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Twistedflame

Can anyone out there relate?

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Hi everyone, first post here.

I've been really curious lately about the long term effects that acne has had on people. From the topics and responses I've seen so far on this board, I can't help but wonder if it's acne that is causing my own problems, or whether it's just something else.

A lot of people here seem to be ashamed and constantly thinking about their acne in public, or ultimately, just staying at home. I'd like to share my story and see how well people can relate to it.

My name is Aaron, I'm now 18 years old, and I've suffered from acne since I was roughly 12. When it started, it was at the borderline between mild and moderate acne (12-14), but then it soon turned into beyond moderate acne with quite a few cysts up and down the sides of my face (14-16).

This time was purely during high school, and although I hated it with a passion, I was afraid of taking days off; because I was under the impression that it was strictly the law to go to school. I had pretty much top notch attendance, but I did pretend to be sick on occasion. This means I basically had no choice but to be around people everyday.

I do remember talking to people and easily getting involved in random coversations in classes on the first year or two (we were seated randomly around roughly 5-7 tables in classrooms of 29~ students). Though towards the middle and end of my time in high school, I ended up trying to avoid all social situations with people outside my group of friends (particularly the loud/popular kids) due to fear and embarassment. I had known those friends since the previous school and the first year of high school.

I became anxious in general, very soft spoken, very self-conscious, and clumsy as my acne grew worse and time went on. I absolutely HATED assigned group work, and I would constantly worry every night about upcoming class presentations as if it were death. Towards the end of my life in high school, I was known as the guy who never talked. I was never really bullied for my acne, but people did make comments like 'What happened to your face man?', or 'Did someone hit you?'. I did have a social life outside school during the early years, but I eventually retreated away from my friends due to discomfort,and as time passed on, I picked up on computer gaming as a hobby.

My ability to learn in a classroom also seemed effected. I found that I couldn't concentrate on what the teacher was saying, because of constant anxiety and thoughts swirling around in my head. When we took our final exams of high school (GCSEs), I ended up failing a lot of subjects, whereas I got near top marks in the previous school's exams (SATS at about 10 years of age). Whether this was the result of low self esteem or laziness (interlinked?) I honestly don't know.

The catch is, I don't remember ever thinking about my acne much at all in public, I was just really anxious around people I didn't know (very dependant on the 'popularity' of the person too). Maybe it was because I had it from such a young age I wouldn't have understood? Maybe my self esteem was pretty high before I was afflicted? Maybe it only affected me sub-consciously? Again, I don't know.

At this point you might be thinking, 'well duh, obviously it's your acne that's fucked your life', but I was known to be a shy kid before acne hit me, although I briefly remember not giving a shit about what people thought and doing my own thing without a care in the world. That's probably the attitude of a typical kid anyway, and I think I had the kind of shyness that would have faded away in time.

Anyway moving on, I've been going to college since I was 17, and I've had slightly more success socially (only inside college), generally because it was a new start. I only started treating the acne when I hit 17, which worked to an extent, but helped my acne to a state of moderate acne or something (I had just come from cystic).

Today I'm still at college, I've been seeing the doctor the past few months, and my acne has calmed down quite a lot recently (only just the last few weeks). I still find I'm a nervous wreck in public, very self conscious, paranoid, and I do tend to conjure up a lot of circling mind games in my head. But I am in a significantly better state than I was in high school. I do have trouble looking people in the eye if I don't know them (especially if they're girls/women), and I still have absolutely no social life outside of college. My acne has always been on either side of my face and chin, so looking away from people didn't exactly help (though I did it anyway I've been told).

My mother also suffered from moderate acne and beyond through her teens and 20s. She has supported me a lot and can relate to me so well.

Unfortunately she dropped out of college due to the pressure back in the day, but her life is well on track now so everything's good. She is clear now from using birth control or something, and she's probably one of the most confident and annoyingly (sometimes, hehe) loud people I've seen, whilst still having other insecurities.

A recent 1 week college trip has got some thoughts going in my head. We had to do certain outdoor activities, and one of them was trekking through the woods. It was pitch black, and we couldn't see much except each other's figures in the dark. Seemingly because of this, I was suddenly very confident, probably the most confident I've been in years around people, I could actually be myself. When we went back inside I just felt normal again. So now, question in my head is - Is it the acne that has destroyed my life, or has the shyness from my childhood grown into something worse? Such as Social Anxiety Disorder? My mother was also shy as a child, so it just makes things more confusing.

I'm sorry for making this so long, but I've never been able to express how I feel to anyone other than my mum, and you guys are probably the closest I can get. This is also probably the first post beyond a few lines I've ever posted on a forum, I just had to get it all out.

I apologize if I come across as clueless on the subject, but I feel somewhat alienated from the rest of you in a way it seems.

I know what I've written is probably really messy and possibly redudant, but again, I just want to see if anyone out there can relate.

My life is rubbish anyway so I have nothing to lose it seems.

Thanks for reading.

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Thats really interesting, if you have acne and are shy it is assumed that the two are connected. But what if you are a shy person who happens to have acne....

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in 8th grade.....i was a popular kid....i had always been outspoken and Shit....

so anyways that summer i got Severe acne.....puberty plus i was on steriods prescribed by the doctor for my Surgery.

and it has yet to go away....and im currently in the 11th grade.

But anyways.....now since ive gotten acne.

im still popular i get many girls.....but, I STill have a feeling inside that Just doesnt want me to Interact with people.....but i force myself to do so........because thats just who i am.

i talk to every one and any one who will listen.....im kinda The most known Person in school

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Although I only started getting acne around your age, or at least acne that I noticed, I have always been chronically shy. Reading your post was like a run through of my high school life, only I wasn't conscious of my complexion I was just self conscious in general.

Anyway I'm 20 now and cleared up somewhat but I'm still reserved. I think age will play a major part, experiences that we have tend to bring us out of our shell. I don't go along with the theory that people are nurtured into being shy however, I thoroughly believe it can be an instinctive, natural thing to be introverted, though neither of my parents seem to have ever suffered from reclusiveness. But of course they have had the chance to grow out of it.

You need not worry about your post being rambling or anything by the way, very well written and structured I thought! (English student ;))

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Although I only started getting acne around your age, or at least acne that I noticed, I have always been chronically shy. Reading your post was like a run through of my high school life, only I wasn't conscious of my complexion I was just self conscious in general.

Anyway I'm 20 now and cleared up somewhat but I'm still reserved. I think age will play a major part, experiences that we have tend to bring us out of our shell. I don't go along with the theory that people are nurtured into being shy however, I thoroughly believe it can be an instinctive, natural thing to be introverted, though neither of my parents seem to have ever suffered from reclusiveness. But of course they have had the chance to grow out of it.

You need not worry about your post being rambling or anything by the way, very well written and structured I thought! (English student ;))

Well said, I definately agree that age and instinct both play a role. It's just a shame acne acts like a kind of veil, progress becomes harder to track.

Thanks for the compliment.

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I've finish reading your story, and believe it or not, you just summarize most of how my life went. Back when I was in High school, i was also a quiet and introverted kid. Whenever we have group activities or what not. I always felt like im letting my group down, because I'm not contributing much, and somehow in my head, i made myself think that they didn't like me, and that made me even more depress... But, during high school i realize that i have to change, you know? I mean of course i hated presentations and group work, but at times i would just raise my hand and volunteer to go first or answer the teacher's questions. Usually, i would end up messing them up, and embarassing myself but i felt proud of myself for having that courage. What i hated most is when people come and ask me why i'm so quiet, i always hated that, and sometime get annoyed because of hearing it so much, you know what i mean? I remember something that one of my teachers said, she said if you believe what people say who you are, then you're gonna end up believing that yourself. I think the word is self-awareness or something like that. But, really just don't think yourself as being quiet and hate socializing with people people, or else you're really going to be like that and you'll never change.

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The story reminds me of me. Freshman, sophmore and most of junior year were the best years of my life. Summer before senior year, acne hit horrifically, and i am now feeling the exact same way you have been feeling. (I am now a senior in Highschool). I am Anxious around people, paranoid of light, and uncomfortable in general. I used to be a very confident kid and now when i'm about to become an adult, I'm the shyest, and most insecure I've ever been in my life. Thankfully i am now started on Dan's Regimen and it seems to be helping overall. I can only think positive and hope for the day when my skin is clear agian, and my lost charismatic personality will return.

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