Adjusting with Eczema During a Pandemic
This has been an extremely hard time for even the strongest of (wo)men. We are going through challenges none of us have ever faced before and getting adjusted to this new lifestyle has become more stressful than not.
Stress during the pandemic
Before the pandemic, my skin wasn’t bad. My mental health wasn’t either. Sure, I wasn’t in the best place in my life, but I didn’t imagine it turning into what it has. I find myself stressing over every little thing now. From when I should go grocery shopping, to how bills are going to get paid from month to month. I’m overwhelmed and confused on most days (to say the very least). Having chronic conditions on top of this certainly doesn’t make anything more do-able. I think my chronic illnesses make it easier for me to fall into (what feels like) an everlasting cycle of depression.
Eczema is serious, too
People may not see skin conditions as hard as other conditions. I certainly didn’t look at my condition as an equal to my Crohn’s Disease. But with time, I understood both require my attention and both are serious. Being uncomfortable in your own body is one of the worst feelings. It’s like being a stranger in a home that you built. It’s yours but for some reason, you just don’t feel like you belong. When my mental health becomes unstable, I can kiss my physical health goodbye as well.
When I first heard of the Coronavirus
When the pandemic hit, so did the anxiety. The fear. The worry. The constant feeling of “what if” and the constant reminder of how little we know/understand. When I first got the news, I was working with a customer. He mentioned he wasn’t able to cancel his vacation to Florida, but he wasn’t going whether he got the money back or not. He’d heard there was a spread of an unknown virus and didn’t want to risk his safety. I was listening to him, but his words just sounded so unreasonable. What could be so terrible that you’re willing to throw away thousands of dollars you’ve already spent? I thought he was just being paranoid, but within a matter of weeks, the news confirmed. His fears were valid.
When the stress hit
Once the news began covering the pandemic, it seemed like it was all everyone could think or talk about. It was overwhelming and my body felt it. I quarantined for weeks. I ordered food and goods online, but it didn’t stop the stress which didn’t prevent the flares. I wasn’t getting out much so while some parts of my body were thriving (like my face and hands), others were really suffering (the rest of my body). One minute it was hives and the next it was eczema. I went back and forth in this cycle for a while. My body didn’t understand the changes it was experiencing. Before I was active. I loved being in the sun. I left the house nearly every day. Now, between the quarantine and stress, my skin began to look as different as my new lifestyle.
On an average day, how would you rate your level of anxiety related to atopic dermatitis?