A mama bird looks at her wits end as she brings a worm back to four hungry babies in the nest.

Parenting Stress While Dealing With Eczema

Whenever I have written my articles for AtopicDermatitis.net, more often than not, they have all been written from my perspective. Why would they not be? I have suffered from eczema, asthma, and other allergies all my life, so of course, it is going to be all me, me, me!

How could my childhood have been different?

When I think back to my childhood, I invariably think about the things I could have done differently. Maybe if my parents had done this or that, used this cream or that lotion, or fed me that instead of.. blah blah blah! My thinking was that if things had been done differently, perhaps I would have reduced the severity of my symptoms and even grown out of eczema. It is easy to fall into this trap, and it can make a person quite self-centered and less empathetic.

What impact did eczema have on my family?

When I actually stop and think about all the stress and anxiety my parents must have gone through in raising a big family of four, especially when one of those four kids had chronic health problems, it must have been absolute hell at times. How they kept everything running smoothly really does baffle me. Frequently, I would be pulled out of school to attend a hospital appointment or see a specialist, or simply be sent home sick. This meant that my mum would have to leave work and presumably let her work colleagues down because of me. Knowing my mum, this would have caused her a great deal of stress. She has and still does gone out of her way for others, constantly putting herself last.

What else were my parents juggling?

During the whole of the 80s and early 90s, we had our grandad living with us. Towards the end of the 80s, the poor guy developed Alzheimer's disease. I honestly cannot imagine the stress my parents were under at this time. He would frequently wander out onto the streets, and my dad would have to go and hunt for him. Mum cooked all our meals, and it was usually something simple like fish-fingers, chips, and beans washed down with a Pepsi. Nice and easy! It is so easy to put the blame on the people that brought us eczema warriors up, but life is hard. Sometimes we just have to make do. I know I find it hard enough just looking after myself, never mind a huge family.

How did I help manage my eczema?

Having chronic conditions meant that I grew up fast. From about the age of 6, I was quite independent. Maybe I was subconsciously aware of all the stress Mum and Dad were under. I sorted all my meds out myself. Two inhalers, pills (uniphyllin), antihistamines, and steroid and moisturizer creams, and later even my growth hormone injections. My mum would always check in with me to make sure I had taken them, but I like to think I took the burden off them a bit. Bathtimes must have been stressful. I had to be creamed up before and after. The work involved for our parents was massive. Then my brothers would have to be looked after. I am so fortunate to have come from a big loving family.

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