How I Deal With Eczema’s Emotional Hardships

My Real Life Story Eczema can have a severe impact on your emotional health, trust me I would Know. My Name is Sonja Morgan, and this is my story. Eczema became my reality at the age of 15.

My Real Life Story

Eczema can have a severe impact on your emotional health, trust me I would Know.  My Name is Sonja Morgan, and this is my story.

Eczema became my reality at the age of 15.

That age where you’re not entirely sure who you are or how you fit into this big wide world. The age where you’re easily embarrassed by anything and anyone around you. As luck would have it, eczema decided to make its presence known right on my face – front and center. Like most teenagers, I was very sensitive about my appearance. So needless to say, when this occurred, I felt like hiding away from the world for all of eternity. Thankfully though, my case wasn’t extreme. The rash went away in a few short weeks, and all was right with the world again. Unfortunately, this isn’t the outcome for some.

The emotional toll eczema can have on a child’s self-esteem.

The emotional toll eczema can have on one’s psyche can be damaging, and sadly result in a deflated self-worth that can last for years, if not a lifetime. Children with eczema often have to contend with bullying and teasing that directly affects their self-esteem and overall emotional well-being. This ridicule and embarrassment is sometimes internalized and can alter an individual’s sense of who they are for the rest of their life. In children, low self-esteem can directly impact academic success. Low self-esteem is consistently linked to low test scores and poor study habits. Multiple studies have suggested that low self-esteem is often a common variable in high school dropout rates. Plus, it’s hard to concentrate in class when all you can think about it scratching and who might be watching you do it.

Eczema can change the way you live your life.

Eczema affects your mood, your ability to concentrate, your decision making and can alter the way you live your life. I can recall a time, after my most recent flare-up, that I had to cancel plans at the last minute after learning this particular function was taking place outdoors, in the heat of the day, during the month of July. Sweat for me, as for most eczema sufferers, is a trigger. So any extended period of outdoor activities during the summer spells misery for most of us. Serious eczema sufferers are resigned to fritter their summer days away indoors just to prevent a major flare up. There have been countless times that I have had to wear long sleeves, pants, high-collared shirts, gloves and other not-weather-appropriate clothing just to hide a rash. For the outbreaks that are a little harder to hide, i.e, face one has to contend with stares, questions, and the continuous necessity of explaining that you feel perfectly well and are not contagious. It all takes an emotional toll.

Eczema can be expensive.

Eczema can also be a burden to your bank account. For some, it majorly influences their purchasing decisions. This is especially true for allergy-induced eczema sufferers. An allergic reaction is a common catalyst for an eczema flare-up. Incidentally, this results in many unnecessary purchases of products that either causes a reaction or do not help relieve the symptoms at all. In one month alone, I spent over one hundred dollars on products that I found to be useless. It was a long, expensive experience of trial and error before I found the right products that would work for me. And to be honest, I’m still testing and searching for some. Eczema sufferers also have to consider certain fabric in their clothing choices. Some need fabric that’s breathable, while some prefer cloth that is moisture-wicking. All of these special considerations when buying are expensive and in all honesty, emotionally draining.

Eczema disrupts sleep.

The emotional toll eczema has on a person’s mental well being from lack of sleep alone is a matter of serious concern. I personally have spent innumerable nights wide awake, scratching -and I’ll admit, on a few occasions-crying. During a bad flare-up, my nights are spent in increments of wakefulness scratching and desperately seeking some form of instant relief. This, in turn, results in less than productive days and mental exhaustion. Sleep deprivation has long been connected to high blood pressure, stroke and heart disease. Not to mention weight gain and depression and anxiety.

Eczema can interfere with social interactions.

Eczema is a condition that isn’t always taken as seriously as it should be. To most of the lucky non-sufferers, it is something that’s usually considered a small annoyance. And thankfully, to a lot of us, it is. There are a number of people, however, who’s symptoms are so severe that it truly is debilitating. I have a nephew, for instance, that has missed school a few times because he’s scratching kept him up at night in tears. He has also dealt with the embarrassment of the constant scratching that he just can’t hide around his peers. This affects him in such a way that it, at times, interferes with his social interactions. For example, he’ll stay indoors as opposed to spending time outdoors with his friends because sweating aggravates his already intensely itchy skin. It can wreak havoc on anyone’s emotional well-being. Individuals young and old can feel stigmatized, self-conscious and experience social isolation as well as discrimination. According to one study, patients with eczema had a 44% increased likelihood of having suicidal thoughts.

Eczema is often regarded as a minor ailment.

The unfortunate reality is that a lot of people can’t truly comprehend the kind of emotional toll this condition can have on one’s existence. Eczema is most often brush off as a “minor” skin condition -and in a significant number of cases, this is true -however, the ramifications of the most severe sufferers can be detrimental to the overall emotional health of the sufferer.

Take Control Of Your Eczema Today!

Overall, my personal experience with eczema is mild compared to some. I’m at a point in my life where my flare-ups are fewer and farther between. But, I will say that it is something that is ongoing and I will probably have to contend with it on some level for the rest of my life. Currently, I’m managing it. Managing, but never curing. Thankfully, there are ways to handle the emotional toll that eczema can take on an individual.

Educate Yourself… And Others!

With so many resources available to us, it’s simple to find something that works for you. Cluing your loved ones in on what you’re experiencing is a great way to relieve some of the emotional stress you may be dealing with. And, with so many new products becoming increasingly available to eczema sufferers, your perfect remedy could be attainable in the near future. Eczema doesn’t have to change who you are, with a little effort and a lot of support you are guaranteed to feel like your normal self once again.

References:

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamadermatology/article-abstract/2717582

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