Glass Half Empty? How to Accentuate the Positive when you Struggle with Eczema.
“Just stay positive!”
“Look on the bright side!”
“It could always be worse!”
We hear it all the time; well-meaning advice from friends and family on how to get through the worst days. But optimism can be a tough nut to crack when your skin is so rough and sore you can hardly think, let alone sleep. Even during times of remission, the fear of recurrence can be all-consuming. Will my eczema flare up during my vacation? Will I be able to wear that white dress? Will I ever see the end of these steroid side effects?
As annoying as those well-meaners can be, they do have a point. Staying positive can have a profound effect on your emotional well-being, allowing you to really thrive in the good-times and be best prepared to handle the tough ones. But how can you accomplish it when that darned glass always looks half empty?
Be Open About Your Needs
Sometimes we just need our pain and suffering to be acknowledged, and often our well-intentioned friends and family just don’t know how to do so. Talk to your trusted circle about your needs. What will help you feel more comfortable? Is hugging ok? What about environmental triggers? Be open and calm about communicating your needs. If a gentle hand squeeze is all you really want, it’s ok to let them know.
Make a List of Your Other Awesome Qualities
You are so much more than just your condition. You have a name, and it’s not “Eczema.” What other qualities make you, you? Do you rock any musical talent? Hilarious joke teller? Master cookie baker? Supportive friend? Pretty good at Jeopardy? Write it all down in a journal, and add to the list as often as you like. Glance at it in the tougher times to remember that you are so much more than your eczema.
Find Support in Other Sufferers
Talking to someone who actually understands what you are going through can be incredibly comforting, inspiring, and just generally helpful. If you haven’t been able to find a suitable support group in your area, go online! There are many Facebook groups dedicated to those struggling with various forms of dermatitis. Pop in and introduce yourself. It’s actually very beneficial to have online supportive friends in many parts of the globe; when it’s 3:00 am and you can’t sleep from the discomfort, it’s mid-day somewhere else. Go ahead and reach out; after all, you’re not waking anyone!
Focus on the Research
People do care. Science cares. Physicians care. It may not change things today, but new research is surfacing constantly. The better we understand the root causes of eczema, the more likely we can find a true cure. Every new study that comes out means another step closer to ending the suffering.
Finally, Cut Yourself Some Slack
You don’t have to stay sunny all the time. Even folks without chronic illnesses have good days and bad days; you can too. If the urge to lay naked in your room, smothered in emollients, with an endless stream of Netflix feels overwhelmingly desirable, go for it. No apologies needed.
Dealing with a chronic condition can be overwhelming, frightening, and discouraging. Finding ways to accentuate the positive can be incredibly helpful, and you certainly don’t have to do it alone. Reach out to friends, family, and online communities to help you through both the toughest eczema days and the blissful remission in between!