A Tayside woman has told how she felt “like a leper” as her family struggled to cope with her skin condition.
Linda Dyke, who lives in Letham, Perth, said she was at times suicidal because of psoriasis.
The mum-of-one had to face many distressing episodes in her life as a result of the condition and tried to take her own life.
Linda, who lives with her husband John and their 13-year-old daughter, was diagnosed with plaque psoriasis at the age of five.
She has spent most of her life dealing with the physical, social and emotional aspects of her condition, including being brought up in care because her family struggled to cope with her condition.
She said: “I remember being treated and feeling like a leper as there was very little, if any, understanding about psoriasis at that time.
“People and the children around me just didn’t realise that psoriasis is not contagious. I was taken into care when I was five.
“It was like I had brought shame on the family.”
Linda was taken out of care when she was 13 by her grandmother but has no contact with her family now.
She trained to be a chef but employers were often reluctant to let her near food due to how visible her condition was. As a result, she decided to focus on looking after her daughter and still enjoys cooking at home.
Even now, she still finds it difficult to go out without John, and has had counselling.
She added: “It’s difficult to put into words how much psoriasis has affected me. It’s as if my skin condition has impacted every single part of my life. I’ve found it hard to make friends and don’t really socialise.
“My confidence has been shattered. Living so long with psoriasis and having to encounter so much negativity and stigma, it will take a while for me to rebuild my self-esteem.”
In the past eight months, Linda has been taking a new drug via injections, which is the first combination of treatment that has worked for her.
“It took me to be suicidal until I found treatment that works,” she said.
“If anyone is having problems with their skin, I’d advise them to speak to someone professionally – don’t suffer.
“If you have any problems with your skin, seek advice from your GP.”