It was a day I’ll never forget. Fall 2018 — I was finishing up my second year of cross country when my life slowly began to change.
My team ran 6 miles a day at a minimum, which caused me to sweat a lot and my skin to rub against my uniform. One day at practice, every single step caused pain.
I noticed I had some acne on my chest and didn’t think much of it. Over the following days, it slowly multiplied and I began to worry. “Can this be chickenpox?” I asked myself.
Due to the immense irritation, I went to the local hospital to get my skin checked out. Doctors weren’t exactly sure what it was, either. That didn’t help the situation. After a half an hour, with different nurses and doctors trying to figure out what I was dealing with, I was officially diagnosed with psoriasis.
My doctors told me it was chronic, and I later found out that it was a skin condition that wouldn’t be disappearing anytime soon.
As someone who never experienced skin issues, I was in shock. Both my brothers had eczema for years, but they were diagnosed at a young age. I couldn’t quite wrap my head around the fact that I was getting diagnosed with such an intense skin disease at 20.
“What could be the cause?” I thought to myself. It wasn’t something too sugary that I ate. It wasn’t an allergic reaction. I assumed this resulted from heightened stress levels because of the challenging classes I was taking, but that wasn’t it, either. It was a skin disease that came out of nowhere, unwarranted, and unexpected.
I thought about the ways I could have prevented it, but I eventually accepted that there was nothing I could have done. Shortly after being diagnosed with psoriasis, I came to the conclusion that my skin can’t handle the cold weather and I was overstressed — not the greatest combination. That’s what I think brought on the initial flare.
My psoriasis diagnosis was the beginning of a challenging chapter in my life. At first, I believed I would never be able to truly love the person I saw in the mirror. But I came to terms with my diagnosis after about 2 weeks.
I learned to love the guy in the mirror again because I remembered that it isn’t just about what’s on the outside, but what’s on the inside that truly matters. My friends and family didn’t alienate me or stop supporting me. I was the only one who had to adapt and overcome this disease.