*Update: Thanks for everyone’s kind words! I wasn’t able to share this at the time – but the main reason I was on several detoxes (that I mentioned below) is because we were planning to grow our family & I was planning to get pregnant. I ended up getting pregnant right away, after I ended the detoxes (which was perfect timing) and I’m thankful for that. Thank you for all your support!
Hi all, I know that I rarely write personal life updates, but I thought it was time to post one (rather than writing my once-a-year-life-updates).
Maybe you’ve been following me for some time now, and you’ll know that I usually share advice, natural eczema remedies, or something in general to encourage you (because, believe me, it brings me joy to even encourage just one person here).
Sometimes I feel like I receive so many emails and messages from all of you asking for help, that I need to give an “illusion” that I’m doing well, too. But, my life is not always so perfect.
In fact, the last few months have been tough. Really, really tough.
Last year, I decided to try some cleanses to detox the junk that I put into my body (especially with all the meds, steroids, and junk that I used to ingest).
A “cleanse” basically helps your body rid itself of toxins – especially since we’re exposed to harmful substances all the time (i.e. through food, products we use, our environment, etc).
My body, unfortunately, does not react well to cleanses.
You may have heard me say this before, but your body will express itself in the biggest areas of genetic weakness in your body. For me, that’s been eczema and has always been. Not everyone will react during a cleanse, but if your body can’t get rid of the toxins fast enough, it may express itself through your skin and show up as eczema).
I did 2 cleanses last year, and both times they turned out so bad (not hoping to scare you, of course!).
While I was at the end of my cleanse back in November/December, my skin started reacting like crazy. I would scratch the wounds on my skin at night without knowing it. My body was soooo dry all over. I’d wake up every morning in pain.
It was so painful to move throughout the day. Even getting ready was a big challenge for me.
It felt much easier not to be alive (than to be alive), if you know what I mean.
But, waking up and getting ready was already the biggest challenge from the moment I woke up. Not only did it take me a really long time….but I was already so defeated before I even left my house.
Partly because I was in pain…
It was so painful to bend my knees, move my arms, or other parts of my body wherever there were wounds and rashes.
….and on top of it all, the extreme dryness was just torturing me.
I’d sit in my car and feel so depressed because of all that I went through that morning. I remember trying my best trying to fight off the negativity.
It takes no emotional effort for most people to get ready, but for me, it took me all the emotional effort I could muster just to do simple tasks that most people take for granted.
I think the part that made it harder was that it brought back so many memories of what I’ve been through…and the trauma of the memories really affected me as well.
On top of that, some days I’d get to work and just hit a slump. I’d hit a slump because of how hard things were; I’d try so hard to focus and do my work, but I’d just sit there and sulk in the pain and discomfort that I was feeling – even the discomfort of just moving or putting my arms on my keyboard.
I know, it’s only eczema, right? It shouldn’t be that painful.
But the worst part was that my face would get so dry throughout the day and it would feel frozen. Like…so tight and frozen, that I couldn’t move it properly.
The hardest part was going to work pretending that everything was alright, when it wasn’t anywhere near that.
In fact, the hardest part was talking to people at work, acting like things were normal, when it was so painful to move or even do small things. It made me realize that we take for granted being able to move properly or walk across the street without having to think about how our body carries us.
I truthfully even considered taking disability leave because I was in so much pain. But I wanted to see myself heal without having to do it (kind of silly, I know).
I remember trying to keep it together for the whole day, and when I finally got home, I’d melt into a ball and just crumble from having to keep it together at work for so long. This went on for what felt like eternity.
If you’re anything like me….maybe you’ve been through this so many times that you just don’t want to burden people with what you’re going through. Or, maybe you don’t want to draw attention to your situation, or you feel that most people around you won’t understand what you’re going through.
There were times I’d come home and just melt into my husband’s arms and just let it all out.
To make a long story short, it’s been a long, tiring, and difficult few months.
It’s been traumatizing, too.
Even as I write this post, it hasn’t been an easy day for me.
Over the last few weeks, my skin has slowly been healing up nicely again.
In fact, it’s healed a lot compared to what it was when it was at it’s worse (and trust me, a great practitioner makes all the difference!).
There are certainly up and down days (although I wish everyday was sunny with clear skies), but I’m very grateful that my body is slowly restoring back to normal.
I wish the healing could happen quicker though.
But if it’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s this:
I really believe that pain can teach us something…if we learn to listen to it.
And as painful as a situation can be, it can also get our attention or give us a wake up call.
Pain can also help us grow our “emotional fitness” level, which is an incredibly important trait to have during hard times.
Another person can be going through the exact same situation as you, but they can be feeling a lot worse off than you if you don’t train your mind to be “emotionally fit.”
The more you train your mind to stay strong, and the more you feed it with encouraging things, the stronger you will be through this (and, trust me, it will help a lot – which is why I wrote my new eBook on The Power of Thoughts).
Emotional fitness is just like physical fitness – except it’s a muscle that can help you bounce back quicker in hard times when you practice it.
Plus, it can help you control your reactions during flare ups, rather than letting the flare ups control your emotions.
And, although eczema is largely physical – it’s such an emotional battle as well.
During the hardest times of my flare up, I was frustrated that I didn’t have the luxury to go through my day without having to work at being positive. If I didn’t work harder than everyone else at being “positive”, I knew I’d hit a slump and fall into depression. Literally.
It felt really unfair.
But maybe, sometimes, your biggest set back is a chance for your greatest come back.
Sometimes it’s the way we bounce back from a situation that makes us stronger. Sometimes the more difficult the situation, the stronger you become.
The size of your struggle can often reveal the size of your character.
There is no “test” without a “testimony.”
And, you can’t be a fighter without fighting a good fight.
And maybe, just maybe..
The glory isn’t in how hard we fall, but the glory lies in how much we rise back up after the fall.
There were times that I literally felt like this “struggle” took everything away from me.
They say that if you don’t have your health, you have nothing. And that’s what it really felt like to me.
I felt like I had nothing and I wasn’t able to do proper things that people usually enjoy.
When I was 15, I always wanted to dance and it was my dream to do so. But I wasn’t able to, because the flare up’s and the pain were just so excessive (way more excessive than they were this time), that I wasn’t able to pursue it.
I always felt like it was an opportunity that was “robbed” from me.
But I just want to encourage you that there is a timing for everything.
Trust the process of life. Trust God (if that’s who you believe in).
There is a time when you can redeem everything back.
I lost my ability to dance when I was younger, but I’ve picked it back up again and going hardcore at it now (woot woot!). I’m dancing at least 1-2 times a week to make up for all the lost time.
Eczema is such a tough battle – so remember to do something where you can show yourself self-love and self-care everyday.
Do what you love, with whatever strength you can. Even if it’s just dancing around your room for a few minutes or watching a silly movie you love.
Life is short.
Make sure to also find a support group.
I’m going to be honest, I don’t have many people in my life that can relate to what I’m going through.
I have less than a handful of people and I feel so guilty burdening them each time. Find people that you can trust and confide in (hey Jen, you’re one of them, if you’re reading this!). 🙂
Be thankful. Everyday.
Gratitude changes your attitude.
You can become wealthy when you’re grateful and you see the abundance in your life, even when it may seem like you have nothing.
Be easy on yourself, and know that you’re doing the best with what you can.
And one last thing – be proud of how far you’ve come, because no one else was able to bring you so far except you 🙂
Give yourself more credit than you deserve, and write down the good things you like about yourself. It’ll keep you in check for the moments when things get tough.
And lastly, thanks for letting me open up and share something I normally wouldn’t share about myself. Thanks for letting me take down the “illusion” that everything always goes well in my life. I feel much better after being able to open up and write this post. 🙂
Now, your turn – how is your skin doing lately and how do you cope with your eczema? Comment below.
P.S. I have a few projects coming up that will hopefully help more people that visit this site and also give them a place of support.
Abby is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist who helps clients achieve optimal health. She is passionate about seeing people use health and nutrition to transform lives. She hopes that her experiences and knowledge can help educate others on natural remedies that will help eczema. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, orYouTube for more updates!
Abby!! What a wonderful post! Thank you for sharing such a hard battle that you were fighting. It shows that everything isn’t perfect all the time and through the struggle we should still give thanks, stay positive and look at the situation as a good thing in our life, a lesson of sorts. Praise God you’re feeling better and I look forward to reading more of your encouraging posts. I’m also so glad that you can confide in me as I can with you, having someone to relate to really makes the difference. Love you girl!
Thanks Jen!! And amen I agree with you…love ya girl! xo
I know it wasn’t easy for you to write this post and share it with all your readers, but I just wanted to tell you that it was such an incredible blessing for me to read it today… As I was reading some of your post out loud to my husband, he said, “You could’ve written that… it sounds exactly like what you’ve been going through.” I’m currently going through TSW and it has been brutal. I actually have to take a leave of absence from work because the itching, pain, and lack of sleep has gotten so bad. I am an elementary music teacher and I get such joy from making music with my kids, but it has been so difficult for me to keep up with everything. I was so sad when I realized that taking leave is wise decision right now and it just added to the physical and emotional distress that has been building up over the months. But then I read this post, and my heart was so comforted and encouraged (God knows exactly what we need at exactly the right time, doesn’t He? :] ) I am so thankful to have a strong support system (which includes my husband, mom, and mother-in-law, to name a few) and to also know that I am not the only one going through this! During the pockets of time during the day when I’m not in so much pain, I’m trying to keep busy with my songwriting, blogging, and just being creative. Thank you again for being so honest – you are SUCH an inspiration to so many!
Hey Hannah, thanks so much. That means a lot to me. And sorry to hear you had to take leave from work…hope your skin gets a lot better during this time! Don’t give up hope. I’m glad you have a great support network around you 🙂 P.S. Nice blog you have there as well!
My struggle with extreme eczema has been going on for 4 years now. I stopped using steroid creams about 3 weeks ago and in searching for ways to deal with the eczema flare that followed I found your site and information on TSW. It gives me hope that things will get better! It is so helpful to know that you and others understand! Thank you so much for what you are doing and for sharing the struggles of eczema!
You are so welcome…hope you get it soon and I’m glad you have new found hope 🙂
Cecilia Waggoner says
Thank you! I could have written this myself– that’s pretty much what I’ve been going through for the last year+. (To this extent of seriousness) The weird thing about eczema is, (or at least for me) that I feel like it shouldn’t be a big deal. That its just a skin thing, that I’m not actually sick or injured so I shouldn’t be such a baby about it, or talk about it to anyone. So much of my life is just pretending that I’m normal, when in reality just getting dressed is a terrifying and painful endeavour. As a mom of a toddler and a new baby, it has been unbelievably hard for me to function. Taking care of myself is hard enough, but also taking care of 2 tiny humans who don’t understand why you break out into tears randomly is pretty depressing. It makes me feel like such a failure. I think back to when my life was normal, and I can’t believe I took such a blessing for granted. Wearing normal clothes, not being in constant pain with itching, burning, oozing, etc., not being embarrassed of how ridiculously scary I look– all of that seems like an unattainable dream now. I can’t see this ever ending but I know something has to improve at some point. I admit to being lazy in my efforts, diet wise, so I know the only person that can change that is me. I bus find it SO hard to be so restrictive with food when I’m so tired from my kids. Anyway, sorry for the rant- but I’ve never really talked about this and it’s nice to know other people have similar struggles/feelings. Thank you for writing this!
I totally understand! It’s even harder when you have 2 kids to take care of – so kudos to you for doing all of that! I’m glad that you could relate to my story and I hope your skin gets better. That’s what we’re all here for – to support each other 🙂 xoxo
Dear Abby, there is so much that we have to go through!
My eczema condition has settled pretty well after some interventions. But after since I got pregnant some months ago, I took things for granted and not pay attention to my diet and lifestyle (of course also giving in to some junk food cravings) and eczema is back again and worse. I guessed, that during pregnancy, with the tiny one inside grabbing more nutrients than my intake, the deficiencies is taking a toll on my skin. There is so much discipline in maintaining a good skin! No excuse for me to be lazy.
Similar to your cleansing, I think pregnancy is also a phase where the genetic weakness showed up, so my eczema condition heightened. Pregnancy itself is a stressor, so I am putting in effort to exercise for better sleep and general wellness. I have also try to pay more attention to taking clean food, eliminate diary, taking probiotics and omega 3. Things are gradually getting better.
As my partner also has eczema, it is likely that the genes will be passed along. I strived to improve my condition for the better of my baby inside me.
Thanks Oslyn! That’s actually one reason why I started the cleanses as well…I’m so glad that your skin has gotten better ever since you’ve done some interventions though. There’s always something that can be done to help it. Just have to find the root cause. 🙂 Hope your skin gets clearer and clearer everyday! xo
Phototherapy has been helping me a lot! I remember you did a podcast with Dr. Lio and he mentioned it. I bought one and it has helped my severe eczema sooo much!! For my mini flares that I get from time to time… I use Dr. Aron’s regime which has helped me too!!
Luke 22:28 “You are those who have stayed with me in my trials!!”
Oh Abby – I just wanted to mention…I too tried elim. diets… even coffee enemas!! Tons of supplements…but NONE of it worked 🙁
I’m thinking my eczema is a type/subset that is more auto-immune rather than provoked by toxins.
But the phototherapy has really calmed my skin… almost down to 90% relief!
This above group… so not trying to imply to use his regime…but there are over 8000 followers of
moderate to severe eczema sufferers that are giving tips and advice on this fb support group.
Sometimes I go on there just to not feel so alone 🙁
Oh! one more thing i wanted to mention and i’m wondering your thoughts on it.
The bacteria Staph is a huge provoker in eczema. It spits out a delta toxin that makes us more inflammed! What are your thoughts?!
Definitely got to kill the bacteria…there are natural methods as well aside from antibiotics so it doesn’t affect your gut. Sometimes bacteria in the body can prevent healing as well.
What are natural methods to kill bacteria on skin?
Hi Sophie! That’s amazing. I’m so glad that phototherapy helped you a lot!
You said things got better. When and how long did it take for you to be in that better place?
Thanks for sharing your experiences.
This time around? Probably at least over a month to start healing… it was really slow though. I’ve had times where things healed incredibly quickly too, though. I guess it depends on how your body is doing/coping which affects the healing rate. 🙂 How is your skin doing?
Hi Abby! It’s so brave of you to come out with this post. Not a lot of people understand how much it takes to just get up in the morning and get ready for work, and it’s really encouraging to know that I’m not the only one going through all this. I realized that healing eczema is a marathon (with a lot of bumps along the way), and sustaining the process can be really daunting. But reading this reminds me that things are not going to be ok all the time and that’s fine.
But really thanks for this. You have no idea how much your story and the stories you posted here helped me in my own healing journey.
Aww, thanks Keina! That’s so nice of you to say. I’m glad that my stories here have helped you on your journey 🙂 And glad that you understand how I felt! Hope your skin fully heals soon! xo
I’ve been off steroids for a year and three months now (time flies.) Went to see my doctor yesterday who wanted to prescribe me Azathioprine (an immune suppressor), just because my hands are a little bad. The medical profession is crazy! He said “you can use steroids for one or two weeks with no problem.” I said, “no you can’t, they put toxins into your body and you will go through TSW afterwards all over again.”
I went through a bad patch during winter, very dry skin due to central heating and some weeping on a night. But like you (touch wood) my skin is recovering again now, due to the change in weather. I have a very strict diet, basically the same as you. I no longer take supplements of any kind, if you eat correctly (salads, smoothies etc…) you don’t need them. Waste of money. Not even Vitamin D, all you need is a 15 – 20 minute walk.
My skin is mostly clear due to diet and no more steroids. The hardest part is finding a natural moisturizer, all moisturizers tend to irritate me after a few hours. The skin goes red and itchy. This includes Shea Butter, Aloe Vera, Coconut Oil etc… I’ve just ordered a new one to try so fingers crossed.
I had to cry when I read your update… I can really relate to this. Keeping yourself positive and strong throughout the day, while we are feeling the opposite inside…
I think you are very brave for taking those 2 cleanses in a year. When I’m reading about all the horrifying detox experiences, I’m really afraid. I’m doing the elimination diet since march 13 this year.
What if it get worse and…how much worse can it get? Will I scar myself for life? What I wanted to believe is that everyone is going through this ONE BIG detoxification period and than everyone is healed! Now I realize that this build up of toxins has to be removed overtime… Can you do other sort of detoxes without having this big flare ups?
Bethany Walker says
Oh Abby, this sounds terrible and sounds like you’ve definitely been through the ringer lately. My eczema hasn’t taken kindly to cleanses in the past either and so I just stick to a healthy diet as best as I can in general. I’m dairy and gluten free with considerations of going vegan and I’ve found it’s best when I stick to this diet. I do slack sometimes and have an extra cocktail or piece of chocolate but my eczema is that sensitive that it reacts to every mistake I make! Hopefully, things are looking up for you!
Hi Abby. Thanks for your website, your transparency and your willingness to help others. You’re amazing. I’ve been following your website for a few weeks now since I started TSW 2 months ago. Did you ever go through that yourself? How horrible. Anyways, just wanted to say thanks. We all need encouraging words. God bless you! Oh and one question. C as n I use the soap nuts even if I’m allergic to most nuts?
This post really help people with eczema to have hope, to be strong, and to communicate with the god.
I myself still suffering from severe eczema hands and arms, it got worse that rashes spread on my thighs.
It’s been 3 months now out from work, ( TSW) and I think I’m still in a healing crisis it healing then 3 or 4 days scary flares up again it happens 3 or 4x now from different months, could be toxins and or those steroids that’s doing it. I really hope that my skin clear up permanently and get back to normal.
It’s very difficult that my skin is super dry, cracking that can easily bleed and sting so bad that i have to stop what I’m doing but to sit down or lay down again and keep moisturizing (coconut oil) my hands and arms a hundred times, close my eyes and cry because of the pain ( I put all my strenght to move).
Everyday is tough and you say it all in this post like other says it’s exactly what they want to write or say and I agree I feel the same way. It made me cry reading and your open letter to eczema sufferer including myself.
Thank you so much for posting, being open, and encouragement.
I literally cried all through reading this. Because I can relate to every single word.
Every single word.
For me, eczema came from nowhere two years ago and has been the most traumatic experience of my life. Painful, open wounds, my skin is constantly falling off, I’m embarrassed, I itch non-stop and I haven’t had a good night’s sleep in two years. I’m exhausted, but somehow I always manage to stay so positive because I know the power of happy thoughts.
But every now and then I need a good cry, and this blog has enabled me to do this. So thank you.
Now I’ll go back to my happy space and continue with my quest of healing.
Thank you and sending love and light to everyone battling with eczema xxxx