Embrace Your Inner Warrior: Getting Diagnosed with Eczema
When we are diagnosed with a health condition such as atopic dermatitis, everything changes - quickly. Not only is it a complete shock to us, but it has become such an enormous part of our lives. We become entrenched in it, and understandably so when it drastically alters every little aspect of our life.
Adjusting to life with eczema
After the initial shock wears off, we have a whole lot of learning to do. We have to learn to become our own advocates, as well as everything about the condition we are diagnosed with. Then, we have to change our entire lives in order to fit around the condition. Whether that means scheduling our life around doctor's appointments, having to take medication, changing our diets and lifestyle – anything is game on this journey.
We adopt a new "identity"
The point is - we pretty much have to change everything. So much so that this "new" version of us dealing with rashes and flare-ups becomes embedded into our subconscious. This new "identity" almost takes over – if we allow it to. We can even start to lose interest in a lot of the things we used to love, simply because we don't have the time or desire for them anymore or because we just can't do them anymore.
Navigating new territory
We suddenly have to learn to navigate a whole new world we previously hadn't even thought much about. We have to figure out what our triggers are and what sets us off, and then we have to avoid those things, even if it is something we might have loved at some point. There is a lot of grief, sadness, and even anger involved.
We start to ask ourselves questions like: "Why me?", "Why do I have to be the one to deal with this?", and "Why do I have to work so much harder than other people just to stay alive?" Sometimes we even think, "What did I do to deserve this?"
It becomes almost like having an ongoing existential crisis - questioning the ways of the world and what you once thought you knew.
Chronic conditions alter our lives
Let's face it; everything changes when we are diagnosed with a chronic health condition. The way others treat us, the way we interact with the world, and even our relationship with ourselves. Somehow, we have to become masters and experts of this new thing that's shown up in our lives, that plagues us every day.
Focusing on healing
Somehow, we have to find the courage to get up every morning and continue working on it. We must continue doing everything in our power to heal - even when it feels impossible, even when we feel ashamed and embarrassed to even go out in public. And even when it's hard to just get out of bed in the morning, period (which can be a large number of days, unfortunately).
Finding our inner warrior
We have to put our "warrior" face on. This means facing the day and all the challenges it may bring – and we never know what those are. It's like constantly walking around on a minefield, wondering if something will blow up in our faces if we take one wrong step.
We do what we can
Despite all the uncertainty and our life becoming one big question mark, we still do it. We still get up every day. We research everything we possibly can. Every day, we take our supplements, exercise, meditate. We do whatever it takes to get through that particular day. And we do become experts, not just in regards to atopic dermatitis and skin, but so much more. We adapt and become fluid – because we have to. That's the only way to survive and get through every day and the only way to continue making progress in our healing.
Marvel at your strength
So if you haven't done anything else but survive and navigate the minefield you are in today, I hope you take a second to marvel at your own strength. Because this journey you are on right now – this isn't for the faint-hearted. It is for the warriors.
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