12 Reasons Why People With Eczema Are Awesome
To all my eczema and topical steroid friends out there, you will relate to some, or possibly all of these character traits. Your experiences are grounding, character building and they are inevitably making you undeniably a very cool person!
To those who know someone with eczema; let this list endow you with the appreciation of how remarkable your eczema-covered friend truly is.
1. They have the kind of empathy that money cannot buy
Empathy: The ability to understand and share the feelings of another.
Have you ever met a person who seems to lack empathy for people or situations? Although they can be great people on many levels, they have a sort of ‘coldness’ to them. Their inability to grasp simple emotional or social understanding towards the reasons for certain acts or behaviours can at times seem amazingly frosty.
Emotional intelligence is definitely not a given, nor can it be taught overnight!
By its very definition, empathy is something which requires a ‘shared’ feeling or understanding.
This type of comprehension can come about in a number of ways; one of which is by having experienced trauma personally.
Empathy is like warmth to a person’s character. It is kindness to living creatures, our planet, and situations, good or bad. It is a deep level of insight and compassion which just cannot be faked.
In a world where selfishness and superficial gratification are rife, empathy is a rich and precious commodity.
2. Ya’ll are fashionistas!
You will not find someone more creative with their wardrobe than a person needing to hide their skin on the reg. Creating weird and wonderful ways to cover up and still look good is an art form, and my eczema peeps have this one locked down.
For example, did you know there are over a dozen ways to tie a scarf? Also, were you aware that there are summer scarves and long sleeve summer dresses which are designed to keep you cool? I didn’t either until I came across this advice from someone who was living with eczema. Thanks, funky eczema pal!
You may even be able to pick them from a crowd by their signature layering of light-weight clothes, stylish hats, scarves and funky gloves which they don at every opportunity.
Basically, their fashion game is tight.
3. They are mature beyond their years
From all of the missed opportunities, suffering and psychological challenges an eczema sufferer meets through their lives, this School of Hard Knocks education means kids sort of had to grow up quickly.
People living with eczema spend more time, money, emotions, and overall energy on their health than most people could ever imagine. Every aspect of their lives can be affected, yet they still need to keep up with life at the same pace as everyone else. There are no free passes on this ride.
What this means is that they become very aware of their resources at an early age and finely develop the ability to achieve a constant balance in an ever turbulent life.
Flippant use of their energy is not only unwise but also detrimental to the stability of this already delicate and challenging life balance.
Being calculated, calm, prepared, and always 10 steps ahead takes a lot of work to master and endure - work, commitment and a holy-Mary-mother lode of maturity.
With the weight of the world on their shoulders, eczema warriors are indeed mature beyond their years.
4. They are less judgmental on appearance
For people who receive negative treatment on account of how they look, after a while the world begins to look a little different.
Eczema is a disease after all, and when you wear this disease on your skin you can bet you’re going to cop some unpleasant judgement from those around you. As much as people choose not to believe this fact, it is unfortunately very true.
It starts early on in life when the brutally honest ‘healthy child’ makes the ‘eczema child’ the brunt of the joke, the target of bullying, or the obvious object with which to recoil from.
Then as the eczema child grows into adulthood after years or torment, lack of friends and name calling; maturity is at their doorstep and unfortunately the appearance related problems don’t disappear, they just change disguises.
Living with an obvious and unpleasant skin condition like eczema, you develop not only empathy, but also an intelligence that penetrates beyond appearance to witness a person’s true character and value. You can’t buy this sh*t!
It is not only something that comes naturally to this person, but the thought of judging someone on how they look becomes a repulsive concept that will conjure feelings of negativity – as it should!
In a nutshell, people with eczema are cool because their vision has depth, they are less likely to get caught up in superficial B.S., and they most likely will raise kids who are taught compassion and acceptance.
5. They have an appreciation for life and the smaller things that most people don’t
All those little things in life that others take for granted like bathing, putting on make-up, wearing normal underwear or socks, drinking a milkshake, sleeping, sitting on the grass, going to the beach, and even just concentrating on holding a conversation. These (and more!) are all very simple things in life which the eczema person does not take for granted.
You’ll find when the eczema skin is behaving; their smiles shine brighter than the sun. Their appreciation of everything is heightened because, well, life is incredibly amazing and that old adage that you don’t know what you have until its gone perfectly explains why eczema sufferers enjoy the simplicities of life so much more than everyone else.
Get an eczema kid on a good day and watch the sparkle in their eyes when they can brush their hair without it hurting or put on their shoes without breaking the skin. Or catch a topical steroid withdrawal warrior the moment they can use moisturiser again without searing pain.
Warning: You should not look directly into their happiness as it may cause temporary blindness.
Their child-like excitement and appreciation for the smaller things in life is why the eczema sufferer is truly awesome.
6. They don’t get caught up in trivial matters
When you know what real struggle feels like, the world of ‘He said, she said’, ‘I hate untangling Christmas lights’ or ‘ehhh I look fat in that photo’ becomes as ridiculous as caring about the colour of rocks.
There are only so many hours in the day and only so many f*cks to be given, so the eczema sufferer learns to ration out said f*cks in a manner befitting the importance of the issues presented. And anything less than the threat of death is not worth investing their energy on.
After all, energy is a very limited resource for the eczema warrior.
7. They can sniff out a phony at 100 yards
Yep, you thought you could ‘fake it till you make it’ huh? Turns out you can’t fool the eczema sufferer, no matter how good of an actor you are.
You have to look at it like this, someone who has grown up with eczema has had to use every trick in the book to be, or at least ‘pretend’ to be, normal.
They have mastered the art of disguise, created a wardrobe to hide every inch of their bodies, used makeup to cover their inflammation and shift people’s point of focus, and they learnt how to essentially fake happiness when their skin is making them miserable.
They have adapted their personas to either make them invisible in a crowd or the polar-opposite drinking, dancing, life of the party to overcompensate and feel more accepted.
What do you assume happens to the person who is ashamed with how they look and feel and desperately want to be just like everyone else?
They know how to ‘fake it’ like they know how to scratch - well!
I believe this is perhaps the eczema person’s sixth or maybe even seventh sense. We may never truly know.
8. A bath is beyond pleasure
I urge you to listen in next time you hear them soaking their weary bones. Just listen. You will most likely hear the kinds of sounds normally reserved for… well… you get where I’m going with this.
I don’t mean to be crass, but this is the truth.
When you’re battling with sometimes 24/7 chronic itch, pain, flaking or ooze, then slipping into a nice warm bath with some itch-relieving salts or clay in the mix is better than anything. It’s like waking up from a nasty dream and finding yourself in the comfort equivalent of a womb.
To have the stinging and itch simply melt off your body is enough to make your eyes roll back and uncontrollable vocals echo through the room.
How many other people do you think get such a full body pleasure when they hit the bath water? Oh to have this relief!
So next time you get upset because they’re spending too much time soaking, go easy on them, they’re just getting their rocks off, and that is pretty cool.
9. They find ‘healthy’ substitutes for any food you can dream up
Food allergies and intolerance is unfortunately common with people suffering from inflammatory conditions like eczema.
Some of those people choose to continue eating inflammation causing foods, but the rest who decide to adapt to suit their circumstances will inadvertently be the people you should keep on speed dial.
You name the dish, they will have an equally as good, healthy substitute. This includes substitutes for all of the eczema-triggering foods, which for the uneducated seems like everything!
They have replaced cheese, milk, gluten, eggs, refined sugar, processed foods, the lot! You want pancakes? Try egg free sweet potato or banana pancakes. You want cheese? You wouldn’t believe how cheesy vegan cheese is. You want ice cream? OMG have you not tried raw frozen banana ‘nice-cream’ yet!?
There are literally thousands of recipes online that cater for basically any food intolerance you can dream up, and the eczema ‘chef’ knows them all inside out, which I think is kinda awesome.
10. Having a good skin day is like winning the lotto
You will not find a happier and more full of life person than the eczema person on a good skin day. Roll down the window and their head will be out of that bad-boy faster than you can say ‘Ah, our clients are still in the car with us’.
Staying with the analogy of dogs, have you ever noticed how unrelentingly excited a dog is when its walk time?
Well waking up on one of those random days where for some unknowing reason your skin is behaving, this produces the same level of uncontainable explosive-like excitement.
The fact is that when you suffer constantly, having a good skin day IS as good as winning the lotto. Ask anyone on a bad eczema day or going through topical steroid withdrawal what their one wish is in life. It is never a big house, a shiny car or a new wardrobe. It is health. And for those who already have it, I pity that you may never experience this level of gratitude.
11. They can exude excessive spontaneity
Little do most people realize, but those with eczema are often bombarded with images, ideas, and offers to do fun ‘stuff’, have new experiences etc. but due to the restraints of their skin and health, they sadly cannot do them.
This doesn’t mean however that these ideas get thrown onto the trash pile. They are neatly filed away for the day, nay, the minute their skin improves - bucket-list style!
Their list is full, it is extensive and rich with experience and everything they have dreamed of. Travelling, camping, hiking, spelunking, climbing a bridge/tree/volcano. It is awash with new cuisine, people, and adventures.
Eczema sufferers often dream of such amazing beauty, adventure and life fullness and await the day they can make these dreams a reality.
So here’s what happens: They wake up, it’s a weekend and their skin is actually looking good (ref point 10).
They have the time, the energy and the resilience to take on a kayak down the river or *insert your own adventure here* without battling their usual traumatic skin attacks.
Neither hail nor snow will stand in the way of hearing that car pull out of the driveway at 7am, or calling up their friends to invite them on that 20km forest hike they’ve been talking about for years, or doing the group text suggesting they all pile in one car for an epic road trip to find the best and most remote cheese factory possible.
This spontaneity is awesome and may seem to the outsider to be sporadic and unpredictable, but let me assure you, this fun spontaneous person is just the tip of the iceberg. Just wait until they are fully healed!
12. They know more about their health than most doctors you have met
They've probably already told you how their doctors seem to be asleep during their consultations. That the only thing they cared about was what strength steroid or antibiotic to prescribe.
With no investigation into any of the causes and having no opinion on diet or any other natural means of healing, many doctors suffer from this tunnel vision, limiting their solutions to nothing more than these immune system suppressing and gut flora destroying drugs.
This is unfortunately a very common narrative for many an eczema sufferer and because of this unfortunate hole in the allopathic system, we have been driven to take the bull by the horns and educate ourselves.
It isn’t until we begin our search that the answers start becoming glaringly obvious and the mysteries unravel.
We end up spending countless hours online, combing medical websites and forums, emailing people from around the world, researching, cross-checking, reading books, and digging through endless anecdotal testimonies to piece together this puzzle.
Next, we apply what we learn on ourselves. We get the tests, meet the professionals, change our diets, habits, and lifestyles and after years, sometimes decades of trial and error, we find ourselves able to not only understand the complexities of ‘how X=Y’ or ‘why A leads to B’, but we also gain a deeper understanding of the causes and treatments.
This means a lot of us end up healing ourselves better than any doctor, dermatologist or steroid cream ever could.
The other bonus is that we can also pass on this information to help others struggling with the deficit left by our standard medical system.
So if you ever want to understand the complexities of this condition, call your eczema friend, grab some popcorn, sit back and let the galaxy spew out as they dazzle you with their Einstein-like intellect.
Just to note, not all doctors or medical fields operate in the way I have described here. I have spoken to quite a few professionals who are much more liberated and broad-minded from the traditional western mindset. My point is merely a generalization, which has stemmed from mine and many others common experience.
As we grow up, our surroundings and experiences try to tell us that being different is bad, and so we believe it. We try to push it away and hide it with clothes, makeup and smiles.
What we don’t realize is that by being different, by having struggles and from learning through experience is that this condition does not define us. It doesn’t even represent our worth as a person.
What it does is shape our character by teaching us some of the deepest, most important lessons in life that a human can ever learn. Gratitude, empathy, kindness, true joy and so on, are not only the common result of living with these conditions, but are also the attributes shared by life-long meditators and Buddhists.
So for all my eczema and topical steroid withdrawal friends, what pains you today can actually be shaping your futures into something incredible. Flowers will smell sweeter, time will feel precious, hugs will be felt deeply and your growing strengths will shine so bright that it may even become contagious.
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