‘95% of my skin is covered by psoriasis, but I’ll never hide my body'

A woman has shared how psoriasis that covers over 95% of her body causes constant discomfort, lesions and bleeding.

Shrestha Tiwari suffers with psoriasis flare ups that are so severe that she has to stop working as a freelance social media strategist.

The 22-year-old has now shared her story online and admits the negative reactions from strangers has been a lifelong obstacle to overcome.

However, despite the struggles psoriasis has brought her, Shrestha is on a mission to destigmatise visible skin conditions.

‘It feels extremely uncomfortable to do normal chores or even sit straight when the body is fully covered with psoriasis,’ Shrestha said.

‘I am currently on a career break as it was difficult to manage work along with an active psoriasis flare up that covered 95% of my body.

‘I fear that I will have to face another flare up because of my workload which is preventing me from getting back to work full time.

‘Sometimes due to the itch, the skin starts to bleed. Managing my own skin at such times takes a lot of effort.

‘Applying moisturisers all day, making sure that I don’t hurt myself and trying to simply live becomes more draining.’

Shrestha was first diagnosed with the condition at the age of eight. The lesions first appeared on her feet but were easy to hide under her school uniform.

As she got older, it got worse. Classmates started bullying her and calling her names.

Shrestha, who is from Chhatisgarh, India said: ‘One of my classmates who I considered my close friend told my other friends that my hands looked like a pig’s tail.

‘When my teachers and other classmates would question me about the situation, I would excuse myself by telling them that I burned myself or fell while riding my bicycle.

‘I was made to feel that my skin was not normal throughout my childhood. Strangers would look at me weirdly – I would often catch eyes following me.

‘These stares and faces would make me feel ugly from the inside. It was disheartening to get such unwanted attention.

‘That made me feel abnormal and unaccepted.’

Psoriasis impacted Shrestha’s confidence and mental health greatly. She realised strangers perceived the condition to be contagious and would actively avoid her.

‘I have always expected to become successful and build a reputation for myself,’ she added.

‘[But] I have left my job and now I feel scared to get back to it, as it might bring back another painful flareup.’

Despite everything, Shrestha has finally accepted her skin and started to show her patches during her second year at college. Then she began to openly speak about her condition on social media.

Now, she proudly shows off her skin to her Instagram followers, offering self love, empowerment, and advice.

‘Even though psoriasis is a common disease, it can get lonely for the patient,’ she said.

‘We feel like we are not understood by people around us because they cannot resonate with what we go through.

‘I started to build an online community for psoriasis warriors. In the future, I want to help this community by providing them with expert advice on alternative medicine and how they can start their natural healing journey.’

To help manage her psoriasis, Shrestha practices a healthy diet, uses meditation to manage stress and anxiety and takes cold showers.

Her followers have been quick to comment by praising her for her bravery.

One woman wrote: ‘This was so brave of you to post, and very relatable. Thank you for the inspiration you give me to be more confident at dealing with my own psoriasis stresses.’

While another added: ‘Thank you for sharing, your strength is very inspiring. As a fellow psoriasis warrior who is facing career struggles as well. Take care. Keep on slaying.’

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