‘Overcoming Psoriasis Australia’ is a Facebook group created to support Australians suffering with or affected by psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. We chatted to Joleen Obie Triall about her experiences managing the group, the reasons people join, what gets posted, how she manages the content and much more!
- What is ‘Overcoming Psoriasis Australia’?
It is a private Facebook group, which means whatever you post is for members of the group only. We are affiliated with our mother group ‘Overcoming Psoriasis’, which is run by my friend Todd Bello - also a sufferer of psoriasis. Todd has almost every type of psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, and has spent a lot of time with doctors – as have I. Our mother group has over 20,000 members, and we’ve just hit 1,000 members. It’s 1000 real people – everyone’s a sufferer.
- Who would you recommend join the group? Is it just for people with psoriasis or is it open to other people (wives, relatives, friends)?
Yeah absolutely- sufferers, relatives and friends are welcome. It doesn’t discriminate – even newborns, young children, adolescents get psoriasis, so we welcome their parents to be part of the group. This means we can help give them direction and some comfort as well- because parents suffer for their children just as much.
- What are the reasons people join the group?
People come looking for a cure. Unfortunately, there is no cure, but I guess it’s about imparting knowledge and talking to people about what they’ve been through. Knowledge is wealth.
Some people are also often looking for sympathy or some direction… where to go to next. We have some people outside of Australia in our group who don’t have access to our health system or even doctors and just join looking for answers.
- What sort of content do you or others post in the group?
After what I’ve been through, I feel my role is to help eliminate the stress and let other sufferers know that they’re not alone. We’re all suffering, and we’ll get through it. There is a lot of natural treatment available and there’s Biologics at the end of it. We just explain to them what the dermatologists and doctors don’t explain to them about ‘step therapy’.
Members also support each other. For new members it is good to be able to reach out to the older members just to find something that might work… you never know. We have conversations and we all bring different knowledge and experiences about the disease and different ways of treating it. It’s really nice to get things off your chest, I guess it’s like therapy. Just saying it out loud is good, so you can get on with your day.
- How long have you been managing the group? What do you like about it?
I’ve been doing it for about 3 years and now I feel I’m able to sit back a little bit and let the group help each other. I like to post positive affirmations every day because I guess the thing about psoriasis is that stress is a major contributor. I’m just trying to help eliminate a little bit of that stress.
- Do you have any stories about how the group has helped people?
I guess people don’t really get back to me when they’ve been helped! But they get on with their lives and I guess that’s the most beautiful thing.
I do have people write to me that are so distressed that it’s just about speaking to them. We have also helped give people ammunition to got to the doctors, the dermatologist, the rheumatologist with knowledge about the different drugs that they’re being offered. We are giving them some fight, some fire!
- Have you had any problems with trolls, posting inappropriate or offensive content on the group? If so, how do you manage this?
If anybody tries to scam or sell products without our approval they are removed. We spend a lot of our time monitoring who is in our group so it can be a safe place.
People in MLMs and pyramid sales are my biggest frustration because they are trying to sell a product to people who are in pain. I understand there are mums that want to make money so they can be at home with their babies, but we’re not the place for them. There are also a lot of people from overseas who try to sell ‘witchdoctor’ medicinal products. A lot of my time is spent blocking these people… there might be something to it, but I certainly don’t want my people sending money overseas.
- What is the most important thing people with psoriasis should know?
There is an answer, but there isn’t a cure. You can get help and you will be okay. We are all in it together and we are okay. You need to be consistent with whatever you’re doing to treat it, because it takes time.
It is really important to reach out and politicise what you’re going through but try not to stress about it- which is really hard to do. Find a place that makes you feel at peace… go to the beach where there are not many people, to eliminate that ‘fear-based’ thinking. All I wish that people don’t go through the stress that I went through, because the stress just kicked mine into a chronic disease. We’ve just got to stop the stress before it gets out of hand, which is hard.
- How can I join the group?
Go to Facebook and look up ‘Overcoming Psoriasis Australia’ and click ‘join’. I always check people’s profiles, so sometimes if they are set super private and I can’t see anything about them I’m wary, but otherwise it’s really, really simple.
To celebrate ‘Overcoming Psoriasis Australia’ hitting 1000 members, Joleen is giving away six bottles of Abundant Element – Skin (1L). Join the group and share in the comments of the Facebook post about this blog who your biggest skin support network is and you can win a bottle!
Terms and Conditions:
1. The winners will be advised on the 1 February 2021 via email.
2. Contest ends at 12 pm (midnight) on 29 January 2021 (AEST).
3. This competition is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. Entrants understand that they are providing their information to Overcoming Psoriasis Australia and not to Facebook.
4. Winners must be 18 to be eligible to receive the prize. Prize will be sent to parent or guardian for winners under 18.