Why do we need to raise the awareness of eczema?
People suffering from eczema are more susceptible to mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety. Eczema is way more than the constant itch and rash, but also the pain and heat that accompanied by the flare-ups, the disturbance of sleep that caused by intense itchiness, being self-conscious about the appearance of your skin, feeling discouraged and hopeless when treatment fails, feeling dysfunctional in life, etc.
I switched from Jazz funk and Hip hop to pole dancing when my skin condition was more stable. Pole dancing is less vigorous and intense but I would still need to take a break from pole every once in a while when my skin became itchy. In January 2019, I decided to join the 3-month pole membership and commit to it. I would go 3-4 times a week despite my skin condition. I had a few rashes on my legs and arms from exercising and sweating but I didn’t want to give up. I believed that my skin will eventually clear up once the sweat removes the toxin from my body. Little did I know that it was my body signalling that I was overworking myself. The rashes spread from my limbs to my body. I started wearing more clothing to pole in order to cover them up. However, it made my condition even worse because my clothes trapped the heat and made me sweat even more. I didn’t want to stop pole dancing because I was eager to get better in pole and be able to learn inversions and all the tricks. On February 18, I insisted to dance for 2 hours straight and ignored the intense itchiness even I knew my body was warning me to stop.
I had to stop pole dancing because my skin was so hardened and painful that it caused difficulty and stiffness in walking. Whenever I tried straightening my knees, I felt like my skin was tearing apart. I have been using steroid cream and taking over-the-counter medication on and off but my body started to develop tolerance and dependence. I came across articles and people successful stories of curing eczema using natural remedies a few months ago but I didn’t have the motivation to act upon it. On February 20, I finally decided to stop all the medications and attempt to cure eczema naturally. I started drinking celery juice and taking supplementations including vitamin D, B vitamins complex, omega-3, probiotics and resistant starch daily. Due to the stress from studying for two midterms, my skin condition started getting even worse on February 24, yet I managed to hold on to the belief that our body has the ability to heal itself and stay away from medications.
The recovery process has been slow. I haven’t been able to sleep at night because of the intense itchiness ever since two and a half weeks ago. Every night after shower is the most torturous period due to extreme dryness and itchiness. There are millions of dry skins on my bed every morning and even on the clothes I wear which makes me feel so gross about myself. I developed a phobia to mirrors and light. The more severe my eczema is, the more fear I experience. I stay home most of the time because I just want to hide in the dark. I hate when there is any sunlight coming through the blinds because I would be able to see the wounds on my skin clearly and it makes me extremely anxious. There are countless times when I eat in the dark to avoid looking at my skin; when I go to the washroom without turning on the light; when I feel hopeless and have a mental breakdown; when I feel useless because I can’t live a functional life… I know eczema doesn’t define who I am, but it is hard to have self-confidence when my face is so swollen and there are wounds all over my skin. I’m currently working on my self-esteem and healing my skin. It is day 20 on my journey without medications and I’m finally seeing improvements on my skin. I can’t wait to share my daily routine and healing progress with Y’all in my next blog post.
To all the eczema warriors, don’t give up.