My nieces were diagnosed with atopic eczema in their infancy as well (first signs 2mos. old, most severe 3mos. all over body). Due to our family's prior experience with the damaging effects of steroids caused to my mother, we were determined not to use this type of treatment with our nieces. We embarked on our own journey to healing and in two weeks time my nieces' severe (total body) eczema flareup was healed (no scarring). The oldest niece has been eczema free for five years and the middle niece for three years. Looking at their skin today, there is no evidence of eczema. Not only do I believe that you can be eczema free without the use of damaging medications; but I also believe that your skin can recover from the damage done. The human body is an amazing machine; and it never fails in its ability to continue to amaze me.
The first response to your eczema diagnosis by the medical community set off a domino effect resulting in all the ailments that you've suffered up to this point. That is exactly the reason that I insisted on taking my nieces health into my own hands. I hope that parents of children with eczema will here your story and get why I am so adamant about addressing the child's nutrition in order to restore health to the immune system. Children don't grow out of eczema magically, luckily, or coincidentally. Where attention was placed on addressing the immune health nutritionally (plenty of water, fruit, and vegetables/no junk foods or soft drinks) at the early stages of the child's developement, that is where immune health is restored and eczema freedom begins. Those are the children that "grow out of eczema". This has been the case for my nieces. It wasn't luck; it was work.
You've made the connection between poor nutrition, your immune health, and eczema. Implementation of a diet rich in plenty of water and fruit and vegetables that contain the nourishment needed to boost immune health (like beta carotene/vitamin A) will begin to restore the health to your immune system and reverse the damage done to your skin. The hope for you is attainable. There are 3 factors that must be considered and implemented in order to successfully heal the skin of eczema. They are internal, external, and foreign. Internal refers to your immune health. External refers to your skin health. Foreign refers to identification of the allergen/irritant. The immune health is addressed through cleansing and good nutrition. The skin health is addressed through a good skin care regimen, using natural products that benefit the skin nutritionally and works with the natural chemistry of the skin to rehydrate the skin and restore the moisture barrier. The foreign is addressed by the individual playing detective and finding out the culprit or instigator of the eczema flareups; so that the culprit can be rid from the environment of the sufferer.
The steroid treatments suppressed your immune system. Since the immune system is the bodies defense against disease and since the medicines that you were prescribed knocked your immune system out of commission, it is no wonder that the other conditions that followed manifested in your life. Once you understand that steroids and other synthetic medications are viewed by the body (your immune system) as foreign invaders, then you can understand the domino effect of symptom suppressing medications and the damages they cause. This is why I refer to the body as a smart machine; it knows the difference between true vitamins, minerals, and proteins and counterfeit copies. A symptom manifests itself on or in the body to alert an individual to a problem that needs to be addressed. Steroids and other symptom suppressing medications ignore the message the body sends for help and chooses to address the message by cutting off the messenger. You stated that you have found relief from anxiety attacks by taking Zoloft. Your temporary relief from this medication can, like the steroids for your eczema, produce the same damaging domino effect of disease. You need to find an alternative natural treatment for anxiety as well.
Here are some suggestions for healing your eczema skin and destressing:
Skin moisturization - Borage Skin Therapy lotion by Shikai, Colloidal Oatmeal Skin Therapy by Nature's Gate, or Burt's Bees Buttermilk lotion.
Skin cleaning - Moisturizing Bath and Shower Gel by Shikai (lavender), Burt's Bees Exfoliating Soap for men, Burt's Bees shaving/facial care, Burt's Bees Vitamin E bath oil, Burt's Bees Shampoo, or Jason's Naturals dandruff shampoo.
Destressing/alleviating anxiety - exercise, drink chamomile tea, and take a lavender or chamomile bath before bedtime to aide in a good nights sleep. Also one of the most important doctors that you will need is a good nutritionist. Have your magnesium and B vitamin levels checked. A liver/kidney flush should help with your anxiety reactions as well. A good nutritionist could help you embark on this road to healing safely, while educating you on the function and the nurtritionally needs of the human body.
You've made the proclaimation and I concur; STOP THE SOFT DRINKS/JUNK FOODS. Those items fed the imbalance in your immune system, increasing the bad fighters and decreasing the health of the good fighters. Strengthen the health of the good fighters and your body will reward you with healing. A visit to your local Whole Foods Market will not only help you nutritionally with food choices; but also with the skin care choices that I've mentioned above. Whole Foods Market is a national chain in the U.S. You can visit their website and look up their store locater to find a store in your area.