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It’s a common enough phrase, isn’t it?  ‘Sorely Tempted’ I mean.  “Honestly, he got me so mad I felt like slapping him.  I mean it. I was sorely tempted.”  Is a line from a conversation I remember having with someone about how their husband had behaved one morning.  (And of course I am not advocating hitting husbands here.  I just wanted to demonstrate the common nature of the phrase.)

Boils-03However I want to use it in a slightly different way within this post, and am deliberately playing with words here.  What if I were to write it as ‘Sore’ly tempted and to tell you that this post is as much about sores and boils as it is about self-image and self-confidence?

About two and a bit years ago I wrote a post entitled “Sometimes, what it al ‘boils’ down to…” and in that post I wrote openly up about the boils and sores that I frequently have.  And I  even went as far as displaying pictures of the state of my skin as a result of these boils and of some of the boils themselves.

And I did so because I felt that it was an important issue.  And the truth is that I still feel the same way.  Especially since I am still receiving comments and emails concerning this issue and the experiences that others have with the same issue.

Boils-02The truth is that as well as the physical difficulties which can result from such a condition (pain or physical discomfort, discomfort or difficulties walking, additional laundry requirements, the ruining of clothes. etc) there are other difficulties as well.

Things which perhaps we would not initially consider.  Such as the impact it can have on who we are as a person.

And the truth is that whilst I do personally believe that often, the presence of mental illness or poor mental health can complicate – even exaggerate – the impact of such a condition, the fact remains that so many different things can play into and impact our self-image and self-confidence regardless of whether mental illness or poor mental health is present.

For example I recently received a comment (on the previous post I mentioned) which really brought this home to me.  And I will share a part of it here with you…

I, also, have suffered from this issue for nearly 15 years. I am currently 24 years old and at the age of 11 or 12, I noticed painful, large boil-like abscesses regularly appearing on my inner thighs. Within a couple of years, the issue began to get so much worse and as a cheerleader, I had to do stretches at practice that made this issue visible to all of my friends. I tried to hide it as best as I could, but sometimes friends or family members of mine would question why I had a “rash” on my inner thighs. It was so embarrassing and definitely put a damper on my confidence as a teenager.

I can so relate to what was being shared in that comment and my heart went out to her.  I may not be a cheerleader (trust me I never have been).  Nor am I a teenager. Nor does my life present me with many situations where anyone would see the sores or the boils which I still experience.  But I certainly do remember and still (on the very rare occasions when someone is likely to see my boils and sores – such as at the doctors or the hospital) know and understand the impact, embarrassment, and even the sense of shame which we can allow ourselves to feel when they are seen by someone else.

psoriasis body mainAdditionally, I also have an adult daughter who suffers from Psoriasis.  A condition which causes plaque like blotches all over her body including her most intimate parts.

And I know, from dealing with this with her, just how this has impacted her self-image and self-confidence and indeed her willingness to have intimate relationships with anyone.

But here’s the deal, and it really is a question which we all need to ask ourselves.  So many of us who experience mental illness or poor mental health will actively speak out about the stigma that is often wrongly attached to us and to others with mental illness or poor mental health.

“It is wrong.”  We shout.  Or “You cannot treat people who have a mental condition, one which is, in the main, beyond their control, differently.” And we say,  “You cannot (justly or fairly) look at them as being somehow inferior, somehow damaged, simply because of their condition!” And the truth is that we are right to do so and it is tragic that even in this day and age we still have to say such things.

But what about our unsightly or unappealing physical conditions?  Such as boils and sores, Hidradenitis suppurativa,  or psoriasis or other such conditions?  And what about the way we allow having these conditions (and other people’s reactions to them) to impact the way we see our selves.

Often these conditions last a very ling time and all we can do is try to manage them.  In respect of the boils and sores, as the young lady whose comment I featured above also noted…

I do have one HUGE tip I could share that may help some of you…. ALWAYS, ALWAYS try to keep the crevices of your body as dry as possible. Moisture always seems to trigger the onset of boils. If you work out or notice that you are sweating a lot, immediately shower if you can and following this, apply medicated baby powder to your thigh/buttocks area, underneath armpits, under breasts, or any other crease in your body. If you have to, blow dry your body.

So there are things that we can do to reduce their physical impact and hopefully to prevent the physical scarring such as mine…Boils-01


But as I said, it is not only about the physical effects and physical scarring is it?

Like I said, I may not be a cheerleader (trust me I never have been).  Nor am I a teenager and nor am I concerned about either having intimate relationship or the way my body looks within those relationships.

But I am concerned about how we see ourselves and how loving and accepting we are of ourselves – warts and all so to speak.

The world – media, social sites, advertising (or so it seems to me) is obsessed with physical beauty and even physical or cosmetic perfection.  But aren’t we so much more than this?  Shouldn’t we all be looking deeper than the (often artificial) exterior?

As I mentioned above, my heart went out to the young lass who commented on my previous posting on this subject.  And so if you are suffering from such a condition as the one I experience and have illustrated above, I so deeply want to say this to you.

I fully accept that I am older and that I no longer suffer the same kind of peer pressure that many youngsters still experience.  But I have – over the years – learned two very important things.

Firstly, we are so much more than just what is presented on the outside, and actually very often what is present on the outside – no matter how aesthetically appealing it might seem – is nothing like what is on the inside.

And secondly, true friends, true loved ones, people who really care and thus who really matter in life, will look beyond what it on the outside and love you, care for you for who you are on the inside.

So today I really want to encourage you.

No matter how bad things may seem, no matter how much your condition may impact the physical, love the you beyond the physical.  Love the you inside and never let anyone or anything judge you purely on the outside.

Never allow the outside to hide your love and your acceptance and you caring for the you on the inside.  No matter how ‘sore’ly tempted you may be!