October 16, 2019
You may or may not know, but I’ve been suffering from eczema/psoriasis for the past couple of years. My skin has always been my biggest insecurity. Once when the acne began to clear up, and I could go outside makeup-free, my skin decided to start a new skin condition. It started near my eyes, behind my ears, around my neck, and then it began traveling… traveling to my elbows, then sides of my hips, my calves, and my back.
It wasn’t a big deal. At first. It was simply a minor cosmetic nuisance; yes that dry patch of skin near my eyes was not ideal. Then it became a monster. There was burning, uncontrollable itching, itching that felt like hell had conquered my skin and I scratched my long manicured nails so hard on my skin that my skin would bleed and scab. This happened during work, during meetings, when I was fidgeting, while driving, while sleeping, while eating, while sitting on the toilet, while holding a plank in barre class. There was no situation where the fire burning sensation escaped. Pretty soon I found skin flakes everywhere-on my bed, in the insides of my sweatshirts and jackets, on dining table chairs, in the armrests of guests' homes, inside my backpack, on bathroom counters. I was constantly vacuuming skin flakes off the floor.
What was this? This terrible, painful, all-consuming skin disease was a combination of eczema and psoriasis. They are different, but so similar, and I had both.
As you can tell, I literally tried everything for my psoriasis. What I learned is that most of the products out there moisturized the skin, but didn't reduce the itchiness.
And the memories of how hard I had to try to get rid of something, only to make whatever I was doing “worse” brought back memories of pain that I wished to erase.
Ezcema is so similar but yet different from acne. It was similar in that it’s a skin condition that is so visible to the outside world. It was different in that I could cover it up with long sleeves and long pants-even if it was 95 degrees outside. It was similar in that everything I did to control it seemed to make it worse, and the more I stressed about it, the more it flared up. It was different in that it was incredibly painful-where I would be brought to tears by scratching so hard in the middle of the night.
With Eczema, there is no cure (while acne has the cure of Accutane). I know it’s an autoimmune disease, I know it’s my immune system overreacting and attacking my skin. I even researched as to if I could die from itching myself to death and creating all these open wounds in my skin-although unlikely, there is a risk of catching infections, such as HIV through open wounds.
I have my eczema under control, although it’s not perfect and it’s still there and it still itches a few times a day (versus every 5 minutes).
My purpose in telling my story is that when I thought one skin condition ended, and life resumed as normal, another skin condition began crawling inconspicuously after. I have learned not to let how my skin, or any external appearance, or anything from the external world affect the way I feel about myself. My skin doesn't affect who I am, it's only ME who gives it permission to let it affect and control my confidence. From this experience, I've learned, no matter what happens to my skin, acne, scars, psoriasis, wrinkles, age spots, etc. I will always love myself and learn to embrace whatever my body is going through.
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