Growing up with eczema, my parents gave me a lot more attention than they did to my brothers, each other, and definitely themselves. Not because I wanted it, but because it was necessary.
I needed someone to take me to the doctor’s office every time I flared up. I needed to sleep with my parents so that I wouldn’t scratch my skin off in the middle of the night. I needed to ensure we didn’t go to places or restaurants that would provoke my eczema. I needed them and their attention on a more extreme level than the average, no-eczema kid.
A life committment
It’s almost like my family had to blindly sign a life-changing contract so that I, their daughter and sister, could live a normal life as best as I could. This contract would discreetly restrict them from living a ‘regular’ life: wearing cologne or perfume, having pets, cooking any seafood, giving up plans if need be in order to take care of me, and much more.
So recently, when I had a fellow eczema warrior share with me that she felt guilty for the impact eczema has had on her family’s life, I sympathized with her. Because they too, without notice, signed a life-changing contract.
But as a mother once shared with me, her child having eczema was a gift unbeknownst to her. As a mother, she was grateful for the experiences that her daughter had despite the problems eczema brought them. She felt a deeper connection and love with her daughter, in which she mentioned others seemed to lack.
Coping with the emotional impact of eczema
It’s important to note that these feelings of guilt don't and won't just go away. Sometimes it creeps up on me and it’s not until I am aware, that I can make the decision to let those thoughts go. And you too can take action to support you in shifting out of that mentality in order to bring forth a new state of mind that is more beneficial for you.
If you feel guilty for having eczema, especially around your family and friends, here are small steps you can take to be relieved of it:
Allow yourself to feel
It’s important that you’re honest with yourself and how you feel. If the feeling of guilt arises, don’t ignore it or dismiss it. If you’re unsure, just ask yourself, “Do I or have I ever felt guilty for my eczema?” Be present to the emotion(s) that arises. Don’t judge them or make yourself feel wrong for them. Just be aware that they are thoughts that exist in your mind.
This could be you expressing yourself to yourself. Whether that be through meditation, journaling or speaking to yourself in the mirror, express it out loud so that it gets out of your head and you can de-attach yourself from the thought.
Have a conversation
If you want to take a deeper step into releasing your guilty thoughts, I invite you to be vulnerable with the other party connected to that guilt – your parents, siblings, partner, etc. Let them know what’s on your heart and be open to receiving what they have to say about it.
NOTE: Do not be attached to how others may interpret your feelings of guilt when expressed. Whether they receive your words with open arms or not, whether they want to show you love after or whether they dismiss it, don’t be attached to their reaction. You can only control how you feel, not how they may react.
Be sure to celebrate this new level awareness. This wound that you have just healed within yourself has just made room for more healing to occur. Congratulations!
QUESTION: Have you ever felt guilty for having eczema?
Have you been diagnosed with atopic dermatitis?