Words Hurt More Than the Rash
My eczema has been back for almost 2 years now and it has affected my life drastically. Mostly it has affected how I feel about myself. Most noticeable is the rash at the very edge of my right palm and wrist. Everyone can see it! Eating well and avoiding fast food tends to help. It doesn’t disappear, it just decreases and doesn’t turn red. When it’s in that state it isn’t as noticeable. But, when I eat poorly, it takes over my wrist and becomes really red. That’s when people notice it and feel free to share what they think about it. I often wonder how comfortable they would be saying what they do if they knew how much it hurt.
In the beginning I was super nervous about people seeing it. I’d often get weird looks. You’d swear I was a leper. People express disgust and/or pity when they first notice my rash. Some say, “Eewww, gross. That looks like it hurts! I could never deal with something like that!” One time, I was baking a pizza and one of my friends was taken aback by my rash and asked, “Oh my gosh! Are you okay?! Did you burn yourself while getting the pizza out of the oven?” In this case, my friend had thought I had hurt myself, but there have been other times when people thought I had a contagious disease. Some people have asked me to hide my rash because seeing it made them uncomfortable.
I wish people knew how much their comments hurt. Their words sting and feed my depression. I become anxious and often hold back tears. There have been times when I have avoided wearing t-shirts or tank tops because people would be able to see it and would make weird remarks. To this day I worry about meeting new people and what they’ll say about my rash. I worry that our first conversation will only be about eczema instead of getting to know each other. I would rather talk about video games and Disneyland instead of explaining what triggers a flare, how I deal with my rash, and so on… I avoid people who only focus on my rash and not any of my real qualities. I am more than a rash, I have hobbies and passions.
I know I shouldn’t care about what people think of my eczema, it’s not like it will hurt them. And to be honest, who cares if someone thinks it is disgusting, I’m proud of my weird little bumps. Would I rather not have eczema? Sure, but by seeking what triggers a flare, eczema is helping to improve my overall health. I am surprisingly healthier than I was before the rash returned because I am watching what I put into and on my body.
Eczema, and what people think of it, doesn’t define my life. I can be happy with or without it. Sadly, many people define happiness as perfection. Life will never be perfect, like my body, it is filled with flaws.
What is the rudest remark someone has made about your eczema and how did you respond?
Have you been diagnosed with atopic dermatitis?