How My Chronic Eczema Tore Down & Built Up My Self-Esteem |

Bustle’s My life With series is on a mission to remove the invisibility of chronic illnesses. I’ve been eagerly reading stories every few weeks and was elated to see them feature chronic eczema.

Being completely bias, this was my favorite article from writer Tori Zhou, who suffers from eczema.

Here are some of Tori Zhou’s revelations through life with eczema:

  • Eczema causes a reaction, regardless of where you go. Tori was traveling abroad and understood enough Mandarin to comprehend a nurse state “Skin is too ugly.”
  • Targeting eczema triggers time-consuming, taxing, and costly
  • Managing her eczema has caused her to feel uptight – or in other words overly cautious. She avoids cuddling with dogs, laying on carpets, or lounging in bed with her street clothes on
  • She’s learned the importance of moderation. Too much alcohol, sugar, salt, or spices lead to inflammation.
  • As we all know – eczema is trial-and-error
  • Eczema has caused her social anxiety
  • Having a chronic illness is a mental game and a physical one

It’s difficult to feel seen when you feel like you are only seen for your skin ~ Tori Zhou

  • Despite all of the hurdles eczema brings, it also helped develop her self-esteem
  • Having dealt with it for so long, she’s become a master at explaining what eczema is
  • By exploring the world and traveling, she was able to gain perspective, coming to the conclusion that eczema doesn’t define her
  • Tori’s no longer worried about approval from others, in fact, it’s helped her strive towards her goals

Ultimately, I’ve realized that being strong isn’t a choice when it’s the only option that I have.

  • Having eczema opened her heart to become more compassionate to others with health conditions.
  • She recognizes that eczema needs more representation in the media.

Despite having eczema, Tori has overcome her insecurities. She still rocks bikini’s and shorts with her rashes during the Summer. She refuses to cover her skin in make-up and has embraced her imperfections.


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