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How Psoriasis Helped Me Learn to Love and Accept Myself

December 22, 2023

Here, Jude Avril Duncan, 28, of Glasgow, Scotland, shares her struggles and successes while living with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, including her journey toward self-acceptance.

An Ongoing Journey

I have plaque psoriasis and was diagnosed almost eight years ago now. I was diagnosed with severe psoriasis, and my face, scalp, genital area, legs, arms, and belly button are affected. I was also diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis three years ago. Due to my current medication, I am currently free of patches and aches—though, just because my psoriasis is not visible, it doesn’t mean I do not have the condition anymore.

My Diagnosis

I had just started my third year at university and noticed a small red mark growing above my left eyebrow. I wasn’t sure what it was and went to the doctor after a few weeks when it didn’t go away. I had always had skin issues, from adult acne to shingles, along with lots of rashes and reactions. My doctor thought it was just another reaction and that it would die down soon with some cream. I went away and started using the cream to no effect. After a few months, I decided to go back to the doctor, as my patch was getting bigger. That is when I was told that I have psoriasis. I was given another cream and told to try that. Again, this didn’t work. In November of 2014, almost a year after my initial diagnosis, I was finally referred to a dermatologist to receive oral treatment for psoriasis. At the end of 2018, I was also diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis.

Struggling with Self-Confidence

I wasn’t bothered about the condition, at first, even though it was on my face. However, around Christmas of 2013, just after I was diagnosed, a customer approached me as I was working and said, “I thought people had to be pretty to work here.” I was devastated by this comment and it deeply affected my confidence. I became very insecure about my psoriasis, and I was fearful that everyone was looking at it and judging me for it. It became a very lonely place for me to be. I felt no one understood what I was going through. I was heavily depressed and filled with anxiety.

I eventually decided that I wasn’t going to let this comment get me down anymore. It didn’t happen overnight, but eventually, I decided that if anyone had an issue with my skin and how I look, then it is a reflection on them and not me. I never wanted to be known or defined by my psoriasis. This is a condition that I have and that I’m living with but it certainly does not define who I am.

Finding the Positive

Psoriasis has also been a positive in my life. Through having the condition, I learned to accept and love myself more than I previously did. I’ve also met wonderful friends, through the online community, that I would never have met had I not been diagnosed with psoriasis. And I have been given opportunities to work with brands that I could have only dreamed of before.

My one main piece of advice is to remember that you are living with psoriasis not defined by it! I constantly remind myself of this for all of my conditions. I am more than how I look, my skin, my autoimmune condition, and mental health conditions. They are part of me, but they in no way, shape, or form define me. I wish more people had this motto in life!

To learn more about Jude's story, follow @judeavrilduncan on Instagram.

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