Psoriasis: Julius Brink wants to give other affected people courage
An estimated 125 million people around the world share the suffering of beach volleyball player Julius Brink (35): The athlete who crowned his Olympic career in 2012 suffers from psoriasis, better known as psoriasis. As open as ever, the 35-year-old has now spoken about the serious chronic illness, because he wants to encourage other people affected.
Psoriasis since birth
Since his birth, Brink has "struggled with extremely dry skin," as he told in an interview with "Bild". It was particularly bad in puberty. Even then, he was active as a volleyball player, which brought "stolen glances" and unpleasant questions about his skin. That had "buried deep in my memory," said Brink. But what is psoriasis exactly?
So far no cure
Psoriasis is not contagious. However, the chronic skin disorder is painful for sufferers and, according to the World Health Organization, may have "a major negative impact on the quality of life of patients". "Disfigurement, activity restriction and pronounced loss of productivity" are mentioned as frequent side effects. There is no cure yet. Only the symptoms can be combated - through the use of creams or medications.
Brink's urgent appeal
A treatment that had its pitfalls for Julius Brink. Because the former top athlete had to fall back on cortisone-containing creams in strong episodes and those were then on the doping list, "he recalls. As a result, he needed "a permit from the National Anti-Doping Agency." Brink was lucky. His performance was not directly affected by the thrusts. "But I would lie if I say it did not affect me."
With such relapses he still feels "unwell" and "insecure". However, Brink does not want to be bothered by psoriasis, but by his "positive and open treatment of the disease" also encourages other affected people. Because "nothing at all" distinguishes it from other people. "It's probably about identifying with psoriasis and reconciling with it," says Brink. His appeal to other patients: "Dare, be brave!"
The Olympic champion of 2012 was even able to "get something positive" from his illness. She taught him to look after himself. "With stress, sleep, nutrition and UV light, so the stay outdoors, there are many areas that I can influence myself". For him, the most important insight is that "self-image is not the same as a foreign image". Julius Brink: "In the meantime, the disease can be controlled really well, it comes then hardly or no longer to symptoms."