Oftentimes, when young people who feel they have nowhere else to turn will post anonymously on message boards to express their feelings or anger. This happens when people plagued by negative feelings are too afraid to call a hotline or reach out for help in other ways.
Posting on an anonymous website is often a last resort for people suffering from a mental illness or a disease. The following story explains how one woman was so tormented by her skin condition that she posted on a popular Chinese message board to express herself. Her family, unfortunately, never got to see the post.
The prevalence of eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is increasing worldwide. Nearly 31 million Americans are estimated to have the skin condition, with 17.8 million showing symptoms.
Eczema Versus Atopic Dermatitis
Technically, eczema is slightly different and a more general term, but physicians sometimes refer to eczema and atopic dermatitis as the same thing. Both are skin diseases where you experience rough, red, dry, and itchy skin. Luckily, none of the symptoms are contagious.
But for the people who have eczema, it can be a source of stress. The stress only makes eczema worse, causing a vicious cycle of symptoms. Many people who suffer from eczema define the condition as “frustrating” and “annoying,” but not much more than that.
While some might not think of eczema as a ‘serious’ condition, others claim that it has an emotional impact, making them more self-conscious and leading to other insecurities.
Plagued by Eczema
The National Eczema Association says that there is a scientific link between eczema, and stress, anxiety and depression. This brings us to a case in China, where a young woman was so plagued by her eczema-induced depression that she took to a popular discussion board to post her feelings about it.
Cry for Help
The post on the message board read: “People with eczema giving birth to kids are worse than poor people giving birth to kids. If you’re poor, you can rely on your own hard work. With eczema, sorry, you have to suffer (your whole life) with no change.” It was a desperate cry for help.
The message came from a 23-year-old woman who suffered from a severe case of eczema. She lived in an apartment on Lung Mun Road in Tuen Mun, China with her family. Pang Ching-yu was reportedly in nursing school at the time of the post, and her parents were unaware of how badly their daughter was suffering.
Unfortunate Side Effects
Pang wrote earlier in the forum that she suffered side effects from steroids that she was using to treat the condition, which made her skin uncomfortable. She added that having the condition meant “there’s nothing you can do except to wait and die.”
No Social Life
Her “social life [was] all gone.” It seemed Pang blamed her parents for her eczema, which is common. Children whose parents have the skin condition, or asthma and allergies, are “more likely to develop eczema than children of parents without allergic diseases,” according to the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases.
The Family was Worried
One day, one of Pang’s relatives became concerned when the family didn’t attend a Father’s Day gathering over the weekend. He decided to pay a visit to Pang’s family to make sure everything was fine, but no one answered the door at 3 pm, even though he knew they were home.
The relative feared for the safety of Pang’s family, as he must have realized how troubled Pang was. That’s when authorities were alerted and they arrived at the home to a grizzly discovery. The husband and wife, Pang’s parents, were found dead with stab wounds to their bodies.
Then, the daughter was discovered with a plastic bag over her head which was connected by a meter long pipe to a helium gas canister. According to police, a bloodstained knife was also found in the kitchen.
Along with the three dead bodies was a suicide note found in the kitchen detailing Pang’s suffering. She described how she’d feel “better dead than alive.” But the tragic murder-suicide led investigators to wonder if Pang was the only one to blame.
A Sad Scene
Assistant Tuen Mun district commander, Yan Fong-wai, said that when officers found Pang she was without a pulse and leaning on the door of her room. The father, a retiree, was discovered dead in the bedroom of their oldest daughter’s room, who was on a business trip in mainland China. The mother, a housewife, was found dead in her room wrapped in a blanket.
Investigators believe the family had been dead for 24 hours. After firefighters broke into the flat and found the bodies inside, officers guarded the area as detectives gathered evidence.
They learned that the family had no history of domestic violence, leaving Pang to blame for the gruesome murders of her parents. Officials believed that she committed suicide by inhaling helium.
Toxicology examinations will be carried out to establish whether the parents were drugged before being stabbed to death, according to the South China Morning Post. The police investigation into the deaths is ongoing.
More than ‘Skin Deep’
This horrific story has opened up the discussion of eczema being more than just skin deep. According to the National Eczema Association, nearly one-third of people with atopic dermatitis report feeling depressed and suffering from anxiety.
Negatively Impacting Their Lives
A new study suggests that for the millions of Americans with moderate to severe forms of the disease, atopic dermatitis negatively impacts almost every area of their lives, including their intimate relationships, professional life, sleep, and overall wellbeing.
“Atopic dermatitis is a complex disease,” says Julie Block, president and CEO of National Eczema Association. “Research reveals this form of eczema goes well beyond what you see on the skin. Chronic inflammation, symptoms such as unbearable itch, being severely allergic to the world around you — these all profoundly affect the quality of life of people with AD.”