I’ve suffered from Psoriasis almost my whole life. I kindly inherited the condition through my genes from my father who suffered with it tirelessly his entire life. When I was little, and we would go on holiday, he’d sit by the pool in a long-sleeved T-shirt and full-length trousers sweating profusely. As a carefree child, I didn’t understand why he wouldn’t come to play in the pool, after all, he had instilled in me the importance of learning to swim at a young age and had told many a tale of his love for it. Although at the time I didn’t know it, my Dad was embarrassed by his Psoriasis, which covered almost 90% of his body.
“Why won’t you come to the pool with me dad?” I asked frustrated one day. When he explained to me his embarrassment around his condition, I wrapped my arms around his neck and told him proudly – “You are my hero – you are a warrior.” To me my Dad was more than a skin condition – he had a kind heart and good soul and at that nieve age, I struggled to understand how he couldn’t see that himself.
Days, weeks, months and years passed, and as I became a teenager, my own Psoriasis really began to flare. My doctor said it was likely the stress of my upcoming GCSE’s, but it made me self-conscious, and I began to hide my body in long sleeves and full-length trousers. That summer, when we went on holiday, I sat in the shade and watched everyone else dive into the pool, but I was too ashamed to put on a bathing suit and expose my skin. I felt emotional, angry and annoyed at my body. I loved swimming, enjoying the sunshine and being around my favourite people, and that was all taken from me. I was snappy and irritable, and most of my family assumed that I was just going through a teen phase, but my Dad knew better. It appeared as if history was repeating itself.
The next morning as everyone was getting ready for a day of swimming, I hid in my room alone. Amongst the joy and laughter from outside, I heard a tapping at the door, and when I looked up, my Dad was standing in the doorway. Without saying anything, he came and sat beside me on the bed. My mood was sullen – defeated, but I didn’t say anything, and after a moment, my Dad placed his hand on my shoulder and said “You are my hero. You are a warrior.”
That day was the first time in all my life I’d ever seen my dad wear board shorts. He got into the pool on the condition that I joined him, and we both forgot about the stigmas surrounding our skin conditions, and we had fun. Real, laugh until you cry, memories forever fun. My Dad told me that he had spent too many moments sat on the side-lines, and I was not to waste my life doing the same. From that moment on, I’ve worn my Psoriasis as a badge of honour like a true warrior, like my Dad’s hero.
Psoriasis isn’t something to feel ashamed about, and it doesn’t have to be negative. It’s part of who I am, and I won’t ever be afraid of that again. My son has recently developed eczema on his hands, arms and face, and at first, he was worried, but I tell him every day “You are my hero. You are a warrior.” I’m bringing my kids up to love the skin they are in. I’m leading by example and I won’t let history repeat itself again.
* This post is written from the heart about events that have happened in my own life. I am submitting this post as an entry into the Epaderm Blogger Ambassador Competition #BlogOnEpaderm This is not paid for or sponsored and it does not in any way change the authenticity of what I have written. I am a regular user of Epaderm on both myself and my children which made this competition a good fit for me!
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