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I AM in Iowa Adolescents Making Choices to Control Their Future Teen:Health, Relationship, Body and Sexuality
Aug 12

Having the “Chicken Pox” from Ages 7-15: A Journey to Loving Myself

Posted By iamincontrol | August 12, 2014

teenage girl
By Anonymous

Growing up, I had a lot of health problems. My biggest issue was a skin problem. I was itchy all the time, covered in sores from head to toe. People were always asking me, “Do you have the chicken pox?” Some people just stared, and others just blatantly asked what was wrong with me. Since I always got these questions and weird looks, I began to hide my body by wearing sweatshirts and jeans all year round, even if it was 100 degrees outside. I could not handle the looks and questions I received from people. It would cause me to break down crying.

No doctor could figure out what was wrong with me. One dermatologist said it was eczema, another said it was atopic dermatitis; others said it was allergies, and some believed I just scratched myself because of anxiety issues.

Since no doctor knew what was wrong, I just told people I had the chicken pox. It seemed easier to tell them I had the chicken pox than say, “No one knows what’s wrong with me.” Otherwise I would scare people away. I told everyone that from the ages of 7 to 15.

I was always putting different creams over my body to help heal the sores or stop the itching. No amount of cream, steroid medicine, or allergy medication could fix the issue though. Even in my sleep I scratched. I would wake up with blood stains covering my pajamas and bed sheets.

I hated myself. I felt like the ugliest person in the entire world. There were some days I just wished I could die, that way my parents wouldn’t have to look at my hideousness anymore.

All of that began to change once I reached high school. I had realized in the 9th grade that I had not worn shorts or even tank tops since I was a toddler, and I wanted so badly to change that. I needed to raise my confidence level and stop hiding from everyone all the time. So I began wearing mittens to bed at night to help stop the itching, as well as control myself when I began to feel itchy.

By 10th grade, I basically grew out of my skin issue. I still have issues with it occasionally, but no one stares at me or asks if I have the chicken pox anymore. The only sign of the problem I once had is the scars I bear from years of the undiagnosed skin problem.

Even though I have A LOT of scars from my experience growing up, and some would call them “ugly,” I like having them there. They remind me every day of the obstacle I had to overcome in life to begin to love myself. So many people do not love themselves, and I think everyone needs to be reminded that they are beautiful, even if they are covered in sores, even if they have the chicken pox for 8 years.