• Melissa Kartini

Rocyie, the Psoriasis Fighter Who Made Waves on Social Media

Photograph by tiffleeje

It's not easy to deal with a skin disease of any kind, and it's especially not easy when you live in an Asian country like Malaysia. After making the bold move of opening up about her condition on Instagram, Rocyie Wong has made waves on social media, attracting thousands of users to follow her account.

Most notably, she has served as a source of inspiration to not just fellow fighters out there, but to those suffering other types of skin conditions as well. To love and embrace oneself wholly is a message she champions.

And in hopes of aiding those who are in the same predicament, Rocyie started it all when she kickstarted a personal project called "Naked".

Psoriasis, she explained in a post for "Naked", is a chronic skin condition that speeds up the life cycle of skin cells, causing them to build up on the surface of the skin. This causes an excess of skin to form as scaly, red patches, and these can be itchy and painful. At times, bleeding may occur. In more serious cases, psoriasis fighters may end up physically impaired, and some may even have to be hospitalised because of it.

Psoriasis is a common skin condition, but as expected, it is not one that has much prominence here. We were lucky enough to get an interview with the lass herself, and here's to hoping her message reaches more unseen fighters of this disease!

Here's a deeper look into her story:

Hi, Rocyie! Tell us a bit more about yourself.

HELLO! Yeah I’m rather loud, that’s the first thing you should know about me haha. My name is Rocyie (yes that’s my real name), currently 25 years old and I am a proud psoriasis fighter.

You gained a lot of attention online when you started your project “Naked”. What made you start it?

I got tired of hiding and pretending to be someone else in other people’s presence. I wanted to free myself from my own cage. I also wanted to show people how beautiful and empowering it is to share their vulnerability.

What was your reaction when you were told that you have psoriasis? What was it that made you realise that you have it?

  • I thought it was just a type of skin allergy and that it would go away after taking medication. I did not expect it to be so stubborn and stay for 11 years.

  • Well, I was scratching my scalp day and night and I would wake up with my fingernails filled with blood every day. I think that wasn’t very normal, was it? Lol.

Photograph by tiffleeje

How has psoriasis affected your life? Be it physically, socially, emotionally, etc?

  • Physically, well, sometimes it really hurts and it burns. There was once I couldn’t even move properly because the lesions were so thick and inflamed. Also I would cover up my skin with long sleeve shirts and long pants, and I had to cut my hair short when I was younger cause it was on my scalp.

  • Socially, I did not let psoriasis stop me from going out and meeting new people. I used to be very ashamed of it; I took a long time to really accept this part of myself. But now I am completely okay with talking about it.

  • It was very hard dealing with the emotional aspect. I had to face lots of moments where I just broke down and cried my eyes out. There were also moments where I was in so much pain physically and emotionally but I had nowhere to seek comfort. And during those times, the only one I had was myself.

Has there ever been a point in your life when you just felt like giving up?

Of course, plenty of times. I would just cry myself to sleep and wished that the next day would bring a new start and new hope. But I always told myself to always focus on the light at the end of the tunnel, and to always believe in faith no matter how tough it is.

Is there anything that having psoriasis has taught you?

Always remain calm during chaos. Trust that everything is a process, stay focused on what should be done, learn from your mistakes, be patient and the better days will come.

What did others close to you do for you that made a difference?

They are the ones who gave me the extra push when I needed it. They are the reason why I have not given up till this day.

Do you have anymore projects for us to look forward to?

I created Safe Space as a cozy and intimate setting for people with similar struggles to come together to share and connect. The first Safe Space happened on 24th June 2018 and it went so well. I am planning on the second one in August, but I will switch it up a little.

Photograph by tiffleeje

Check out Rocyie on Instagram

Special thanks to Rocyie for giving us her time. Thank you, and we wish you all the best!

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