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Even Though I Am "mostly" Clear Now Acne Has Hardened My Heart.

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I think having acne has left me with some defense mechanisms that I will never be able to let go of, even post acne. I had acne in the teenage years and it was hard to face social situations because of the stigma associated with acne. I could never tell how if someone was looking at me if it was because of me or the acne. It really lowered my self esteem, which even after getting rid of the acne has not really come back... I have built a defense mechanism, telling me if I don't care about other people then it will not hurt as much to be rejected by them.

This actually worked, for a while. I just kept to myself mostly and stopped caring about how others perceived me, but it also left me cold hearted and unable to connect with others on an emotional level. I kind of isolated myself, and am now paying for that dearly. Has anyone else had similar experiences with this kind of long term psychological trauma?

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Yes, I know exactly what you're talking about. And now that I'm clear (except for red marks) I find myself kind of lonely because I isolated myself for so long. I used to get so pissed when I would come on the Org and people would say they were clear but still suffering, but now I totally get it. I lived with acne for so long and built up so many defense mechanisms that its hard to act like "normal" again. The only advice I can give you which seems to work for me is to take it slow. Don't jump in all at once or you'll get overwhelmed.

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I can totally relate. I like HelloLovve am clear except for the annoying red marks. Even though my skin looks about 90% better than a few months ago I still think it's worse in my head. It definitely takes time to emotionally heal and move on. Trust me on this. I had acne previous and was clear on bp, the red marks faded and I had the clearest skin. I even went to a sephora to get a color match for foundation and the MUA said "Pretty Skin" to me. It felt really good. The clear skin continued for about 2 years with a few manageable and coverable breakouts here and there. I decided to try clearing my skin naturally and stopped using the BP for about 5 months stubbornly until I couldn't take it anymore. My once clear complexion was covered in red spots and inflamed acne. It was terrible and I found myself becoming a recluse and only going out when I absolutely had to. It sucked bad. So, I got back on BP and I am now clear with red marks. I remember when I got clear I forgot how it felt to have the bad acne. Now that I experienced it again I now it will take time to heal emotionally and get back out there and live my life. It will take time and patience, but you will get there. It will be a distant memory.

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Yeah, can totally relate to that. I'm pretty scared that I won't be able to change or remove those coping mechanisms. I haven't really had any friendships in person for thirteen years as I kept to myself. That worked perfectly as a way of trying to avoid being bullied in school because of my acne, but after that, it's become a prison. Everything I think and every way I act is influenced by the fact I lost those years and experienced none of the things all those clear-skinned people experienced. In fact, that's how I feel all the time: it's me verses the, they're all better than me and I don't fit. I could have perfect skin and still wouldn't fit because u dint know how to get to know these people.

We must be able to change some of those behaviours though or at least let go of some so we can find middle ground. I hope so because we all deserve to be happy and to have people to share that happiness with. :)

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I know how you feel, I have zero friends or social life. Any friends I have had have all at some point or another made nasty comments about my acne. After a long while of knowing them and them not making any comments they kind of lull me into a false sense of security because they make me think they don't have a problem with my acne and then out of the blue they wil suddenley make a horrible comment. That makes me very wary of people and kind of resentful so i just keep myself to myself. Obviously not all people are like that and you just need to find the people who look past your skin, other people have to go through that, overweight people, people with disabilites etc. so we're not alone.

The thing about acne and society's reaction to acne is that it tricks you. People make you think your inferior because of you're skin and are always calling attention to it so it makes you think that getting clear skin will fix all that and that once you acheive it that the battle is over. All the while that you are trying to acheive clear skin feelings of resentment and isolation are building up without you even realising it and then when your skin is clear your still left with those feelings. Society makes us think that getting clear skin is the entire battle but it's not it is only half of it. You've got clear skin, now comes the next part which is sorting out those feelings. Your halfway there already because your aware of those feelings and now you can work on that. It's easier said than done and it will take time but it is achievable, if you can beat the physical side of acne then you can beat the emotional side of it. You've got this far so don't let the negative people and experiences win.

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I completely understand what you're saying, and it's completely true. Post-acne, or even just in the later stages of having it, you can find yourself very detached from the people around you, usually related somehow to the fear of judgement or rejection.

In the end, it's up to you where you lead yourself. A state of mind is very difficult to change, but with time and diligence, it can be done. So, in the end, you can use the "hardness" of your heart to reject people in your life, or make you a stronger person. It's your choice.

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I can relate to this to a certain extent. I didn't have acne until three months ago, but when the acne came, it came very severely and abruptly and sent me into an emotional tailspin which was only exacerbated by taking Accutane. I'm off the Accutane now (the side effects were too serious for me) and I can slowly feel my mood start going back to normal, but my god has this experience been an enlightening one for me. I'd always been a very outgoing and socially visible person in the past, but now I can't go out in public without feeling like I need to keep my head down and not make eye contact with people - it's truly awful.

On that note, however, speaking as somebody who has lived life on both sides, I'd say to a) give it time, and b) have faith in the basic goodness of people. Just because people can be a little shallow doesn't mean they're still not good people - you might be surprised by just how lovely a lot of people are when you get to know them. Remind yourself at every step that you need to give people a chance even if that means maybe getting hurt in the process. Just like it would be unfair to assume that somebody is a "loser" or "dirty" because they have acne, you would also be doing both yourself and the people around you a disservice if you just assumed straight off the bat that every attractive person would turn out to be the kind of superficial asshole who would look down on somebody simply because of their skin.

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