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A person sits at a desk with scattered papers around them, four of which showing common symbols of pain including lightning bolts, barbed wire, a knife, and a vice.

Take Stock of What You’ve Normalized

Are you in a weird, funky mood? Not feeling like yourself?

Normalizing the pain of eczema

As warriors, we try so hard to appear “normal.” Even through all of our pain, we tell people that we are “fine.” Our altruistic nature leads us to help others while we continue to suffer in silence. Slowly but surely, you’ll start noticing your mood changing here and there. You’ll be more irritable than usual, and in the end, you’re just not really yourself. Take stock of what you’ve normalized. Remember that our “normal” is already “painful” for most people with normal health. So when we pile more layers of pain onto our normal - then things just become unmanageable.

Negative emotions and eczema

This happened to me recently during this recent heatwave. My mood just spiraled. My mind started going back to similar dark moments that I experienced just a year ago when I went through the worst (knock on wood) of my TSW and immunosuppressant withdrawal. The feeling of hopelessness is what got to me. The feeling that my current situation would never end. That is what jolted me into realizing that something was very wrong, and I had to lead an investigation into why I was heading in this negative direction. (Can you tell I’m binge-watching The Mentalist at the moment?)

Pain from topical steroid withdrawal

Because of our condition(s), I notice that many of us normalize our pain. We do this because otherwise, it’ll just sound like we complain every single day. To figure out what was wrong with me, I examined my well-being with a detective’s eye, and I spotted that first layer of pain - my all-encompassing TSW. The symptoms of TSW range from the physical to the mental and emotional. So on the daily, I’m already dealing with itchiness, limited mobility, trauma, PTSD, exhaustion, and insomnia, amongst a myriad of other symptoms. That’s just my normal. And that’s only the first layer!

Leg pain and limited mobility

The second layer of pain comes from my legs. My legs have suffered at the hands of a range of TSW symptoms, and now I can no longer fully extend them. When I walk/hobble around, the pain leaves me miserable, and I can only go for brief periods of time coupled with short distances.

Enviromental pain and eczema triggers

The third layer of discomfort comes from my environment. I realized that this was my tipping point - the weather was just unbearable. It’s one thing to layer up during the cold months, but try cooling down in this hot and humid heat wave without the assistance of AC. Especially when you’re already dealing with an unbearable itch brought on by overheating when the body already has temperature regulation issues. It’s an impossible feat.

Recognize and acknowledge the pain of eczema

So when you notice you feel a bit off, take a moment to release your inner detective to take stock of the pain that you’ve normalized. Because we already deal with so much pain and discomfort with our skin, we tend to end up normalizing any pain that comes our way. In my experience, this ends up extending to mental and emotional pain as well, but that’s another conversation for another time, so let’s start recognizing the physical now in order to take better care of ourselves.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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