This one is for our significant others. More and more couples are choosing to sleep in separate bedrooms — if and when possible, of course. This is not news. It’s been proved throughout history to enhance uninterrupted sleep and the health benefits that come with it. But it does take some getting used to.
Everything from snoring (guilty) to scratching (very guilty) has left many of us eczema warriors with little choice but to seek quieter shelter in the quest for that elusive and necessary slumber. Separate beds? It seems to work. At least couples are getting better sleep, I hope.
While the log-sawing snores can be taken care of on an individual health-related basis, one of the people involved is still being woken up every so often by an itch of such intensity, that it can keep them from getting back into whatever beta waves our overworked, stressed-out brains need to reset or reboot for whatever the next period of wakefulness requires.
We talk so much about the emotional and physical effects of this affliction, but when sleep is involved, we need to deal with both. Which is why I’m putting my little observations out there — just using the miracle of the interweb to answer a tiny question, like “What the [blank] is happening to me and why?”
YouTube has tons of videos on this subject, so I recommend taking a look. But something I noticed personally is that lack of uninterrupted sleep — even for only a few minutes — can turn me into an absolute hypersensitive, cranky old bastard (yes, even more than usual).
However, try using that excuse when, during a heated discussion with a significant other, you’re trying to apologize for something you’re really not totally responsible for due to lack of sleep because of eczema. It’s not always going to work, especially when your significant other is a full-time trained caregiver who still doesn’t believe you have anything more than a rash that you can get an ointment for, even though she sweeps mounds of your dry skin scales into a dustpan every single day. She still thinks it’s only psoriasis and that your “lack of sleep” excuse is actually just a lie to justify your laziness.
Then she brings up an even smaller argument you guys had years ago and finally throws in how bad your hair looks and how much you look like her late father unless you get Touch of Gray, regardless of all the scabs and open scratches on your scalp, and then ceases to speak to you for the next three days.
I’ve seen it a hundred times.
What’s a guy to do? Separate beds or bedrooms, if possible. Fancy new heating and cooling beds might also be a great help, one would think. But then what?
Modern relationships are tough enough, but add the overwhelming emotional and physical cost of this affliction and it’s practically a recipe for disaster. How do you people deal with it? Do you seek counseling? Marriage or psychology? Both?
Sure, support groups and venting online can help, but what else? When I once asked my late mother how she and Dad dealt with life and stayed together so long, she said, “Well, love, of course … but the bourbon helped.”
Unfortunately, we don’t have the luxury of legal “herbal mood adjustment” in many states, and booze definitely makes eczema worse. One can only imagine people self-medicating their affliction with booze back in the Old West. That must have been super tough with skin issues, especially with no air conditioning. But then again, they didn’t have eczema as we know it today, so … where was I? … (sleepy).
My mom worked for a dermatologist when I was a teenager. He was a very good doctor, but he still misdiagnosed the rosacea that turned into psoriasis that’s now sharing my tortured skin with eczema. Mom would always tell me, as I slathered topical steroids all over my psoriasis, “Be thankful you’re not as bad as some of our patients — they have it head to toe.” Now that I’m learning how powerful steroids are, I just shake my flaking head in dismay.
Oh, I am thankful, Mom. Thankful to you and Dad most of all, for showing me how important love is — in all things. “Forgive and forget,” as Mom would say, especially when the snoring starts!
So, pass this on to your significant other. Tell them it’s not an excuse but a possible explanation, and you’re doing everything you can, but it’s not easy. And thank them for loving you if they’re speaking to you yet. If not, give them some time, or maybe a new set of earplugs or even a separate bed.
It just might keep you together.
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