I'm Still Not Comfortable Sharing Photographs
I have been an advocate for AtopicDermatitis.net for two years now. It has been amazing to share and read the stories of other members. We are all in the same boat, trying to find ways to improve our condition, whether that may be to examine our dietary needs, swap cream/ointment treatments, or ways to improve sleep, etc. We just want to be heard and understood.
The ways we advocate for understanding
One of the ways that our community makes it easy to be understood is by allowing us, the advocates, a voice to write and document our struggles. Another way is to share photos of what we are going through. Either via our articles or just generally through the community forums.
I am reluctant to share photos
Very rarely have I shared photographic images of my eczema. For some reason, I'm still not comfortable with sharing. And even when I have shared, my skin has not been at its worst. I feel a little guilty about being like this because other advocates do such a brilliant job in documenting their skin that, in theory, it should make it easier for me to be more open. Oddly it doesn't, although I am getting a little better at sharing.
I spent years hiding my eczema
Since I was a teenager, I can remember hiding away from people when my eczema flared. Those are awkward years without any ailments. Having eczema on top of that was simply horrendous. Perhaps this behavior became a habit that never really went away. So when it comes to suddenly being open and sharing images, it is a real problem for me. Why would you want to show off your skin when it looks really bad? That was my thinking. However, I am slowly coming around to the idea that doing so makes people feel less alone.
I don't share my skin on social media
Ordinarily, I don't tend to share photos of my eczema on social media - I'm definitely not ready for that. At least when you share in the community, everyone knows and understands fully what the impact it has on your mental and physical health. Sharing on social media feels like I am looking for sympathy. Just to be clear, I am not saying other advocates who use social media platforms to show their skin to the world are looking for sympathy. This is just my feeling, and I should really try and get beyond this stifled thinking.
I still think about a photo I shared
One time, I remember having a conversation with another advocate on a social media site. I complained about my skin and how it made me feel, and she asked me to upload a photo. I could hardly say no as this person is a legend and shows their daily struggles seemingly without any problem at all, so I did. I uploaded a picture, and that was that. Even now, when I go through my photos, part of me wants to take them down, but that would be unfair and disloyal to anyone going through the same thing. So I resist the urge to delete it.
How often do you downplay your eczema to other people?