(Photo credit to https://www.flickr.com/photos/alshepmcr/)
Topical steroid withdrawal is painful, miserable, tiring and depressing. You can’t control your what your skin does, but you can certainly control what your mind thinks. Here are 5 mental strategies to cope with your topical steroid withdrawal symptoms.
1) Accept Reality
You become sad and disappointed when your expectations do not meet reality. Solution? See reality as it is and manage your expectations from there.
When you are having topical steroid withdrawal, you have to accept that your skin is going to look rotten. You will bleed. You will itch. You will scratch. You will ooze. You will be in constant pain. You will cry. Your skin will get worse, get better, get worse, get better and so on. And you will heal, in time.
You used topical steroids to give you a “free” ride early on in your life. Now that you have made the decision to undergo withdrawal, it is time to pay the price of the negative effects of topical steroids. Nut it up!
2) Forgive Yourself
Upon understanding reality, stop being too harsh on yourself for damaging your skin. If you knew (about the dangers of TS), you wouldn’t be in this situation. Stop hating yourself for scratching, stop hating yourself for having bad skin, stop hating yourself for everything. If you are feeling down, don’t feel bad about feeling down.
Tell yourself it is okay. Give yourself time.
3) See the pain as positive recovery
Tell yourself that pain is a price you will have to pay in order to get better. Every bout of scratching, itching, flaking and oozing eventually leads to a newer, stronger layer of skin. Develop a gritted determination to get through it by embracing pain. You can’t escape pain during Topical steroid withdrawal, so you might as well embrace it.
4) Seek comfort in the knowledge that people do recover
This is the most important strategy I used during withdrawal. It gave me everything I needed to know about my body self’s recovery ability, even in the most difficult withdrawal periods of my life. Tell yourself that if others did it, so can I. Make it better, tell yourself you can do it better than others. You will be going through this withdrawal with a zen disposition and a smile on your face.
5) Be aware and conscious of your negative thoughts and turn them into positive ones
First, set goals – Whenever I experience a negative thought, I want to be consciously aware of it. Start with this small goal. Being aware of what you are thinking is the first step. Exercise this mental muscle for a day, a week, or a month or so. When you are stronger mentally, start turning them into positive ones. For me, I just wanted to be a better version of myself compared to yesterday, i.e. walk a longer distance, write a little bit more, listen to nice music, reach out to more people, stop feeling miserable, complaining less. Focus on the good, less on the bad.
These are some strategies that I’ve used to cope. What about yours?