Eczema: Having Thick Skin

People often say it’s necessary to have thick skin. For Fatima, the expression is especially true. Born with severe eczema, a common dermatological skin infection that usually begins in childhood, the young mother has spent years trying to find a remedy for her inflammation – one that has left her with unimaginable discomfort. While different stages and types of dermatitis affects nearly a third of the country’s population, statistics indicate the condition has a tendency to be more common in infants than in adults – suggesting that many outgrow it as they age. For Fatima, though, her already-troublesome situation only worsened over time. After year of trials – from oral medications to anti-fungal cream – it seemed nothing could help assuage the intensity of her condition. After finding an ostensible cure in topical steroids, though, Fatima’s hopes had been renewed: “I was told by my doctor that it (topical steroids) would work wonders. And it did,” says Fatima. “Until I came off of it.” Suddenly, Fatima was faced with an onslaught of new issues: Due to the weakening of her immune system – a side effect of the medication – Fatima made the choice to withdraw from the medication her physician had prescribed her. The withdrawal, however, made every-day life debilitating: “It was a struggle to get up. It was very painful to even move,” Fatima tells us, holding back tears. “I thought this was going to be my life forever.” After many painful days and sleepless nights, Fatima found herself immersed in an online community dedicated to supporting those with something called TWS (Topical Withdrawal Syndrome). “I felt really alone and scared. I thought no one understands this, because I didn’t think anyone else was going through this,” she admits, recounting how she’d felt - before learning she wasn’t alone in this at all. “If I never reached out and put my story out there I don’t know if I ever would have come across this Syndrome.” Today, Fatima is still in the process of healing from her TWS, but finds strength in herself and the community she’s helped foster. After admittedly enduring months of depression, she credits the online group with helping guide her out of the darkness, and into a life filled with light. “People ask me, ‘why are you so happy all the time?’ It’s because I’m here. I wouldn’t be here if I wasn’t making those conscious choices to be more positive,” says Fatima. “I’ve learned to advocate for yourself, love yourself, and just be yourself.” Tune in Wednesday, March 11th, on For the Hayters to watch Fatima’s episode and learn more about her experience as a young mother with a challenging condition.

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