My life with eczema
Living through my teens with eczema was not easy. Here’s how to make it easier for your teen.
By Tasneem Jaffer
Article originally in Parent24
I haven’t worn sleeveless tops since I was 5 years old. I’ve gone days without looking in the mirror because I was too scared of what I might see. It may not be a life threatening illness, although it feels like one.
Hi. I’m Tasneem and I suffer from eczema.
Eczema you say? That simple rash that people simply tell you not to scratch? If only it were so simple and easy.
Years of painful showers, sleepless nights, suicidal thoughts, crying rivers, avoiding cameras and beyond control itching. Your head tells you not to scratch, but your hands say otherwise. That few seconds you scratch causes days of damage. You start hating yourself, you control your hands, you control the scratching. Then why is it so hard to get rid of it?
I developed eczema at a young age on my arms and legs. It wasn’t much a problem because I could wear long sleeve tops and pants. When I was Grade 7 it all went downhill; I developed severe eczema on my face and neck. This meant sleepless nights of scratching and itching, which resulted in me falling asleep in class and unable to study. Because of this my marks dropped from As to Cs. I was a teenage girl with this skin disorder on my face, can you imagine the horror? In high school I was averaging 45% overall, barely making it through every year.
Through my high school years I’ve missed parties, birthdays, nights out; it feels as if I wasted my life and that I’m continuing to do so. I’ve become comfortable being alone. I go weeks just sitting in my room, not going out and not seeing the sunlight. I’m afraid of large crowds, it makes me uncomfortable.
Building the positive
Eczema sufferers are in constant need of motivation and compliments. Hearing ‘you look nice’ or ‘your skin looks fine’ makes me feel a million times better. No matter how much you try to understand your teen, if you haven’t suffered from eczema like they have, it is difficult.
However, it does not mean you can’t support them. Through perseverance and patience you can help your teen fight this.
Here’s a few simple tips:
• Remember to give compliments.
• Send them for the occasional massage or yoga lessons, an hour of relaxation feels amazing.
• Lie next to them at night and stroke their back or arm lightly until they fall asleep.
• Take them to the beach to get a breath of fresh air.
• Don’t let them cry alone. It really is the small things that make a difference.
For more on the medical aspects of eczema,visit Health24.
Do you or your child have eczema? How have you coped?