Bird Scribble · TSW

Willy Wonka

Amidst editing and trudging through all the hurdles with the documentary, I have been thinking about analogies concerning Topical Steroid Withdrawal.

We are always having to try and explain, or make known, or express how frustrating this condition is in our lives. Especially with doctors, it never seems to gain stride as to how UNBEARABLE this whole process of speaking to them about RSS can be. Some of them don’t want to believe it; some don’t even care to hear us out since they are the professional, and know all.

Since I’m around a barrage of entitled adolescents each day, it dawned on me how similar a bratty child is to the chronic abuse of topical steroids.

Children aren’t born with an attitude — something triggers this. As a parent, you see that they are suddenly misbehaving, whether it’s talking back, fighting you on food, not completing homework, acting out for attention, you name it. Many parents I’ve seen will end up buying their children a toy or throwing an iPad their way. This quiets the child and the problem is solved.

However, after a while, their normal coddling actions stop working. They have to up the degree of coddling by giving more toys, better upgrades, or excuses to teachers. Meanwhile, the child grows more and more petulant and disrespectful. They are suddenly this huge problem and force that no one is able to reconcile. By this time, you are up a creek without a paddle — which you could use to smack that child with…

In order to deal with this, desperate measures have to be taken. And not just desperate, but drastic. You cut them off from everything — their toys, games, social media, etc. This is met with hostility and anger. That ‘withdrawal’ is not a happy time. And who knows how that child will fare with all of that happening since they are so used to it being a certain way.

Let’s rewind to when that tiny human first started acting out. What if that parent, instead of coddling them or shutting them up with distractions, took the time to figure out what was wrong? It may take some digging and some counseling, but perhaps they’ll find out that their child is being bullied at school, or they need help with their homework and are too ashamed to admit it, or they see their other friends getting what they want by acting out so they wanted to try that method. After that parent pinpoints what exactly is causing the meltdowns and frustration, they are able to tackle it head on. This not only helps the parent understand their child better, but it stops the nasty cycle from happening, offering the child a better understanding of how communication works and that they have a chance of being a productive and kind human being.

Parent #1 is the topical steroid parent. They just apply this instant gratification that, after a while, has to be escalated until there is no stopping it. You can’t taper that. It is what it is and you have to embrace the need for a withdrawal.

Parent #2 is the judicious parent who takes the time and sees that there must be an underlying reason for their child’s behavior and wishes to figure out the problem instead of masking it with toys and temporary “fixes”.

Now, when analyzing the parent who chose to give endless toys and excuses, would you not fault them at all for their child’s behavior getting worse? Of course you would! You’d say that parent is the reason why that child’s attitude kept getting worse and worse. They may not have been the underlying reason in the first place, but they are the reason why it got so bad.

So, how is it that severe eczema while using steroids is faulted for just the eczema getting worse, and no one ever points a finger at the treatment? It’s impossible for some practitioners to fault the steroid, but easy for them to blame our eczema just getting worse on it’s own. It makes NO SENSE! If you can put blame on the parent for the child’s worsening symptoms of entitlement and disrespect, then it should be the same with topical steroids.

All of us who are on this ‘ah-ha!’ path are looked at like Willy Wonka, while Veruca Salt Daddy Doctors are just blaming eczema and maddening atopic dermatitis on the patient’s skin. And our skin is screaming “I WANT IT NOW!” and they are happily complying, thinking it’s the right thing to do.

Know where it gets us? Straight down the reject tube.


Good day, sir.

Love, B. R. Banos

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