I should be happy right now. My face is probably the clearest it's ever been since I was 12. And yet, all I can focus on are the imperfections: the lingering red marks where picked-at cysts are still healing and peeling. The scarred areas.
My face has been super-duper dry in the last couple of days, so I tried something new this evening: a barely-there smear of petroleum jelly. My skin seemed so much smoother, but I was panicking that it was going to break me out in painful, awful, nightmare cysts. In fact, I wound up hastily washing it off about an hour later and reapplying my BP and my prescription antibiotic.
Cue an irritated face, and more worry.
I think the ultimate worry underlying the panic is this: I'm going to be punished again. I'm trying hard to fix my face, and I've been good about not picking at it, and if history is any indication, all of this will only somehow end in a massive acne breakout.
Is that fatalistic? Or just reality? Is it a thought I should push away, or one that I need to accept? I'm so tired of this ridiculous cycle of developing painful sores on my face, picking at them, spiraling into shame and and then vowing never to do it again, and then sustaining yet another breakout.
But I guess I cannot control whether or not I break out--only how I respond if and when I do.