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New Job, Same Psoriasis

For one of our writers, the transition from full-time work to freelance writing turned out to be an eye-opening and gratifying one. Read more about her journey: 

Brittany, a born-and-raised New Yorker, was diagnosed with psoriasis just a few years ago. Upon her diagnosis, she jumped right into psoriasis advocacy work and started her own blog, committing herself to help others living with psoriasis.

Not long ago, I landed a “great” job for a start-up company. The job asked for long and grueling hours, but I liked the challenge and dove into the work. After a few months of this high stress work, my skin started doing strange things. The appearance of my not-yet-diagnosed psoriasis began slowly, creeping up on me like a bad rash or allergic reaction. Before I knew it, this “rash” was consuming nearly 90% of my body. I decided to see a doctor, assuming that some cream and a little care would do the trick.

The diagnosis

Twelve jars of failed skin creams and several doctor appointments later, I was diagnosed with a skin disease I had never heard about before: psoriasis. Frustrated and upset, I was forced to re-evaluate my life to figure out why this was happening to me. I immediately turned to my job. I knew I wasn’t happy there. The hours were endless, the workload seemed insurmountable and the atmosphere was unpleasant. I did my best to push through work, ignoring the obvious red flags my body was trying to tell me.  

From bad to worse

The few spotty areas on my body had turned into obvious red, flaky patches. Noticing what looked like raw lesions on my hands, arms and the back of my neck, my coworkers began asking what was going on. I didn’t really have an answer.

I could tell my colleagues were starting to avoid me, perhaps in fear that it was contagious. I then decided to have a conversation with my boss. His response will forever be etched into my memory: “You must just be a bad person and your skin is a reflection of that.” I laughed at how rude and ridiculous that statement was. Who would say such a thing?! I gave my notice by the end of that conversation.

Down and out 

Being unemployed for the first time in years was petrifying. Adding my newly spotted, flaky skin to the mix made the prospect of finding a new occupation seem hopeless. Who was going to hire me when I looked like this? How would I explain my obvious skin condition in job interviews? What would I wear to a job interview? I wallowed in my own self-doubt and pity for a while, but my desire to do something out in the world was stronger than my desire to curl up into a red, flaky ball and disappear. 

A look for a brighter future

After some soul searching, I was on the hunt for work again…but I was different now. Sure, I looked different, but I felt different too. I felt like there was an internal battle inside me, and because it was psoriasis, everyone saw that battle firsthand. Regardless of this, I persevered. I turned psoriasis into something I could build strength on. I started writing about my experience, and quickly fell in love with it. I soon found a few jobs as a freelance writer and it was amazing. Working remotely at times allowed me not only the freedom to work from various locations, but also provided a more forgiving work schedule, thus giving me a chance to focus on taking care of my psoriasis. My skin and body thanked me. 

Moving onward and upward

This entire experience – from a new job to my new outlook – reminded me how important it is to speak up. I realize that it seems like a simple notion, but it’s instrumental if you are living with psoriasis. Speak up and tell your doctor exactly how you feel. I tried to fight it for too long and thought I didn’t need help, and that I would just power through it. In reality, I should have been leaning on my doctor for the help I needed in finding the best solution for my skin condition.

It’s never too late to ask for help. I’m a perfect example of that. You just have to stick with it. Keep asking, keep researching and keep moving forward. Psoriasis can often feel like a job in of itself, so take the time you need to do a job well done and seize the day.

If you are ready to take the first step in the right direction, take a look at our Ask Your Derm page. 

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