Georgia has had psoriasis for 19 years. She shares her story, and while we both developed psoriasis at a similar age, listening to her story it really highlighted three things:

  1. We have the same medical condition, with similar presentations, but the cause of our flares are very, very different.
  2. Parents can have very different attitudes to treating children with psoriasis (but often end up on a similar journey).
  3. It’s so much easier when we look back to join the dots, and figure out what is happening to us than to see what is happening when we are living it.

So what is Georgias story?

Healing Naturally in Childhood

“They offered me steroids from the get-go. And from that very first appointment. My mom point blank refused and said she’s not to go on steroids, neither or topical steroids. She says until she’s 18 and she can make her own decisions, for now she’s not to be put on steroids, and I can’t find my mom enough for sticking by that.”

As a parent and a person with psoriasis, this resonates with me on multiple levels. I also feel a little conflicted, because while I rarely use topical steroids, I love the security of knowing they are there when I needed them. Georgia is open about this- she identifies that these are personal opinions.

I also find it interesting that she explored Chinese medicine, and while I did use topicals as a child, I also ended up going down this route. It did not work for me, but for georgia it was clearly the right direction.

” They gave me a course that was something I drank as a tea at least once or twice a week, which made the house stink, but it was really good. And you know, it kept me clear for a good couple of years; through my GCSE’s. And the psoriasis was still there, it was a lot more manageable and livable.”

Challenges at school and further education.

Georgia had a similar experience in primary school to me;

“I was in primary school when I was I was bullied quite a lot through my primary school years with it. Obviously, children can be really mean and I looked different. I was totally different to everybody else. I was covered head to toe in these red scabs was flaking skin everywhere. It was just it was awful. And then I went to secondary school and the bullying didn’t stop. Unfortunately, it wasn’t till I was about in year nine, which was when i was about 15, that people to start started to be a little bit nicer,

BUT you know- it didn’t stop me making friends at all still, to this day now, my best friends are the girls that I met in year seven when I first started secondary school.”

Things also became hard when Georgia moved to study dance after school. She moved from London to Essex to specialise in Dance, with the tiny outfits and emphasis on movement.

“I moved to Essex, those next two years were the most horrendous two years of my life when it comes to my psoriasis. My skin literally looked like you took a lid off a boiling pan, and the psoriasis just covered me head to toe. In that type of industry, you’re not wearing a clothes half the time, you’re in leotards or you’re in skimpy little numbers, doing shows etc. And it just was awful. I was 18 at the time. And you know when you’re 18 you’re supposed to be going out and enjoying yourself with your friends and putting dresses on, and that just wasn’t the case for me. So for those years, it was really difficult.

Georgia on holiday clearing using the sun- and loving it šŸ™‚

Georgia ended up leaving and never going back. With family in Spain she managed to clear naturally, and by working alongside her dermatologist she was diagnosed with a condition that affected her ability to fight off infections. Taking antibiotics helped Georgia take more control over her psoriasis but following a Strep flare she ended up back on Cyclosporin.

For Georgia, having her tonsils removed was the step she needed to get her condition back under control- but as someone who knows all too well what living through a severe flare is like- she has a lot she wants to share about feeling in control so we’re going to focus on some of her suggestions.

Mindset shifts & Community matters

There is such thing as a healing mindset, as someone who is recovering from depressing I am really interested in those shifts other people have made. So much of our happiness is self-grown and i want to learn as much about that aspect of healing as I can.

One of the problems I used to struggle with, was sharing my struggles and on reflection, that really held me back. This is why I love what Georgia says about her own experiences with her mindset shift:

” I thought: what if I start being more open with my psoriasis? then other people might help me with my journey because I think it did become really apparent to me, that psoriasis had definitely affected my mind and my mental health.”

When I asked her about mindset she highlighted that community has an important role too.

” I’m a really strong believer that you’re going to need a very supportive circle around you. Whether that be your friends, your family, your partner, your children, you’re going to need a lot of support.”

” I do generally feel like it’s not something that should be dealt with alone, you’re going to need a shoulder to cry on, someone to whinge too, someone to have a moan too, you know. You can have any of those people say, “you look great in that dress, you need to wear that, I’m not looking at your psoriasis on your leg, put that dress on and we’re going out.” That sort of that sort of mindset, all that positivity, you’re going to need that.”

Controlling your environment

One strategy Georgia uses is to control her environment, to transform it into a place that makes her feel good. Here are some of the things she does, that you could try at home (if its safe for you to do so).

Curate a home you love.

Having space where you feel like you belong. That is filled with things that make you smile, artwork that helps you feel relaxed, or inspired. Bedsheets that are soft an encourage you to go to bed. It’s so easy not to prioritise this if you find this hard. Find one place you can make your own, and go from there. Slowly transforming your environment until you have created a space that you are in control of. A space that helps you feel content.

Adding simple touches can make your home more ‘you’ and its something you can control.

Manage the lighting

Georgia hates the lighting in her flat as it makes her psoriasis look worse so she tries to shower in daylight, or with the landing light on and the bathroom door open. Not so other people can see her looking at her best, but becaseu she feels happier this way.

When moisturising in her bedroom, she uses candlelight, to make her skin look better. I love this idea- it feels like a true act of self-care to spend that little extra time making your environment feel more special, and to work for where you are with your skin at that moment.

” Just make sure you’re doing things that are making you happy. Because otherwise I think psoriasis can really really lead you into a negative downward spiral. And it is so hard to get out of that spiral when you’re at the bottom.”

Decluttering

“Clear Space is Clear Mind”

Georgia likes to declutter part of her home once a week. Decluttering helps her to improve her mindset, its something she can control. She describes the feeling as “fresh and clean and ready for the week ahead.” It is east to feel like your spiralling out of control when your psoriasis is getting worse, so being able to get a firm grip on your home and personal organisation can really help (I say this to you as I look at a pile of filing to do – knowing Georgia is right).

Find your respite.

Georgia at the beach near her home.

Georgia describes the intentionality behind moving to live near the sea, near the woods. She can take relaxing walks right by her home. Some of us cannot move (I’m married to a farmer) but there are often places nearby that we could use more. There are woods near my house but I rarely venture into them. Georgia suggests getting out daily, and getting fresh air, instead of staying inside a stale indoor environment and she is right. Though for me it needs to be on my to do list otherwise I probably won’t get it done!

Manage the people

Invite people you trust into your psoriasis journey. It is so much easier when you have someone who ‘gets it’. If your friends really understand that you are flaring then they won’t hold it against you if you cancel a dinner date. You need people to help you let off steam, and you need people to pull you out of your house when you start to lull into a low mood.

Manage your workspace

Does your workspace work for you?

Do you feel content, happy, relaxed…or any positive emotion when you work? Can you identify anything in your workplace that you can control, where changing it would make it better? If the answer is no- have a think about what you can do. This was the case for me- as a highly stressed secondary school science teacher I could reduce my workload, and I couldn’t avoid children with tonsillitis so I quit. It’s not as outrageous as it sounds.

The pro/con list. Georgia is a fan of the pros and cons list. If you’re unsure whether you can stary at your place of work, draw up a list of all of the positives, and things you can change for the better- and weigh them up against the cons. For me my decision was more simple- a job that had no flexibility didn’t work for me if your unsure, this strategy is worth a try.

Treat Yourself

I neglect myself often, but Georgia talks about having beautiful things, and shopping is known to boost the feel good chemicals in your brain- its what makes it so addictive. She mentions buying something for yourself when you see it- and I think this is a great idea. I tend to spend too long on buying decisions for myself and then find I have nothing to wear.

What you should take away from this (if nothing else)

Also known hence forth as Georgia’s Genius-

“Are you letting your psoriasis define you when you look at yourself in the mirror?

Are you thinking to yourself, Well, I’m just a person that’s covered in psoriasis? Or are you thinking No, I’m a bloody good person. I’m a great person. I’m a generous person. I’m a kind, loyal, trustworthy person. And I’ve got so many amazing qualities that actually screw the psoriasis. It’s not important.

And I think that’s what you need to come to terms with. For so many years I didn’t. I thought of myself as a bad person. I felt ashamed of having psoriasis. I thought like, I’d let people down because of it. You know, if I didn’t want to go out because I felt embarrassed by my skin. I felt like I was an awful person for letting people down. But now I totally think different to that. And I think that’s what’s got me to this point. Because I’ve got all of those things I mentioned. I’ve got a lot of support around me, I’ve got a great home environment. I love my job. I absolutely love where I live.”

So what do you think you can change?

I for one, am heading over to Anthropologie to buy some nicer bedding- my daydreams of living near the sea will have to wait a while longer. Let me know what you’re going to change in the comments- have more ideas to share? I would love to hear them šŸ™‚

About Georgia

Georgia is a PT in Lytham , UK and she specialises in working with those of us who lack confidence in our skin. You can find her training videos and psoriasis inspirational posts on Instagram @georgiacrowtherpt

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