If you have been following my blog from the beginning then you may have known that a few years ago I was suffering with a chronic skin condition called, topical steroid withdrawal, where its symptoms are physically disfiguring and extremely painful.
During the first half of my TSW journey, I spent a lot of money on naturopathic doctors, supplements and natural remedies but my skin kept worsening. So when it came to the point when I was bed ridden due to extreme skin pain, I stopped spending money on these things.
After I stopped, I did 8 things, and after 5 months I saw big improvements in my skin. Till this day I still do these 8 things.
I was no longer bedridden in pain, was able to resume living my life and experienced increasing peace.
Today, while I sometimes get eczema flare ups caused by triggers, I have been clear of TSW symptoms for about a year and a half.
Everyone’s recovery journey is different, and there are many pathways to full TSW recovery, but in this series I am going to share 8 effective things I did that helped me recover. Each of them are equally important.
Even if you don’t suffer from TSW, incorporating these 8 things into your lifestyle may help you experience increasing happiness, mental clarity and freedom in life.
1) CHANGING MY PERSPECTIVE
Sounds like a small thing but it isn’t. This was the turning point of my recovery journey.
I accepted the possibility that I may be living with this painful condition for the rest of my life.
Some people feel uncomfortable hearing that because they think I am saying “I am giving up hope”.
No – I am not giving up hope. I am giving up the expectation that I have to heal 100% in order to live and move on with my life.
I didn’t know how long it was going to take for me to heal. My skin was so bad that I wasn’t sure if I could heal in 10 years.
But I can’t sit there in misery waiting for that day to come.
Since there was a limit to what I could physically do at that time, I made adjustments to my lifestyle to prioritize my healing.
That also meant that I had to tweak my ambitions and goals to be more realistic for that period. Some things had to be put on hold. And that’s ok. Because mentally I am not stuck anymore in fear, depression, frustration and bitterness.
Which by the way are natural reactions to disruptive change in our lives. I think everyone has to experience denial and then grieve in order to get to the point of acceptance.
And once we get to the point of being able to accept the change in our lives, it frees us to move forward to building our new reality.
By the way, the length of time a person stays in each phase will vary based on each person. Changing my perspective helped me go through the phases quicker and get to the point of acceptance faster. See above image.
Unfortunately, I had to rethink about a couple of long term friendships that constantly triggered unpleasant emotions. With some friendships, I am able to communicate how I feel truthfully but with others, it wasn’t – and instead of trying to make or hope for someone to change, I had to distance myself from them.
What I’ve learned is that when times are good, its easy to let things slide. But when you are struggling in life, you gotta put your mental health first. And these were not easy decisions to stand firm on, BUT when the negative vibes are gone, I was able to sleep better, because I eliminated those situations where a bad mood will linger on for days after talking to them.
Eliminating unhealthy interactions gave me better sleep, increased peace and less unnecessary skin flare ups – which contributed to more days of calmer skin that provided a conducive environment for faster skin healing.
3) STANDING FIRM ON BOUNDARIES
Boundaries are like gates that allow others to access different parts of your life. It could be your time, your energy, your privacy, your presence etc.
You are the gate keeper of your boundaries
Everyone’s boundaries are different. Knowing, setting and standing firm on your boundaries is being kind to yourself and its liberating.
I started getting into the habit of staying true to myself and not committing anything that I don’t want to do or don’t feel like doing.
This gives me the time and space to do the things I want to do, or rest, or rejuvenate.
If you find it challenging to communicate your boundaries in certain scenarios, get into a habit of doing that without giving a reason why. The first few times might feel uncomfortable, but it gets easier with practice.
Here’s an example, I declined invitations to meet up when I am not feeling up for it.
Depending on the person, I’ll let them know that
– “I can’t”, or
– “I have plans”, or
– “I’m busy.”
Thankfully, most people are good with respecting boundaries and I appreciate them.
I used to feel like I have to explain to others what TSW is, but I stopped. It is unnecessary. At the most, I will say “I’m not feeling well” and that is usually enough for others.
So these are the first 3 out of the 8 things I did during the worst days of my TSW, and it was incredibly liberating. Every time I did them, I felt an immediate itch relief. The best part? They don’t cost a single cent.
There are 5 more things I did in that period which led to the big improvements to my skin healing and that will be in the later parts of this series. In the mean time, consider trying out these 3 things!