I use to be confident. No one could knock me off stride. The world was in the palm of my hands. I grew up in a good family, I had more great friends then anyone could ever ask for, I was blessed with an outgoing personality, and tended to be good at whatever I choose to peruse. At age 17 I figured that id would never have to deal with acne. I was your average high school kid, a pimple here or there but nothing major. I was an extremely clean person showering 2 or more times a day. I never expected to undergo the horrors of severe acne. Shortly after Christmas of December 2007 my life changed forever. I began to see 100's of black heads forming all over my chest. I had never had to deal with acne before, so I thought nothing of it. I suppose this was naÃ¯ve seeing as my 15 year old brother was suffering from severe back acne at the time. I began to get acne all over my chest. The condition was far out of control by the time I began taking Acutane. Against my doctors advice I risked damaging my liver rather then my ego by taking 2 - 3 pills a day. The result was no active acne within 5 or 6 months, cutting the Acutane program short 3 months. The aftermath was huge purple marks on my chest. Being "smart" I picked at them. Today, March 9, 2008 I am sitting at my computer with enormous scars and red marks on my chest, serving as a constant reminder of acne. Not only do I have physical scars, but emotional ones as well. My confidence is completely shattered. I am disgusted by my body. And sometimes myself. The stress of school adds to the problem. I feel like I had my chance but I am wrecked now. As a type of psychological counter I began working out heavily to make up for having chest acne. In retrospect I believe this only made things worse for me. Having a body I am now proud of but knowing in the back of my mind that it wonâ€™t matter anyways because I wonâ€™t ever show it. Itâ€™s like having an amazing Ferrari sitting parked in your garage but knowing you wont ever drive it because you will never be able to pay the $45 000 a year for car insurance. What I would give to stand on the beach with my shirt off in confidence. I am taking strides towards healing the physical damage of having severe acne. I have had several laser treatments from my dermatologist. I will need many more. They are awfully painful though. Tearing and bruising my skin, leaving gigantic paint-ball sized welts on my body for 3 â€“ 4 weeks. So far, the laser treatments have not had result that Id wished for. I have also had a couple of the larger acne marks "cut out" recently. There is a risk that the new scar may be worse then the original acne scar. I have so many acne scars in such close proximity to one another that I can only get a few cut out at time. Even if cutting them out works successfully I will always have scars on my chest. Each cut requires numerous stitches which take 6 weeks to heal. They hurt quite a bit. This makes life hard for me because itâ€™s always on my mind. Recently my girlfriend of 4 months found out about them. Some of my emotional scarring came out as I tried to tell her for the first time. As I told her I could barely breathe, I became dizzy, I was having some sort of panic attack I had never experienced before. I thought it would have been easier after rehearsing 100â€™s of times what I would say to her. I knew it was going to be shocking. I love her so much and I would never want to be anything less then perfect for her. Just one more reason why this is so hard. I have tears in my eyes just trying to type these words right now. She has told me that she is totally ok with everything. I could hardly believe it. I have trouble picturing that its just fine, perhaps I am just more shallow then her. I have yet to flip open a magazine, or turn to a channel on TV and see chest acne scars as a desired attribute for anyone. People say confidence is sexy, but how can I feel confident when I canâ€™t feel sexy? I have been done lots of research and have come across some people with such bad acne that I just wanted to cry for them. I feel awful. I canâ€™t relate to the same issues with facial acne. Some people argue that I have no reason to be upset because itâ€™s not visible like facial acne. I disagree people have a fixed image of who you are. I am sure we all have known people with bad acne on their faces but its something that grows on us. You meet them with facial acne scars and its something you take with a grain of rice after a while. Everyday itâ€™s common to see people with scars on their faces because of acne. But itâ€™s uncommon seeing somebody like me with no acne on my face and all of a sudden with a shirt off itâ€™s like what the fuck is that on your chest. . Its something that I hide and lock away, it makes things worse then getting out on the surface I feel like I am the only person in the world with these red scars because none of my friends had to go through this. I havenâ€™t taken off my shirt in front of anyone for over a year. The scars feel almost as bad as having acne. I want be able to go to the beach with my friends, or sit in the hot tub, or go swimming, not have to peek my head around the shower curtain to make sure no one watches me come out, not wake up in the morning and feeling as if I should put on 2 shirts just in case someone can see right through me, or change in front of people, I just want be like any other normal human being. This has really taken a toll on me. The embarrassment is the worst part. I think so much about being as close to perfect as I can in so many things. I feel like a failure for this imperfection. I keep hearing from the doctors that everything will just fade with time. I'm sorry, but I don't have all the time in the world! I am an 18 year old college student and I am not going to look young and cute forever. I am usually a happy person, but when I do get down about my issue I sit for hours just thinking. I find myself constantly going over to the mirror, wishing that awful reflection would disappear. I ask myself the questions: Why does it even matter that I work out to have a nice body? Why did this happen to me? And what did I do to deserve this? I understand that there are much worse things in life, but where I am today in my own life there is nothing worse. At least if I had my arm amputated or something drastic like that I wouldnâ€™t have to hide in the shadows about it. I hate having to hide, itâ€™s not me. Whatâ€™s done is done I canâ€™t change anything now. I was born into this world with pure skin but Iâ€™ll live until death permanently wounded. Ill continue to be optimistic that things will get better with that awful word â€œtimeâ€ And try to be grateful for the positive attributes I do have.
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