Has HS Been A Boon Or A Curse?
Last updated: April 2023
Tina is a sensitive and vulnerable child. She is a girl of extreme temperaments too and would often experience sever shift in moods. Right from her school days, she has displayed a tendency to brood over a hurt. With her friends, she would love them or hate them by turns and found it very difficult to forgive her acquaintances who could have unwittingly hurt her.
As a mother, I used to be very worried about this propensity. This tendency of becoming too attached to people, only to withdraw completely caused a huge dent in her social life. I would often wonder how she could manage to live in a world where love and hate are likely to emanate from the same source.
This vulnerability had continued in her life unabated even in her 20’s. She had decided not to invest affection in anyone and built an invisible shell to prevent herself from getting hurt. This wasn’t a good idea though. The social isolation triggered by HS seemed complete with this attitude.
Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) is a chronic, relapsing, inflammatory skin condition that develops in the apocrine gland bearing regions. The exact cause of HS is unknown and most of the medications tried and tested had failed to eliminate the painful bumps that had risen underneath her skin. Surgeries would ease the pain temporarily, but the abscesses would often begin to erupt in other areas of her body causing emotional distress.
Most of my interactions with her would revolve around trying to find a balance between head and heart. Having lost my husband only a few years after my daughter was born, I used to wonder if a strong male presence was needed to keep her in check. In a weird way, HS seemed to have played the role of a male protector whom she lacked. I still wonder how this little girl, with a large appetite for junk food could show such restraint in her eating habits and lead an otherwise disciplined life.
In the process of preventing further flare-ups, she gravitated towards eating healthy and the restricted social life gave her the necessary control over her emotions. She would recognize potential temptations and distract herself with healthier activities which made it easy to strengthen self-control. To be supportive and benevolent, yet without harboring any expectation from the other, seemed to be taking a sound route in her mind. Additionally, practicing yoga and meditation had helped her progress on the right path.
A good guardian
Though Tina often tells me that HS would perhaps never allow her to be completely happy, I strongly feel that it has safeguarded her in many ways. There are time she compares her limited and confined life to those of her pears and feels frustrated. She even calls HS a devil. But I constantly remind her how it has played the role of guardian that prevented her from entering into unwanted tumultuous relationships, alcoholism, drugs, or perhaps leading an otherwise lethargic life.
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