The second of our wonderful contributors, Jude, shares her story and how she manages her psoriasis for our Psoriasis Awareness Month series.
Jude Avril Duncan, 26
Duncan grew up in Gourock, a small town in Scotland. She was diagnosed with psoriasis in her early 20s, after noticing a small red mark growing above her left eyebrow. “I’ve always had varying skin issues throughout my life, so my doctor thought it was just another reaction and that it would calm down with some cream.” However, after a few months and the patch above her left eyebrow growing, she was diagnosed with psoriasis.
Duncan’s psoriasis mostly affects her face, scalp and pubic area. She was also diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis at the end of 2018. Despite this, she is determined to not be known or defined by her psoriasis. “This is a condition that I have and I’m living with, but I am certainly not defined by”. Similarly, to Godden it is the reaction and comments she has received from strangers that has affected her most. “In the run-up to Christmas 2013, just after I was diagnosed, I had a member of the public approach me at a High Street counter I was working on at the time and told that she 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 and was fearful that everyone was looking at my psoriasis and judging me for it.”
Since then, her perspective has shifted dramatically. The condition has had a positive effect on her life, she has learnt to accept and love herself more than she 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”. Her experience has made her aware of the power of positive thinking. “So many people with the condition believe that the condition is all people see and it can be so hard to change the mindset – I know, I’ve been there. Just remember, you are not defined by your psoriasis. As humans we can be our own worse critics, but this is one small step I took to help change my mindset!”
For Duncan having a good skincare routine really helps in managing her psoriasis. “I use products that are kind to my skin and don’t cause irritation.” She also stresses the importance of a holistic routine. “Making sure you’re getting enough sleep, eating well, and exercising can go a long way to helping your psoriasis”.