Extraordinary Illness: Pain and strange symptoms tormented me for six years: How I defeated the demon in my body

This text comes from the stern archive and first appeared in March 2022.

Extraordinary Illness: Pain and strange symptoms tormented me for six years: How I defeated the demon in my body

This text comes from the stern archive and first appeared in March 2022. On the occasion of Rare Disease Day on February 29th, we are republishing it here.

In retrospect I see things clearly and suddenly every piece of the mosaic fits together. But when I didn't know what was happening to me at the time, I didn't see the big picture. Even the people around me didn't see the connections for a long time. That's what happened to me and my family and also to the various doctors who treated me. My story went on for years, more precisely: over six years. I later found out: This is not unusual. I'm well in the middle of the field. Sometimes it takes much longer for doctors to come to the correct diagnosis. Today I am 36 years old, an illustrator and graphic designer and have illustrated this text. The whole thing started for me in my late 20s.

I have always been curious, fun-loving and physically robust - as a child, teenager and young adult. I tried a lot of things, and I was particularly passionate about snowboarding, surfing and skiing. Everything sporty came easy to me and I learned quickly. While my adult friends said they needed to go to the gym again, I preferred not to do anything like that because I didn't want my thighs to get any more muscular. I also didn't go jogging or cycling for fear of quickly looking like a bodybuilder. I just built muscle very quickly. Sometimes I joked that my calves got stronger even when I was driving, just from accelerating and braking.

Summer 2014

When I was 29, I suddenly developed problem skin. I had long since had my puberty acne behind me. The change hit me hard. I had already taken part in a photo shoot for the magazine "Brigitte" as an amateur model, the natural type, with freckles and a big smile. And now this! I tried tinctures, creams, ointments, natural cosmetics, nothing really helped. I picked and picked at my face, which made things worse - little scars appeared. This went on for months. I suffered a lot and became more and more depressed.

December 2015

I didn't want to see anyone or meet anyone anymore and I burst into tears easily. I let my hair grow long and fall over my face like a curtain so no one could see my pimples. At some point I started behavioral therapy because I was so unhappy. The point there was that I shouldn't fixate so much on my skin. And the question was: Was I unhappy about my pimples or depressed?

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