The physical pains of eczema can be exhausting on us both physically and mentally. When my eczema is flared, dry, flaky, weepy and bright red, not only am I physically sore but I’m emotionally hurting too.
After a few days of a flare-up I find myself in this little hole I’ve created for myself where the sunlight hardly penetrates and I can’t see a way out. It’s just me and my eczema (and my creams!). In the past I have sat in my little hole for days. Hardly seeing anyone or making social contact, hardly spending any time out of the house or even my room really. I guess it’s my ‘safe zone‘. I always think that if I hide away and don’t go out I will feel better. But I don’t.
When my eczema is bad, I become a recluse. I don’t want the world to see my eczema so I hide away instead. But what I’ve realised is that being a recluse, hiding myself away like I do doesn’t help me, it just makes me feel more alone if anything. Makes me realise how little the people in my life really understand me and my world. Makes me think of all of the downsides to my problems . So why do I do it? Why do I keep all of this in and not just share it with the people around me? I can’t blame them for not understanding if I’ve never let them in when I’m at my lowest point, so why don’t I just let them see.
Well there’s the problem right there, letting them see. Letting them see my eczema, letting them see it in its fullness. Just thinking about it makes me cringe. Letting people see how scarred, rough and wrinkled parts of my skin are because of this. They don’t understand my urge to scratch let alone what it is doing to my body and to me mentally. The ”don’t scratch” lines get tedious and frustrating to hear when people don’t truly get it.Do they really think scratching is fun for me? For us? If it was as easy as no scratching, I’d be eczema free.
Another thing that stops me speaking up about it, is that honestly I find that most people choose to ignore it and this stops me speaking up about it even more. They see me standing in front of them with my face dry, red, cracked and weeping at its worst and yet they act like everything is fine. I guess I should be glad I don’t have to explain it to everyone, but sometimes I wonder where is the care? The concern? The empathy? They don’t wonder why I don’t want to go out, why I can’t drink, why I spend half the day in bed. Does noone care?
It’s frustrating for me to know that, behind closed doors, I’m dealing with all of this. The tears when I look in the mirror, the anger when I can’t wear what I want when I should be able to, the sadness when I look at other people’s skin and wonder ”why can’t that be me”. You understand me, but who else in my life truly does? I wake up and put a smile on my face (be that a real smile or pretend) when all I really want to do at times is curl up and cry because I’m just wishing that it will go away, that I can have my life back, a normal life. I want to worry about my career, my friends, my family, not my skin. Not something which others get to take for granted.
That’s the depressed me talking and it comes out when my eczema comes out or I just feel frustrated about having to deal with this. When I just can’t understand why I have this, what causes it and why it won’t just go away!
Right now, I’m going through a good patch with my eczema, but even then I still have the scars, the self consciousness and the fear that a flare up is just around the corner. And still I get THAT itch! I hope that the positive changes to my lifestyle will help to manage my eczema during the upcoming winter. I’m fearing a flare up as I get them worst in winter. No matter how good my skin is, I’m constantly dreading having to go through the flare up ordeal again. My skin is taking up so much of my time and that’s the worst part!
I try to live life well, live positively and appreciate that there is worse I could be dealing with. But it really is hard to think of others when you deal with it and it ruins your confidence so much. It really is mentally scarring. But its an issue I deal with mostly alone. Noone truly gets it! Its not something people are educated about and it makes this an emotional journey for each of us. We have each other, but I find that those closest to me don’t have a clue. My smiles fool them into believing I’m a strong person who doesn’t care what their skin is looking like. If only it was true.