Nelson suffered from chronic itchy skin andfatigue, and no one could figure out why.
Eventually, she was diagnosed with eczema, psoriasis, and psoriatic arthritis. Since then, Nelson has suffered much of her life in silence until recently.
So far, her powerful truth has resonated with thousandsall over the world.
Keep scrolling to learn how Nelson plans to continue fostering a safe community, encouraging honest conversations about what beingbeautiful really means. Then, watch the video for even more about this serious condition.
Ciena Nelson is an actress who lived most of her life struggling in silence.
Starting at 5years old, she struggled with chronically itchy skin, sufferedconstant fatigue, and doctors just could not seem to figure out why.
Nelson told LittleThings: “When I was initially diagnosed, I was about 5years old. I remember the process was long and arduous because none of the doctors that I went to knew what was wrong with me.
“They thought I had eczema or some type of fungus.I also had psoriasis on my nails at that point, which I don’t anymore.
“I felt like a lab rat becauseI tried somany different steroids, creams, medications, etc. before I was referred to someone who knew what I had.
“They told me I had eczema, psoriasis, and psoriatic arthritis.”
From that moment on, Nelson’s life became a constant struggle against her autoimmune disease.
She told LittleThings: “My daily struggle with psoriasis is chronic fatigue, chronic itch (which most often feels like drinking or biting than an itch).
“I cannot sleep many nights, which adds to my fatigue level and stress level, which makes me breakout worse.
“Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease, where your body overproduces skin cells, and thenfights itself to overcorrect forthat process.
“Autoimmune diseases are vicious cycles that feed into themselves. This also is a struggle on a daily basis trying to be an actress where image is such a huge factor.”
She continued, explaining that, “There are days when I look at myself in the mirror and recognize my skin as ‘ugly’ and ‘gross.’”
She struggles with fearing that “people think I’m flaky (no pun intended) because I don’t want to go out last-minute depending on how I’m feeling.
“They don’t understand that I have to judge it day by day, and that they may not always SEE my disease but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.
“This is a struggle with employment and calling out of work as well… the list goes on!”
Recently, Nelson decided to shatter her silence, and opened up on social media about her psoriasis.
She posted a striking photo on Instagram, making use of the apps filters to juxtapose how people see her on the surface, verus the deep discomfort she feels on a daily basis.
Nelson told LittleThings, “Thefeeling of being alone in my struggle made me post what I did.
“Instagram and social media pagesare facades, but many people, young people especially, aren’t aware of all of the editing (both physically in person and in post)that goes on.
“This is misleading and harmful.”
She continued, explaining that: “I post in the hopesthat even one person feels less alone intheir struggle with this or their autoimmune disease.
“It’s hard to feel like a part of a community of people who can offer supportwith a similar struggle when your disease is swept under the rug or hidden from the media because it doesn’t fall under the normal beauty standards of what can be seen by the general publicor because it’staboo to talk about.”
Of psoriasis’stabooed status, Nelson said: “It makes you feel alone. I’m looking to let people know they’re not alone and also to say something about what ‘should be’ posted on Instagram.
“In a sea of ‘models’ who in reality use apps like FaceTune to edit their images anyways, I want to be open and honest about what I look like when I have a flare-up.”
Nelson’s posting has since been met with a gigantic outpouring of love, support, and praise worldwide.
Thousands of folks have liked, shared, commented, and messaged Nelson, thanking her for her bravery.
She told LittleThings, “Just today, I got a message from a person stating that they’d almost given up on life and can’t stop crying but that they’ll keep fighting and they thanked me for sharing.”
Through teary eyes, Nelson reacted to her outpouring of love and praise.
Shethankedhersupporters in an Instagram video, saying, “I just wanted to make a video to say thank you, because every single one of you has made me feel less alone in my struggle, as much as you’ve let me know my posts have done for you.”
In the short time since opening up about her painful psoriasis, Nelson has already learned so much.
She told LittleThings: “In life, no matter your hurdles, no matter what you have to deal with, it matters what kind of community you belong to and what support you get from them.
“It’s not OKthat we have to suffer in silence.
“We should be open and honest about how imperfect our skin is as a culture.”
She hopes her journey helps other younger girls learn the truth behind the “perfect” make-up looks on FaceTuned Instagrams.
Of living with psoriasis for so long, Nelson shared: “Avery valuable lesson I’ve learned from having psoriasis is that some things in life are beyond your control.
“You have to do the best with what’s been handed to you and that there’s always a little fight left, even when you think you’ve completely exhausted what’s in you.
“Having an autoimmune disorder takes patience and determination. It takes courage and willpower to not give up on yourself when it seems like everything around you is an undeservedstruggle because your body happens to attack itself for seemingly no reason.
“Every day you see people with clear skin and energy and you think it’s a simple thing to desire, and that makes it hard to know that something that simple is so far from your reach.”
She continued, sharing: “I want people to know that we’re not to be cast aside because of how we look.
“We struggle deeply, and often times silently, with heavy physical and emotional burdens, andwe also have dreams of being actors, or models, or doctors, or chefs. Our skill and effort to do these things wellshould not be judged based on our appearance.”
After years of suffering alone, Ciena Nelson took a leap of faith andshared her scary truth with the world. And much to her surprise? A beautiful, supportive community caught her, their praiseempowering her to continue shattering the silence.
What do you think of Nelson’s story? Do you or a loved one live with psoriasis? Tell us about your journey in the comments.
Watch the video below to see even more about this serious condition, and