One year ago, November 2012, things were radically different. I was still (happily, I thought) married, living with my husband in our nice little house, working full-time and going to school part-time for my masters degree. BUTTTTT I was also in the throes of my struggle with the demon known as Topical Steroid Withdrawal, though at the time, I didn’t know yet that steroids were at the complete root of my problem.
If you refer back to my March post, “Living with TSW – A Day in the Life Of My Skin”, that pretty much encompassed what my life was like for months at a time.. TOTALLY. OBSESSED. WITH. MY. SKIN.
Let me tell you about what you have to look forward to when you conquer the TSW demon, and describe some things that I do now that I NEVER would have thought of being able to do with TSW. I wanted to make this post because I noticed I have some new followers lately (Welcome!!) and so I wanted to send some more encouragement out to those that are still toughing it out. Plus I haven’t posted in forever due to a crazy busy work schedule, and I still want to have this be a relatively active blog.
- My skincare routine is almost exactly the same every day and is COMPLETELY predictable as far as products and how long I take to get ready. With TSW, I never had any idea of how bad I would look when I woke up, and so I would wake up extra early to allow more time to pick off all kinds of unsightly flakes, moisturize, put on concealer, etc. I KNOW now every morning, the same healthy, rash-free face is going to greet me in the mirror…what a relief.
- I have no problem trying new products on my skin, things with ingredients that I thought I was “allergic” or “intolerant” to before. I just received a body lotion sample the other day that had both beeswax and shea butter – things I thought were high irritants to me – and I used this lotion on my legs with zero ill effects. I’m still very cautious of my face and don’t use new lotions or products there, but my body is fair game for experimentation now, to see just how UN-sensitive my skin has returned to since healing.
- I can and do eat whatever the heck I want without worrying if the food is affecting my skin. This doesn’t mean that I always binge on junk – I chose to go vegetarian a few months ago (for more moral and personal reasons than pure health reasons) and most of my meals are actually vegan just because I like to eat plant-based and I feel good eating that way. However, it’s great not to have to chase down various things like bananas, chocolate, cheese, onions, or garlic, and obsess over avoiding them or try to do restrictive elimination diets. And if I do want some greasy pizza, I ENJOY and think almost nothing of it in relation to my skin.
- I can go swimming and be in a swimsuit in public. One of my goals for a while has been to actually learn to swim, so that I can get involved in triathlon races, because I already love to run and bike. In the throes of TSW, anyone that saw me in a bikini probably would have run for their lives, fearing whatever nasty rash I had was highly contagious. I actually regret not taking a full-body picture of myself in a bikini when I had raging TSW, and comparing it to now, since the difference is so drastic. I went from 50-75% covered in grossness to 100% clear. So now I am learning to swim and I happily splash around un-self-consciously in the pool.
- I don’t have to carry tiny mirrors, tweezers, and little tubes of moisturizer everywhere I go, and I am no longer obsessed with constantly checking my skin out in the mirror.
- TSW doesn’t dictate what I can do for a job anymore. In my current job, I now work in the fitness industry. I get up-close with all kinds of people and I speak with them at length… it can be an intimate type of job and one where you can feel like you’re perpetually on display. Because you’re a fitness professional, people are looking to you as the picture of health, which means having a good body and nice skin. I had been offered this job for MONTHS, but I never could have done it confidently before because of my skin. I truly feel for anyone that has TSW and has a job where they have to interact with the public. TSW made me stay a LOT longer at my previous (unfulfilling and not very challenging) job, because I didn’t interact with the public there, I could hide behind my desk and just talk to my co-workers.
- TSW is not going to be the limiting factor in stopping me from [someday] dating, getting close to guys, or being in a relationship. Emotionally I feel I’m nowhere near ready to do that yet, but if and when I am, my skin will be no issue. And I really have no skin qualms about someone seeing me in any state of undress, besides the usual little body-conscious things that probably 99.9999% women think about themselves (“I have to suck in my stomach” or “My arse could really use a bit of a lift”).
If anyone else that is post-TSW has any thoughts to add on contrasting their own personal then and now, I’d love to hear them!