Scratching the Surface
by Allyson Steedman
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Pub Date 01 Oct 2022 | Archive Date 15 Nov 2023
For her whole life, Allyson lived with chronic eczema. At times severe, she was told the condition was incurable and doctors prescribed topical steroid creams to help manage the outbreaks. She learned to live with it. Now, well into her thirties, married and with a daughter of her own, life was busy and full of energy and seemed to be moving in the right direction. Until she stopped using the creams. Plunged into Topical Steroid Withdrawal (TSW), she faced years of debilitating effects that left her with increased loss of physical function, traumatic physical and mental pain and a greatly diminished quality of life. But through all the pain, a resonating within her of an undeniable truth emerged; that physical healing was only one part of the equation. That to truly heal, we must look deeply within ourselves to find the connection between our mind, body and spirit. Travelling through a narrative that speaks about mental health and depression, self worth and value, we can find a link to our own spirit and answer its call to live more authentically and with a full heart.
Scratching the Surface challenges all of us to look beyond our physical limitations and current situations to find a deeper connection to ourselves and who we can truly be. It encourages us to shift our thoughts, shed our fears and equip our minds for a different outlook and to believe in our own intrinsic value.
A Note From the Publisher
More than simply a book about eczema, Scratching the Surface delves deeper into ideas and concepts that are relatable to many people's stories. Navigating through mental health and depression, questioning of worth and purpose, and contemplating how to live a life of more meaning, the book provides a roadmap through uncertainty for anyone faced with challenging circumstances. The book aims to provide inspiration and connection to those searching for answers.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 6 members
*Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an advance copy of this eBook in exchange for an honest review!*
Allyson’s lifelong battle with chronic eczema and her lengthy experience with topical steroid withdrawal (TSW) was both heartbreaking and inspiring. Heartbreaking — because medication is prescribed so carelessly to patients, with zero consideration given to long-term side effects…which undoubtedly harms a significant amount of people each year. Inspiring — because Allyson bravely decided to stop taking topical steroids in order to complete an arduous healing process. She knew her skin would have to physically heal, but she didn’t anticipate the inner healing that would simultaneously occur.
Allyson’s memoir feels like a long journal entry or a letter written to a close friend. By the end of it, I found myself wanting to sit down with her over a cup of coffee and learn more about her experience — which seemed both grueling and eye-opening. I enjoyed both her introspective reflections and her raw honesty about how challenging TSW was and how long it took to conquer. I’m astounded that she persevered for several years through eczema flares that were extraordinarily uncomfortable and painful. It’s really a testament to how strong and resilient humans are when they decide, deep in their heart, that they want or need to do something.
I gave the book three stars because I feel like it could have been structured in a more organized fashion, and I also think the length could’ve been shorter. There were some parts that I ended up skimming. But overall, it was a really inspiring story.
Steedman's story is heartfelt and emotional. You don't really hear about TSW, Topical Steroid Withdrawal, which can result from overuse of a commonly prescribed medication. Sadly, while it can be helpful, it can also cause harm to the patient. Steedman shares her struggle, along with the inner healing that had to accompany the outer healing. This book is more like a journal than a memoir, and the reader feels like they're having a chat with a friend. The author is strong and resilient, which is encouraging. Some parts were a bit overdetailed, and the book might have benefitted from a tighter edit. An inspiring read overall, especially for those experiencing similar challenges.
I always hate giving memoirs a rating because it’s someone’s personal story!
I enjoyed this memoir - as another chronic eczema sufferer it was interesting to see another perspective. I’ve never gone through the TSW - that’s so scary!
This was a genuine, heartfelt memoir. I truly connected with the story and the author.
I loved how brave this book was. The story was interesting and I felt like the author was telling me her struggles and then triumphs. The writing was really good and it flowed easily from one experience to the next. Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC. Five stars!