If you’ve been going through topical steroid withdrawal, you’ll know just what a gruelling and bumpy ride it can be, beset by setbacks and disappointments. Anyone who’s been through TSW will stress that it’s not a linear process, with flares coming and going, and healing taking place in a series of cycles, rather than a simple improvement over time.
With that in mind, we asked some of our favourite TSW warriors to tell us about their successes - maybe not the end of the journey, but moments when they realised things were getting better and that there was a definite light at the end of the apparently interminable TSW tunnel! So here they are, some little wins on the way to health, as encouragement for anyone needing a bit of a boost today.
With thanks to Briana Banos, Louise King, Holly Broome, Harriet Hammond, Eden Brown and Caroline Szczuka.
"I remember last January was the first time I got to experience the beach again. The sun was setting, my feet dug into the sand, and I felt such a peace come over me because it had been years since being able to enjoy the fresh, salt air. It was a joyful moment." Briana Banos, director of Preventable
“My eyesight has improved so much off of steroids that I can’t use my glasses, & I need my thyroid medication re-checking, as I’m showing signs of being over-active now rather than under-active, which means my thyroid is probably repairing too!” Louise King, skinfluencer spreading awareness on TSW @scratchthat.uk and as @louigi.skin
“When I was going through TSW, I kept reminding myself that it was a process I had to go through, and that each new symptom was a step closer to recovery. It helped me feel a little more in control, and focused my attention on seeing new symptoms as a positive step in the right direction, rather than something to panic about. Obviously this is easier said than done!” Holly Broome, one of the #tswfab5 #skinfluencers for the #thisisnoteczema campaign, @tsw_hollybee
“Just yesterday I did a food shop with my boyfriend and commented on the fact that I used to struggle to walk around a supermarket without getting stuck in a huge scratch fit several times and get into a panic just wanting to leave. Yesterday we absolutely smashed a trip to Aldi and totally beat the cashier at the till with the rapid item scanning!!
Sitting comfortably on a sofa or lying comfortably in bed and being able to get up again! For months I was rooted to the spot and would get stiff from being so still for fear of moving and starting an itch fest...
Being able to move without pain. I still have moments of pain from little rips where I’ve scratched but it’s nothing compared to how I was and I can’t understand how I managed it to be honest!
Another stupidly tiny one - being able to smile and sing without my mouth ripping! This really helped my mental health having been so depressed when things were really bad.” Harriet Hammond, #skinfluencer & one of the #tswfab5 @tswharriet
“Small win, was not having to change my pillows every day! GOOD TIMES!” Eden Brown, Balmonds ambassador who charts her skin journey on Instagram @edenhbrown
“My wins were: being able to wear jeans, having my first TSW haircut, taking a shower without a burning sensation, wearing eyeliner/eyebrow pencil.” Caroline Szczuka, Canadian TSW warrior and Balmonds guest blogger who posts about her skin journey @liversante_tsw
For more information about topical steroid withdrawal, check out the dedicated TSW corner in our Info Hub.
If you require medical advice we recommend you always contact your healthcare professional.
If you or someone you are caring for seems very unwell, is getting worse or you think there's something seriously wrong, call for emergency services straight away. For general medical advice, please contact your healthcare professional, this article does not contain or replace medical advice.
Do not delay getting help if you're worried. Trust your instincts.