Living with Eczema (and how not to let it ruin your self-esteem)
Posted on July 26, 2017
As I sit here writing this post, I am having a bad eczema day. My face is red and blotchy, the skin around my eyes and forehead is like the Sahara, and around my lips is stinging painfully. These same sensations carry on all the way down my body, all down my arms and my back, even my boobs are covered in eczema.
And. It. Fucking. Sucks.
It seems that no matter how much eczema cream I use, medicated or not, my skin is still itchy, dry, red and sore.
I’ve been living with this for most of my life and I still can’t control it! I’ve tried washing everyday, I’ve tried washing every few days, I’ve tried baths rather than showers, I’ve changed my diet countless times, I’ve meditated to bring down stress levels, I’ve tried every type of clothes detergent, shower gel, shampoo and sunblock under the sun, I’ve spent days outside letting fresh air cool my skin, and I’ve tried all the medications available in the UK for eczema. Nothing seems to work.
It is so insanely uncomfortable, and not just physically. It takes it’s toll mentally too.
Have you ever had a night where you just cannot get to sleep because of that one annoying noise that seems targeted at you? (Come on, we all have). Well, nearly every night I struggle getting to sleep because of the constant need to scratch or apply more moisturiser to sooth my skin. And we all know how insanely important sleep is!
Have you ever had a day where your make-up just will not sit right on your face? Well, with eczema, make-up hardly ever sits right because my skin is so insanely blotchy, it is impossible to create a smooth surface and no amount of ‘colour correction’ will fix the redness either. And on top of that, whenever I do wear make-up, my skin gets even more irritated and blotchy because of the chemicals in the make-up.
It’s a no-win situation.
I have found that my skin does get better when I eat healthily, exercise regularly, exfoliate regularly, and try to stay as stress free as possible (not easy when you have an anxiety disorder let me tell you!)
As a young adult, then, and having to go through most of my teenage years with blotchy, red and dry skin, how do I manage to keep a decent self-esteem level? Well, it hasn’t always been easy, that’s for sure. Teenage years, as I’m sure most people will agree, are fucking rough. There is such an insane focus on looks (I’m giving you the evil eye, media) that no matter what, you can’t win.
I admit there are still some days where I feel like utter shite because of my skin. On those days, though, I force myself to focus on what I and my body can do that has nothing to do with looks.
- I can climb mountains
- I can run 10km
- I can help people
- I can make masterpieces with art
- I can write enough poems to fill a book
- I can smile
- I can see the beauty in nature around me
- I can cook delicious meals
- I can bake cookies and cakes
- I can grow plants
- I can make cute furniture
- I can compose, edit and produce a podcast on poetry
- I can make people smile
- I can be an amazing sister
- I can be the most kind and caring friend
- I can love with all my heart
- I can walk for days
- I can paint
- I can write amazing essays
These are some of the things that I choose, or force myself, to focus on when my physical appearance is less than “perfect” because of my eczema.
I encourage everyone to make an ‘I Can’ list!
It honestly helps so so so much, I can’t stress it enough how significant this list has been for myself, my mental health, and my self-esteem!
Another thing which is super important for myself in raising my self-esteem is reminding myself that “perfect” does not exist. It never has, it never will. Even the people you may think are perfect, such as in magazines or instagram, have quirks and oddities and imperfections; we just don’t see them because photoshop is so widely used.
I hope this has helped at least one person, I sure wish this had been around when I was younger but it took years of trial and error to create.
And if no one else has told you today, you are a smart, gorgeous, wonderful human being!
All my love,