You may have noticed I have been largely off social media for about four months. Basically, I’ve been ill.

Well, not ill as such. Y’see, back in January, I noticed I was getting a bit itchy. By the time I realised that a change in my laundry detergent was causing an allergic reaction, I had eczma over about 20% of my torso. That was in early February. Naturally, I changed my laundry detergent and washed everything in the new stuff, which helped. I also started applying calamine lotion to the affected areas, and taking anti-histamines.

However, it didn’t clear the eczma up. With me, eczma has always been exacerbated by stress. Having the almost-irresistible urge to scratch everywhere is stressful. Having to bandage 40% of my body is stressful. Having to lie, sit and move carefully so as not to break the scabs is stressful.

Did you know Boots do not sell or allow you to order large rolls of lint? Because people complained that bits were sticking to them. I had to go to Superdrug to order the stuff.

As I have mentioned before, there is a lot of shit going on in the world. Being on social media, where the discussions bring the worst bits of it into sharp focus, is stressful. (I can certainly do without being called a Tory sympathiser, a secret Brexiteer, and a naively idealistic socialist, all by the same person in the same sentence, simply for expressing the view that the government is not a very good one and there should be an election.) So, in order to minimise the amount of stress I was subjecting myself to, I withdrew from social media and stopped following the news.

The results were not immediate nor obvious. It took a few more weeks before the eczma disappeared from my body and migrated to the entirety of my right arm. Better, but not ideal. Whether it was on my body or just my arm, I was still scratching. I would have a new bandage ready, the calamine lotion and cotton wool ready, cold water running and a flannel and towel ready to clean the wounds. Off came the bandage, and before I could even pick up the flannel – scratchscratchscratchscratchscratch! Urgh. There were days when I would stand there nearly weeping as fresh blood ran down my arm, to join the newly-shed pile of dead skin on the floor.

I’ve had a lot of problems. I’ve been unable to cut my hair, in case bits of it fall down inside the bandage. I’ve been unable to shave or wash myself properly, because I can’t really bend my right arm. I’ve been unable to do some housework, because an arm locked at full extension is not conducive to either fine control or applying leverage.

I told myself I needed to stay as stress-free as possible until I could at least change the bandage without scratching. I managed to achieve that last night. If I can change two bandages in a row without scratching, I will know the eczma is finally and definitely going.

I know my absence will have caused problems. I have missed meetups because I wasn’t online to find out about them. I have probably caused serious difficulties in the group I RPG with. People have been concerned about my safety/wellbeing/continued existence. Well, I’m very nearly back. My return to social media in full, will occur shortly after when I can change the bandage twice in a row without scratching – which is unlikely to be today, as I can already feel the itch under my bandage.

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2 Responses to Absence

  1. Brian,

    you haven’t caused us difficulties, concer yes, difficulties no. I myself suffer from sometimes crippling anxiety, making me wnt to withdraw form everything. The first thoguht, indeed the primary one, is making yourself geel better, do as much or as little as you feel up to. That is all. Healing ad calming thoughts. I’ll leave you in peace now, if you feel and only if and indeed whn you feel up to returning, we’ll ne here, if you don’t, we’ll understand.

  2. Welcome (almost) back and hope it soon clears up completely.

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