THE BLOG

Why Eczema Is a Gift

19/09/2014 12:22 BST | Updated 18/11/2014 10:59 GMT

When I got my first patch of rough, dry, sore skin I didn't think much of it. I was 20, the doctors said it was pretty normal after a tonsillectomy and sent me away with a tube of Dovebet steroid cream.

Then the patches started to spread. They appeared on my torso, under my arms, on my back, in my hair, on my neck - and the worse bit - on my face.

At this time I was working in an office in London going to regular meetings and presentations and a face full of dry flaky patches was the most humiliating and embarrassing thing I could have imagined.

As my skin got worse, I started to deeply hate and resent it.

It stopped me going out. I didn't want to socialise. I didn't want to see anyone. I didn't want to go to work. I spent so much time hoping it would disappear, fuming that everything I tried didn't work and wishing I could put a bag on my head. I felt like a monster.

I tried everything to heal my skin. I changed my diet, I changed my skincare, I tried lotions and potions, I did detox after detox. I went to see loads of therapists - acupuncturists, osteopaths, nutritionists, colonic therapists, counsellors and kinesiologists. I became a woman possessed.

Every morning I would look in the mirror and stare at my horrible, ugly skin and want to cry and scream at it.

Then something changed. I started to understand why I had a skin condition and I began a journey of self-exploration.

It is National Eczema Week this week and to raise awareness around the topic I would like to offer 5 reasons why I now feel that a skin complaint like eczema or psoriasis is in fact a gift.

  1. Skin is a reflection of how we feel about ourselves. My condition revealed to me that the hatred and resentment I felt towards my skin was actually how I deep down felt about myself. Once I stopped being so darn angry with myself my skin started to heal.
  2. Skin shows us what is happening with the digestion. I had a terrible digestion and when I cleaned up my diet and got my bowels to move properly, my skin got better
  3. Skin usually indicates theres something going on with self-confidence, especially when it is on the face. I thought my skin was stopping me going out, but when I looked deeper, I discovered I didn't want to go out and socialise because I felt socially awkward and my skin gave me a lovely excuse to stay in and watch the telly
  4. A skin condition is not trying to harm you, embarrass you or isolate you - its trying to communicate with you. There is something in the body that needs attention and finding out what that is will help you become healthier and happier
  5. We can let our conditions define us or we can let our conditions provide doorways to self-healing and self-exploration. Without my skin condition I would never have left my stressful London job to become a therapist myself. I would never have thought about the food I was putting in my body. I would never have explored my emotions and cleared things in my past that were holding me back
  6. It's been a 15 year journey with my skin. Largely the patches have cleared up, occasionally I will get a new one which usually is an indication that I'm not caring for myself or not looking at something in my life and it's a nice reminder to look inward.

I now look at my skin in the mirror and see how beautiful it is. I look at my skin in its entirety rather than just focusing negatively on the little pink patches. My skin is soft and olive coloured and I simply love being in it.

If you suffer with eczema or psoriasis I encourage you to sit with the idea that your skin condition is a gift in disguise and it will take you on a magical mystery tour of self-discovery if you are up for it.