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Needs must

This one’s more like a diary log. I’m still recovering from erythroderma and it’s been daunting to say the least. Steroid ointment and compulsive scratching have not helped, so I’ve been put on immunosuppressants and doing hypnotherapy. Only time will tell. I’m trying my best to stay afloat mentally but the cold is settling in and not being able to work has meant having to move back in with my mother. I feel I have failed myself but needs must.

A friend was kind enough to invite me on holiday to take my mind off things, but I couldn’t completely enjoy myself because of the pain I was in. For now the only thing that seems to help is sleeping a lot.

I’m reading a book on travelling with a skin condition. The author told me he recovered from erythroderma after six months of traditional Korean medicine!

My Atopic Trips: How travelling saved me from TSW and severe Eczema

Tools Reviews🛠️

As you can see I’m not much of a blogger but I thought I should do some quick reviews based on my experiences with the items featured in Tools along with any tips I may have for them.

Health and Personal Care❤️

Silicone finger covers are great from preventing scratching although they can get sweaty and fall off at night.

Spot/acne patches again good for picking prevention and gives sores time to heal. The best brands stay on for longer.

Silicone sheets do the same as above items with larger surface area.

If you believe in homeopathy, tissue salts can aid in all kinds of ailments, in this case calming the nerves.

The shower head really helps to make shower time a less frightening experience if you’re like me and live in a very hard water area. It softens the water so there’s less stinging and better cleansing.

Air purifiers minimise mold which wreak havoc on skin conditions and aren’t great to breathe in either.

Safety mitts are for those emergencies when you’re having a scratching frenzy and need a temporary intervention. I’m still somehow able to scratch in my sleep with them on though, sometimes it’s actually best I don’t wear them at night, maybe their presence reminds my brain to itch or something. If that makes sense.

Antiseptic sprays and antifungal creams are wonderful for reducing infections so you don’t have to go on to antibiotics for the hundredth time. But if you do remember to take probiotics to replenish the gut. I’m surprised dermatologists never told me about these.

I only had the Flow Neuroscience headset for a short while during a time when I was going through extreme executive dysfunction and was therefore unable to use it properly on a regular basis. However, when I did use it I felt a sense of total peace, clarification, and less frustration. If I’d have experienced this years ago I probably wouldn’t have turned to alcohol. So if used properly I’m sure this will have a significant affect on the user. Use my code Eleanor_10 for 10% discount at checkout.

I used the first Keen bracelet by HabitAware and found it useful in realising when I was about to pick at my skin unknowingly. It’s sensor activated a vibration. I’d suggest using it along with talk therapy as you still need to shift into a certain mindset to take it seriously (there were times when I would ignore it’s buzzing). The new upgrade has an app which I’m sure would get the user into that responsible mentality.

Herbal Remedies🌿

Herbs with anti-inflammatory properties are the best for both skin and mind. They work better in tinctures where their strength is increased but every day herbal teas are gradual building blocks for overall health.

The white willow bark tincture is a natural pain killer that doesn’t merely mask pain like over the counter medication.

Tea tree oil is antiseptic to be used with cotton buds or a carrier oil.


How To Do the Work – The Holistic Psychologist is what got me started on my journey in healing my mind and body. The foundation for changing perspective and making sustainable changes.

Getting Unstuck – a philosophical Buddhist view on habits and addictions. Made me truly face the impulsive aspect of myself that had taken over my life.

Black Skin – dermatology is only starting to look into the fact that darker skin tones sometimes need different treatments. This book has good tips on how to keep dark skin healthy.

Skin Picking – tips on how to reduce dermatillomania with accounts from people who have experienced it.

Emotionality Exercise – a workbook I made based on everything that’s helped with my mental health. 10% benefits Crisis UK.

My Mental Health Service Experience

When I was living in Letchworth, I needed help with anxiety and depression, and believed I was neurodivergent in some way. My GP referred me to the NHS Hertfordshire team twice because she didn’t understand why I was declined help. In Hitchin, my assessor was an hour late and didn’t screen me for neurodivergence, maybe because he wasn’t trained to, so that part had been completely ignored. The decline letter he sent home had a lot of mistakes like he was not listening. When I called them about this the person on the phone was very short with me but booked for someone to do a home visit. They never came. 

For the second referral my GP asked for a psychiatrist specificall. I don’t know if he had something against my demographic or if he was just generally patronising but he kept saying how the team were professional, how I read too many books and shouldn’t know what ‘neurotic’ is, amongst other unnecessary things. In the end he gave me medication that had horrible side effects which he never followed up with me on, and a leaflet about classes even though he knew I had social anxiety. He didn’t believe me when I told him my dermatologist said my skin picking was psychological, even though I was recently in A&E at Addenbrooke’s Hospital for stress related scratching which led to erythroderma, where I also had to fight my corner until they realised it was urgent. When I asked about therapy he reluctantly got someone to call me but they sounded so unbothered that I decided to go private even on low income, as I was desperate for some professionalism. But since no one could help me with my skin picking specifically I thought I’d take my chances with the local service again. I requested to go with the Stevenage team as I heard they might be better but got no response. In Letchworth, I was met with judgement; “But you’re not picking right now so why exactly are you here?” with a strange look on her face as I cried. 

When I moved to Cambridge I got therapy with the Cambridgeshire team who were much more friendly and efficient. And I was recently privately diagnosed with autism which is the basis of my mental/behavioural problems. After a long search, I’ve finally found a therapist for skin picking which I now know is part of my stimming, so I understand it’s a specialist issue and there wasn’t much awareness of it before. People and even professionals are only just realising my demographic can even have autism. However, if I had been taken seriously from the beginning I at least wouldn’t have spent the past few years in suicidal darkness. 

I’d like for professionals to take those brave enough to ask for help more seriously. I know the NHS and especially the mental health department is under funded but that doesn’t mean personal ego or any social biases should get in the way of treating people. Even hypochondriacs should get treated, not sent home with nothing. 

I hope vulnerable people don’t get discouraged advocating for themselves during a difficult time when negative responses from professionals in power can add to chronic stress or even trauma.  

Emotional Processing

As we grow, no one really tells us how to deal with our emotions. We either get shamed or congratulated for expressing certain moods by the authoritative figures in our lives, shaping what we present and hide away. The concept of emotional processing can be strange to imagine when one first finds out about it because we once believed all we had to do was react to an event. But we tend to react and then bottle up or even just bottle up. Maybe during times of upheaval there was no time to process anything and now we’re left with a legacy of ‘getting on with it’. I’m still learning, but my research suggests that processing is facing the contents of the bottle, feeling every inch of it (which is hard to do when we’ve been taught the opposite), staying present with breathing techniques, validating yourself, and reconceptualising your perspective. Some may need professional guidance as it feels vulnerable to surrender to the feelings, which can inflate our egos in protest. Forgiveness of self and/or others can help with this, which I have found seems to happen gradually and in a strangely non-linear way, just like with processing.

Everyone’s on their separate paths and events can take us to where we need to be, but it would be a lot easier if we were taught about emotions more honestly from an early stage. You could say the struggle of this not occuring is a part of our development.