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By Abby Lai (Bio below)
Eczema was the hardest time of my life. For those who suffer with it (or have a close friend or family member who suffers with it), you’ll probably know that eczema comes with a lot of physical and psychological baggage.
When I was going through my own personal journey with eczema, I dealt with lots of issues, including: low self-esteem, insecurity, frustration, resentment (at myself and others), disappointment, fear, worry, and pain. You’ll probably understand this if you have eczema. The hardest part was that my emotions were constantly; one moment I would be happy, and the next moment I would be worried and frustrated at the state of my skin.
My eczema was all over my face and body – so much so that I was unable to look people in the eye; I was so ashamed of it and myself. I was resentful at why this had happened to me (instead of the other 7 billion people in this world). Inside, I was crying out daily that I wanted to be “normal.” I would compare myself to others who didn’t have it, and it made me miserable.
The feeling of being disappointed, unhappy, and frustrated was the biggest driving factor for me to get my eczema healed. I had been searching for healing for years and I didn’t want to go through it anymore. I went from doctor to doctor determined to get it healed, and I was willing to do whatever it took to find a cure. (P.S. If this is you going through something like this, don’t lose hope – you’ll eventually get there as well!)
Now looking back and having clients who are going through the same thing, I realize that there are some things I would’ve done differently. I wish I had found other eczema sufferers that I could talk to then because I know I would have felt a lot better. However, I do have a few tips for emotionally and psychologically coping with eczema.
- Don’t lose hope – although the journey gets discouraging and frustrating, you have hope to carry you on. They say that when you visualize things, it helps bring things to pass – so use visualization techniques and affirmations to imagine your skin healed. To stay positive place post-it notes around your house with affirmations such as “Your skin will heal” or “You have beautiful skin!”
- Surround yourself with a great support group – you need to find a group of people who will instill hope in you. Remove anyone who is negative and who brings negativity in your life. Go on forums, talk to other eczema sufferers, or join Facebook groups with other eczema sufferers. EczemaVoice is a good platform that helps eczema sufferers find and give support.
- Be thankful – despite everything, count your blessings for what you do have in life and be grateful. The reason is that being thankful for what you have will bring your focus to the good things in your life, so that you can stop focusing on what you don’t have. For example, you can be thankful that you have food, that you have a place to live, and that you have a wonderful family. Some people will also start and end their day with saying 5 things they’re grateful for. It’s scientifically proven that people who do this are happier.
- Get plenty of rest – as hard as it may be to sleep for some eczema sufferers, try to sneak in more rest by taking naps, or going to bed earlier to try to get more sleep. Sleeping will help your skin heal. I used to try to stay awake the whole entire night because I was so scared that I would wake up with blood on my fingers and dead-skin flakes all over my bed. It was an incredibly scary time. I survived by taking naps throughout the day, or trying to get to bed early so I could at least have more sleep (even if it was disrupted sleep).
- Use stress coping techniques and do something that relaxes you (and that you enjoy!) – for example, watching a feel-good movie, praying and spending time with God is something that really relaxes me and allows me to find hope. I also enjoy dancing and taking nice walks in nature. This helps me get my mind off of frustration and it allows me to reflect, find peace, and joy. Journal writing is also a big thing – it helps me release my emotions and lift the burden off of my chest. Invest in a hobby, keep busy, or do something that will take your mind off of the frustration.
- Don’t be afraid to cry – don’t’ be afraid to let out your emotions, cry and scream if you need to. Do whatever it takes so that you don’t suppress what you’re going through. The journey is not easy, but you will get there. In the meantime, enjoy life and allow yourself to cry when you need to.
- Stop the negative thoughts – you live with yourself more than any other person. The thoughts you have will affect how you feel throughout the day.
If you’re reading this, you are probably just as determined as I was to heal my eczema. I don’t think people understand how emotionally and physically painful and draining eczema can be – so pat yourself on the back for making it through so much!
If you suffer (or know someone who suffers with eczema), try to avoid pity parties and avoid criticizing yourself for what you’re going through. It’s not your fault – so try to count the good things in your life that you can be grateful for. You need to realize that you can always handle more than you think! I had so many doubts and even had suicidal thoughts, but I was determined to make it through – and I finally have today.
I hope that with these tips will be able to cope with eczema and feel better!
Bio: Abby Lai is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and a blogger who blogs about natural eczema remedies and is passionate about seeing people use health and nutrition to transform lives. As someone who suffered from severe eczema in the past, she hopes that her experiences and knowledge can help transform and educate others on natural remedies that will help eczema. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube for more updates! Learn more about Abby on her website and blog.