My name is Amanda. I’m 21 years old. And I suffer from chronic eczema.
I’ve had eczema my whole life. I don’t think I can recall a time my skin was under control. It’s just always been there. From the birth of my sister, to finishing high school, to getting married, I’ve always had it.
Eczema is considered an autoimmune disease. It is the result of your body being allergic to something and sending out the wrong allergic response. So where a normal person with allergies may start sneezing, have a tight throat, or watery eyes, someone with eczema just gets itchy and responds to the itch wherever it may be on the skin.
Eczema skin looks the way it does because it has cracked and broken and bled due to the amount of scratching and for how long. Sometimes even happening during sleep.
Many people with allergies, asthma, or hay fever have eczema, but not all. In fact, I’m more likely to develop asthma later in life due to having eczema. Eczema usually goes away during childhood, but some people suffer for the rest of their adult lives. It can be controlled, but never cured.
After the wolf and I got together, I remember a time when he asked me to scratch his back. This may have been the only time in 6 years that I’ve ever hurt him. I dug my nails into his skin like I would with my own to calm my eczema. I had no idea that “normal” people didn’t scratch that hard.
I didn’t even think anyone could ever love me with my eczema. It looked weird, people in elementary thought I was contagious, but it didn’t bother me so much. The wolf and I got together. He loved me despite my red skin or that scratching would keep us both up at night after we got married. He loved me knowing this was something that would be passed on to to our future children. He accepted me.
I’m not embarrassed of my skin, I don’t hide it. But eczema mixed with a sensory disorder is 10 times harder to cope with. My sensory disorder is touch related. So a lot of things things bother my skin easily. Putting on creams and lotions and leaving it there is troublesome and hurts.
Do I let eczema stop me? Absolutely not! I still go swimming in the ocean or public pools. Heck, I’ve even gotten a tattoo. There was no eczema in that spot, but it flared up a month later where the tattoo is. Still won’t stop me from any future ones though.
Helping keep it under some control is knowing what bothers it. For me, that’s pretty much everything: sun, water, dirt, smoke, dust, stress, math. Okay, maybe not so much math. But if I can use that as an excuse to get out of doing math, I’ll gladly take it.
My skin tells a story of good days and bad days living with eczema. We’ve tried so many things to help it. Some work better than others, but I would rather just be me. I don’t care what anyone says or thinks. I don’t want people to suggest remedies for me to try because I’ve probably already tried it.
I don’t want to be that girl with eczema. I just want to be Amanda.