Red Skin Syndrome (RSS) – Suffering – 5/8
In his 1992 book titled Intoxicated By My Illness Anatole Broyard wrote, “Illness is primarily a drama and it should be possible to enjoy it as well to suffer it. Suffering and joy are often more complimentary than oppositional; each requires the other.”
There is somebody wiser than us, and that is everybody.
There is transformative suffering and this recognizes that suffering can be the foundation of insight and creativity. The opposite of transformative suffering is useless suffering. Useless suffering anticipates no transformation; it only breaks people. RSS patients suffer uselessly 24/7. Their useless suffering is wholly created by the misdiagnosis mismanagement and mistreatment of their skin and the outdated protocols followed by those who treat them.
RSS patients can assuage their suffering by seeking connection with the stories of others who are also suffering with RSS. Their shared experience creates a community that helps them feel less lonely and less crazy. The opposite of this dynamic is found in isolation because suffering intensifies when people feel alone. Support groups like ITSAN, Topical Steroid Withdrawal Group and the NEA have performed well in this area. Indeed, both the reader and the writer in these groups benefit. The reader finds solace in finding others who similarly suffer and the writer finds relief in telling the world what he/she has gone through. Suffering is alleviated somewhat by community but cure is obtained only through appropriate medical intervention that ends the conditions that impose it.