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Day 8: All In My Head

First, on the positive side: I've been 99.999% successful in not picking at my face. And I throw the less-than-100% in there because I removed a tiny bit of dead skin from a healing spot. I'm not perfect. But I'm trying my best. And at the end of the day, I guess that's all I can do.

It's hard for me to explain in words how difficult this has been. In some ways, it's actually been easy for the last couple of days. I've been busy with life, and for good reason: I have a major test tomorrow. But studying is just a distraction from the bigger, murkier pot of hate and disgust for my face that dominates my thoughts. Interestingly, I think at this point given the clarity of my skin, my acne is essentially "all in my head." I don't know what other people see when they look at me, but I see a damaged, disgusting person. Not just a damaged face: a damaged entire whole person.

I'm not sure what to do from there. Is it the compulsion to pick that makes me feel like I'm disgusting and horrible? Or do I pick because I feel disgusting and horrible to begin with?


i feel your pain so much :/ i pick all the time to and and have the scars to prove it :/ i know i shouldnt but i just cant help it,, i can not walk around all day with a nasty huge whitehead on my face i refuse to do it! i feel the same way when i look in the mirror a ugly disgusting monster and i hate myself i hate how this has run my life and turned me into a depressing mope who doesnt want to ever go out or enjoy life :( i hate it more than anything i just want to be happy and with acne thats just not possible :/ im sorry your going through this as well i hope it gets better for both of us!

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It's like being in some kind of psychological prison, isn't it? And I don't mean to of course minimize what it is to be in *actual* prison, but having a face with sores all over it is a terribly painful stigma to have to live with.

I wrote in an earlier post about how in order to make the commitment to stop picking I had to outline the beliefs that drive me to pick and then systematically rebut them. One of those beliefs is the idea that clear skin is beautiful and virtuous, and acne is disgusting, and that when I have acne, I am disgusting. What I said (to myself) as a rebuttal is that acne is unpleasant and and hard to get rid of, but pimples don't rise to the moral level of disgust that I/society seem to attribute to them. And I believe it intellectually, but it hasn't really clicked yet emotionally.

Because oddly enough, now that my skin is doing better, I find that the thought pattern about acne has largely just shifted to focusing on my scars and my red spots. They're "disgusting" and "show the whole world what I did." I'm trying so hard to let it go. I have my better moments and my worse moments.

Anyway, I'm sorry you're going through this too. And I also hope it gets better.

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I'm sorry you are feeling this way but I think you could benefit from some sort of therapy. The state of your skin does not dictate what sort of a person you are - acne does not make you a horrible person. It can make you feel horrible about yourself, but it doesn't affect the way that other people (specifically, people who we are closest to) feel about us. Have you seen any of those Dove videos? There is one called "why is it so hard to see the beauty in yourself?" (Google it). It's aimed at women, but the message can be applied to and is relevant to anyone.

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It's funny how I can know something intellectually, i.e. that "acne does not make you a horrible person," and yet somehow not buy into it emotionally. I agree that I could benefit from therapy, and I wish it was a feasible option for me. In the meantime, I figured I'd let my feelings out a bit here, and let the internet be my "therapist." :)

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Maybe you could start by trying to focus or just to remind yourself of the things that you DO like about yourself. :)

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