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A woman with eczema looks down and smiles at her inner self-advocate as it sits on her shoulder shouting positive thoughts through a megaphone to her.

Why I Don't Like to Call Myself an Eczema Warrior

In the eczema and chronic illness community, we have a tendency to refer to ourselves as “warriors” (myself included). But lately, I’ve been thinking about this and coming to a realization of how much it can actually hurt even more, as opposed to help.

While it can be empowering to ourselves that way, there is another side to it, in my opinion. Calling ourselves warriors implies there is a battle to be fought and won. And in this case, the battle is in our body and on our skin. Essentially, the skin becomes our very own battlefield. Here’s why I think that can be detrimental.

Why am I trying to steer away from this term?

In my experience of dealing with eczema my whole life as well as TSW (topical steroid withdrawal) for nearly a decade, if there’s anything I’ve learned, it is that it isn’t a fight to be won. When we declare ourselves warriors and imply there’s a battlefield going on in our bodies, I believe we can inadvertently create more “war” within our own bodies. The fascinating thing about the human body is that it is always working FOR us, not against us. And with chronic health conditions, eczema included, that’s often hard to see, even though I believe it’s true.

What is my body trying to tell me?

Most of my physical symptoms, whether it be red, itchy, flaky, or even painful skin, are usually messengers from my body. When something is going on internally and there is any sort of imbalance in my life, my skin reflects that for me. Because it wants me to pay attention, it wants me to see that it is on my side, not working against me. Typically, that has something to do with some kind of stress whether it be internal, in my environment, or both. And my skin always communicates that to me, albeit in painful and uncomfortable ways most of the time.

How has my perspective on eczema changed?

It has taken me a long time to come to terms with this, and make friends with eczema and my body in general. And truthfully, it is still something I’m working on. When we are uncomfortable and experiencing rashes all over our body, it’s hard to see that as a friend as opposed to an enemy. But that shift in mindset has been a game changer for me personally. It’s helped me realize eczema is trying to help me - in its own way. And it is not something to fight and go to war with, but rather something to listen to and embrace as much as possible.

What would I rather call it?

So, instead of calling myself and others ‘warriors,’ I’d rather call eczema a friend now. Because my body and skin aren’t a battlefield, and I’m not a warrior. I’m just a human being doing my best to survive in this crazy world. At the end of the day, that’s all we can do, after all. And in my opinion, there is strength and beauty in gentleness and acceptance. That’s something I’ve been learning for quite a while now, that more often than not, it is actually more gentleness that is needed, not more fighting, especially when it comes to my health and skin.

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