There are many different definitions of what peer support is. So, for the purpose of this blog, its someone who has lived experience of the same condition. And they are willing to use that experience to help others. When I first got diagnosed with hidradenitis suppurativa, peer support was critical. I was in a bit of shock really.
Help and Hidradenitis Suppurativa Peer Support
Firstly, because someone had finally put a name to suffering. But also that now I had a diagnosis I thought that maybe I would be able to access good treatment. Then you read that there’s no cure. And you still feel embarrassed and ashamed of the state of your skin in certain parts of your body.
Then through all this confusion you realise that there are groups and pages and websites with loads of information. Suddenly you feel a bit of hope. Then you make connections with other people who have this condition. – Other people who are walking the same path as you and suddenly you’re not so alone.
There have been times when my condition has flared up, and been so painful, but it’s the middle of the night. What can i do? I can access peer support. On the web I can read blogs such as this, I can connect with others who have gone through the pains that I have and can offer solutions that I might try. From different dressing, lotions and potions to addressing low mood, anxiety and frustration, peer support can help with it all.
Peer support has given me hope, knowledge and courage. It has turned dark days into hopeful nights. Without it, having Hidradenitis Suppurativa would definitely be a lot worse.
So, if you’re struggling alone with this condition, reach out, seek contacts, news, research, blogs and more. Try people’s suggestions out and find things that help you. Peer support is as old as time, but for those of us with conditions that are little heard of, its an essential part of living with HS.
You can also share your stories and provide peer support . Sharing your experience and understanding can be a huge help to others in the same situation.
About The Author
Clare Knighton is a Peer support worker from Worcester, England. Clare lives with HS and has done so for the past ten years. She is passionate about helping others to talk more openly about the condition and about improving our mental wellbeing.