“I have an autoimmune disease called atopic eczema. In people’s mind, eczema is like “oh yeah, I also have small scales and it’s itchy from time to time.” But this form of eczema is really disabling, it erodes the quality of life so much. It’s like your whole body is itching intensely, it’s burning, overheating. Sometimes you scratch yourself until you bleed. Sometimes I can’t sleep until 8 in the morning, I’m rolling over, scratching myself, I feel hot, sometimes I even sleep with ice cubes.
It changes your mood, your social, sexual and professional life. It has an impact on everything really. It’s a difficult disease to live with, you don’t feel like seeing anyone, you start isolating yourself, and in the end it turns into a vicious circle. Some people loose all contact with others. It’s also something that is very much linked to your appearance. Because you notice your skin is ugly. You don’t feel well, no one can touch you. It’s also because others don’t know about this disease and you have to explain why your face is all red, or why your skin is flaky. People are like : “oh, but don’t worry, that’s nothing, just stop scratching it, I also have that sometimes.” But it’s not the same thing!
Eventhough I was born with it, I still have such a hard time to accept it. There’s no remedy for it so far. There are really expensive treatments, injections that I do. It takes the eczema away a little, but then you have a lot of side effects. It ruined my kidneys for example. I think it’s also connected to my hypersensitivity towards everything. The skin is really your contact with the world, it’s in between the world and you. And I used to really have a hard time with this contact, I couldn’t find the right distance with others. I think it really determines me as a human being. I don’t think I’d be the same without eczema. I learned to be brave. It’s so tough mentally.”
(Servette | translated from French)