When and how were you first diagnosed with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis?
I was first diagnosed with psoriasis at the age of 10, and then psoriatic arthritis at the age of 19.
What sort of treatments have you tried, and what’s been the most helpful?
I have tried everything! I have found that doing a more holistic approach to things is what has worked best for me. This doesn’t mean that I am an “all natural” person—I take medication and I need to. However, I don’t believe in going totally natural or completely medicinal. I find that looking at treatment as a full-body experience has been the most healing for me.
How did your experience with these conditions inspire you to become a self-love guru and chronic illness advocate?
I could share so many reasons why I decided to take all of my life lessons and use them to help others, but the truth is that it all started with realizing how much shame and harsh self-judgment I was carrying. It didn’t come from a perfect or pretty place, it came from my raw and honest truth and I knew that others were most likely struggling too, so I wanted to support them through that.
Who’s the most inspiring person you’ve met through the Chronicon community you’ve created?
There is no possible way I could ever pick one person! The ENTIRE community is filled with the most beautiful, brilliant, strong, and hilarious people I have ever met. They are all heart and it’s palpable. I am so proud of the community of folks we have.
In what ways can chronic illness make you the best version of yourself, and how did believing that help you deal with it?
I don’t believe in jumping to the silver lining with things like this, because it’s super important to acknowledge how challenging things can be so that we can actually move through them in an honest way. However, I know that having multiple chronic illnesses for most of my life has made me an incredibly empathetic person who has a tremendous amount of emotional capacity because of everything I have been through. It makes me a better friend, partner, and even business woman, because I think of the whole picture when it comes to each situation I am in.
How is healing from chronic illness not just a physical process, but a holistic one?
I believe that real healing is when your mind, body, spirit, are all in alignment. This often only happens when we are able to go to certain places emotionally, as well as physically. The other thing to note is that healing doesn’t always have to mean that all of your symptoms are gone although I know that might be hard for some people to grasp. For me it has been more about stability and self-acceptance than forcing a fix.
What’s the craziest personal medical horror story you can share with us?
I think the ups and downs of living with a chronic illness create mini horror stories constantly. Whether I am struggling to get a necessary medication, or being gaslighted by a doctor, or it’s taking months for me to get a diagnosis for something that I am having a lot of symptoms for, it’s all pretty intense!
How will access to Sollis help support your journey managing chronic illness?
Chronic illness can be a long and lonely road, so having an on-call resource makes a profound difference. It’s a gift to able to focus on your health rather than worrying about scheduling appointments, researching what to do, and where to go.
What do you think are the biggest misconceptions about psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, and is there anything you wish you could make people understand about chronic illness in general?
I think the biggest thing people really don’t get with these conditions, is that they cause a lot of comorbidities that might not be invisible to others but are very real to the patient. Some examples of this are anxiety, depression, and extreme fatigue. If you see someone itching their skin it tends to be easier to believe that they are uncomfortable, but what happens when you can’t see the emotional toll their condition is having on them? That becomes more complicated and I wish more people understood this aspect of things.
You’ve talked a little about how the phrase “happiness is a choice” can be a double-edged sword. What do you mean by that?
The phrase “happiness is a choice” can be a double-edged sword because it puts the full responsibility of happiness on the individual without acknowledging any of the challenges and struggles that they might be going through. It also can be very isolating to hear that when you don’t come from a particular place of privilege. Fundamentally happiness might be a choice but the statement doesn’t take into account all the nuances people are dealing with, including mental health challenges.
Any good words to live by?
Something I try to live by is knowing that I really have no idea what other people are going through, just like so many don’t know the truth about what I am facing every day. With this in mind I try my best to give people the benefit of the doubt even in the smallest instances. I find that I allow more love in my life as a result and I feel better overall.