Hidradenitis Suppurativa: A condition that could so easily consume my life,
I just choose not to let it
Hello everyone, I’m Bethan. I live in South Wales in the United Kingdom. I was diagnosed with HS in 2016, after roughly 10 months of recurrent abscesses in my groin. Just like the many people who live with this condition, I experienced unbearable pain and physical discomfort, but the hardest part for me was the mental battles I had with myself. (You can read more about my diagnosis and how I dealt with it here.
At the beginning of 2020, I made a promise to myself that I would no longer let my skin define me. Truth be told, I was fed up with feeling unhappy and lacking in self-confidence. I wanted to make 2020 my year. (Little did I know back then the world would be hit with a pandemic, but that’s a whole different story) Despite the challenges of this year, so far, for me it’s been great. In early March, I had an abscess removed surgically and since then, my outlook has completely changed. I’ve found acceptance. I no longer look in the mirror or at my scars and despise what I see. Now I look at them as part of me and I’ve learned to love all of those parts.
In addition to the surgical removal, I’ve also had some personal victories this year. I decided to share my story which was kindly published by the British Skin Foundation. I found a love for exercise and due to lockdown restrictions, working from home has helped me rekindle my love for being outdoors. (I’m pretty much always up a mountain these days ha).
One of the best outcomes of this year (so far) is making so many incredible connections during HS Awareness week. It’s been great to get to know people from all over the world, hear their stories and help to support each other. This includes the wonderful team behind HS Connect. If it wasn’t for HS, I would not have met Brindley and Denise, so when I think of it like that, I cant help but feel grateful to my skin (I never thought I’d be saying that back in 2016) The one thing all these connections and new relationships have in common, at least for me, is the desire to support others, share stories and where possible, try to uplift people. A positive outlook has been crucial for me and I feel passionate about sharing that positivity with others.
Now don’t get me wrong, I still have down days (we all do) but I’d like to think there are ways we can help each other to get through those tough times. So, here I am. Each month I will be updating you on the small things that really help me to enjoy life, the small things that make me realise we are far more then just skin.
This is a little bit of me.