I have this embarrassing problem with my hands. Only diagnosed formally last year, I’ve struggled with it on and off for about ten years. I get a couple of bumps on the backside of my hand, near my wrists and barely notice them. Then they start to itch, and I try not to scratch. Within a couple of days, my hands are red and swollen and I want to hide them in gloves.

It doesn’t happen too frequently, but enough to make me wish it didn’t. I get nervous handing someone something, as if they’ll notice and treat me like I’ve got some contagious disease. Dermatologists have diagnosed me with a number of dye and fragrance allergies, as well as extreme photosensitivity and I avoid these things, but still… bumpy.

I finally discovered that stress brings them out and stress makes it worse. It’s a type of eczema caused by stress and exacerbated by sun, allergies and more stress. You can avoid lots of things, but I can’t seem to avoid stress; not completely. I can learn to control it better, and I think I have, but still these bumps plague me when things get a little crazy.

I find it fitting. I used to keep things inside. For the most part, I no longer do, and yet I still have a physical manifestation of stress showing in a place that’s difficult to hide.

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