once i got past the 6 year mark, i don’t really remember how many months its been anymore.
maybe it’s because everyday is about the same to me, it’s like a blur when i try to recall exactly how long it has been.
so this is week 77 (i only figured that out after referring to previous posts), but i’d like to call it..
THE WEEK I FEEL LIKE I’M LIVING AGAIN.how so?
it’s a state where my decisions aren’t bound by the conditions of my skin.
it’s also a time when i suddenly have the motivation to do things again – as simple as wanting to do things, as opposed to how i felt the past 1.5 years.
more specifically, i went out twice to meet two different friends this week.
wow! the last time i went out to meet a friend was in january……?
actually, i’ve been in this “doing” phase since may.
i’ve been so useless (literally) for so long because i kept wanting to do big things like whipping up a delicious meal for my family, or helping my mom out with everything..
in my mind i was doing so much, but none of them translated into actions because those big thoughts also overwhelmed me.
it’s like wanting to fly before i can even walk.
so i broke things down. i forced myself to start doing things, the smallest things that i possibly can, within my means and power.
it began with me helping out with some chores, like laundry.
it was hard at first, because doing laundry requires me to stand by a window, and the sunlight from outside inevitable highlights the elephant texture on my hands (which i’d rather not see, because it upsets me).
i figured, it’s not so much of the actual sensation that my skin feels that make me feel bad, but the sight of it.
what if, i squint my eyes so that i don’t see so much of my skin?
that seemed to help! as such i’m able to keep doing laundry for my family, which makes me feel better because i’m finally useful again.
that was may.
it started out so small, and it slowly enabled me to do more.
it’s that thinking “if i can do this small thing, i can do another small thing!”, and it snowballs.
“maybe i can squint and cook!”, which i don’t recommend unless you are REALLY careful, because having limited vision and cutting doesn’t go well together.
the thing is, the more i do, the better i feel mentally, and the strange thing is..
my physical self start to get better too, albeit things were still going up and down.
but there was a general upward trend within the fluctuations.
i marvel at the how my body seems to respond to my needs, as though it knows how to transform itself accordingly.
“oh, you need your hands for work? ok, i’ll heal it a bit faster so you can do this task better!”
over the months i notice my hands getting decreasingly red, the dryness also improved, and elephanty skin is on its way out.
granted, other parts of my body did get worse during the same period of time, but it bothered me less and less.
i just have this deep feeling in my heart that my body is getting better.
maybe it’s because my appetite is coming back, maybe it’s because i don’t feel cold that easily anymore, maybe it’s because my mood is a more light hearted these days.
i don’t know if it’s due to my mindfulness and loving kindness practice, but my heart is just so filled with love on most days, i laugh easily, i anger a lot less.
i feel grateful again, like i did back in 2013 when i got to go back to school.
anyway, that’s the state of my mind and body right now.
thought i’d share some little stuff that i did this month.
i repurposed a small packaging box into a cable management thing. i was so pleased with myself, and that gave me even more energy and motivation to make a phone stand out of remaining wires that i have.
all these stuff have been sitting around my room for at least a few months, i just never got around to doing anything about it.
but not anymore. 🙂
i printed out a typography design (on the right side: think less, do more) that i made and stuck it on my wall as a reminder to self.
and, i went to a computer fair at the beginning of the month with my brother to haul a new monitor back.
it’s something i’ve been anticipating for 2 years now, and i finally got it!
but getting the monitor wasn’t the happiest thing that day. it was me being able to be out with my brother feeling comfortable in my skin 🙂
designed and printed a new “label” for my room.
disclaimer: the tape was there to hold it in place while the glue cures. hahaha ain’t gonna leave it sloppy like that!
i’m not that sloppy anymore, now that i want to do things.
what changed? what caused these changes in me?
i realized if i want things to change, i have to kick-start it within me.
my skin felt like it was in limbo the past 2 years, just never getting out of a low-grade flare all over my body.
not doing anything didn’t change much.
doing something, did.
i didn’t set out to do more stuff in hopes of having better skin, you know?
it’s like my healing is a side effect of being useful.
my original goal was to help out a friend with some chores, or maybe cook together for fun.
i can’t rule out the possibility that my body is responding to my needs, in fact, i’m quite inclined to think that way.
it’s not the first time something like that happened.
when i had to go back to school in 2013, my skin miraculously got much better within 6 months compared to the year i spent staying home doing nothing.
yes, i was on TCM those 6 months, but i’m starting to think that TCM played a supporting role, not the only role in my improvement.
the other part of the equation was me doing things. my body responded accordingly and healed so it can serve its intended function.
i come to that conclusion because i’ve been on TCM for the past 20 months, and my skin was hovering about the “almost healed by not really” line for almost a year.
i never really felt a breakthrough.
not to mention how heartbreaking it is for the months of progress to derail back into another bad cycle within a short period of time, then stay bad for another few months.
but ever since this may, even though things still have it’s up and down, right now i feel like things are better.
it’s a slow progress, which is why it makes it even harder for me to register an actual positive change.
one day, i notice myself no longer avoiding the mirror.
and then, it was me no longer avoiding dim lights (which accentuates skin texture).
one night, i realize my body isn’t as itchy anymore.
suddenly, i can agree to go out on last minute notice instead of rejecting the invitation.
and just today, i realize i can do without my morning shower (if i apply some lotion).
slowly but surely, my skin has lesser grasp on my mind and life.
some people ask me how do i know if i’m healing, i used to say you’ll feel less itchy and all the other physical descriptors.
but right now, i want to add to it – you will want to do things again.
you’ll worry less.
you’ll feel better mentally, more optimistic, perhaps laugh a little easier.
you’ll sleep better, less anxious, less negativity.
you’ll start putting your thoughts into actions, lesser procrastination, more motivation.
i truly believe that one get the body to heal by kicking the start the process.
it’s like growing crystals from a salt solution.
you need a SEED CRYSTAL to initiate the crystal growing process.
or, just imagine you wanting to create a huge snow ball.
you gotta start somewhere right? with a small snow ball before you roll it around to make it crazy humongous.
if you feel like your skin recovery has reached a plateau (by that i mean it’s been more or less the same for more than a few months, or even a years),
maybe it’s time to make some changes.
for me, it was being useful again.
for you, maybe you could get temporary help to reach that state where you can start doing things again.
think of it as using a crutch to nurse a broken leg.
it can help your leg heal to a certain extent, and at that point, you might be able to limp a little bit, forcing your leg to bear some load.
it’s the stressing of the muscles that helps it grow again.
of course, the amount of stress must not be more than what a hurt leg can take, otherwise the damage will outweigh the healing.
but you cannot use the crutch forever because not letting your body do what it’s supposed to do stops it from becoming what it’s supposed to be.
anyway, healing is exponential towards the end.
once you are able to do normal things again, your body will react accordingly to return to normalcy.
that’s what i’m trying to get to.
also, i started moisturizing with cream again back in august. that’s another change i made.
aveeno made me itch, so i stopped moisturizing with creams/lotions for a while.
i did use oils, but the weren’t good enough for really dry skin, as my skin clearly needed water, not just oils that seal in moisture.
i went back to st ives, which thankfully did not break me out in an itch!
i already finished one bottle of the cranberry and grapeseed oil lotion. it’s labelled as “intensive healing”.
it’s not too rich, which is a good thing in my books. overly rich cream might irritate my skin.
everything else pretty much stayed constant: i’m still on TCM, my diet is still 97% vegan, still practicing mindful meditation, still taking some supplements.
last but not least, just a snapshot of my my face and neck looks.
my skin is very thin, so you can see it has a pink hue in it.
still have active rashy areas around my lips and cheeks (which isn’t that visible in photo) that peels every day. also some mild rashes on my forehead.
on a bad day i look like i have a pink goatee.
not included in the picture are my trouble spots on my wrist, my leg, and my feet.
they’re doing their own thing.
my cousin says i look like i want to kill someone when i’m expressionless.
hahaha i was channeling some super model vibe, okay?
now that i did things, i felt like sharing once more, which resulted in this overly long entry.
originally, i just wanted to do a short update on my moisturizing status, and to show a recent shot of my face.
i’ve had that thought for over a week, but somehow i just never got around to it.
but once i start writing, more words came to mind.
thoughts that i’ve wanted to share, but i just never got around to it because i was overwhelmed.
i mean, i have so much thoughts! where do i even begin?
turns out, it begins with me just doing it. typing.
that’s what i am trying to practice.