Hey all! So like a lot of people here, I've suffered with depression because of my acne - pretty sure I could have been diagnosed with BDD if I ever told my therapist how I was feeling about it. I've just recovered from a 12 year eating disorder, so I've had plenty of experience of how serious and debilitating it can be to be unhappy with your appearance.
Anyway, one thing that has got me through some of the tougher times, when I didn't want to leave the house or even my bedroom for because of acne, was just this: remembering that I'm more than just a face. I know that sounds a little trite, and trust me I understand how difficult it is to "just forget" about acne when you're suffering from it. But it's one of many coping strategies that help me to get out of that obsessive, self-hating mood and actually make it to my job, or to see my friends, or to the shop to get some food!
When I say "you're more than just a face", I don't really mean "your appearance doesn't matter", or "but you have a great personality" - I know that advice is not at all helpful when you think you look like a monster. I literally just mean that you, as a physical person, have more than a face. You probably have some kind of hair, some eyes, a smile, whatever clothes you like to wear, your own unique mannerisms, way of talking, walking and so on. Basically, when people look at you, even though the face is a big focus, it isn't the only thing they notice. And even if they do look at you and think "ooh, acne", they probably also think "ooh, earrings", or "ooh, a blue shirt", or whatever.
So I found it really helpful to try and focus on the things about my appearance that I actually could control, and that looked how I wanted them to - when I had a crap skin day, I did my hair in my favourite style, wore my coolest outfit and got some new piercings When I went clubbing with no makeup and a face full of acne, I tried to focus on how I *clearly* had the fiercest dance moves in the room. And even though I never forgot about my acne, or felt better about my skin, I did feel human enough to get to work, do my job, and enjoy time with my friends, when my first instinct had been to hide in my bed and never, ever leave.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that sometimes it can help to pull yourself out of that miserable acne-checking spiral and force yourself to try out a more forgiving perspective. For a while it might feel like you're faking it, but eventually focusing on the positive things about your appearance could start to feel genuine, and provide that extra tiny bit of confidence (or dgaf-ness) you need to actually make it out the door. It worked for me anyway.
So try to remember, you may see this when you look close up in the mirror:
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But other people are getting the full picture!
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Hang in there everyone