Frederic Cirou—PhotoAlto/Getty Images
May 26, 2016 12:06 PM EDT

A young woman is taking to Instagram to open up about what it’s like to live with an auto-immune disorder like psoriasis: Ciena Rae Nelson showed a photo of herself in cover-up and a second photo with the saturation shifted so viewers could see her skin underneath the makeup: “Not everything is as bad as it looks, and sometimes things are actually much worse,” she wrote in the post.

Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that leads to “raised, red, scaly patches to appear on the skin,” according to the National Psoriasis Foundation, which is dedicated to finding a cure for psoriasis.

Nelson told HelloGiggles that she wanted to offer support to other people struggling with the condition. “It’s hard to feel like a part of a community who can offer support […] when your disease is swept under the rug or hidden from the media,” she said.

She added that awareness is so important when it comes to an “invisible illness” like psoriasis: “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.”

See her full post below.

 

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