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.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The AtopicDermatitis.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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