A hideous skin condition that can really fuck up your life. I wasn't born with eczema, it just showed up three days after that as a mild rash on my skin.

"Don't worry", the doctors told my parents. "He'll grow out of it."

By the time i was four years old, it had completely taken my lower limbs. I scratched incessantly. I couldn't help myself, i scratched when no-one was watching, i scratched surreptitiously, i scratched in my sleep and woke myself with the pain of it.

I grew used to the blood-loss, to the sheets of scabs that covered my arms and legs, to the pain of every step as the scabs ripped open with the movement of muscle. I covered myself at all times. I refused to wear shorts, wouldn't wear t-shirts, developed a massive phobia about the flies that would try to feed of the raw meat of my body.

At four years old, i was hospitalised for the first time.

By the time i was eleven, the eczema had spread across my torso and back.

At about sixteen years old, it spread onto my hands and face.

At twenty-two, it spread to my feet. I could now no longer walk.

The eczema continued its cycle of ravaging my body and then a respite while i became strong enough to be ravaged again until i was 27 years old. I don't know what happened then. I think i recall a conscious decision to deal with it, not to scratch, to treat it at all times and i did so religiously.

I still have traces. I don't know why i can resist it now when i never could before. My body is a mass of scar tissue and nerve damage but i swear it has never looked better and i have never felt better.

Never let anyone tell you that eczema is a minor ailment because it isn't. It ruins lives. It ruined mine for more than a quarter of a century.