Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Been A Long Time Coming...

134 posts in this topic

I'm surprised I haven't read your log before, Sarah. Glad I found it now though. I must admit to only reading the first page and the last two at the moment. I glanced at a few bits in between but I will find time as soon as possible to read the rest. It never hurts to read what others are doing and it seems like you've been on quite a journey. Maybe there are things I could learn. And if nothing else, if someone takes the time to write about a subject I can relate to, it's only fair I take the time to read.

Straight off the first page, there was something which struck a chord with me:

Picking.

This has been such an interesting journey. I've met so many great people on this site. This site has been a place for me to come when I felt down, a place where I could count on finding a little hope amidst a bad day--a place where I never felt judged for my acne. In the real world, it feels as if I walk around with neon lights wrapped around my face, the elephant in the room.

I won't quote the rest of that entry but I will say that it's like you read my mind. My skin is always at its worst when I pick. This last week, I've picked like crazy. I mean, I must have clocked up at least an hour each day. If I wasn't popping every pimple or lump and bump in sight, over and over at the start of the week, I've been picking the dry skin as a result of over-treating over and over by the end of the week. Very tiring and extremely damaging to my mind and my skin.

Regarding what you said about this place giving you hope amidst a bad day: I just wanted to say that reading some of this - especially on picking, on trying not to pick, to not over-treat nor care so much - has given me hope. Thank you. My problem isn't that I focus on my skin too much, it's that my skin is the only thing I focus on. I mean, that's it. I've thrown everything else away or lost focus on everything else in my life because my skin problems have totally consumed me after thirteen years. Even though I've experienced what it's like not to pick or care - I went two weeks recently and hardly did a thing with my skin, broke that negative cycle and cleared up great - I fell back into the trap this week and down into the deep, dark pit of self-loathing I've been in for half my life. Evidence of my actions in both instances as well as their respective positive and negative feelings and consequences are in my two most recent blog entries and even I've managed to amaze myself at the contrast and the speed with which things went so wrong.

You've got me thinking that there's nothing wrong with the approach I took in leaving it alone and that it can work. I don't have to think that I failed and that I should therfore give up in the sense of not trying. Instead, I should look at it as though I simply haven't succeeded yet and that I shouldn't give up on trying to do so. Fingers crossed that someone up there is smiling down on me and I haven't done too much damage and that this current mess heals soon, then I'll try again.

Thank you. smile.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow, sounds like a pretty eventful time! Perhaps you just happened to stumble upon something which might work well for you. Only one way to find out I suppose. Fingers crossed! smile.png

I don't want retinoids, topical or oral antibiotics, Accutane and especially hormone therapy. What's left? Not a whole lot.


Thoughts become words
Words become actions
Actions become habits
Habits become character
Character becomes destiny
It is time to change my destiny

You look like a guy I banged once.


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey Paul!

Ok, it seems like you're dealing with some acne excoriee, aka common picker's acne. It's ok--I think a majority of people here on the boards suffer from this to some degree. It seems like your skin really clears up nearly 100% with minimal irritation from picking. Despite the fact that antibiotics is temporary, the tretinoin gel seems to be working well for you. Antibiotics would only prevent ensuing inflammation after a microcomedone has formed in the pore, which the tretinoin gel should prevent anyway. Do you experience problems when you stop antibiotics?

To stop picking, it's going to be a lot of changing your thought process, and reminding yourself that less touching is more healing which is what you want. You have to say to yourself, if I touch my skin it is GOING to get worse. You have to say it to yourself day in day out. Also, try setting goals (48 hours with no picking, etc). Short-term goals are very effective for impulsive behavior.

Btw, I'm digging the hair pulled back. I can see your face better. Sexy :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This officially makes you my favourite person of the week! hifive.gif

I hadn't heard the technical term before but yes, that's pretty much the sum total of my problems. What made me really happy to read your reply was the way you explained it - nobody has ever pointed it out to me like that before and there seems to be some comfort in knowing it has a name. I don't know why, think it just allows me to focus on a particular problem more and to consider the appropriate approach more clearly.

I've tried talking to my doctors about these things but each one of them just brushed it off like they've seen it all before, with the same old lines of either, "You'll grow out of it" or, "Take these antibiotics and it should clear up". I was happy enough to try medications to see how well things improved, but I've never felt like I was tackling the root cause. It's only in recent months that I've come to figure out how destructive my approach with picking and so on actually is. It's only taken me thirteen years to catch on, I guess I must be a bit slow... wink.png

I've also tried talking to my doctors about the picking and the feelings and emotions attached to it but I never got very far with that. They just didn't seem to understand and responded as though it wasn't a problem. I've mentioned it a few times in cognitive behavioural therapy sessions, along with the negative feelings and insecurities I have regarding my appearance in general, and although the group get an idea of what I'm talking about in terms of repetitive negative actions which become a trap, they can't relate to the specific act and the resulting issues regarding confidence and the specific insecurities about my appearance.

I Googled the term 'Acne Excoriee' and found a few pages suggesting tips and methods to stop picking. They all refer to depression as well so I feel like that aspect of things is making sense. I don't feel so pathetic about it now because I can see there are reasons behind it. The things I've found so far suggest taking antidepressants to help curb those feelings which lead to picking but I was never too keen on that idea so I opted for therapy instead. Guess I need to tailor what I learn in therapy so that I can apply it to my situation. Depending on how far I get with that, perhaps I'll look at things like antidepressants some other time, but I'd rather work on my thoughts and mental-well being first.

I do find that I get on well with the Isotretinoin gel but I've always been a little wary of it due to bad experiences with BP and other topicals. I can't quite remember how my doctor suggested I should use it but I think the general idea was to apply a small amount to the affected areas which are most likely to break out, which are my cheeks, chin and nose. I've never really applied it that way though and instead use it as an on-the-spot treatment. I got to wondering if I should instead be applying it to the the general problem areas so that it stops the acne coming out?

The antibiotics do work for me I think, it's kind of hard to tell sometimes because of the picking. I mean, even if the Doxy does start clearing things up, I can still manage to make it look horrible by making a mess of whatever is left over. So from a visual perspective, that action clouds my judgement of how much the antibiotics might actually be helping. They can only do so much after all and they won't be able to get on top of the inflammation if I keep picking. It's pretty much a daily thing and sometimes I even end up picking the same areas several times each day. Sometimes, the antibiotics doesn't really have a chance! That's what's going on in the second picture..

I have proven to myself that I can go without picking to such degrees. The first picture I posted was the result of picking maybe four or five pimples over a period of two weeks, which compared to my most recent picking spree, is nothing at all and clearly that in itself isn't going to do any major harm. So that's my incentive right there, the fact that I can see the results, both good and bad. I am literally going to have to take it one day at a time I think. Probably an hour at a time in truth, given that I'm going to have to stop myself whenever I want to pick. But I do know it gets easier because the longer you go, the less there is to pick anyway, so things just get better and better and easier and easier.

Thank you for the compliment by the way, very kind. I only wear my hair tied back when I'm at home, it's always down when I'm with people. Been a while since I had it cut and it could probably do with being a bit shorter, I think it looks better that way. I don't think I could go without the long hair though, which is kind of the impression it gives when tied back. Reckon I'd feel lost without it. Whether it does me any favours, or not I don't know, mainly because I don't put myself out there much at all, but that's another subject entirely. One thing I can give myself credit for is that I keep it clean and don't let it have much contact with my face. I don't hide behind it either. It would be all to easy to rely on that to try and mask things and I'm pleased to say that I've always managed to avoid that particular trap.

Thank you very much for allowing me to hijack your thread and for taking the time to write. Honestly, even just in that one reply you've given me more information than my doctors have given me in thirteen years. I can never get any further answers or help from them and they won't refer me to a dermatologist either as they say the ones where I live only see you if your acne is cystic. So all I've ever done is try and work it out by myself and it seems I've made several mistakes as a result. Those results have become bad habits and it seems that breaking those habits will be the key to clearing my skin. I do think it will work because, despite thirteen years of picking, I don't have any major marks or scars. Everything usually heals well and I feel I've been lucky in that respect as it's obvious my skin really does want to heal. Now I just have to let it.

Thank you, Sarah! smile.png


Thoughts become words
Words become actions
Actions become habits
Habits become character
Character becomes destiny
It is time to change my destiny

You look like a guy I banged once.


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

From the way you talk about your skin, I can see how it's affecting you. Acne gets me too, even when I don't like to admit. Just last night I noticed some shallow scars along my cheeks. It seems they appeared overnight, and I thought I didn't scar, like you.

Point being, it seems that scarring can happen at any point. I've dealt with moderate to severe acne for years and haven't scarred until now. You never know when scars will sneak up on you.

Keep your hands occupied (not on your face), and throw the hair up every once in a while. smile.png I think you'd look REALLY good with a short 'do, just from what I see from you slicking the hair back. Although I like the hair as it is now. Suits you, unique. smile.png

See where no picking gets you, and keep pushing Paul. You'll get there. smile.png

(PS For what it's worth, if doctors aren't listening to your problems, estheticians might. It's worth seeking out estheticians in private practice if you aren't seeing progress with your doc.)

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, it pretty much consumes me to be honest. I've nothing else going on in life, nothing or nobody to distract me. It's all I see on the outside and all I feel on the inside. Generally feels like I'm no good at anything or that I'm ugly and nobody would want to know me. There's no direct justification for these thoughts but they're what influence my actions and it all stems from my experiences with acne. The thought patterns and behavious go so far back that I struggle to think differently. If fact, the Cognative Behavioural Therapy I've been doing, although helpful to a point, is mainly serving to make these thoughts and habits seem even harder to break because I realise that even though I don't want them, I simply don't know who I am without them. There's like a major identity crisis going on in that respect. All that stuff in terms of not wanting to be around people means I don't have friendships to keep me going or anyone to spend time with who could give me a boost. And the stuff about thinking I wasn't any good at anything led me to act in such a way which got me fired from my job. So everything just spiralled this year and of course I took it out on my skin.

I don't suppose it would be so bad if I had at least a little confidence and self esteem but I have none at all. It always seems like there's a situation where I don't feel I fit or where I feel inferior to everyone, either in terms of physical appearance or in terms of experience. Also always seems like there's someone around every corner to put me down. Even my Mum does it - she's always on hand to tell me I look a mess or that I need to put on weight because I'm too skinny, or that I need to cut my hair or sort my skin out. There's always someone there to make me feel worse and it's so isolating. It feels safer to stay isolated in that respect, but then the loneliness is horrible. If I had the confidence in myself to say, 'Actually, they're wrong', then I could probably stomach it and just do whatever I wanted to do or enjoyed doing to be happy. But as it is, I believe what they say and that's what I have then become. I channel that and it builds up inside, then it explodes and manifests itself as picking.

I'd never really considered seeing an esthetician. Thank you for the tip. I might look into that because I'll soon get to the end of the road with my doctor. I can't ger permission from the doctor to see a dermatologist and all I'll ever get from my doctor is antibiotics which I've taken already. They all told me that I'll probably have skin problems for the majority of my adult life and that I'd have to take antibiotics for many, many years as a result. The way they talked about it, it's like that's my only option and I'll just have to live with it all. But I don't want to. I even went back and asked for clarification and they still stuck by what they said. Then I was pretty much laughed at for asking about Accutane, they thought it was funny that I wondered if my skin might be bad enough. I don't suppose I've ever done myself any favours with the doctors because I only go when I'm feeling alright about my skin. I've never been when it was bad because I didn't want them to look at me. Like in the second picture I posted, I would never go when it's like that. Hell, I didn't even leave the house at all that week.

I read that you want to become a dermatologist. I hope you do because I know you'd be great at it. It's obvious you've got a level of understanding and empathy which is based on direct experience and no amount of training or education can teach that kind of thing, it's priceless. And if there's a passion there to help people and aid them in trying to get the best skin they possibly can, I don't see why you wouldn't go very far in your chosen field. smile.png


Thoughts become words
Words become actions
Actions become habits
Habits become character
Character becomes destiny
It is time to change my destiny

You look like a guy I banged once.


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey Paul, I'm going to send you a PM to respond to everything. :)

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey everyone smile.png

I thought I'd modify this post. Since closing this log, I've compiled all my posts into the first one. Read them if you have the time. Click on the first page and scroll through.

I'm at a skincare clinic now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites