National Eczema Week 2021

The first 21 years of my life were quite challenging living with constant skin issues. Quite the understatement there really. Throughout my school life, I hated doing PE bare foot as some of my sore skin would show, and I would often try and hide almost every bit of my body away from view.

But I am delighted to say I’ve been on the road to recovery for a while now, and I am becoming more confident about my body and not having to hide it away in fear of judgement.

One of the things I like to do at times, is to bake a cake or some biscuits at home. I then like to bring these into the office at Enrych or take them with me to either the “Green Gym Project” or the “Feel Good Café” to share with everyone.

Having my skin in a bad state always made me feel like a burden in terms of enjoying eating with other people. I have to stay clear of all dairy products, so I am sometimes in a situation where I politely decline certain foods so that I don’t have to tell the story of what, unknowingly for 21 years, certain foods did to bring out the eczema.

Getting involved in the “Green Gym Project” has also helped reduce anxiety for me a lot. Anxiety and the impacts of this would translate to the bodily anxiety of eczema, and I can’t thank Enrych and the partners TCV for creating this opportunity. Not only have I felt like I have contributed in making the site look appealing, but I have also met like-minded individuals who have made me feel valued as well.

The part of my journey to healing which has been in the way of diet has been very much based upon the luck of a segment on Dragons Den a couple of years ago. There was a lady on Dragons Den who had been through a similar life experience to me. I gained quite a lot of knowledge from her and her books, of which she has now published 2. I continue to use the recipes from her books in cooking healthy meals which not only I think I enjoy, but my body shows it enjoys without the impending inflamed skin reaction.

When I had an Enrych PA, I enjoyed many experiences learning how to make different things I picked from my recipe book, including a lovely Shepherds Pie that used olive oil instead of butter to make the mashed potato. My family were able to enjoy the meal with me and I was confident enough after the support and confidence building of my PA to make it again soon after. I also enjoyed making dairy free brownies for a treat as well.

One of the other things which has a positive impact on reducing anxiety and thus helping me stay eczema free is the “Fitness Friends” workouts with Enrych. This is also a great event in helping emphasise a healthy lifestyle for people as well as the huge social benefits that come with this in making new long-term connections. Above all else, I am delighted to be in the company of an incredibly understanding group of people who take the time to understand my journey and create a positive environment where I don’t have to be ashamed of any health condition- whether it presents in mental or physical form.

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