I’m sharing my personal skin condition story, thoughts, and feelings in partnership with Promius Pharma as a paid spokesperson. The stories, thoughts, and opinions below are expressly my own. Promius Pharma is not responsible for any other content on this page.
Eczema has been part of my life for as long as I can remember. Growing up, it impacted all areas of my life–from the foods that I could eat, to the activities I was involved in and how I felt about myself emotionally. Eczema was my identity; it was how I defined myself.
But in November 2014, my perspective shifted. I remember telling myself, “Enough is enough.” I was going through one of the worst flare-ups I had ever encountered. I was unbearably itchy and covered in rashes from head to toe. To make matters worse, my treatment wasn’t really working, and my eczema just refused to go away.
This moment was the turning point in deciding that eczema was no longer going to control me: I had enough of it telling me what I can wear, enough of it telling me where I can and cannot go, enough of it making me feel insecure and not as beautiful as others with “normal skin,” enough of people staring at me. I had enough of not being able to grow out my nails and be girly like my friends.
I had enough of feeling like I was the only one in the world who had eczema. I had enough.
For the first time in my life, I became curious and passionate about finding answers–anything to show me that I wasn’t the only one living with eczema. So I Googled the term “eczema,” and, to my surprise, I found other people who had the same skin condition. I can’t express to you the overwhelming joy and relief I had. It was like receiving the Christmas present I had eagerly been waiting for all my life! I came across personal blogs, Facebook groups, articles, and books that discussed every aspect of this skin condition.
This gave me the ultimate courage and push I needed to accept my eczema and finally begin being comfortable in my own skin. So I began implementing this new mentality. I decided to turn my eczema into an opportunity. I began to publicly share my story so I could be someone else’s Google search, and be the example of what’s possible when someone accepts who they truly are, despite their condition. My goal is to be the hope that my fellow eczema warriors lack. I want to be the voice for those who are afraid to use their own. And, most importantly, I want to educate others and change the way others perceive eczema.
So how do I do it? Until recently, only my close family and friends knew about my eczema to a certain extent. I had never really expressed to anyone the impact eczema had on my life physically, emotionally, and socially. Sharing all of me with the rest of the world sounded scary. Were people going to look at me any differently? Were they going to judge me? Was my eczema going to be accepted by the general public? These were all of the questions running through my mind.
Then I finally built up the courage to post a picture of myself on social media with a long, vulnerable caption, sharing my life with eczema. And to my amazement, the response was unbelievable! People were loving and accepting! I even had people let me know that they, too, had eczema. I came to the realization that people loved me for who I was, with or without my eczema. This moment became a crucial reason in becoming an eczema patient advocate.
The more I posted about my eczema, the more messages I received in my inbox. People from all over the world began reaching out to me and acknowledging me for sharing my journey. For many, I was like their gas station, filling up their tank with love and courage to do the same. I also decided to partner up with different health organizations like the National Eczema Association. They have become the entryway for me to take my advocacy to another level– from working with local legislatures and doctors to putting on workshops for kids with eczema, and more!
I couldn’t be anymore grateful for eczema. It’s a bit weird to say, but it’s true! It has created a deep passion within me for something greater than myself. It has taught me how courageous, resilient, and powerful I am. It has shown me how to turn an obstacle into an opportunity. I wouldn’t be where I am at today if it weren’t for eczema.
I want to support you in becoming comfortable with your own skin too and showing that your skin matters! Throughout my journey, I have been practicing what I know as a “healing mindset.” I’ve come to the realization that the physical burden of eczema is just half the battle. The other half is our mentality and how we perceive eczema. We cannot control how our eczema affects our skin, but we can and do have full control of our thoughts about it.
Below are some tips in building up your very own healing mindset. These have greatly supported me along my journey in overcoming many of the challenges I described above.
1) Know that you are not alone.
When I realized I was not the only person in the world going through eczema, it changed my whole perspective! It humbled me in knowing that there was at least one person who understood what I was going through and sometimes that was all I needed.
2) Don’t be afraid to ask for support.
Once I knew there were more of “us,” I felt comfortable in sharing comments, concerns, and any questions I had. If I needed anything, and I mean anything, there were others there willing to provide an answer for me.
3) Change your thoughts, words, and actions.
I realized how much my negative thoughts would impact the severity of my eczema. If I was stressed out and worried, my skin would worsen. If I was happy and at peace with myself, my skin would clear up. So I began thinking, speaking, and acting positively towards my eczema.
4) You are an eczema warrior (not sufferer).
Similar to changing my words, I changed my relationship with eczema. I no longer see myself as a person who suffers from eczema. I live with eczema; it is a part of my life, but it no longer controls me.
5) Share your personal story.
Sharing my journey with the world brought me a sense of relief. I was no longer hiding behind my clothes, makeup, and a screen. I wanted to show others who I was, vulnerably and authentically. It makes me feel good knowing that I am making a difference in the world and that I am someone else’s Google search.