Sometimes, I think I have a handle on everything—that I’ve finally achieved acceptance and balance. And then I get knocked off balance by some new ailment.
In this case, I went to the dermatologist for what I hoped would be a routine skin check. I had a pre-cancerous mole removed before, so I go every six months (I believe that skin checks early are important for catching skin cancer before it gets bad! I highly recommend them although I am not a doctor or medical professional and I cannot give medical advice) to get my skin checked by the dermatologist.
I was hoping this would be routine and I could just check it off my to-do list and move on. Unfortunately, I not only have to get another mole removed and hope it’s not cancerous, but I also now have eczema. It’s not a big deal in the scheme of things, but it is one more thing to care for and manage, to buy a prescription for, to remember to take care of, to include in my list of daily self-care tasks.
I’m hoping to figure out how to manage it and avoid making it worse or make it spread.
It’s exhausting. At the same time, I’m trying to limit how much medication I take and need to keep track of, I find out I need another two. At the same time, I feel like I have a better handle of my physical and mental illnesses, I have another ailment to keep track of.
I worry that it was the result of my anxiety and OCD—that I’m physically making myself sicker with worry that I can’t control or haven’t controlled as well as I had hoped. It’s a vicious cycle.
This experience was a setback and not as temporary a setback as I would have liked. Now I’m working on accepting that.
Here are three ways that I’m doing so:
- Extra therapy with a specialist
I’m meeting with an additional therapist who specializes in the physical manifestations of anxiety to help me manage my physical anxiety symptoms. I’m hoping that directly working on my physical anxiety symptoms will alleviate my current symptoms—like racing heart rate, nausea, and panic—and help prevent developing new ones. I’m not sure how eczema may be tied to this, but I don’t think it will hurt to try to limit my inflammatory physical responses to anxiety to try to keep my skin calm.
- Editing my routines
I’ve been reading Gretchen Rubin’s book Better Than Before, which is all about developing good habits and eradicating bad ones. I already have routines around medication and hygiene and now I need to add in additional skin care. I’m using the add-on method that basically argues that a good way to adopt a new habit is to add it to an existing habit. That way you’ll remember to do it. I’m adding the lotion to my morning routine, which already includes taking medication, cleaning and moisturizing my face, and brushing my teeth. I’m also adding it to my evening after show routine, which includes many of the same morning routines. This way it’s easier to remember. I’m also working on remembering lotion in the middle of the day—I’m hoping tying it to my lunch and mid-afternoon tea practices will work!
I struggle with meditating. I ruminate whenever I have a free moment and I focus on my body’s aches and pains when I try to be still and in tune with my body. This does not make for a good foundation for meditating. In years when I’ve been sleep deprived, I even fell asleep trying to meditate. But I’m trying to give it another try. I’m using the Calm app for guidance. I like it because it interrupts enough that I remember that I’m trying to meditate and not just sit and worry for ten minutes. Each session also has a theme that I can focus on when I can’t still my mind. I feel like I’m practicing in a way to prepare to fully meditate one day. And like trying to change my medication and hygiene habits to include extra care for my eczema, I’m trying to make a habit out of this, so maybe over time, tiny bit by tiny bit, my mind will quiet down and I will be able to focus away from my body’s aches.