Finished my course of Doxycycline. Started that last September - feels like forever ago - and been tapering off of it for the last month or so. In the end, really slowed it down to roughly one pill a week, don't even think it will have been doing much by that point. Did the trick though because if the acne was going to come back with a vengeance, I know I'd have broken out by now. Lesson learned compared to previous courses of antibiotics, where I'd break out such a lot once I'd finished; always taper off rather than stopping dead.
These days, I just get the odd pimple. It's often now just a slight reaction to shaving, I find. Otherwise, there's no real pattern to it or cause behind it. I still maintain my regimen though and of course - vitally, I assume - keep an eye on my diet and make sure to avoid the things I'm intolerant of. Recently found that antihistamines seem to help in that regard and especially where my eczema is concerned. With the aid of that, I was able to eat pizza - I'm intolerant of melted/cooked cheese - and the antihistamine seemed to cancel out any potential reaction to that single portion. It's not technically the right the answer and I wouldn't think it feasible to place a side-order of antihistamines next time I'm in Pizza Hut(!), but it might allow for a bit of flexibility and at least mean I could treat myself now and then. Also found that I can take care of the areas where I'm prone to eczema with regular applications of Jojoba oil; just a little, every couple of nights seems to stop those areas from drying out and becoming itchy or visibly sore. All in all, these little discoveries are adding up and giving me majority-control over what my skin does. Happy with that because it's really all I've wanted to achieve for a number of years.
The next step for me is accepting who I am and how I look physically, flaws and all. It's hard. Really hard. I was so used to being broken out all the time that getting clearer kind of threw me off guard a bit. How I looked on the outside when my skin was bad seemed like a proverbial reflection of how I felt about myself on the inside. I suppose that's why I picked really, as a way of justifying how I feel. I've never had much self-esteem and the last twelve months really knocked the rest of it out of me. With my defenses totally down, the negative and self-deprecating thoughts have really done their damage. With or without acne, I just don't like what I see in the mirror and I simply cannot get around to believing that anyone else could like what they see of me either. It follows me everywhere and I usually just keep to myself and avoid people because I feel I'd be inflicting myself upon them and. Getting to be a bit of problem if I'm honest. I'm pretty sure I'm Dysmorphic and the obsessive degree to which I've picked my face in the past is also something I'm finding really hard to shake. I wrote about it at length on my Facebook page last week and kind of "came out" about it all. I don't suppose carrying all these self-inflicted feelings of guilt and shame around does me any good because I just ruminate all the time, so that was my attempt at opening up and letting them go. It was kind of therapeutic, I guess.
As far as the picking itself is concerned, I reckon I used to use all those negative feelings and channel them, then take it out on myself physically. I still have my moments and it seems like there are so many triggers; I could be bored, lonely, feeling down, anxious or nervous. All sorts of things seem to make me want to go to the mirror and just kind of zone out. I decided to go right back to the start with not picking and today is the fourth day I've gone without. Prior to that, I'd probably picked several times a day for the last seven or eight weeks. It was really getting out of hand. Hoping I can keep that in check and I'm going to take it one day at a time. Also going to see if I can work out what steps I need to take to learn to like myself and to accept who I am inside and out because, despite what I may tell myself, I do actually have the right to enjoy my life, be happy with it, and with the person I am, "flaws" and all.