Today I am having a bit of a rough time, my skin is inflamed and the itchiness is driving me up the walls. As a life long sufferer of quite bad eczema this is not a new thing, I am quite use to outbursts of dermatitis every now and then, but this doesn’t makes it easier nor does it lessen my suffering.
But while I was scratching my neck and rubbing my face I started wondering about the saying “being comfortable in your own skin”. Of course I know that doesn’t only mean that you are happy in your own body, but also means to be content with your mind and soul, but whoever came up with that saying didn’t know what eczema really feels like. And on days like today I’d rather be in anyone else’s skin but my own, sacrificing my mind for the joy of relief from itchiness.
I have always said (and stand by it) that I believe that itching can drive you mad, literally insane. And while I have no data to back up this statement, just a little bit of research does show that the American Academy of Dermatology agrees on some level. The findings of studies they have done proves that people with chronic skin disorders are more likely to suffer from depression, think about suicide more often than non-sufferers and can also be more withdrawn from society, suffer from anger and lack confidence. And about 26% of people with chronic eczema can’t take part in many every-day activities, isolating them, sometimes even causing long-term unemployment.
A child growing up with the condition can develop low self-esteem and mental health issues, which is not surprising when you consider that more than one quarter of our self-esteem is built on our outer appearance. Call it vanity if you like, but our society does spend more on appearances than on health and education combined. So if you are carrying a blemish for all to see, your self-confidence takes a hit, which in turn effects your mental health.
So while the eczema may only be skin-deep the effects of it go beyond our outer walls, not only is our skin scarred for life but our souls are too. And sadly our sallow society doesn’t do much to help in that matter either, if you don’t appear perfect you sadly seem to be worth less. And since I know the feeling I just hope all my fellow sufferers out there can believe that even when we feel anything put beautiful, we still are loved and beauty can truly be in the eye of the beholder. And I hope I can believe it too!