It’s Not The End Of The World, Even Though It Seems Like It
I’m a 25 year-old girl who has been battling eczema since I was three years old. I was itchy everywhere, and my skin was horrible to look at. I would cry everytime I came out of the shower because the water and soothing ointments would burn wherever there was an open wound, which was pretty much everywhere. I’ve been lucky to have had a few years of breaks, but it comes back every now and then to plague me.
Recently last year, I developed psoriasis, which after much research, I learnt is a chronic auto immune disorder. Which is the same as saying I’m stuck with an even worse skin condition, forever! It’s not a completely hopeless situation though; apparently if I learn to control it, I can avoid flare ups and the ugly scaly skin that comes with it.
Now that I’m older and sometimes it’s really bad, I wonder how other people deal with this disease. Surprisingly, I haven’t been able to find too many personal stories outside of forums. The statistics say that I’m definitely not alone and that lots of people have been battling eczema for 50 plus years – props to you! I often wonder if anyone has recovered miraculously with remission, without the use of drugs or crazy I’m-never-eating-[insert food type here]-again diets. I wonder if anyone has ever developed depression, or become a house-bound recluse because of the ugly patches on their skin. I wonder if anyone has ever committed suicide because they couldn’t deal with having this skin condition. I should insert a disclaimer now: I’m not depressed nor suicide, but I recognise that having eczema could probably do that to someone. It’s an awful condition, but I suppose it could be worse, like having chronic acne all over my face (which happened for about six months last year and oh my God, I really wanted to just die), or having terminal cancer, or even gout. It’s not fair to say that my disease is better than anyone elses, but in dire times, the thought is slightly comforting.
Having spent thousands of dollars and years of treatment, research and just plain old suffering, I want to get better. I want to be able to wear sleeveless and strapless tops in the summer, and I want to be able to go on dates with boys without having them stare at my arms in disgust (that hasn’t actually happened because I refuse to go out with my arms uncovered, but it could very well happen). I want to get my body into great, healthy shape so there’s a small chance I won’t pass this onto my kids (that’s a Chinese medicinal theory).
So in my 25th year, I want to try. Not just take medication and then go about hoping it doesn’t come back. I really want to work hard and try to get better, to get rid of this current flare up and try to control and prevent future flare ups. And I want this to be a success story. I haven’t found many personal stories that talk about dealing with an eczema-led life, and I hope to document mine, for a little while, to remind myself that even though I’m itchy with a few, occasional ugly patches, I can still lead a fantabulous life!