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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

My Skin Disease

I've been reading up on Epidermolysis Bullosa--a life-threatening skin disease in which the epidermis does not attach to the dermis, due to lack of the protein collagen. Consequently the skin blisters with the slightest bump or scratch. The blisters are painful and cause scarring, which leads to deformities in the extremities. A child with EB knows only a life consumed with daily wrappings, ointments and dressings, constant pain and emotional suffering. It was all I could do to get through each heart-wrenching paragraph and picture describing this gruesome condition.

And then I realized I have the same disease.

My physical epidermis is attached just fine, but I have a skin hyper-sensitivity of another sort. Call it the "disease to please," the fear of man or public opinion, or plain old being too sensitive--the fact of the matter is, I blister inwardly at the slightest bump to my ego. I'm constantly dressing new wounds and nursing old ones it seems--as a result of what someone said to me or thought about me. I tiptoe my way around people at times, careful to not get my too-thin skin scratched. It's a nasty ailment, this approval-addiction affliction.

The good news is, unlike EB, there is a cure for my particular skin disease (for more on the cure, read the post, "Have You Seen My Self?"). I am in recovery. My skin is slowly but surely thickening. I'm finding that I'm more and more able to survive the bumps that result when I say something bold--or stupid for that matter. Stares, whispers and bad opinions--real or imagined--are becoming but the brush of a feather against my increasingly resilient skin.

More and more I'm able to walk away from a people-encounter without suffering for hours over things like, Did I talk too much? Was I too opinionated? Did I sound immature? Ignorant? Was I a busy-body? I am so misunderstood! I was misjudged! (Should I have announced this blog post on Facebook--or will they think I'm tooting my horn?)

I'm hanging what people think and going to take the bandages off.

3 comments:

Monazein said...

I don't see your sensitivity to the way others view you as a disease nor does it require treatment. It may even be a gift from God that you should value or treasure or it may be a sign that you are on the correct path to finding God; the narrow one in which we become as children, innocent and free of all that the world has done to us as we have adapted to live in it. I pray that your skin will not thicken and that your spirit will not harden to others around you. Do not allow the world to overcome or change you in any manner. Embrace this perceived weakness as a virtue and a strength, while finding value in who you are through eyes of God. Forgive me for being so assertive. I see you as a sensitive and loving person and I enjoy your blogs very much.

Faith said...

'Preciate the comment, but what would you think if someone said to you, "Your cancer is not a disease, nor does is require treatment?" Only a people-pleaser like me knows the joy of deliverance from years of such a bondage. I'm still holding onto the good side of sensitivity and do see it as a gift: I tend to feel what others feel and observe things through their eyes more than those who are "insensitive."

Rachel said...

wow - your words could have been mine. I too have the diease of being people pleaser. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts and experiences in a very creative way. I too am experienceing healing. As I continue to draw closer to God and rest in Him - I find what others think not to be so important - though I still have a ways to go - but it is tremendous to see movement in the right direction. I want to be like Christ - focused on God's will - period.

I'll pray for you as I pray for myself in this area.

Rachel