Scratching in Our Sleep

One of the most horrifying experiences I've ever had in my life has been when I've been fast asleep only to wake up to me scratching in my sleep. When this happens, it feels like I have two different brains working at the same time. Or that my brain has two different drivers at the wheel with one driving along the side of the lane that I wanted to be on and the other one paying no attention to boundaries, stop lights, or pedestrians and doing whatever the hell it wants.

Sleeping less from scratching

One of the by-products of scratching in my sleep aside from skin damage itself has been getting less sleep. It can make one feel slightly crazy and even a little possessed when in their head they want to fully rest and get a good night's sleep for the next day, but it seems like their body has other plans in mind to keep them up all night.

Bleeding or oozing onto sheets

Another thing is bleeding or oozing from wounds onto bedsheets and pillowcases which sometimes makes me stick to them the next morning. It just feels very freaky that all this fluid and it came out of me in a night and then looking like I murdered myself in my sleep.

Shortening nails because of eczema

Trying to rock nail polish is often difficult because there is usually a certain angle that I like to scratch in which works the shape of my nail usually to one side. So I either have to cut my nails and keep them short to wind up getting gel nails which is my best, most long-lasting option if I really have to have my nails looking cute with colour.

Feeling out of control

Scratching in my sleep also created a sense of mistrust in myself. I often felt like I just couldn't relax alone because I didn't know what my hands would do once I closed my eyes and let down my guard. There are many nights where I just stayed up nearly half the night trying to make sure that I controlled where my hands went. But obviously this is not a sustainable method of scratch control.

Eczema is a battle

Piggybacking off that last point, on top of the mistrust myself in protecting and taking care of myself, I developed strong PTSD which is post-traumatic stress disorder. This condition is often associated with war veterans who have several horrifying memories of people dying around them and killing civilians and who are immediately triggered by those memories to behave as if they are still at war.

A war within ourselvesWhile I have never been in the military, there's still a part of me and in many people with eczema who relate to the idea of having traumatic memories of what feels like a war zone going on within ourselves and onto ourselves by ourselves. In our scenario, we are both the soldier and the enemy. And often if we have a bad itchfest from a particular trigger or set of circumstances, the thought of remembering that time or going back to circumstances similar to that time will immediately create neurodermatitis which is stress-induced and has nothing to do with physical circumstances. And this, of course, compacts the sense of mistrust within ourselves to protect and heal ourselves.

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