9 Ways Dealing With Hidradenitis Suppurativa Is Like Trying To Get Out Of A Toxic Relationship

For years I’ve been struggling with the chronic skin disease, HS (Hidradenitis Suppurativa). There have been extended periods of time during which I’ve assumed I was in the clear—but like a persistent ex, my HS always returns, wreaking havoc on my life. Through trials and tribulations, I’ve realized that there are many parallels between HS and toxic relationships.

Here are 9 reasons why coping with a skin condition like HS can feel a lot like being being stuck in a bad relationship:

1. It’s constantly on your mind, but not in a good way.

You feel the pain every single day. You can’t stop thinking about it and you can’t stop obsessing. The main thought lingering on the back of your mind at all times is: HOW DO I GET RID OF IT?!

2. Your family and friends don’t understand it, and don’t understand why it’s still there.

I know it’s a foreign concept to most, but when I told my loved ones about HS, they just couldn’t grasp it. They couldn’t understand what I was going through, and they often blamed me for it. They assumed it was a result of something I was eating or that it was related to my hygiene. Just as a toxic partner will gaslight you, HS can be the cause of so much undue strife in your life. You can open up all you want about HS, but some people (like a toxic significant other), will just never listen. They will never really ~hear~ you.

3. No matter what methods you try, it just doesn’t go away.

My doctor gave me medication, recommended bleach baths, and even performed a minor surgery on me. Nothing has worked. Nothing. The HS remains, just as a toxic partner lurks in your world long after it’s clear that they’re terrible for you.

4. The battle is internal as much as it’s external.

Not only are you dealing with the physical pain and fatigue of the situation, but you are emotionally exhausted and irritated. HS inhabits your mind as much as your body. So does a toxic relationship.

5. You often cry yourself to sleep over it.

Why won’t it go away? Why won’t this relationship end? These are the thoughts that plague your mind whenever you have a flare-up (or whenever you find yourself struggling to let go of someone you’ve identified as bad for you). The tears just keep coming.

6. You are constantly worried it’s going to pop up out of nowhere.

You are constantly in fear that it will show up at the most inopportune times, so your prepare yourself for the worst. A toxic partner will show up outside your house pretending to have changed when you least expect it, just as HS manages to reenter your life at the worst possible moments.

7. Just when you think you’re done healing, it returns.

HS is virtually impossible to move on from because there is no cure. You might think it’s gone because you haven’t had a breakout in a while, just like you might think you’ve finally let a bad guy go. “I’m happy, I’m healed. I’m getting better,” you tell yourself. But nope, you aren’t. Maybe two months will pass in painless bliss, but when you least expect it, the HS (or your toxic ex-boyfriend) will return to ruin your life.

8. It hurts so much that you can’t talk about it—so you’re forced to isolate yourself.

You don’t want to hang out with friends because you’re in so much pain. You stay home from work. You avoid family. Just like a bad relationship, HS leads you to alienate yourself from any social situation because you fear engaging and participating while you’re hurting so much.

9. It affects your self-esteem.

You’re self-conscious and ashamed every waking minute. What will people think of your symptoms? How will you explain it to them? Why me? A toxic relationship can have the same type of negative impact on your psyche, leading you to ask similar questions that don’t really have an answer.  Thought Catalog Logo Mark