‘NYE kiss that took over my life’
When a kiss with someone suffering from tonsillitis triggered an incurable skin condition, UK artist Aimee Godden turned to social media for support.
Here, Aimee, 34, reveals in her own words how Instagram helped her embrace her skin.
"I first developed mild psoriasis at the age of 14. It was a few patches which I easily hid under clothes.
"I didn't worry much about it until 2018 when I had a severe outbreak.
"Incredibly, it was triggered by a New Year's Eve kiss with someone who, unknown to me, had tonsillitis.
"I caught the virus but also developed patches of dry skin on my forehead, cheeks and chest. Soon, the patches were the size of 2p pieces and all over my arms, thighs, and my back."
"A doctor diagnosed me with guttate psoriasis and said the tonsillitis had triggered it.
"I was devastated to be told there was no cure and terrified I would look like this for ever. My face was completely different to the one I'd known my whole life.
"I moved back in with my mum and didn't want to go out, see friends or look in the mirror.
"I couldn't face telling friends and family so I decided to explain to them on Instagram. Somehow the post got shared, and the reaction from strangers was incredible.
"In public, people have pointed at my face and said 'urgh' but online I've had such a positive response.
"People with psoriasis say I've given them confidence, but I say the same thing back to them. It's a positive cycle, and we help each other.
"You expect acceptance and support from friends and family. And when it comes from strangers, it feels so genuine."
'PSORIASIS MADE MY HAIR FALL OUT'
"Psoriasis can take over your life. It's uncomfortable, itchy and it burns.
"Clothes cause friction and at times I can't even wear a bra. Make-up can also aggravate the skin.
"Psoriasis on my scalp made my hair fall out, so sometimes I wear wigs. I've even had toenails removed. Creams soothe it, and light therapy helped.
"Sunshine, a healthy diet and avoiding alcohol all help me manage it. But it can turn severe at any time.
"My first night out after the major outbreak in June 2018 was intimidating.
I noticed some blokes looking over and laughing.
"When one of them asked to buy me a drink I was shocked, and asked him if he could see my skin.
"He said yes, and that I was beautiful. We've been together ever since and we're expecting our baby in October.
I'd worried psoriasis would stop me finding love. But I feel so much love in my life now."
This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission
Originally published as 'NYE kiss that took over my life'