There’s lots of info out there about how to treat skin conditions... but do you know how to treat yourself kindly while you’re still living with it?
Skin conditions such as acne and eczema can have physical as well as mental ramifications. This can leave people not only feeling depressed, angry and anxious, but it can also have a major impact on ones self-esteem. And if that isn't enough, society's obsession with self-image, instagram filters and Facetune have made our lives even harder!
As part of our New Year, Same You campaign we spoke to 20 year old ReachOut ambassador, Tiara, about her experience with low self-esteem!
Here are some of the questions we asked Tiara on our podcast, After 20, and this is what she had to say…
Where did your journey with low self-esteem start? When did you realise that this was an issue you were dealing with?
When I was a child, I had a myriad of health issues and was in and out of Sydney Children’s Hospital. But the worst by far was my atopic dermatitis (which is just a fancy word for extreme eczema) so my skin was always bleeding, excess dry skin would shed and some days I couldn’t walk due to it. I felt like the role I had taken on was to be 'the girl with eczema' and I felt like no one understood me and didn’t know who I was beyond that and the way I looked didn’t help at all...
In what ways did you feel this prohibited you from going about your everyday life? Were there times in particular where this issue would sort of rear its head for you?
When I go swimming, not only does the chlorine in a pool dry my skin, make it itchy AND flare it up, but I am also hyper aware that the pigment of my skin varies. It has healed over time, but some areas of my skin are lighter than others and some areas are darker, so I don't feel like it really looks like regular skin, even now.
This in particular adds to the low self-esteem that I experience. So, some days I just have to wear long socks and long sleeves and it's not something that I really want to do all the time, but it does make me feel better, not only about my skin but also prevents me from getting itchy in general.
How have you gone about combatting this issue for yourself? Where did you start in terms of seeking help or making changes in your life?
One of the things that helped me the most was being open and accepting my friends and family's support and allowing them to be there for me, which then helped me. To maintain my mental health, I had to find my own ways to find catharsis so I did things where I could express myself such as journaling, drawing and listening to music.
What is your advice to people who are suffering with a similar problem? What would be the one thing you would tell them?
Low self-esteem can feel really lonely, so first off, reach out for support and you can go to your family, friends or even online. For example, reachout.com have great articles on how to build your self-esteem and have some amazing online communities where you can access peer support. They also even have a guide for parents to understand and identify low self-esteem in their teens and how to help them.
The next thing I would tell someone who is going through this is to have patience. Patience can be so frustrating as you feel like you’re always waiting for something to happen and it feels like it takes up so much time. However, having a degree of patience helps by allowing yourself to take time to understand how others see you.
If you are someone who knows that someone is dealing with low self-esteem, what is some advice you can give to the outside perspective?
I would simply say… to be there for them. It sounds cliché and basic but it’s something that a lot of people wouldn’t think of at the time because it is often so hard to approach situations where you loved ones may be feeling this time.
Also, be a present listener and don’t criticise them because all we want is to be listened to and loved, to feel like we are being heard. So be mindful and respectful to their experiences.
If you want to hear more from Tiara make sure you check out our interview with her here on After 20
And don’t forget, for the entire month of January, tbh Skincare is donating 10% of all revenue to ReachOut Australia to support the mental health of young Australians.