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1 Year Update!

Hello everyone!  I have been very lax about posting on this blog and it has been time for an update for a while.  I just realized that yesterday I passed the ONE YEAR mark of being steroid free, so this is timely!

January 23, 2013 was the day I eliminated topical steroids from my life.  My blog took a turn from trying to chase down what was causing my “eczema” to documenting the progress of healing from topical steroid withdrawal.  In addition to my blog, I began keeping a regular diary in Microsoft Word to have an additional uncensored place to vent about my skin, my moods, my emotions, the divorce I was going through, etc.  It’s really interesting to look back at my private diary and see the raw emotion and frustration that was centered mostly all around my skin.

In an excerpt from a few weeks after I stopped topical steroids, I vented about the things that eczema had taken from my life.  I lamented not being able to wear whatever clothing I wanted since I needed to cover up all my rashes; the fact that I had to give up “vanity” girly things like wearing perfume, dying hair, and wearing jewelry so as to not irritate my skin; and I mourned the fact that I felt completely disgusting, un-sexy, and un-confident, and nothing like my old self.

(Almost) one year later… My skin remains mostly healed from when everything cleared up this summer.  My hands sometimes get a little bit cracked and dry, but that’s probably more due to the fact that I wash my hands a lot at work and the fact that it’s very very cold outside right now and EVERYONE’s skin is probably dry, eczema or no.

My legs have also been a little bit more itchy and rashy than they were a month or two ago, but again, I think this is due to the cold dry air outside and then wanting to be in the warm air or taking hot showers inside.  Overall I’m pleased with my healing because the winter months used to wreak absolute havoc on my skin.  Interestingly enough too, my body temperature regulation is such where I don’t really get super cold anymore at all.  For the past 2 or 3 winters after being outside, I would have to rush inside and warm myself by a heating vent.  I suspect this was also due to the steroids but I didn’t realize it.  I have barely sat by the vent once this winter so far, and in fact I happily march around the house sometimes in SHORTS!

This past month I have had some really fun times that I thought I could never enjoy again when I had eczema and TSW rash so badly.  I had written about my Victory Shirt, and how I would know I was truly healed when I could wear this sparkly little top with complete confidence.  I got the perfect chance to wear it at some New Year’s Eve festivities with friends.  I went out, I drank, I danced, I flirted quite shamelessly with guys, I got complimented, I looked and felt great, and I had a blast.  Anyone that has gone through TSW has to permit me a little bit of vanity here, I’m not a vain person but we all want to feel and look our best and it’s wonderful when you can be in that moment, and even more poignant to appreciate it when you know how bad things used to be and everything you had to go through to get here.

I also started hanging out with a guy that I’m sort of interested in, and one of our hangouts was to work out and then go in the hot tub.  THE HOT TUB!  A year ago, or even 8 months ago, there would have been no way that I would have let anyone see me in a bikini because my skin was so bad.  My skin still has slightly better days than others (maybe stress related too) and I wouldn’t want anyone to be scrutinizing my skin really closely because I have a lot of scars (not all from TSW, just from years of eczema), but that was another huge indicator that all is back to “normal”.

And you know what else?  I think I can finally say that I am completely and utterly over my ex-husband and am no longer emotionally affected by the fact that I got divorced.  I never thought I would say that!  Physical and emotional healing is such an amazing process.  I have come to the mature and wise mindset that I am thankful I was married, I am thankful for the times I had with him, and I’m thankful that I got to be in love for the duration I was, as I think it is going to set the stage for an even more awesome and fulfilling love for the future if I find someone.  And if I don’t find someone, I am okay being fabulous and single and independent because I just KNOW this is going to be a great year for me!

Reflections on 100 Days of TSW

I made it to triple digits!!!

celebrating-womanhood1

I have to say that around the 90 day/three month mark is when things really started taking a turn for the better for me.  I overall just FELT better and more like myself, even if I didn’t have huge, vast improvements.

Right around 90 days I experienced another flare cycle (my third one), but each time, the flare-up has been successively less severe.  I measure the “flare cycles” by the areas where I probably used topical steroids the most, cumulatively – knee and elbow creases, and on/behind shoulders (and also my groin area – it got really bad, though I never used steroids here).  These are the areas that ebb and flow in regard to flaring, then getting dry and flaky, then getting white and smooth and clear, and starting over.

My face, neck, and stomach, for the most part, have taken a trajectory of simply slow improvement with a bit of flux here and there, rather than the same flare cycle.

I didn't really get the crazy peeling skin like a snake, my skin was more flaky, but I like the flakes because that seems to mark the end of a flare and the start of a calm period for me.  Once I rubbed all these flakes off my neck and moisturized, it was good!

Late April.  I didn’t really get the crazy peeling skin like a snake, my skin would mostly just have a ton of tiny flakes like this, but I like the flakes because that seems to mark the end of a flare and the start of a calm period for me.

I am really happy with my progress so far!  Besides the pictures in this post, here are some more observations of healing, compared to, say, about a month ago.

  • A month ago:  I had to wear a scarf to work every single day because my neck was so red and raw.

    This is how my neck USED to look.  Great improvement!

    This is how my neck USED to look in the beginning of TSW.  Compare this pic to the one with just the little flakes above. Great improvement!

  • Today: I can choose to wear a scarf because I WANT TO – not because I have to.  Thank goodness for this, because spring is here and the other day it was like 80 degrees, a scarf would have been maddening.  I can wear any neckline of top that I want, as my neck only needs a little bit of concealer to smooth out the slight redness in parts.  And I can wear necklaces again too.
  • A month ago: I was constantly tugging my sleeves down over my hands and wrists because they were so ripped up.  I would hide my hands in meetings or if people would talk to me – it became like an automatic reflex.
  • Today: I can actually have my hands completely exposed and be okay with it, even wearing 3/4 sleeve shirts and bracelets and watches again.  Yes, no one is going to ask me to be a hand model any time soon, and my forearms still have many little round scars or scabs, but these and the uneven skin tone on my hands is only apparent if you’re really up close.  I can’t wear short sleeves confidently just yet but I will get there too!
    My hand near the end of March.  It was rough, red, dry, and scabbed.

    My hand near the end of March. It was rough, red, dry, and scabbed. I had really red hands at some points, but I don’t have a picture of those.

    My hand, a few days ago.  Looks almost normal!

    My hand, a few days ago. Looks almost normal from here!

  • A month ago: My earlobes were cracked and oozing and flaking.  I always made sure my hair was covering them so no one would notice, and wearing earrings was completely out of the question.
  • Today: I can wear earrings again!  My earlobes are still a little flaky in the mornings, but almost normal.  I have heard that nickel is a common “allergy” among TSW people – that is, when they get the patch test or allergy test, nickel shows up on there frequently, so I have been very careful about not wearing “cheap” earrings, I only wear one pair of studs that is hypoallergenic.  Actually, this jogs my memory – I used to be able to wear any type of earrings, I had a bunch of cheap ones, and then my ears started getting sensitive.  I didn’t link this with TSW until thinking about it just now – it has to correspond since it happened around the same time and had to be a result of my skin getting hyper-sensitive all over.
  • A month ago: Most of my face was very red.
  • Today: There are still areas that sometimes are quite red – namely around my eyes (I expected this, as I used TS around my eyes – bad move, no one should ever do it!!) and some patches on my cheeks and jawline – my left side has always been worse than my right.  BUT, other parts have almost completely cleared.  My entire forehead was red, now it’s nearly clear.  I had a huge clearly marked patch on my face’s right side, and it has vanished.
Here I am looking sad and red, with my entire forehead, all around my eyes, and into my cheeks all red.  Oh and hey, I just realized that the way I blacked out my eyes makes it seem like they are uneven.  I promise you I do have symmetrically placed eyes, as if I didn't have enough issues with TSW.

Here I am looking sad and red near the end of March, with my entire forehead, all around my eyes, and into my cheeks all red. Oh and hey, I just realized that the way I blacked out my eyes makes it seem like they are uneven. I promise you I do have symmetrically placed eyes, as if I didn’t have enough issues with TSW.

Here I am looking way less red.  In this picture I look almost normal.  I do still have some red patches but wow is this an improvement.

Here I am looking way less red. In this picture I look almost normal. I do still have some red patches (you can see my cheek and neck are a bit blotchy) but wow is this an improvement.

  • A month ago: I didn’t have much energy and felt like I was just in “survival mode”.  If I managed to be able to go to the gym or get outside and exercise, that was a stellar day.  The only exercise I could really do was walking, or MAYBE running or weight training once in a great while if my skin didn’t hurt too much and I was in a decent mood.  Really I just wanted to sit in bed or sit in the bath constantly.
  • Today: I have a consistent energy level!  I feel energetic and motivated on most days and I WANT to work out on most days.  It also helps that it doesn’t hurt to move anymore, as opposed to when my knee and elbow creases felt like the worst sunburn and just walking was painful.   I realized my “old self” was coming back the other day when I woke up at 3:45 AM, scratching (it’s not the crazy deep itch of bad TSW anymore, just a dry skin type itch), and my first thought was, “Well, I’m wide awake, maybe I could go for a run.”  I didn’t run, in case you’re wondering – I may FEEL like I can do boundless physical activities like start training for another marathon, but I need to not overdo it and harness that energy into productive workouts that build up gradually and don’t burn me out or overtax my recovering adrenals.  I do get really tired after exercise, so I am cognizant to not rush into doing too much.
  • A month ago: Sweating would make me go crazy, itching and ripping at my skin.
  • Today: I can sweat and although it does still make me itchy sometimes, it’s not completely insane, and my skin has become more resilient so I really don’t damage it if I DO itch.  I still haven’t done any TRULY really sweaty activity, which I’m a little nervous about trying, but I will try it soon and see what happens.

When you’re in a period of healing (or one of the lucky ones completely healed), it is somewhat easy to forget about the tears, the sleepless nights, the constant clawing at yourself, the flakes everywhere, and the feeling of being trapped as a prisoner in your own body.  That’s why I have this blog – I want to move on, but I don’t need to forget – because knowing how bad I was makes me appreciate how I am today.  My only regret with TSW is that I didn’t start it sooner!  If I had started back in September when my skin first began to act up, I would be around the 9 month mark by now!

I could write more but I will stop here.  To all my fellow TSW warriors, encouragement and hope goes out to you.  It does get better!

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TSW, Day 82 – Punished for Doing Nothing Wrong

I just walked past a newspaper that was lying on the table and that headline is what caught my eye, “Punished For Doing Nothing Wrong”.

It made me stop and think.  THIS is exactly why TSW hurts so much, emotionally and physically and mentally.  Because all of us, in good faith, accepted these steroid creams prescribed by doctors.  We just wanted to manage our eczema and get it under control.  It is not our fault we’re in this predicament of feeling trapped in our itchy, red, bodies feeling hopeless that they’re ever going to emerge looking new and fresh and healthy-skinned.

If I was a drug addict, who had consciously chosen to pollute my body with heroin and meth and crack, and was now reaping the repercussions of withdrawal, then sure, in many ways, I probably deserved what was coming to me.

But that wasn’t me.  All I was, was an atopic girl with a history of mild eczema who didn’t want to have rashes.  I was even one of the few that would literally sit down with the folded medication info that comes in the box and READ the whole thing!  I wanted to be informed about what I was putting on my body.  But it never says in those pamphlets, “Hey, if you use these for more than a few days, your skin may get horribly addicted and you’re going to have to deal with a huge variety of disgusting, unsightly, maddening symptoms that are a whole lot worse than plain ol’ eczema”.  Nowhere in the printouts for Desonide, Protopic, Elidel, or Mometasone furoate does it say these things, or even HINT at the notion that your skin can get addicted and then go through a withdrawal.  I can tell you this because I READ ALL OF THEM.  And most doctors never tell you this either.  And this is why we’re all here.

I guess I am continuing to get better, even though it’s so true what they say, that it’s like watching hair grow.  TSW now is still unsightly and completely annoying, but a little more tolerable.  If I’m alone or in bed, I still itch almost constantly on some days, and I still have to have all my limbs covered (and my neck, on most days).  I just want to wear what I want to wear, instead of having TSW dictate my personal style (or current lack thereof, lol).  I still have a “skin curfew” where I need to be getting ready for bed by 8 or 9 pm at night or I get stressed out and itchy.  I constantly want to sleep a lot and eat a lot.  With the eating, I’m not sure if my body really needs many extra calories as it rebuilds, or if I’m just seeking to fill an emotional hunger.

Anyway, some of you nice blog friends wanted a pic of my new short hair, so here you go 😀  I have concealer on in this picture so my face looks good!  I just feel the need to point out I don’t have skin this clear yet naturally!  🙂

haircut edited

 

 

8 Weeks into TSW

The thought I’ve been rolling around in my mind is the possibility of taking a short leave of absence from work.  While of course this would be beneficial for my skin, I’m thinking of it more because of the divorce.  TSW causes a lot of wonky things and erratic mood swings might be one of them, but I’ve had days where I feel I simply can’t go on and have to go sit in the restroom multiple times a day just to calm down.

Yesterday was one of those days and by the end of the day, I was absolutely CONVINCED that I was going to bring up taking a leave of absence.  Actually thinking seriously that I could do that made me feel a lot better about things, giving me an ‘out’.  Today I’m at work and I feel pretty okay – no snuffling into my keyboard, no locking myself in the bathroom stall for 15 minutes to stare teary-eyed into space and compose myself before I completely lose it.   So I vacillate between “I can totally keep working, no problem, this is great, what a cushy job” to “I CANNOT CONTINUE OH LORD GIVE ME STRENGTH”, often multiple times in the course of a single day.

So there are pros and cons to taking a leave of absence from work:

PROS:

Duh – the biggest one – I get to have time off of work to just sort of wrap my head around things.  This will also benefit my skin.  I’ll be getting more sleep, won’t have to endure any work stress, can take time to do more relaxing things, etc.

CONS:

I’ll have to announce my leave (and why I’m taking it) to my boss and team.  Also, because I’ve worked here a while and am known by almost everyone in the office, people are going to wonder where I am and I could easily see this turning into the entire office of hundreds of people knowing my divorce status.  Which isn’t a big deal per se, but I don’t want people coming up to me apologizing, treating me differently, talking in hushed tones to me, etc.

If I take a leave, some of it is going to be unpaid.  I’m saving a lot of money by living at my parents, but I still have to consider the loss of income.  I think the time to regroup outweighs the loss in earnings, though.

It’s going to be super weird when I come back from the leave.  Everyone will ask where I am, and I don’t want to have to explain divorce a million times.

I could also see going pretty crazy with being able to sit at home all day and obsess about my skin.  I don’t itch a lot while working because it’s socially unacceptable to start scratching away and I can distract myself, but I itch out of habit ALL THE TIME at home.

And, I also wish I could foresee when the peak ‘badness’ of TSW will be – I would love if it coincides with taking a leave.  But I have the uneasy thought – what if I take a leave for a couple weeks, come back, and then my skin decides to explode?

Have you ever taken a leave of absence from work or school for mental/emotional reasons?  What was your experience with it helping you (or not)?

But, now I am 8 weeks in.  About to enter the 3rd month soon.  I’ve entered a new stage and that stage is resigned acceptance with this TSW thing.

I already went through the stages of doubt, denial, fear, and optimism.  But now I’m completely used to having crappy skin every single day.  I’ve had it for so long that it’s just a part of me.  But I’m a little nervous because from what I’ve read, the 3rd/4th months can be really tough where a flare ‘peaks’, so we shall see.  I’ve never had any concrete “peaks” so far, just periods where areas would gradually get worse and then gradually get better.

The bad news: Everything on my body is the same if not worse.  The rash is creeping around my torso and might be spreading downward from my neck to my chest, because my chest has been really itchy lately and has a few rash spots on it.

The good news: I don’t itch so badly in the evening.  The “itch attacks” I do have are less frequent and not so intense.  My face looks slightly less like “Tired-looking girl with terrible red skin affliction” to “Tired-looking girl with blotchy and uneven complexion”.  The skin on my face feels a lot softer, although by the end of the day it’s still dry and tight.  I don’t get the “chills” so much any more.  So I am glad to see those improvements!

New “symptoms” I’ve noticed, that I’m not sure if they are connected to TSW or not:
– I have had brief waves of really intense nausea for the past 2-3 nights.
– I have to think since TSW messes with so much of the body, it also affects hormones, because my monthly cycle is disrupted…it’s either going to be really late or not come at all.

But regardless – here is my optimistic thought for the day!  Happiness CAN coexist with life stress, TSW, grief, anger, loss, chronic disease, and whatever else anyone can go through… just have to keep convincing ourselves of that!

Being happy

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The Tiny Respite and the Voice of God

Skin update: I’m past the 6 week mark now.  I haven’t had any huge radical changes (good or bad) but I’ve had a couple positive ones that added up, so I feel like I got a bit of a tiny respite!

  • I’m sleeping better at night again!  Maybe this wasn’t even TSW related but more of a stress thing, but I no longer lie there in the dark for 2-3 hours trying in vain to sleep.  I can fall asleep pretty quickly and I STAY asleep.  This is a big relief.
  • My skin is trying little by little to make oil again.  I actually almost cheered for joy when I found two small pimples.
  • The swollen lymph node in my armpit went away.
  • My face is slowly getting softer and less dry.  I used to get all dried out by the afternoon and could barely smile or laugh because it was really uncomfortable.  This week I could smile and laugh freely most of the time and boy did it feel good to actually have a genuine smile.
  • I also seem to be a little less red in the face.  I may credit starting to take Turmeric capsules for that one – Heather from Eczemancipated told me it helps with the redness.  Thanks Heather – I think you were right! 🙂
  • Overall I am less itchy.  Sure, I still get the 2 pm, 5 pm, and 8 am itchy fits (does anyone else have a specific time of day when they get really itchy?) but some days I’m able to leave things alone for the most part rather than always itching every day.  For example last week I was really ripping at my neck every night – this week I was able to leave it alone for a couple different nights.  Don’t get me wrong… I still itch very much so, but the intensity and frequency is slightly down.

Other observations from the past few days:

  • I get these “shivering fits” sometimes where I just shiver and shake and am really cold, even if there is no REASON for me to be cold, like if I’m inside at home or work.  Or I’ll feel hot and cold simultaneously, I might have mentioned that before.  I’ve read about this on the ITSAN forum so I’m not real concerned.  Actually the more I read, the more I’m sort of relieved because all signs seem to point to me having TSW and it’s nice to finally put a name to everything and know I can be healed eventually.
  • My hands and wrists are slowly getting more rashy and red.  They look pretty chewed.  I tried to take a picture of them but it didn’t do the red justice.  I am wondering if this means I will get the “red sleeve” sign of TSW.  Since it’s spreading upward, blotchy and red, to the backs of my hands, I went out to Target and got some more tops with extra-long sleeves so I can cover them up at work.  (They’re cardigans which have the effect of making me feel like a frumpy librarian.  Nothing against cardigans as they can be sexy or cute, and the one I got was REALLY SOFT.  But when all this TSW is over with, I’m vowing to wear short sleeves almost every day even in the dead of winter and APPRECIATE having soft, smooth skin).  Normally I wouldn’t really care about my hands looking so terrible, but I work a desk job and talk to people or have to show them things on the computer and I don’t feel like having them notice my hands while I’m typing or whatever.

And now a few pictures:

Crease of my elbow.  Really it's redder than the picture shows.  It hurts like all heck, like a sunburn.  I definitely used steroid here, but thankfully it seems pretty localized, as my forearms are mostly okay.

Crease of my elbow. Really it’s redder than the picture shows. It hurts like all heck, like a sunburn. I definitely used steroid here, but thankfully it seems pretty localized, as my forearms are mostly okay.

 

Stomach and hipbone rash.

Stomach and hipbone rash.  Not getting any better.  Then again, it’s not spreading, and I’m only at the 6 week mark.

 

And Now…..I am going to say something in this post that is going to make me sound like a wack job.

Let me preface this by saying, now that I have accumulated many wonderful blog friends and readers, I understand that some of you are Christian, some of you are atheist, and some are somewhere in between, or have different beliefs entirely – you may ascribe to Hinduism, Judaism, or the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.  This is all fine and good, I’m not going to judge you if your beliefs happen to differ.  However, I know our society can get a little squeamish talking about anything with a religious bent.  I’m Christian, I do believe in God, and I’m not ashamed of it.  If I didn’t believe in God and have comfort and faith to get me through things like TSW and this divorce, I’d be far worse off!

That being said, on Sunday, God communicated with me.  Not once, but twice!

It wasn’t like a giant hand reached down from the clouds, tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Hey you.  You there, with the red skin.  Pay attention.  I got something to say.”

The first one was such an uncanny coincidence that I can’t help but ascribe it to a higher power – in my case, God.  I was in the car with my parents, inwardly steaming and fuming about my husband and the divorce thing.  I cycle through moods of sadness, peace, anger, nostalgia, and pretty much anything else under the sun.  At this particular point I was very angry.  I kept thinking, “I want to hate him, but it’s wrong to hate him.  I want to hate him so much, but it won’t be productive.”  Basically I was mentally wrestling with the concept of HATE, turning it over and over in my head.  At that moment I looked up, I was passing a church whose marquee sign said, “IF YOU HATE, YOU CANNOT HAVE PEACE.”  Of course!  Hate is the wrong emotion to have here.  It’s very destructive and will only eat away at my self-preservation and prevent me from letting go and moving on.  These were wise words put in my path for a reason.

The second incidence happened later that night.  I was in the bathroom getting ready for bed, moisturizing my red and dry skin and just sort of mentally griping, why do I have to go through this now, why me, I look ugly, why must I be all red, is there a point to this, etc.  At that point, a voice in my head uttered a phrase.  This all sounds very strange, but it wasn’t a conscious thought – it was PUT there, as plainly as someone was speaking to me, though it wasn’t an audible voice.  Even writing this now, I feel sort of silly telling about it, as I tend to be quite logical and rational, but I can’t deny that this was a very unusual thing.  The voice said matter-of-factly, “You wanted to do great things.”

I immediately knew what this meant.  I was being put through all these trials at the current time so that I could emerge strong and vibrant and victorious and indeed, DO great things.  What those things are, I don’t know, but it was immensely comforting to be reminded that God has something in store for me and that these trials are happening for a purpose.

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Killing the Green-Eyed Monster

(For once, this is a post that’s not really about eczema at all, just something I need to get off my mind.) 

I made a friend a few years ago.  Not just ANY friend, but the kind of friend where you can talk forever, share interests, and inspire each other to be better versions of yourself.  The kind of friend where you leave your interaction with them feeling uplifted and refreshed.  This friend was really a one of a kind person.  And it’s HARD to find good quality friends these days – when social media has blunted our actual human interaction and everyone has their nose buried in technology with the excuse that they can keep in touch any time.  I really loved this friend.  I loved them like a family member.  And that’s saying something for me, as an alone-time loving introvert who has many casual friends, but barely any very close friends, and definitely not friends to which I apply the word “love”.

This friend and I shared gossip.  We bonded over similar activities.  We shared a sarcastic, self-deprecating humor and poked fun at each other.  We cracked crass jokes, laughing uproariously together at our sparkling wit.  I gave much of myself to this friend, figuratively speaking.  Maybe too much.  I gave more to this friend than they gave to me.  Never again.  I should have cut the generosity when I saw I wasn’t getting much in return.

This friend then moved many, many hours away.   Tearful goodbyes were exchanged, with promises to keep in touch and someday to visit in person.  Friend and I corresponded by email a couple times, writing lengthy emails talking about everything going on in our respective lives.  I prayed for this friend, prayed that everything would go well for them.  Prayed that maybe I could move away too and continue the friendship near them.  This friend then…began to drop off the face of the earth.  I kept reaching out, always being the first one to reach out.  After one particularly lengthy email I wrote to Friend, I went months hearing absolutely nothing.  Like walking through a snowy landscape looking for a sign of anything green and living – I heard nothing, saw nothing, and so I waited.

Then I decided to be the bigger person, dismissing the shallow thoughts of “Maybe Friend WANTED to forget about me.  Maybe Friend never liked me and all of this was an act as they had nothing better to do.  Maybe Friend saw the crazy eczema on my face and my puffy eye (at the time) in the weeks before they left and decided they didn’t want to associate with such a leper anymore”.  I reached out to Friend, requesting their address so that I could send them some well-wishes for the holiday season.  Friend responded with an overly apologetic email, saying they were so sorry for never getting back to me, and they felt bad, blah blah.  Whatever.  At this point I am getting peeved at Friend.  I don’t mind if Friend wanted to forget about me, but at least tell me the truth.  Tell me that we’ll never speak and we’ll be like hermits in our respective suburbia, never once interacting again.  Tell me that you didn’t like me, point out my flaws, and explain in excruciating detail why you want to break up this friendship.  All this is fine.  I can handle that.  I have a skin as thick as tank armor and I love being alone.  I don’t need you, Friend.  All I need is for you to be straight with me and lay bare why you refuse to communicate with me.  Friend, I don’t even understand.  I go to the lengths of sending you a holiday card (expensive, at that) with a cheerful message of times past.  And I hear nothing.  Not even a “Thank you”.  Not even a paltry text or email saying “I appreciate your card, I’m just so busy right now but I wanted to let you know that was very kind.” Nothing.

And this Friend has unknowingly created a monster.  This Friend doesn’t have time to talk to me or other friends they left behind, but they have the time to post all kinds of pictures of their new life.  Pictures of places I’d like to be.  Activities I’d like to be doing.  I content myself with my own life, counting my blessings and holding my head high with dignity.  I really don’t want to be jealous of this friend.  Jealousy is an ugly emotion, starting with a little bit of envy and morphing into a full-blown greedy obsession.  But… how I would love to be hours away in a new place, starting a new life, and having the choice to cut myself off from anyone I chose.  Moreover, I want to do great things and make this Friend jealous.  So many emotions to sort out – I loved this friend, I began to despise this friend, I grew jealous of this friend.  All I know is that if and when this Friend ever misses our friendship and reaches back out – they will get nothing more from me.

Has anyone else had experiences like this with a good friendship gone sour?