The Anxiety of It All
Does anyone else get anxiety just thinking about the next flare? A lot of people look at eczema and atopic dermatitis as if it's "just a rash" or "just a skin condition." A lot of people don't realize how much of a toll it takes on the body, mentally and physically.
The pain of the past
I've lived with atopic eczema since I was a child. I've had to put in major work to protect my mental health. Being a child and seeing other healthy children with clear skin. Being teased for a condition that's completely out of my control, for years - by children and adults. It's difficult. When I look back on those days it saddens me. It brings a lot of pain and honestly, thinking back to the past brings me a great deal of anxiety too.
Fears and worries
I know the past has traumatized me. That kind of damage can't just be undone. I know that looming fear of a flare stems from years of childhood trauma and worry.
- Years of constantly living with inflamed skin.
- Years of living with clear skin and worrying about the next time it would be inflamed.
- Worrying about the next time the kids would laugh at me or when the teacher would question if I was contagious.
- Worrying about if people would ever accept me for the person I am and not just continue to question the skin I'm in.
- Years of wishing people would realize beauty isn't just skin deep - and even if it were, my skin shouldn't be any of their concern.
Mental health and a chronic condition
Having anxiety around living with any chronic condition can be daunting. While simply trying to attack everyday issues in life, we're forced to also deal with the pains and struggles of living with a condition that is very much visible to the public.
Although my anxiety surrounding my condition is real and these cold seasons don't help it at all, I choose not to allow it to keep me down. I will no longer be a victim of circumstance when it comes to my eczema and the wellbeing of my skin. I will no longer allow the public to tell me what's acceptable. I will no longer allow people to judge only a small part of me and determine what kind of person I am. I will no longer allow these people to offend me with their hurtful words and awkward stares.
I'm not perfect. My looks aren't perfect. My skin isn't perfect. I may never have clear skin, but what I will have is a clear conscious. I won't allow the public to make me feel guilty for my imperfections and simply being human. Instead, I will embrace my mind, body, and spirit. Eczema included. I will embrace my flaws and love myself for the person I am. Eczema isn't contagious, but positivity is. From now on people will only see me love myself. From there I can only hope that they too love me or at least begin to love themselves a little more.
On an average day, how would you rate your level of anxiety related to atopic dermatitis?