When You Don't Realize How Bad It's Gotten

I've been living with atopic dermatitis for a very long time. I'm no stranger to this condition. I've seen my skin on some of my best days when you can hardly tell I have it at all. I've obviously, seen quite the opposite as well. I've seen my skin when it's super flared. Red. Inflamed. Itchy. Painful. I try not to let it bother me, but let's face it, in a society that's all about looks, it does get to me at times.

Losing confidence

Even the most confident person would struggle with self-esteem with this condition. Having an illness that's so visible does that to you. People are constantly judging you, even when you don't realize it. I see the stares. I've heard the snickers. Although my condition is very apparent and extremely visible, there are times when even I don't realize the severity of it.

Seeing old friends

A few weeks ago I went on a business trip to New York. I was so excited. It's pretty cold there right now so most of the clothes I packed covered my arms pretty well. Some didn't, but I wasn't too concerned, probably busy with all of the excitement. I have friends in town, not to mention the friends who were traveling to the city too. I couldn't wait! People I hadn't seen in almost a year!

In hopes of looking my best

I'm not the most confident person, but I also don't spend my days worried about what people think of me. I tend to do my own thing, but I also don't want my skin (or anything else about me) to look crazy, especially in front of my friends or people I care about. While I of course realize, it's no big deal to them, it matters to me.

I'd done worse

After a few days in New York I got somewhat used to the weather. I'd been moisturizing my skin. I admit I hadn't been moisturizing too much because I'd been busy with work, but I did what I could. I knew it wasn't the best I could do, but I also knew I'd done worse and my skin was still okay.

When you don't realize how bad it's gotten

Wearing long sleeves for so many days, I kinda got used to just waving my arms around. I'm dramatic. I talk with my hands, but when I'm in a flare, I tend to do it less. Because my arms had been hidden for so long, I didn't see an issue with striking a cute pose for a picture with some old friends at dinner.

Not a normal flare I was so excited and I couldn't wait to see how they turned out, but when my friend texted me a few, I didn't want to see anymore. My arms looked like one big scar - both of them. It didn't look it's normally awkward and flared self, it looked almost like I'd been beaten or burned. I know the severity of my condition. I'm well aware that I'm a bad case, but I had no idea I was that bad in that moment, until I saw that photo.

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