This officially makes you my favourite person of the week!
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...
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!
Edited by PaulH85, 09 December 2011 - 10:42 AM.