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Okay so I've suffered from acne since I was 14 or so, I'm now 32. I have been completely depressed and obsessed over it since it started.

I have allowed it to totally control and dictate everything I do in my life. For example, I don't have any career aspirations and I don't make any commitments to gatherings b/c I'm always so scared of what my skin is going to be like.

It severely depresses me. I smoke like a chimney b/c I don't care about myself...it's almost like I feel better when I hurt myself. It is ruining my marriage...I'm half the mom I should be.

I also suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder. I obsess over my acne. I look at it from every conceivable angle, under every possible light until I find one the looks the worst and then obsess over it from that angle. I also compulsively pick my acne (making it way worse than it has to be). It's almost like a self-fulfilling prophecy where I'm convinced my acne is bad so even when it's good I subconsciously pick it to make it look worse.

I'm pretty sure I have body dysmorphic disorder as well. I've always obsessed over things I consider to be imperfect about my self and focus only on those. Acne just makes it really easy.

I spend a lot of time feeling sorry for myself and I can't seem to stop.

This is ruining me. My lungs hurt from smoking too much and I feel like my health is declining. I'm sure the constant stress and anxiety is not helping.

I need help...obviously...I'm just not sure where to start. Should I see my family doctor. Can they refer you to a psychologist so it's covered by medical (I live in Canada)?

I can't talk to anyone in my family...I've tried and they all just write me off like I'm overreacting.

Someone please advise...but no harsh criticism please. I don't need anymore negativity.

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im sorry for what ur going through :( i would go see ur doctor and they can refer u to a counselor or a psychologist. thats what i did. im not sure if its different in canada though

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I think you should talk with your doctor about it. Just tell him/her everything! S/He is most likely to search for a way to help you physical and mentally.

But you mentioned that you are a mum and are married. Which means that people love you, for the person you are :D.

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Hi wishfulthinkin, If your acne is still active you should look at options to stop it asap. Roaccutane worked for me. Never had acne again. Read the pros and cons. You could try it as some people like myself didn't suffer from many side effects at all. Try not to get to weighed down in all the arguments about roaccutane - take your time. You just need a referral from a gp to a dermatologist for the script/s. I would never treat scarring until the acne is under control.

The picking will decrease in its own time - for myself, I picked alot, but when the roaccutane really kicked in - there was nothing left to pick - and that was not through lack of trying.

Then you can address scarring. I am not a doctor but you could also see your gp or be referred to a psychiatrist for anti-depressants which can seriously dampen your anxiety. I am a drug and alcohol clinician and qualified psychotherapist - and we use them all the time to treat severe anxiety because the other option is the high likelihood of addiction to benzos - not good - will make you more anxious in the long run. Valium is not a long term solution. Xoloft is known to really dampen down anxiety but you need to consult an experienced gp or psychiatrist. Obviously there is much deeper stuff going on that has contributed to your ocd and anxious state and it will not change overnight but medication is a real option to be able to manage day to day. Of course medication combined with long term therapy will be the optimal treatment response. Some people have strong arguments for both sides - holistic or the western medical approach. I try and remember what the dalai lama said about not being on one extreme side or the other - that the eastern ways had their pros and so did the advancements of western medicine and it was not something to wisely turn your back on.

Little steps....the way to getting out of trauma......is to do something no matter how small....not the words but the actions. Much reseach done on post earthquake/and other natural disaster victims confirms this. First the aid people did everything from cleaning up to rebuilding to the last nail and screw - and the result was people still stuck in post traumatic stress disorder. Then they tried a different approach - involving the victims in rebuilding their lives - letting them have some power around what they wanted and how it could be. The post traumatic stress declined rapidly and so the current most sophisticated response to trauma is to allow the victim/s to be a part of the change for something more positive. Like I said little steps...but do something for you.......now. Make an appointment with someone.

Take care.

Edited by annmarie

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Lets be blunt..

You... and Your mind are making your life worse.

I'm half your age, I feel like because of acne It has made my adolecent years not what they could have been, I look back knowing that im not going to have any fond memories, BUT you control your happiness.

Move forward. Make progress.

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Hi wishfulthinkin, If your acne is still active you should look at options to stop it asap. Roaccutane worked for me. Never had acne again. Read the pros and cons. You could try it as some people like myself didn't suffer from many side effects at all. Try not to get to weighed down in all the arguments about roaccutane - take your time. You just need a referral from a gp to a dermatologist for the script/s. I would never treat scarring until the acne is under control.

The picking will decrease in its own time - for myself, I picked alot, but when the roaccutane really kicked in - there was nothing left to pick - and that was not through lack of trying.

Then you can address scarring. I am not a doctor but you could also see your gp or be referred to a psychiatrist for anti-depressants which can seriously dampen your anxiety. I am a drug and alcohol clinician and qualified psychotherapist - and we use them all the time to treat severe anxiety because the other option is the high likelihood of addiction to benzos - not good - will make you more anxious in the long run. Valium is not a long term solution. Xoloft is known to really dampen down anxiety but you need to consult an experienced gp or psychiatrist. Obviously there is much deeper stuff going on that has contributed to your ocd and anxious state and it will not change overnight but medication is a real option to be able to manage day to day. Of course medication combined with long term therapy will be the optimal treatment response. Some people have strong arguments for both sides - holistic or the western medical approach. I try and remember what the dalai lama said about not being on one extreme side or the other - that the eastern ways had their pros and so did the advancements of western medicine and it was not something to wisely turn your back on.

Little steps....the way to getting out of trauma......is to do something no matter how small....not the words but the actions. Much reseach done on post earthquake/and other natural disaster victims confirms this. First the aid people did everything from cleaning up to rebuilding to the last nail and screw - and the result was people still stuck in post traumatic stress disorder. Then they tried a different approach - involving the victims in rebuilding their lives - letting them have some power around what they wanted and how it could be. The post traumatic stress declined rapidly and so the current most sophisticated response to trauma is to allow the victim/s to be a part of the change for something more positive. Like I said little steps...but do something for you.......now. Make an appointment with someone.

Take care.

Thanks for your kind words...they really make sense :)

I always felt as if a doctor would just look at me like I'm crazy or laugh at me or something. I feel ashamed. I have gotten scripts from my doctor before for acne and he always looks at me as if to say "you don't have acne." I'm not imagining it--I wish I was. I just hide it well with makeup. And since I tend to pick all my spots are flat and red and easy to cover.

Most people I know don't even know I have an acne problem b/c I hide it well. For example, when my acne is bad I don't leave the house. Or I try to keep people on my "good" side by sitting in a certain position on the couch etc. I'm weird I know.

I just feel bad for my kids. They are depending on me and I need to do this for them if anyone. My son is almost a teen and will probably be dealing with acne himself soon. I don't want him to follow my example.

I will make a doc appointment first thing Monday and get this process started.

The weird thing is I can pretty much control my acne (keep it mild/moderate) with various topicals etc. But every once in a while I break out and that's it--meltdown. It's more like the threat of breaking out that drives my obsessive compulsiveness. IE: Constantly checking the mirror for new spots, picking at them etc.

Everyone tells me it's not as bad as I think it is--and maybe it isn't--but life is subjective. That's why someone with severe acne can live a happy care free life and someone like me can let it absolutely devastate them.

I don't think I'm the only one out there with this problem either.

Again thanks for taking the time to respond to a total stranger that you don't even know.

You seem like a really nice person. Have a great day!!!

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You seem like a nice person too and it was a very courageous letter to write in the first place. I have been in a similar place a long time ago. We are emotional beings first and foremost and until people are there for us emotionally, I can guarantee nothing much will change. Look up attachment theory by bowlby and ainsworth - you are anxious ambivalent as opposed to anxious avoidant. It might help you to understand your structure. You are like that (like me) because that was the best way for you to survive. It wont go away overnight. No-one is born with ocd or levels of anxiety for no apparent reason. It's more likely - to be environmental, usually from our childhood.

Also I used to cover my acne pretty good too but I would not go to those lengths if I wanted a script for roaccutane. You should not have acne at that age and you can start with antibiotics if you think that roaccutane is too much. Even if its mild it sounds like the cycle of picking it will keep it going.

Take care.

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