“Just stop scratching”

This is a blog from an eczema sufferer aimed at those who don’t fully understand it… (I ramble)

I have had eczema all my life. For those who don’t know what that is, It’s a skin disease, and NO it’s not contagious. It’s basically something makes me itchy, I scratch, the skin cracks and bleeds and then scabs. Unfortunately when a cut is healing it itches, causing me to scratch it again getting caught in a vicious itch-scratch cycle. When stuck in a cycle it’s really hard to heal and can sometimes become infected. And when It finally heals I’m left with a slight scar.

Generally speaking my skin is pretty good, it’s when I have a flare-up that shit gets crazy. My whole body will be covered in rashes and cuts and scabs and often needs medical intervention. It’s extremely itchy and quite painful. Bathing and sweating burns like you wouldn’t believe. When my inner joints have a flare-up I have trouble just bending my arms and legs.

I get a steroid shot every 3 months to help control the itch. I apply steroid based ointments and creams to my skin everyday and I’m getting allergy shots weekly. These all seem to help and I’m very grateful for that.

The one thing that gets me everytime is when someone tells me ‘just stop scratching’. I feel like exploding! To start with the itching is immense, like mosquito bite times 10. A lot of the time I scratch without thinking about it, I scratch in my sleep and on occasions have been woken by my own scratching. Now that’s just when I’m mindlessly doing it without thought..
When I am aware of it I scratch violently. And the whole time I’m scratching I’m screaming inside my head begging myself to stop, but I just can’t. I will cry while I’m scratching because I want to stop, it hurts, but I can’t because it is too itchy. I often feel like I’m outside of my body watching and waiting for myself to stop. I’m torturing myself.
I’ve scratched one spot for ten minutes straight (at this point I probably sound like a crack-head I know lol) and when I’m done, I wipe my tears, wash the blood of my hands and apply a cold wet cloth to the spot, and then apply some ointment or cream to a very delicate throbbing burning patch of skin.
When I’m consciously scratching I know the routine, I know the consequences, I know I’m hurting myself, I know what comes next, but I CAN’T stop. It’s awful.

I keep my nails short and try to keep my hands busy. I still itch but try to refrain myself from scratching because I know that once I start I won’t be able to stop.

I’m hoping this helps some people to understand the extent of eczema and how it effects people. And hopefully will prevent someone from telling a loved one to ‘just stop scratching’

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