*itch Session: Eczema is an Embarrassing Hardship
Last updated: October 2023
Every day I wake up exhausted and with a gnawing headache. I have asthma as well as eczema and this means that my whole breathing system is congested. This means my nose is stuffy or completely blocked through the night. That means my air intake is coming through my mouth. Therefore less oxygen flows to my brain and cells which causes tiredness/headaches and dryness of my mouth and skin.
How do I look in the morning?
In the mornings, I am a blundering mess. I look in the mirror and pretend I am absolutely gorgeous. It amuses me. Yep, I have lost the plot. My appearance is grey and pale. I look about 87 years old. There's nothing wrong with looking 87 if you are 87. I am 45. I dread washing my face with cold water but I have to go through that pain. And it is pain. Literally. Often, I will have scratched during the night and when water comes into contact with my skin it stings like crazy. Sometimes I bang my head on the mirror. Why do I have to wake up? Is a worryingly frequent thought that pops into my head.
Why am I not considering therapy?
It is fair to say that I struggle with my mental health. I do not feel the urge to seek out medical advice because I feel mentally tough when my eczema is not flaring. Although, people close to me would put up a good case for me to get some help. I am just not ready for the “…and do you really think people are thinking about your appearance all the time, Pete?” line of questioning right now.
How does eczema impact my work?
I work in close proximity to people. I am a driving instructor and my skin can make me feel slightly ashamed about myself. The constant flaking and itching. It makes doing my work incredibly hard. I have to vacuum the car every day and I suppose I worry about what people think about me. The days are busy and long. I will finish around 8 p.m. or later most days. People will sometimes make comments. They have no clue how debilitating this condition is. Then the advice starts to flow in. Well-meaning of course, but nevertheless, it’s things I have heard millions of times. My response is always polite and I am genuinely grateful for people's concerns. However, sometimes in my head, I am imagining saying, “Take the next left please, and if you can drive at 80mph through that brick wall - much obliged.”
How do I get the hardships off my chest?
Eczema is a hardship that at times I need to vent about. It affects every single area of my life and it will always do so. I have been a part of AtopicDermatitis.net for a good few years now and this is my therapy. Getting stuff off of my chest. I am so very fortunate that I am able to share my situation with others who truly know what it is like. I never take this for granted. This is my therapy.
What type of infection do you deal with most often?