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.