Healing is a Process


By Ashley Ann Lora

Published On: Oct 28, 2021

Last Updated On: Sep 28, 2022

Have you ever found yourself wondering, “Why haven’t I healed yet?” or “When am I going to get to a place where eczema no longer dictates my life and is it even possible?” In case you’re also wondering if you’re alone in thinking or feeling this way, I’m here to let you know you’re not. After living with atopic dermatitis (AD) for almost 30 years now, I’ve come to realize that the healing process is a journey and not a destination.

My experience with eczema is similar to how I experience other aspects of my life, whether it be with my career, relationships, or even finances — it’s all a process. When we reflect on our growth and evolution as human beings, we are able to see how life in and of itself is a series of processes that unfold through our experiences. If we reflect on our education system, we will see how this very specific process we learn and adapt to, supports us in gaining access to each new level. If we take a look at the most successful entrepreneurs, they also went through a rigorous process to get to the point where they are at now. Healing from eczema is similar. It’s a continuous journey that requires perseverance, undeniable faith and consistent action.

My Healing Journey

I was diagnosed with AD as a baby. For many years, my parents went through stressful periods trying to figure out how to manage my eczema. From the countless doctor’s appointments, to missing days of school and the sleepless nights for us — eczema was not only dominating my life, but my family’s as well.

After years of not fully understanding what triggered my eczema or best practices to better manage it, I actively became my own self-advocate. I started doing my own research and searching for answers. As I began to learn and become aware of the various treatment options and practices one can implement to heal, I started taking action with intention. I learned of and engaged in different treatment options like topical steroids withdrawal (TSW) and Dupixent. I experimented with different foods and learned which of those would best nourish my body, like fruit smoothies and low-carb diets. From a spiritual perspective, I leaned heavily into my relationship with God and therapy to support me with the mental triggers of eczema, such as stress and the effects of hidden trauma.

As a result of my intentionality and dedication to healing, my eczema has gone from covering almost 90% of my body on a given day, to now only affecting about 5% of my body on my worst days. I’m filled with gratitude for the journey and process that’s led me to this point and the valuable lessons I’ve learned along the way.

What’s YOUR healing journey?

This past summer, I had the honor of facilitating a workshop on the subject of healing during National Eczema Association’s (NEA) Virtual Expo 2021. Those who joined and participated further expanded my views on healing through the sharing of the different journeys they’re on.

Here are some of the takeaways from that session:

  • Leverage the power of reflection
    When we find ourselves stuck in the destination-mindset of healing, we forget how much we’ve grown and improved over a period of time. One way to remind ourselves of how far we’ve come is by reflecting on our journey — the good and the not-so-good times. This creates space for gratitude in reflection of where we are versus where we were and how far the journey has taken us. Ask yourself (or I suggest even journaling on the question): “Where was I five years ago compared to where I am now?”
  • Stay present; focus on the now
    When we focus on what’s happening now and what we can do now to manage our eczema, we gain control of the present moment. Sure, it’s easy for a flare up to drown us in misery, frustration and sadness, because it overpowers any memories we’ve had of “good days.” However, when we remain present, we can remind ourselves that this is temporary and it’s a part of the journey.
  • Become aware of your triggers (and then avoid them)!
    Triggers are our indicators of what to avoid in order to best manage our eczema. For example, a trigger for me is stress. When I am stressed out, my eczema flares up on certain parts of my body, especially on my hands. When we become aware of what causes our flare ups and then take initiative to avoid or replace those elements with better or more effective choices, we can experience longer periods of peace and wellness.
  • You’re already “there”
    When we see healing as something outside of ourselves — as something external — or as a “destination” or some point in the future, we set ourselves up for disappointment. Healing doesn’t exist somewhere “out there.” It exists in the moment, right now, within you. Similar to the Pareto Principle, the success in our healing process is 80% mental and it’s about the choice we make to get better and the belief that it is possible. The remaining 20% of the journey depends on the consistent action, research and discipline required to manifest the healing we desire.
  • Everyone’s healing journey looks different
    Similar maybe, but always different. What might work for me, may not work for you, and that’s why healing from this condition is so unique; it truly requires an individualistic approach.

When we are reminded that healing is a journey and not a destination, we become present to what we can handle in this moment and we stand responsible for our health. Remember, this is your journey and it is up to you to make the best of it.

Start or continue your healing journey at our meetup on Nov. 11 at 4 p.m. PT. This meetup, Let’s Talk About Your Eczema, will be hosted and led by Ashley Lora. Register now.

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