Millions of people suffer from psoriasis, an autoimmune disease that causes painful patches of red or scaly skin called plaques to appear on the body. Flares can happen at any time, and they aren’t limited to spots that are easy to cover. Nor are they treatable with creams or antibiotics like other skin conditions such as eczema. Psoriasis isn’t some simple rash—“It’s a lifetime of struggle.”
Those are the words of Jassem “Jas”Ahmed, a 29-year-old from London whose approach to that struggle is truly inspirational. Jass’ initial experience with psoriasis is a prime example of just how physically and emotionally debilitating the disease can be. He was diagnosed at 19 and soon found himself with nearly 90 percent of his body covered, and confined to his bed for nine months.
Jass was able to return to his active life, but the flares always returned. Then they’d get better, and then they’d come back, and the cycle would repeat. It still does.
But Jass wouldn’t be defeated. After much trial and error and consultation with his doctors, Jass eventually found a course of treatment that suits him and his lifestyle. He also found a creative outlet to vent his anxieties: a vlog and YouTube channel where he chronicles every step of his journey. Jass doesn’t sugar-coat anything—his good days are right there next to his worse flare-ups, in all their high-definition detail. It wasn’t long after posting his first video that Jass found himself with subscribers following along, asking for advice, or sending messages of thanks. Psoriasis so often carries embarrassment and shame; Jass shows people suffering from it that they aren’t alone. An accidental influencer perhaps, but as authentic as they come.
“Wear it on your sleeve. Be proud of it,” he says. “I have psoriasis, it doesn’t define me. It’s a condition, it’s not who I am.”
Check out the video above to learn more about living with psoriasis and how to retake control when life tries to push you off course.
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