What I Would Tell Little Me
I was diagnosed with eczema really young. So young that my own family doesn't remember exactly when I first started showing signs. Naturally, spending a majority, if not all of my life with this condition, you can say I've learned a thing or two.
Little me was tiny, scared, frail. Little me hated confrontation (still do) and loved making friends, although I didn't have many. Of course being this small, scared person, it was hard having such a visible condition. It took a toll on my health mentally and physically. It was hard being so young, yet constantly watching people judge you.
Hurtful reactions to eczema
Kids are so honest and it hurt. Even the ones who didn't actually say much stared. Of course, I realized (most) people's intent was never to hurt me, but because I was so small and timid, it did. People would ask me, "What's that?" or "Why does your arm look like that?" Some adults even went out of their way to ask if my condition was contagious.
I'm different and they just want to protect their kids as any parent would. The hardest thing about it was that I didn't fully understand my condition at the time. Certainly not enough to explain what it was to anyone else. While I knew I wasn't contagious, I, unfortunately, didn't know much else about it or what to say.
Quiet and reserved
I don't really miss that version of me. Although I was nice, I wasn't the best version of myself. I wasn't strong and I didn't have a voice. For some people, these things come naturally, while others of us have to work a little bit harder. For me, it came with time and a lot of hard lessons.
What I would little me
If I could go back in time and tell myself anything, it'd probably be this:
Right now, you are small. You don't have much of a voice and that's okay. Don't rush to become someone you're not. Rather, take your time to find who you truly are. You have imperfections right now. In the future, you will have more - and that's okay.
Your imperfections are what make you beautiful. In the future you will see that. You won't question it or hide behind what you now think is a shield, protecting you. You will experience things that will empower you. You will use those experiences to empower others. Your pain will bring comfort and your words will shield those in need. I'm not going to tell you to do anything differently. I won't warn you about what's to come.
Everything you've been through has shaped you and you are beautifully and wonderfully made.
Looking back, I don't think little me ever needed anything more than reassurance and a little confidence to find her voice. What about you? If you could go back in time and tell yourself something, what would it be? What do you think you needed to hear when you were younger and experiencing symptoms? Why? Let's start a dialogue! Let me know in the comments below!
On an average day, how would you rate your level of anxiety related to atopic dermatitis?