The man examines his fingers, there’s blood under his nails. He looks at his legs, a few lines of blood flow down them, skin pulled off where he’s been scratching. Scratching so hard and for so long the itching has been replaced with a stinging sensation. He curses under his breath, trying not wake anyone in the house.
He creeps downstairs and runs a bath in the middle of the night. Not too hot, a cooling bath, his legs feel like they’re burning, his whole body feels like it is on fire. Despite the blood and the pain he is now in, he laughs to himself “If only I could be a snake and shed this skin”. Another scratch without even realising as he waits for the bath to fill.
Picking up a bottle of bath oil he reads the instructions, 3-4 capfuls, “six should do” he thinks to himself and then puts a couple more in for good measure. The water is warm as he steps in, his legs sting but it doesn’t stop him laying out in the bath, trying to cover every inch of skin with the soothing water. The itching fades a little, the stinging subsides as he gets used to the water.
His scalp is now itching, the only part not under water. He pours some over, nails digging in to his scalp and his boy shakes. His will power is fading fast. He can’t remember the last time he slept through a full night. Tired, so totally devoid of energy, emotionally drained, trying to fight this condition. The questions come again “why me? Why did I have to get this thing? Why can’t someone just find a cure?” Tears form as he holds his head in his hands, looking at his scarred and peeling body under the water.
A stream of swear words fall from his mouth as his hands attempt to rip his own skin off. “I’ve had enough” his mind shouts. He falls back in the bath in an attempt to stop himself scratching again. As he lays there thinking how he can find some relief, only his head above the water. A thought crosses his mind, the kind of thought he would never admit to his family. His head slowly falls as he starts to pull under the water. The faces of his family flow through his mind, good times with friends, his wedding day and he comes back, snapping out of his thoughts, pulling from the darkness that is trying to drag him under the water. He sits up with a start “I will beat this” he says to himself and pulls himself out of the bath.
Skin still sore as he pats himself dry, layering moisturisers on his skin before covering the sofa with towels and trying to find the peace in his mind to sleep. “Sleep, that’s all I need” he thinks as his eyes close. Body and mind too tired to move or think after too many sleepless nights. Even a full hour brings much needed rest and the energy to continue fighting.
(This is based on one of my darkest moments when my Psoriasis was at it’s worse. It is a moment I look back on when I need the strength to pull myself together again, knwoing I never want to return here).