Eczema can be frustrating at times; it can be debilitating at others. Sometimes it feels like it will never get better and that no matter what you do it only get worse. The constant itching, the perverse satisfaction of ripping your skin apart until it bleeds because resisting the itch is a torture in itself, is a feeling you must know all too well. Having eczema is hard, it’s painful, it sucks. It wears you out, day in and day out, it chips at you mentally and physically.
It becomes easy to get lost in despair, and think that this is the way things will be. The thing with eczema, atopic dermatitis, seborrheic dermatitis, psoriasis, or any other similar skin condition, is that it can come out of nowhere, and for some disappears just as well. However, for those of us who aren’t so lucky, it sticks around, it lingers in the back of our minds, or reminds us of its presence with a new rash or a full blown flare-up. It’s easy to be mad at our body for putting us through such pain.
However, it’s important to remember that we are one with our body. Our skin is a reflection of our inner world, whether it be physical or mental. Eczema can be the result of a psychosomatic reaction to something like a life event, stress, anxiety, or lack of sleep. It can also be the direct result of our lifestyle, like for example, what we eat, what we drink, what we put in or on our bodies. Our skin is an indicator of our wellbeing, and through it our body communicated with us.
Maybe our body doesn’t agree with a new shower gel we used; this disagreement will show up as a rash. Once we remove the offending product, the rash will go away. Similarly, if we eat something that our body doesn’t like, it will show on our skin. At which point we would have to cut that food out of our diet, permanently or temporarily. Sometimes it is an overreaction, and the food isn’t harmful really, it is just our body that doesn’t agree with it. All we can do is pay attention to the signals and be kind to ourselves.
To me this is the first step to adopting a healing mindset. You have to be open-minded and prepared to listen to your body. You might not want to do something in order to get better, but it is important to recognize that your body knows what is best for you. Maybe you absolutely love a food that is making your eczema worse; you have to realize that by eliminating it you will help yourself. Eventually you may be able to reintroduce it back into your diet. What matters is that you give yourself the chance to heal.
The second step to adopting a healing mindset consists in you ability to accept the current state of events, and that it will take time for it to heal. Nothing worth having comes quickly. As we have seen with cortisone, it is a quick and temporary fix that will eventually sabotage your long term healing. Therefore, when you make the decision to get better, have faith in the healing process. Calm your mind, accept your condition as it is now, and know deep down that you will get better.
As you might have guessed, the third aspect of the healing mindset is to have faith in the healing process, because it will take time, you will have to be patient and strong, and not give up when you don’t see results fast enough. Having faith in the healing process also means having faith in yourself.
As I said earlier eczema may be the result of a psychosomatic reaction, stress, or anxiety, meaning that your mind or subconscious is affecting your condition. Therefore, healing eczema isn’t only about healing your skin, it is also about healing your mind, your soul, and your body form the inside.
That’s why I put so much emphasis on a systemic individualized approach that addresses all aspects of one’s life, and lifestyle choices. Consequently, in order to kickstart your recovery, you need to make changes to your lifestyle.
Your mind is more powerful than you think – believe in the process!