It has been a little over one month with out the use of topical steroid creams. So, that also means it has been about one month of HELL.
The first two weeks were great because I also cut out dairy and gluten so I figured I found the cure. I was being positive and meditating on the idea of my body being completely healthy and happy. Then came what is referred to as topical steroid withdraw or TSW. I also like to refer to this as the universe testing every single fiber in my body, my patience, my willpower, my self-esteem and even my sanity. I quit my job at Black Swan Yoga teaching, I took a week's break from work to just sleep, eat and take baths. The bath has become one of the only places I find refuge. I have bouts of intense itching to where it feels as if bugs are crawling an inch below my skin. It is impossible to not scratch, rub, or at least slap. I feel absolutely insane and when I finally and usually do give in and at least rub more oil or aquaphor (not gently either) until I eventually go into this fit to where I almost can't breathe and I seem to have lost control over my body because the rubbing then turns into scratching until I'm just exhausted. My weekends have turned into extra time to take baths, meditate and rest. I don't go out for happy hour with friends, I don't read books at coffee shops sipping warm chai, I don't go to late night sweaty yoga classes and I definitely don't go to bars. I wouldn't even dare putting on make up right now. But when I'm at home with nothing to do, I have found a lot of great blogs and support websites that give me hope and also make me realize I could have it a lot worse. (ITSAN.com is great) I used steroid cream on and off for about 3 years, and continuously for about 7 months straight with a steroid shot this last March. My eczema was never bad when I was younger, it was just two small spots in the creases of my arms that I got when I was 13. Now, it currently covers three quarters of both my arms, a spot on my forehead, my jawline, my neck and trickles down my chest and back. It's embarrassing and disheartening to even look at myself in the mirror. How am I supposed to cultivate self-compassion for myself when I look this way?
I am supposed to look past it. See below the surface. As I should in everyone on this planet. I am trying to find the light in every dark situation and when it comes to me dealing with TSW, I have realized it is a blessing in disguise. I am being forced to eat healthier, de-stress and I no longer judge a book by it's cover. I don't look at someone at judge them by their appearance, I have no idea what they are going through in their life and they have no idea what I endure every day. I would appreciate if people didn't look at me and only think of my red, cracking, oozing eczema so I intend to do the same when I see someone. I'm not saying I used to judge people all the time, but it's almost human nature to be superficial. We are attracted to pretty things. It has helped me realize that in order for me to be confident, I don't need to look perfect or even pretty right now. I just have to love myself for who I am, even right now when I'm going through this tornado of a detox.
On the ITSAN website (which is run by doctors who support not using steroids), it says it takes about a year to completely heal from using steroids. One year of healing my mind body and soul.