This piece was originally published in 2019 and has since been updated.
So today is World Psoriasis Day. For anyone who suffers from it, we know we don’t need a day for awareness. We’re very aware of it.
The thing is, the world around us isn’t. And often, that’s by our own design.
Before I talk about my experience with psoriasis, I want to get a few things out of the way.
Psoriasis is a genetic, systemic autoimmune disease that affects 1.6 million people in this country. Worldwide, a staggering 125 million people are affected by it – which, broken down, works out to be about one in 16 people. So if you think you don’t know someone with psoriasis, you’re wrong. They’ve most likely hidden it from you.
The disease causes the overproduction of skin cells, leading to painful rash-like lesions that present in different parts of the body – commonly, it affects the joints, limbs, trunk and scalp, but for many people, it can cover the whole body – it does not discriminate.
And no, you can not catch it.
I was one of those eczema kids, always with a rash of some sort and my parents trying desperately to stop me itching. I might have been predisposed to psoriasis, but I’ve still never discovered the genetic link in my family.
I was 18 when I was formally diagnosed. I had just moved away to college in Bathurst to study journalism and was on my own for the first time. I relished those first few months of independence, made heaps of friends and drank to excess.