or maybe not so far, if you’ve made it back to being yourself, to leading as normal a life as you can or totally turning your life around and found life is even better than before then ask yourself this, would you be there without the challenge of living with psoriasis? There are things I have done that if it was not for psoriasis I never would have done. I would not be writing this blog for a start and you wouldn’t be reading it because there would be no “My Skin and I” to read and you’d never have got my random thoughts about Psoriasis and the X-Men. So if  you’re reading this (okay you may wish you weren’t) and if you find it slightly amusing or even informative then that is thanks to Psoriasis.

I know it’s annoying isn’t it, having to thank Psoriasis for anything. Well I do, I have friends because of Psoriasis, I have been into Parliament, I have spoken in front of healthcare professionals, I have written part of a book, had photo shoots, all in the name of Psoriasis. So what is Psoriasis good for? It’s good for making me the person I am today but if it asks me personally then the answer is “absolutely nothing” don’t want it getting all smug. Could you imagine Psoriasis being smug as well?

Stay strong, keep the treatment up and keep walking toward that light at the end of the tunnel everyone.

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It has long been recognised that psoriasis is a complex skin disease that has psychological associations as well as physical ones. It’s thought that stress can play a role in the flare-up of symptoms, and many sufferers can often trace their first outbreak back to a stressful event or period in their life.

With this in mind, the role of stress reduction has become an important part of psoriasis treatment. Stress releases a hormone called cortisol in the body, which can cause inflammation. In psoriasis, symptoms are triggered by an inflammatory response in the body, so it’s not hard to see how the two go hand in hand.

One approach that has been gaining traction in recent times, alongside conventional psoriasis treatment, is the use of cognitive behavioural therapy, or CBT.

CBT is one of many so-called ‘talking’ therapies, and its aim is to change negative thought patterns in patients. By altering the way that you think or behave, it can help you to better manage your problems or health condition (http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/cognitive-behavioural-therapy/Pages/Introduction.aspx).

CBT is most often used to treat anxiety or depression, but a number of studies have recently been carried out to see what effects it may have on treating skin diseases that have a psychological interaction, such as psoriasis. The results, so far, have proved quite enlightening.

Researchers have discovered that treatments such as CBT can prove beneficial in many ways, improving the quality of life of sufferers and reducing the severity of symptoms (http://psoriasisnewstoday.com/2016/06/14/efficacy-of-biofeedback-and-cognitive-behavioural-therapy-in-psoriatic-patientsa-single-blind-randomized-and-controlled-study-with-added-narrow-band-ultraviolet-b-therapy/).

Studies have found that CBT can help to ease the anxiety or depression that many sufferers of this skin disease experience. In fact, it’s thought that a third of people with psoriasis report feelings of anxiety or depression (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK327714/).

Research has also indicated that CBT can help to retrain the brain to think differently about this skin disease and can even improve physical symptoms. It can also help to reverse the bad habits associated with the disease, such as changing behaviour to reduce scratching and itching. Other relaxation techniques and meditation have also been shown to help ease symptoms, although not to the same extent as CBT (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/news/9499471/Skin-disease-hope-through-psychotherapy.html).

CBT and other talking or relaxation therapies are certainly beginning to gain recognition in their role managing symptoms of skin diseases such as psoriasis. With further research, it could be that sufferers rely more and more on these treatments as much as conventional methods.

 

This guest article has been written by Tania Godoy from HelloSkin.

 

 

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The week of 8th to 14th May is Mental Health Awareness week and there has been a lot of press about mental health lately. With our own Royal Family speaking out it seemed to once again bring mental health to the forefront. It is also apparent there is still a lot of stigma attached to mental health. I also read a comment from a well know journalist and presenter saying that men should just “man up”.

For me, my mental health issues have come about from the years I have spent with psoriasis. I often relate this to torture, it is that painful and difficult to live with. If you try to imagine what it would be like if you were woken up regularly, had itching powder put in your sheets, you skin made sore then purposely have something poured over it to make it sting, it will give you just a idea of what it can be like in the day of a psoriasis patient. Now think of that happening every day. Do you think your mental health may suffer just a little?

That’s just the surface of psoriasis, there’s a much deeper issue. Anxiety creeps in as you look in the mirror and see your face, the flakes from your scalp on your shoulders, you wonder what others think when they see you and that’s before even venturing outside and seeing people’s reactions. Feeling you are ugly or unsightly without anyone saying anything is your head playing tricks with you. Those feelings can grow though and when you’re tired from an extreme lack of sleep and having to fight this condition every day, those thoughts can easily take over.

I have been there, right to the very edge of despair and my skin and blood caked fingers somehow dragged me back. I am better, not fully recovered and every morning can bring a worry of “how will I feel today?”. Every single day is still a fight, some days are just easier than others. I find ways to cope, ways to release my feelings so I no longer bottle it all up. I find a way to live my life and enjoy as much of it as I can. So even if you see me smiling, it doesn’t necessarily mean I’m well. It could mean I’m just hiding.

Back the Mental Health Awareness week. For this I have linked back to a couple of blog posts from the past. One is about what started the fight, how close I was to ending it all, that was a Dark Night. The other is not quite as dark yet still highlights the mental health issues experienced, Faulty Switch.

Now begs the question how am I still going? Well that is much easier to answer. It is due to support from my family, friends and a GP who has somehow stopped me being diagnosed with depression. Of course there is my Cat, Bob who know just when I need a nose bump. With a love of food and cooking I have something I can escape to and focus on creating the perfect dish rather than over think how I’m feeling. That escape, even for a few minutes, can give me the strength to carry on fighting.

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