“If you’re going through hell, keep going,” takes on new meaning when your body randomly breaks out into first and second degree burns. After years of taking medications my doctors prescribed for eczema, I was finally diagnosed with Red Skin Syndrome, an iatrogenic condition caused by the very medications doctors prescribed. The only cure was to stop taking all topical corticosteroids. Cold turkey. That’s when the Hell sets it. My face swelled and my eyes closed shut.

  • Hi. There is a 0% chance you know something about my skin condition that I don’t know. Keep those, “Have you tried…” tips to yourself.  :^)

I’m not sunburned in this picture, this is what’s known as a flare. If you look at my hand, you can see some non-fire skin. I’m not squinting in the image. My eyes had swollen shut and I had to eye them and pry them open to go out to dinner with friends.

How to Survive Hell? Live your Life.

Sometimes life sucks, there’s no way to spin it, you’re in pain and life sucks. This is what my face looked like for 8 weeks. I had lost a bunch of hair and my eyes sealed shut due to edema and swelling in my face.

Once you accept the underlying circumstance of, you have a choice.  Let life suck on its term, or live life on your terms?

I could have stayed home and hid. I could have wondered if people thought I looked like a hideous freak. I could have let shame and a fear of judgment put me on house arrest.

Or I could have gone on with my life, to the extent possible.

I choose to live my life normally.

I even went to the gym, which offered varying levels of pain.

Lacking moisture, my skin was a delicate as a butterfly’s wings. My would pull off from the flexion of normal movement. This is what my neck looked like on a normal Tuesday.

Have you ever heard the expression about putting salt into a wound?

When most of your body is an open wound, every drop of sweat stings.

Imagine tearing skin with each reputation at the gym as a salt drip of sweat covered the open wounds. I never cried, but there were whimpers of agony at times.

I also swam in the Dead Sea after a bad skin flare. Here’s what my arms looked like before diving in. (Well you don’t dive into the Dead Sea, as the saline content keeps your body in a state of floatation.)

“Low point” takes on a literal meaning when you’re salting wounds over your entire body.


How to survive hell? Keep a gratitude journal.

Each day I said, “You are so lucky that you can afford to work for home. Imagine what it must be like to have a job to go to.” Whenever I couldn’t move, I expressed gratitude that one day I would be able to move.

I was grateful for friends, who wanted to hang out.

I was grateful for Shauna, who stood by me.

And I sought beauty wherever possible.

After floating in what felt like an acid bath, I enjoyed a sunset over the Dead Sea.


How to Survive Hell? Focus on the Spirit.

“Spiritual growth is physically painful” became my mantra. I’d reflect on what a gift this suffering was, because my own life had become vainglorious. I only cared about money, sex, and partying. I had become superficial and lacking in empathy.

The physical pain, and frankly, the physical ugliness of myself, humbled it. The experience put me in touch with the human condition.

How can I act fearless? Because I’ve faced my fears. My body has been in Hell.

How to Survive Hell? Have a Vision for Your Future.

Like all people, I let shame and judgment control me. Don’t take risks, people might laugh at you, people might mock you, people might….

While going through Hell, I focused on how strong my spirit would be. I treated the experience like a training experience sent to me from the Universe. I was shown what I was capable of overcoming, in order to accomplish more. To stop letting excuses about being introverted stop me from leading.

Today people wonder how I keep moving forward despite being attacked by powerful media companies, being lied about, being slandered, being stalked….What I face daily is nothing because pain is subjective. What you feel today is measured and defined by what you’ve overcome.

All of my life I wanted to write a book that people would find decades after I had died, a legacy work.

Although I didn’t know it at the time, great work is born out of great suffering.

Gorilla Mindset wasn’t a book of theory. It wasn’t a collection of “scientific studies” conducted using college kids. It was a book born out of suffering.

Hell is Coming for You.

My worldview is paradoxical to those with a superficial understanding of Western “logic.” I’m simultaneously the most optimistic and pessimistic person you’ll ever meet.

Hell is coming for you, or maybe it’s found you.

And you can get through.


Keep moving.

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6 Replies to “How to Survive Hell”

  1. Hi Mike. You probably have already done this but have you tried an elimination diet? I’ve heard of a lot of people going to the Carnivore diet (e.g. Mikhaila Peterson) with success regarding eczema and then slowly reintroducing other foods to see what caused it. I wish you all the best regardless.

  2. I hare read many stories on the red skin disease through the ITSAN organization – all dealing with Red Skin Syndrome. My 84 year old husband suffered from the steroid missteps and was healed using the NO MOISTURIZING TREATMENT of Dr. Kenji Sato of Osaka Japan. I found about his work through a blog of Tokuko Kameda. I am extremely grateful to both of them. https://www.facebook.com/278461969501844/posts/278465362834838?sfns=mo He healed in 4 months. I am proud of you for writing this article – your ability to dig deep in spirit and gratitude is a lesson to all of us. Marlene Diana Bell

  3. Hi. There is a 0% chance you know something about my skin condition that I don’t know. Keep those, “Have you tried…” tips to yourself. :^ I was just thanking the person who posted this in a Red Skin Syndrome site and I noticed about not putting suggestions. You can delete my post about No Moisturizing Treatment. Sorry, it is just instinct to try and help.

  4. Your outlook is really inspiring. Thank you so much for sharing your story. As someone also suffering from topical steroid withdrawal, for once I don’t feel alone in the world struggling through this. Hope there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Thank you!

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