As gross little things were happening all over my body, little rays of hope appeared as well.
Even before that worst part, I had learned not only that the pain and immobility in my arms was a rotator cuff issue, but that massage could work it out, and that I could do stretches and rub out some pains myself to improve the issue. I may not have always been diligent in attending to it, but at least there was a remedy.
A friend looking out for me became a reminder that I needed social time, and I needed time to myself - both at home and away from home. This would not happen automatically but would require planning and asking for help on my part. That did lead to feeling better, really noticeably. As I did that more, the hives started to go away on their own. I had tried some Benadryl before that, and different creams, but they didn't really help.
I tried other things at different times. Sometimes it seems like doing a facial mask helps with the perioral dermatitis. I try and remember to do that periodically, but it's a hassle, and I don't care as much as I could. The most important thing was the hair.
It was not just that I was itching and scratching so much with the scalp. That did bother me, but also my hair itself was not feeling as good.
I know beauticians can be really down on store brands, but I had always done really well with Pantene. Not long ago the density had changed. I assume they tweaked the formula, but not in a way that worked for me. They also stopped making the moisture masque that I liked, and my hair just kept feeling dryer and rougher. (I like hair masks better than face masks.)
As often as advertisements can be a problem for self-image, sometimes they can help too. This is what I saw:
My hair had never felt normal, but maybe smooth manageable hair is the less normal one. The ad worked on my mind, and at one point when I could not stand my hair anymore I went to https://www.sheamoisture.com/ and ordered. Fortunately, my point of being fed up got me into a Cyber Monday special where I got 30 percent off and free shipping.
My hair feels better with products that are more tailored to it. My scalp is a lot better. That was a nice change.
I could do more. I could try and locate that silk nightcap and wear it every night (it prevents moisture loss while you sleep). One friend dries her hair with T-shirts to prevent breakage; is that a thing? Well, there is some dispute on whether a T-shirt is different enough from a towel, or whether you need a microfiber cloth, but those things are out there. I could experiment with different skin products for my face.
Some things will probably change, and some probably won't. The most important part of all of these things has been the me-time and social time, and I recently let those drop. The birthday retreat was really good for me, and then with the Disney trip I was so busy that I hadn't scheduled anything. While the trip was relaxing in some ways, it was still wrapped up in caring for my mother, and it took a toll. I needed replenishment without realizing it, so started running low and had to catch up again. If the things that I enjoy and know are important and that they work get neglected sometimes, the potential hassle that might help a minor skin flaw is at the back of a long line. It's still nice to know that it's there.
There is liberation in knowing that some things can't be helped and that they don't matter that much anyway. Once you have that down, there is also freedom in knowing that there are possibilities.