All Around Eczema
Dealing with eczema has not been easy. There are days when you find yourself having an uncontrollable itch to the point where scratching becomes second nature, and you don't even realize you're itching that much.
My life changed with eczema
Whew, whoosh, and breathe! While my life has altered due to having this chronic condition, there are some things that I have taken away from this. Growing up, I had no physical ailments, health conditions, or concerns until my senior year in high school. One thing that eczema has taught me is to prioritize my health and diet. There were foods that I used to enjoy that I can no longer eat due to potentially having: An allergic reaction or flare-up.
I've become more disciplined and knowledgeable about what my body can and can't take. It has been a tremendous help and has allowed me to feel when my skin is saying, "Yes, this is ok," or "No, a flare-up is brewing, and this is not ok."
What does discipline look like?
Over time, I've studied my body and learned what my body could and couldn't take, i.e., foods, lotions, detergents, and fabrics. I've become more disciplined in developing a skincare routine. It is an ongoing journey and I must adjust to the seasons and weather, especially allergy season because some of my flare-ups correlate with my allergies. I must also minimize stress and limit distractions. Having eczema has been less of "Why me? And why do I have this?" and more of "I will not allow my condition to control my everyday life."
Is it easy?
Yes...it's rough. While there are days when I feel like I'm cured, it isn't always the case. There are times when you lose focus because you're itching. Your level of stress and every thought is surrounded by this condition. There are times that I think to myself and wish that I didn't have this.
What is my worst case-scenario?
I must constantly be vigilant about what I put on my skin, my diet, the clothing I wear, and my deepest fear, going back to constantly scaly, dry, and uncontrollable eczema. There were days when I would think, "Everything is fine," and once I took a glimpse at my skin, there were oozing patches and white heads on parts of my body.
Speaking to people has been difficult, at times, due to eczema around my eyes. I have to walk around with a travel-sized lotion bottle just in case I itch too much or my skin is too dry. There are days when being alone and sitting still is the most peaceful part, where you don't have to worry or think about itching.
What do I do during the roughest days?
During the roughest times or days, I tend to find peace and reminders of how grateful I am for the things that are going right in my life. Not only starting with the smallest thing by counting backward from 10 to get myself to calm down, focus, and not think about my flare-ups, but I also find other things that bring me peace, such as exercising.
I have a "man cave," and it's a place where I can release tension or stress and enjoy one of my favorite hobbies. The gym and the weights allow my mind to sway away from any itch I've had, while my main focus is what I set out during this session. Spending alone time has been another way to get me through some flare-ups.
Detaching from the world
Nobody knows YOU better than YOU. Sometimes just turning off the phone and logging off social media and the world to bring yourself back at peace has allowed me not to overthink, stress, and compare my condition to those that don't have it - listening to motivational speakers.
What have I learned?
One thing I've learned is to be careful about what you listen to and watch and what you're feeding your brain. It can have an effect on your mood and outlook on things and life. I've learned to get back to a place where I have to control my circumstances and not let my circumstances control me. While eczema is a part of my life, I will not allow it to dictate how I live my life!
It's Eczema Awareness Month! Have you shared your eczema story on AtopicDermatitis.net?