a woman shown trapped inside her own head, mental health, loneliness, thoughts swirling, circular thoughts, thinking, over thinking, alone, confusion, mental health Female Black POC Adult

Evaluating Mental Health With Skin Conditions

Let’s talk about mental health while going through TSW. Surely this itch alone has driven me crazy. And if not the itch, then maybe being physically limited or the isolation, surely. I am no health professional - at least not when measured by degrees and unpaid student loans. However, I consider myself a professional of my health (to a certain extent). Living with these conditions has always been both an internal and external struggle. But as you know very well, warrior, the way your skin presents externally isn’t usually indicative of what is actually going on internally.

Chronic illnesses and mental health

This is where you need to do some self-reflection. Did you know that chronic illness can have a significant impact on your mental health? Most mental illnesses don't improve on their own, and if left untreated, they may worsen over time and cause serious problems.

Questions to ask yourself

  • Are you feeling like yourself? Or are you feeling lost and depressed?
  • Does this happen often, or is it only once in a while?
  • Are you still reaching out and connecting with others in a COVID-safe way?
  • Have you been homebound for some time now?
  • Do you have a routine? Are you physically limited by your skin?
  • Are you still able to enjoy things you used to enjoy before you went into withdrawal?
  • Have you been crying regularly?

I'm questioning the state of my mental health

I ask you all these questions because these are questions I’ve had to ask myself. I’ve been homebound pretty much 99% of the time, even before COVID was even a thing. I consider myself of sound mind and strong mental fortitude - yet after 2 ½ years of going through my latest stint of TSW, I am now questioning the state of my mental health. So I figured if I’m questioning mine, then how about the rest of the community?

What are the next steps?

If you are also questioning the state of your mental health, then what are the next steps? Of course, what plan of action you decide on will depend on the severity of your circumstance:

  • Do you need to check yourself into the ER to be under surveillance immediately?
  • Do you just need to download one of the many mental health apps available?
  • Are you feeling a little at ease now that a fellow warrior is talking about the toll this itch takes on your mental health?

What am I doing?

I can’t tell you what course of action to take, but know that you are making the best choice for yourself and that there is no negative stigma attached to your decision. This coming Monday, I’m calling up my PCP and asking for a referral to a mental health professional with experience with patients with chronic illness and/or skin conditions. And don’t forget to shop around. My friends in the field tell me that it takes an average of trying out 3-5 different mental health professionals to find the right fit! Let’s hope that this path leads to some much-needed relief and answers.

Have you sought help for your mental health? What have you found works for you?

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