healing eczema wholly

Eczema was always my warning signal - it still is. But I had to learn, over many years and a lot of work, to befriend these warnings rather than resent them. Resentment, avoidance and pushing down of the signals my body was sending me only served to perpetuate the cycle of suffering. Eczema is an autoimmune condition in which the body attacks itself, much like an allergic reaction, or other autoimmune diseases. What all of these conditions have in common is that they represent a departure from nature; the body attacking itself is a body that has been separated from its natural, whole, healed state, and our bodies are giving us signals to pay attention to something that lies deeper - literally, for eczema sufferers, below the surface. What's beneath the surface? The answer will be unique and specific to every individual, and yet what I expect all of us with skin and autoimmune conditions have in common is that these symptoms are a manifestation of some trauma or other that has not been fully digested. We will have all experienced some sort of trauma in our lives; whether the loss of someone, abuse, neglect, abandonment, etc. These traumas come with emotional charges that need to be felt in order to be metabolised. For eczema sufferers in particular this tends to be related to shame, guilt, unworthiness, and, perhaps unexpectedly, anger. However, in our modern culture where emotional expression is often taboo and discouraged, it isn't uncommon for us to hide these feelings, push them down and allow them to sit and stew in our bodies, forcing them to grow into all sorts of unhealthy shapes. Emotional charges are energy, and they can be alchemised in beautiful and useful ways, if we know how; but all too often, we are taught that it is safer not to feel or express them, which means this energy is not being used, and in its state of neglect, grows in unhealthy ways. The way that this manifests will be different from every person, but for those with chronic physical conditions, these symptoms are often an expression of a deeper emotion that has been ignored for months, years, or even lifetimes (I talk a little about intergenerational and ancestral trauma here). On top of that, a lot of eczema sufferers are empaths; we take on the feelings and burdens of others, often unconsciously. This might of people we are close to such as family members and friends, but also of the 'collective'; if there is a global pandemic and widespread loneliness or frustration, for example. Often, the load we take on is actually so great that we don't actually have the coping mechanisms to deal with it, and so we bury it deeper within, pretending it isn't there, numbing and dissociating from the enormity of pain asking to be felt. This is when it can erupt as a skin condition, interminable, unbearable itching, physical discomfort and pain. I know - I have been there, many times. Eczema and other autoimmune conditions can take the body to a point of discomfort where any sort of movement is a challenge, getting out of bed an ordeal, showering an impossibility. The 'reaction' at that point, for most, is to numb further. We haven't been taught any other way. Seemingly, the only choice we have is to avoid the pain and desensitise to the discomfort. Wanting it to go away, wishing it all away. Ultimately this desensitises us further from the body and from life itself. It can be extremely disorientating, debilitating, and energy-sapping. We can and do lose the will to live when we are in this cycle for long enough. I know, I have been there, many times. And when we desensitise from the physical discomfort, these bodily warning signals, we are once again perpetuating the cycle of NOT paying attention to what our body is telling us. I know it feels nonsensical and backwards, and I know just how impossible it feels to LEAN INTO the pain and discomfort when we are experiencing such extreme bodily angst. But in my lived experience, I have discovered that this is where the true medicine lies. In being with the sensations, no matter how unbearable. There are many ways to do this - meditations, gentle movement practices, breathing and EFT techniques. Eventually, generally, from within the physical pain, an emotional pain arises. This is the difficult part, but also the simplest; we have to ALLOW that emotional pain to exist. We have to be with it, allow and receive it, give it permission to move through us in whatever way it must - scream, cry, shake, hyperventilate [see my post on alchemising anger here]. And then, through that act of surrender, one layer of the suffering cycle is shed. We have to trust through this process, and be guided by this trust. We are only given what we can deal with. This is a continuous practice. The reason I know with conviction that I will not experience another eczema flare-up in the extreme, debilitating ways that I have in the past, is because I am no