Recently, Stephanie C. shared her story with ESC after attending our Life with Eczema virtual events. We thank her for being so honest and open about her experiences growing up with eczema, and invite you to read her story here:
My two older sisters and I all had eczema as babies. My sisters grew out of it, but I didn’t. All the oatmeal baths and bandages in the world couldn’t take away the hate I felt for myself, and resentment towards others, including my parents. I don’t think I had the capacity or know-how to understand how hard my parents were trying. I forgive myself for the way I acted and felt, and I know they did their best.
It wasn’t easy being a kid with eczema. My parents didn’t have the support there is today. The Eczema Society of Canada has amazing resources you can print out, learn from on their website, partake in seminars, education, etc. I wish there was the amount of awareness and inclusion for people with eczema back then as there is today.
When I was asked to write my story down, I sat down with my mom. I said “Mom, can you believe how far we’ve come?” and I proceeded to show her all the resources on ESC’s website. My mother’s eyes started to swell, and she smiled at me. It was a tender moment between the two of us. As an adolescent, I tried to find my way between acne and cracked bleeding skin. Bullying was brazen and fierce at this time, and trust me, I’ve heard them all. I thought I was going to be picked on for the rest of my life and would always be ostracized or outcast. Then my eczema got worse and more challenges started to arise. I couldn’t just wash the dishes, I couldn’t go out in the sun for too long, I couldn’t go anywhere overnight without my suitcase of creams and inhalers, I couldn’t wear certain fabrics, I couldn’t wash my hands anywhere without bringing my own soap. I was beginning to see I had bigger problems than just what people thought about me. I would think “how am I going to function in life? How am I going to have a meaningful career?” It took a while to find my way, and at times I felt like I should have “Yes, I’ve tried cream” tattooed on my forehead.
I am now an adult and still trying to find my way, but I am happy and managing my eczema. I am still learning and looking forward to seeing where this journey takes me. Since I’ve started participating in ESC’s events and reading the stories from others, I feel a sense of belonging and pride. I don’t feel so hateful towards myself, and I am more kind to others.
Now, when someone tells me about how I NEED to try the newest craze: coconut oil, I just smile and say, “Thank you, I’ve never heard that one before.”
On behalf of ESC, we thank each and every person who shares their story as a way to build community, give support, and make others feel better and more confident in their skin. Want to share your story? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org today.