Welcome to my JustGiving page and thank you very much for taking the time to read my story.
My name is Melissa Beattie and I am currently 24 years old. I have personally struggled physically and mentally from psoriasis since I was 14.
Psoriasis is a common skin condition that is thought to affect 2-3% of the population of the United Kingdom and Ireland. Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that speeds up the reproduction of skin cells, cells that would normally take 21-28 days to reproduce are replaced in just a couple of days. This results in an accumulation of skin cells on the surface of the skin.
It is thought that this condition stems from the immune system, when certain immune cells (T cells) are triggered and become overactive. These cells act as if they were fighting an infection or healing a wound, which leads to the rapid growth of skin cells and plaques to form.
Psoriasis can start at any point in someone's life and although it is a long-term condition it can vary in severity and occurrence - meaning breakouts may appear on and off throughout someone's life.
I first experienced Psoriasis when I was 14, after a bad case of glandular
fever. Being a 14 year old girl can be a challenging time on its own, but being covered head to toe in itchy, inflamed and painful plaques had a huge effect on me emotionally and mentally. What scared me the most was the lack of knowledge and understanding of the condition and how to beat it.
Fast forward 10 years, there is an advancement in research and understanding of psoriasis as a condition, how to treat it, and how to
live with it, but there is still a long way to go before a cure is found. I still have breakouts off and on; sometimes just spotting on my arms and legs, sometimes my whole body and face can be engulfed in dry patches. I can go years without a breakout, it comes and goes quite suddenly, sometimes mild while other times severe. At my worst, I would wake up with bloody sheets from scratching in my sleep, leaving the wounds open to infection, it would be so painful that I couldn't focus on anything. My social, professional and family life would all suffer, which left me feeling distressed and emotionally drained. However, others suffer considerably worse than I do, with some people being hospitalized due to infection, while others suffer from devastating suicidal thoughts and actions - this is utterly heart breaking.
Therefore, psoriasis is not only a painful and debilitating condition, but with it being so visible it can have a massive impact on your mental health. The Psoriasis Association found that a huge 94% of those affected also suffer with depression, anxiety and low self-esteem. I was shocked by these figures and felt moved to campaign to boost public understanding, awareness and acceptance. I completely empathize with everyone who struggles with psoriasis daily, as it can become difficult to stay positive when you know you will have this condition forever. My main aim is to help people to always feel comfortable in their own skin. Nobody should feel like psoriasis defines them, as the most important form of beauty is from within.
As a result I have signed up to run the Edinburgh 10K on the 25th May to help The Psoriasis Association continue their amazing work into collecting research for treatments and a cure, as well as supporting those affected. Any donations however big or small will be greatly appreciated. All funds raised will go directly to The Psoriasis Association – with your help, one day we will hopefully be able to eliminate this condition forever.
With endless amounts of love,