Announcement – My YouTube Channel

Drum roll please…

The day is here people! I finally managed to get my first video up on YouTube. After 2 attempts at uploading and much frustration it is now officially live on my channel.

As you can tell I was a little bit nervous about filming this video but I think my geeky streak came through!

So for those at you who haven’t been here that long I’ve actually been hinting at this for quite a while. I’ve always wanted to get into YouTube and create a channel that could be joint with my blog. Obviously at the moment I don’t actually have a channel banner, so if anyone has any tips for me in that department please let me know! But other than that I’m quite happy with how everything has turned out.

If you’d like to see more videos from me please don’t forget to subscribe to my channel and like the video. For my next one I’m thinking about doing ‘My Eczema Story’ what do you think? Does that sound like something you’d like to watch?

If you’re already on YouTube please leave a link to your channel below so that I can check it out!

Rachel x

Sharing A Secret – Skin Conditions And Mental Illness

Blogtober day thirty’s topic is very appropriate, and you’ll know why if you were tuned into BBC Radio 1 at around 6pm yesterday.

Today I’d like to talk to you about the link between skin conditions and mental illness. I’d like to share with you a secret – my own struggle.

If you’ve been here a while, or know me personally, then you’ll know that I have battled with pretty severe eczema for a couple of years now. You’ll probably know that it caused me a lot of physical pain. But, what you probably don’t know is that my mental wellbeing also suffered as a result.

Staph infection 1Right foot

Inflamed ankleStaph infection 2Left foot

My Eczema Made Me Depressed

During the worst periods of my eczema I battled depression, anxiety and complusive behaviours. In fact, I spent a short while on anti-depressents before I decided that it wasn’t the right route for me.

The problem with skin conditions is just that, they affect the skin. This in turn can effect our perceptions of ourselves, and the way that we think others percieve us, thus lowering our self confidence and increasing our anxiety in social situations.

This is exactly what happened when I was suffering badly with my eczema, and it still does happen to me. I struggled to get out of bed in the morning, I was disgusted and reduced to tears at the sight of myself, I felt hopeless and worthless, I became anxious at the thought of difficult social situations and I developed repeptitive behaviours as a way of coping with this. I still do now. Even now I find myself getting nervous and itching at my feet, or pulling fabric between my toes as a sort of way of soothing myself.

Things Need To Change

You probably wonder why I’m sharing this. I mean, I know Blogtober required me to share a secret today. But why did I choose to share this particular, sensitive one?

Well, it’s time for things to change. We need to remove the stigma that surrounds mental illness. Because mental illness is all around us. Fact: 17 in 100 people experience suicidal thoughts at some point in their lifetime. Fact: A 2009 study found that 9.7 in 100 people experienced mixed feelings of anxiety and depression that year alone. And these are just the figures that are reported, the real numbers are likely much higher because of the stigma that is attached to mental health.

The fact of the matter is that having a skin condition affects the way you feel about yourself. Eczema, psiorasis and acne are very visible conditions. It is true, occasionally people aren’t very understanding and can be mean about your condition. But the truth is that there isn’t enough support out there for people with these conditions. I battled with eczema for two years before I was placed on anti-depressents. Not once in that time did anyone ask me how I felt. Not once in that time did anyone notice that something was wrong, even when I broke down in tears in the nurses office having my feet bandaged one Friday night.

Even when I decided it was time to ask for help. When I couldn’t sleep and I was starting to cruise through life, days at a time, emotionless and lost. I was simply placed on medication and sent away.

I have decided to share this secret with you today because I don’t think it should be difficult for us to be able to talk about our mental health. I hope that this helps some of you to speak out, or listen, when it comes to your own and others mental health.

To learn more about eczema and depression, visit this article on netdoctor.co.uk.

Rachel x

Could This Be My Final Eczema Update?

I am feeling absolutely amazing today and I can’t help but share it with you. It’s been just over two weeks since I went to see the Doctor to get some treatment for the infection in my feet and they are almost unrecognisable.

I am hoping and praying that this is my final eczema update, and only time will tell if I manage to keep on top of them and avoid flaring my skin allergies. For the mean time I am so thankful that my feet are looking 110% better and I really am so much happier. My confidence is at an all time high, and like I promised in my summer of self improvement post I’ve been showing them off more than ever.

My Feet Today

Both Feet TodayLeft Foot TodayRight Foot Today

My Feet 2 Weeks Ago

Inflamed ankleStaph infection 2

Staph infection 1Left foot

There are no words for me to explain how wonderful it feels to actually be able to wake up without pain and look down at my feet without feeling depressed about the state they are in. I can’t remember the last time I was able to look at my own feet without feeling a little sad and hopeless inside, or the last time I felt confident wearing a dress that would show the eczema on my left ankle.

Everything just feels so much better without the constant pain and fear in the back of my mind. It’s like a wave has washed over me and taken with it every little bit of depression and despair. Admittedly I still have some discolouration and scarring as well as Oncholysis of my big toe nails but hopefully time will allow the scars to fade and my toenails to grow back normally. I will try to remember to update you on that!

Oncholysis

Oncholysis is the detachment of the nail from the nail bed, often caused by over manicuring, psoriasis and other skin conditions. In my case it has been caused by infection. The only information I was able to find online said you first need to eliminate the cause and then wait for the nail to grow back normally as it cannot re-attach itself to the nail bed. The only advise it gives is to keep your nails short and avoid irritants such as nail enamel and over washing.

Oncholysis

My smile is stretching from ear to ear right now – fingers crossed it stays that way!

Rachel x

Another Eczema Update!

I am so surprised at the improvement I have seen in my eczema over the last week. With just antibiotics and antihistamines they look so much better and less inflamed so I thought I’d share a quick update with you because I’m so excited about the possibility of them getting better in time for summer!

Eczema improvement 1Eczema improvement 3

Eczema improvement 2

As you can see almost all the redness has gone and the cuts are healing nicely. Obviously I still have eczema and discolouration but I’m hoping to see further improvement and possibly look into trying some more treatments soon.

What do you think, I really think they have improved significantly compared to this time last week (see below.)

Inflamed ankleStaph infection 2

Staph infection 1

Are you an eczema sufferer, have you got any flare ups right now and what treatments are you using?

Rachel x

Quick Eczema Update!

Since I was absent online yesterday and I’m not going to be posting very much eczema related stuff anytime soon I thought I’d give you a little explanation.

I went to the Doctor’s yesterday after having a very painful and itchy weekend and it turns out I have a staph infection and possibly also a fungal one. I am on 5 antibiotics a day and 2 antihistamines right now to try and help my skin heal a bit. Already my skin feels a little less irritated and itchy but as a result of this I have decided to leave it to heal for the time being.

My Doctor said it is a very bad infection and we need to get the timing just right to get rid of it. As soon as my feet are better though I will be reintroducing little eczema related trials and reviews into my blog. In the mean time still feel free to tell me your ideas and suggestions as I love hearing them and I did love trying them!

My Doctor said that these infections have not been caused by the Manuka Honey that I tried or any other cream. He thinks my immune system has been weakened as a result of being over-prescribed steroids and therefore there was no barrier in my skin which invited these infections in. For anyone who is easily grossed out please click away now!

My left ankle was extremely inflamed with pus filled blisters in my eczema and creeping up my leg. I also had open wounds on both feet that were oozing.

Inflamed ankleStaph infection 2

Left foot

Right foot

Staph infection 1

As you can see it has been a very difficult few days but I am on the mend now!

Rachel x

An Open Letter To My Eczema

I’ve seen so many of these type of posts online, and I find them so empowering and inspirational. It’s a great way to show people that they are not alone as well as confronting some of your own problems. Everyone copes in different ways, and as a late teen who was suddenly not in control of her body or life I didn’t. I hope that anyone who is having a bad day with their eczema or any other condition can read this, take a step back and know that they are not alone. Sometimes it’s okay to struggle or let your strength slip. So here it is, an open letter to my eczema.Eczema Eyes

Dear eczema,

You brought my world to a standstill. You swept me off my feet and showed me that not everything is within my control.

Dear eczema,

You showed me that to some people beauty really is skin deep and you taught me that to those people I am nothing.

Dear eczema,Eczema Feet With Shoes

You introduced me to your friends isolation, desperation and depression. I couldn’t shake that sinking feeling.

Dear eczema,

You woke me in the middle of the night; itchy,sore and ready to give up. Not even my sleep gave me an escape.

Dear eczema,

You showed me I was shy, afraid and shallow. When I didn’t feel beautiful, nothing else mattered.Bandages

But, dear eczema,

You showed me that I could stand on my own two feet and find answers for myself. You taught me to stop relying on others and get the information I needed on my own.

Dear eczema,

You taught me that superficial beauty is just the tip of the iceberg that I am. I am beautiful, I am kind and I am worthy. And, that those people who thought I was nothing didn’t matter.

Dear eczema,Patch Testing

You inspired me to share my story, to help people and to reach out so that other people didn’t have to feel alone.

Dear eczema,

You don’t have that hold on me anymore. There are good days and there are bad, but with each one I learn and grow into a strong young woman. I appreciate that people can love me despite what I perceive as my flaws and that I can return this love unconditionally. I don’t need to push those people who love me away, for them dear eczema you only served to enhance my inner beauty.

And so dear eczema, I am prepared to spend the rest of my life with you. But not at my side, you will fall to my feet and become something so small and insignificant in the bigger scheme of things that I forget all of the pain, all of the struggles and only remember how far I have come.

Rachel x

If you’ve written an open letter, please link it down below! I would love to have a read.