Dealing with Dermatographic Urticaria (Skin Writing Condition)

When you run a personal blog that is slowly but surely turning into a brand, it can become really confusing with regards to what to share and how much to share. As many of you know, I started Make Me Up Marie as an open journal. I expected people to be nosey, or occasionally click on a link with a title that is relevant or resonates with them every now and again, but I didn’t expect to ever gain what I would consider to be a ‘proper readership’.

When you have a growing readership, you know that pretty much anyone could land on your blog at any time. You want to be honest and share all the nitty gritty details of your life, but you can’t help but consider the kind of impression you are giving off. This fear of judgement has stopped me from sharing as openly as I’d like to in the past. Similar to social media, you end up sharing only the good parts.

As I write these very words, I’m considering who will be reading and what they will be thinking. Already I’m wanting to take back statements, like the one that suggests I share only the good parts, as I know many of my readers will disagree and often make an effort to comment on my honesty. New visitors are also in the forefront of my mind. If someone I don’t know were to read this post, would they ‘get’ me? Would they even care enough to want to ‘get’ me? Is there still a place for diary-like entries on this blog?

You see, there are no set rules for blogging. Each blogger does it differently, and that’s part of reason why we find them so interesting. I share when I want to, and hold back when it feels intuitively right to. I push myself because that is part of my character, and I get nervous about some of things I write, just like I get nervous about some of the things I do in day-to-day life.

This post (Dealing with Dermatographic Urticaria – I am getting to it, promise!) has been in my drafts for over 2 months. I knew I wanted to share it with you but I allowed it to happen organically. This morning I woke up tired, swollen and fragile. At around 8pm last night, my skin started to develop a spread of hives. It looked a little something like this:

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It may shock you slightly, but unfortunately I’m used to it. I’ve been suffering with chronic hives for a good 4 months now. The first night a welt appeared on my skin I figured I must have been bitten. The second night I was convinced we had bed bugs. On the third night, I made a decision to ring my doctor and make an appointment for the next morning. I also rung my sister, who had previously suffered from something called Dermatographic Urticaria before. At the time, I had no idea the raised, itchy rashes were referred to as ‘hives’, ‘Urticaria’, ‘welts’ or ‘weals’ in the medical industry, or that Lydia’s condition was exactly the same as mine. I was convinced it must be a product I’m using or a bug I can’t see…

After comparing symptoms with Lydia I began to realise just how similar our situations were. I researched the name of her condition and it soon became apparent that I most certainly did have Dermatographic Urticaria. The next day the doctor was able to confirm this for me. We spoke about the possible causes and bearing in mind my mental state at the time the rashes arrive, agreed to put it entirely down to stress. She provided me with some special creams, a dose of antihistamines and wished me the best of luck before sending me on my way.

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I gave it a few days for the creams and pills to kick in and though my symptoms would lessen slightly, the hives were always underlying and persisted on returning at the worst of times. They were spreading to new areas of body, including my lips, ears and hands, and still are appearing in new places everyday!

My condition flares up when I’m stressed, emotional or anxious – it’s like a direct reaction to these three things. Annoying as this is, it doesn’t surprise me. My body has always reacted physically to things – I’m one to actually be sick with worry, or get hot when I’m bothered. The causes are the same, the reactions are different. Why? Honestly, I do not know. What I do know, however, is that unless I reduce my stress levels, it’s unlikely my body with ever be unburdened.

I have a doctors appointment tomorrow, so hopefully I’ll be able to explore my other treatment options, like a high-dose of corticosteroid tablets, leukotriene receptor antagonists or ciclosporin. It’s not ideal and they all sound pretty dangerous, but I can’t live like this anymore. As soon as a rash appears, I feel more agitated, which eventually enhances my stress even more. It’s a vicious circle that I’m desperately looking to get out of.

I’ve come along way since I posted in 2014 about My Struggle with Day-To-Day Anxiety, but I think it is important for you to know and me to acknowledge that self-care is something we should never stop working at. There are no quick-fixes to stress, depression or anxiety. There are no limits to how any of these conditions can affect your life. The one thing there is? Hope. And if we don’t have it, we have to find it… even if it is done through the use of a personal blog.

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Suffering the same symptoms? Here are some reading resources I’ve found useful:

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Nettle-rash/Pages/Treatment.aspx

http://www.healthline.com/health-slideshow/signs-of-stress

http://www.hives.org/stress-hives.php

https://www.verywell.com/can-stress-cause-hives-83239

http://www.allergy.org.au/patients/skin-allergy/urticaria-hives

 

4 thoughts on “Dealing with Dermatographic Urticaria (Skin Writing Condition)

  1. I’ve had this same condition since middle school; my doctor put me on hydroxyzine and it does a lot to keep the itching and hives down. When I haven’t taken them for a while my symptoms flare up again. Just yesterday I was working my reception job and one of the people that worked there asked if I get hives when I get stressed out… The most annoying thing about the condition is other people pointing it out.

    1. I agree. I hate it when people are shocked, disgusted or mean – even when they don’t mean to be! Do you know what causes your hives? Could it be stress? It almost seems too extreme to be true, but I think it is 🙁 xx

      1. It definitely is stress. The first time it happened was in 8th grade, and I had me first breakup (which is stupid in 8th grade but whatever) and I was crying and all of a sudden I was itching all over and hot and couldn’t get away from it. Now I’m in my 20’s and my job requires me to figure out problems quickly while phones are ringing and people are asking me questions, and I often get hives during those times. Hydroxyzine is the only thing that does anything to control it for me. If I haven’t taken it for a few days, I’m an itchy mess constantly.

        1. Sounds so, SO similar to my situation. It’s weird because some people with this condition seem to suffer like us, and others seem to be able to ignore it completely. Ours must be quite an intense form, because right now I can’t go a day without strong antihistamines. Thanks for sharing your story Emily, it makes me feel better knowing that I’m not alone in this. I wish you all the very best and hope this burdening condition leaves you entirely one day xx

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