Why Connection is Necessary for Healing
Lately, I’ve been finding myself connecting with new eczema warriors online. These are not your average “text message” or “DM” like connections. Instead, they are one-on-one, intimate video chats for over 30 minutes to an hour type of connections. And I’m LOVING it!
Afraid to connect and share eczema stories
Out of all the eczema warriors I have met online and in person, one common theme that keeps coming up is our fear to connect with others and share our stories. For many, eczema has created insecurities and fear around intimately connecting with others, especially those who may be eczema-free.
Because of its severe symptoms, the last thing I wanted to do, growing up with eczema, was show that vulnerable side to someone else and possibly receive judgement in return. It was a risk I wasn’t willing to take. No way.
...Until I started realizing that my vulnerability and sharing of my eczema journey inspired others to do the same. And when I connected with other warriors and shared my story and suffering from eczema, I created purpose and meaning in my life and the lives around me.
I’ve recently been reading this book called, Daring Greatly by the amazing Brene Brown. Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. For the past decade, Brown has studied the power of vulnerability, courage, worthiness, and shame. She concluded that humans are hardwired to connect with others; it’s what gives us purpose and meaning to our lives, and without it, we create suffering.
Avoidance and shame
This fascinated me because as an eczema sufferer-turned-warrior, I always disconnected and isolated myself to avoid deep human connection. I didn’t want anyone to know I was living with eczema because I was ashamed of it.
So I would ensure I never slept over someone’s house, so I could avoid having them see my nightly routine of scratching all night long. Or I made sure I hid behind the camera lens or make a funny face to try and “misconfigure” my eczema so it wouldn’t look too bad. Or I never allowed my boyfriends to touch me a certain way because then they would feel my rough skin. To top it off, only my closest friends and family members even knew I had eczema. I avoided human connection as much as I could.
Connection is necessary
Through my personal experiences with connecting with other warriors, as well as reading research on the topic, I’ve learned that connection is a necessary component to one’s healing from eczema.
Whether that be a doctor-to-patient connection or a parent-to-child connection or a friend-to-friend connection, etc., it is all necessary. As emotional human beings, we need someone who makes us feel safe, heard, worthy and loved. When we don’t connect with others, we increase the chances of remaining in our suffering versus gaining the support of others in order to bring forth healing.
Here are a few ways you can create connection within the eczema community:
Become part of the community.
There are tons of Facebook groups and Instagram profiles that allow for one-on-one connection. Become a part of them. Reach out to those already involved. The only way anyone will know you exist is if YOU reach out first.
Look for deeper connections
Don’t be afraid to ask a fellow warrior if they’re up to chat on the phone or meet up in person if they are in the area. Meeting another warrior face-to-face is not only fun but creates the opportunity for deeper relationships.
Attend in-person events.
Eczema-related events always make it easier to connect with other warriors, so be sure to attend them! It’s one of the ways I have connected with so many people who look, relate, and have a history of eczema just like me!
Share your story.
When you share your story, you increase the chances of someone relating to you. Know that you have a support system of other eczema warriors who will ensure you are loved and acknowledged. Be sure to use tricks like hashtags on Instagram to connect; #eczema, #eczemawarrior, and #unhideeczema are my favorites to find other warriors!
Question: Has eczema caused you to avoid human connection? Let us know below!
Have you been diagnosed with atopic dermatitis?