People Have Been More Empathetic Since I Became an Advocate
For years now, the people closest to me have never fully realized the extent to which my life has been completely and utterly consumed by my eczema. I don't think it's out of any lack of empathy or concern about my wellbeing or anything, more a feeling of not wanting to know the depths of my struggle. I know this sounds a tad dramatic but I assure you that it is not. So, my closest friends and family almost don't want to go there because I believe it's too upsetting for them.
Feeling overwhelmed by eczema struggles
We can all resonate with this, can't we? How many times have you started to read an awful story about something or someone is telling you about a horrendous experience they have had and it can be difficult to process or you can't get through the article without turning over the page to the TV listings or swiping up to the next story? This may be because we cannot handle the mild trauma of empathizing with another's struggle. I say this because I don't want to sound like I'm bashing the people closest to me for not fully understanding or wanting to understand. It may just be a natural reaction.
Have you ever received a hurtful comment about your skin?
Distressed by unavailable solutions
I remember having a conversation with my youngest brother a while ago about how bad my eczema had been. I recall getting irritated that he wasn't wanting to stay on topic and kept trying to talk about other stuff. I asked him why he didn't want to talk about my skin in depth. Especially knowing how much it was pulling me down. He basically replied that he found it too distressing to hear. He is a successful managing director of a big firm in London and he is a "solutions man." So when there are no straightforward solutions on the table he can be a little non-responsive. To be fair, however, in the past when there have been possible solutions put forward, I've often rejected them out of frustration. Mainly because I've tried them many times.
Being an advocate has changed how people think
I feel extremely fortunate and grateful since becoming an advocate for Health-Union/AtopicDermatitis.net. I realize I've been so lucky in being able to write these articles about my eczema. It has been a real eye-opener for me. For one thing, I've learned a lot about myself. Just re-reading these articles back to myself and other advocates' stories, make it all the more startling. All us atopic dermatitis sufferers go through absolute hell, there's no doubt about that. But even more surprising is the reaction I've had from family members and friends. I expected mainly strangers or people with atopic dermatitis to be interested in these stories, I didn't expect my closest family members and friends to take an interest. I'm not sure why. The reaction I've had has really helped in changing their understanding of this condition.
They want to talk more about it. I've had friends sending me helpful articles, eczema treatments, and podcast recommendations. This has got to be a good thing. And all because I've been able to rant a bit.
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