When the mirror feels like the enemy
Imagine being afraid to look at your reflection in the mirror. That was África Luca de Tena’s struggle when she had to go out. At 19-years-old she’d lost all hope, but not just because of her appearance.
She had struggled with atopic dermatitis (AD) all her life, spanning different doctors and several care options. Nothing seemed to do the trick. Nearly her entire body was affected by the disease, she says. Her body was covered in wet, cracking rashes. Her skin burned and itched. She felt claustrophobic.
“I felt like I was trapped in my own skin,” she says. “I wanted so badly to just take off my own skin for a while and hang it up somewhere so that I could rest.”
But her skin wouldn’t let her rest. Frustrated and feeling like nothing could help her, she stopped going to the doctor. Her family, worried for her health, convinced her to reconsider.
One day in a shopping mall, África accidentally saw herself in a mirror. Her reflection triggered a panic attack on the spot. After she recovered, she knew she had to face her fear.