Let's Talk About Eczema

Eczema Is something I have battled with for most of my life. Come to think of it I can't actually remember a time I didn't have it.

My first memory of Eczema is from my early childhood, school years. The boys in my class called me "Eczema Girl" because my skin was different to everyone elses. Snake like, easily broken and often open and weeping. My hands were often bound or lathered up to high heaven in some so called 'Miracle Cream' that, unfortunately for me, never did work. This made me stick out like a sore thumb, pardon the pun, made me different. It made me feel uncomfortable in my own skin.

Many people with skin conditions, or other obvious, visible medical conditions say their early childhood years were the worst dealing with their conditions because they were different and because of that, combined with the lack of understanding and the general curiosity of children, made things difficult and made them feel uncomfortable.

Often it is said that as you grow older, you grow out of your skin condition. That hormones kick in and over ride skin symptoms and in essence balance it all out. Unfortunately once more, that was not my case.

I never felt as a child that my skin condition effected my personality and what I could and couldn't do. However over the years, and now with calm reflection I realise just how much eczema has effected and in many ways controlled my life.

Those early day comments really bothered me and irritated me to my recollection, however the fact I can remember them says something about my sub-conscious memory. Early day Eczema was very much lived behind closed doors. Not in the sense of hidden beneath clothes. My Eczema has always been visible. In the sense that it didn't effect my time at school or have such drastic changes so quickly that it automatically caused havoc with what ever I may have been doing at the time, like it does now.

Nights were always the worst and how my Dad coped with me, his child being in so much pain I just don't know, no parent should ever witness that. I will never forget the support throughout the many nights of pain I suffered as a child, as now I suffer them alone. I went through a faze when I was about 7 where the itchiness of my Ezcema would be too much and I would scratch, scratch, scratch. I would never have any nails, as that wasn't allowed and was counter productive to my skins healing plan. I would have to take a bath at 3am to sooth the pain. It was awful.

Because of the constant itching to try and alleviate the pain It would crack the skin more and it would bleed, to stop the skin becoming infected and permanently damaged creme or ointment would be applied. So that would be the first middle of the night job Apply Ointment no more than two hours later I'd be literally crying out in pain. My skin was burning.

I've spent many 3 o'clocks in the bath, bathing in ice cold water, removing the ointment applied just hours previously because It had literally reacted with the skin and burnt. That's when my skin started to peel off. I would cry and cry and even water would give the sensation of burning. Everything was so hot, never cold or cool enough, my skin had one temperature. Hot. There was nothing that would cool me down.

I have tried every creme, potion, lotion, steroid and pill going to treat Eczema and in the last 10 - 15  years have tried over 18 different medical prescriptions that's without counting the countless diet changes, herbal remedies, au natural stuff and generally trying to be more chilled, in order to calm my skin down. However, now 18 my patience is wearing thin and these products with 'Miracle clams' have no avail. Failier to materialise and live up to their expectation is a re-occurring theme with my Eczema treatments.

So we come to now. Present day and it has honestly never been so bad. It's out of control and spreading like wildfire all over my body and there is nothing to tame the beast. I am loosing skin so rapidly that the skin can't grow back quick enough to replace its predecessor. I'm currently in compression gloves and have never looked so god damn sexy.

Without the gloves I can't touch plastic without aggravating it. Public transport, coffee shops or toilets are a simple no go area zone.  Supermarkets are the worst. I touch one things and my hands fire. You never can figure out what it is that's upset it as there is too many materials and germs in a supermarket in order to narrow it down.

It's not like I can go around though with a sign saying: DON'T TOUCH ME

My current main concern is the change on my hands. I now have it on both hands which I haven't had in a few years and have never had to this extent. Being truthful, my main concern is other people. I am very self conscious about it but I generally feel for other people more as after all it's something I've had to deal with a hell of a lot longer. Like the people on my Theatrical Make-Up classes, I have to literally be all up in their face all day long, with my hands on their face.
The make-up may be burning my hands and making them swell, but that kind of comes with the territory.

I'm more than happy to answer people's questions however, I really dislike it if someone singles me out in a group of people. That happened to me a few months ago by someone who is so insecure about herself and her body that she will actively dress you down, pick faults and highlight things to others about you, in front of your face. I felt like a piece of gum on someones shoe. I should have stood up for myself more.

Yesterday, I wore cotton gloves for the first time to college. My hands are in pain and the general germs and grime that is everywhere gets into the open cracks on my hands. Wearing them keeps the skin tight and the germs out. It was whilst sat reading my issue of 'Glamour' magazine I popped my headphones on to cancel out the canteen noise. Nothing was playing in them and now I wish I had of had music. Once my headphones were in, a girl on an adjacent table started to discuss the gloves and potential reasons why I wore them. General curiosity is fine, and I appreciate that I am doing something different but the rudeness of some people! Don't mind me love... Chat away!

I could have made things really awkward by looking their way, headphones still in, or gone over to them. I didn't as I thought about the other girl and how she would be really put on the spot. Because I'm nice like that, I treat others like I'd like to be treated.

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