I wrote this post in July 2020 as a note on my phone. The words kind of fell out of me one evening, after decades of holding them in. It’s real and raw and embarrassing and uncomfortable and something I never thought I would share with the world. I didn’t write this from a good mental place, but that doesn’t make it of any less value. Emotions, even the messy ones, are valid to express. I am kinder to myself now, and I have found a new compassion for the things I struggle with, but sometimes it’s okay to let yourself not be okay.
I was not okay when I wrote this.
I almost forgot I wrote this until recently. My skin situation had improved so much, that I was starting to feel a confidence in my physical body that I had never known before. Ever. A snafu between my doctor, a pharmacy in Texas, and winter storm for the history books has moved me back to square one… and has temporarily crippled me again.
I read what I wrote last summer, and I recognized the same terrible feelings swirling in my brain today. It is taking a lot of strength to share this, but I think it’s important. Your story might not be the same, but everyone struggles with self consciousness in some way. So, tonight I’m practicing what I preach and allowing myself to be uncomfortable with the hope of growth. This is not a feel-good post. There is no insightful wrap up at the end.
This is me, simply showing you that you’re not alone.
This is something that I have never written about. I barely speak about it. Yet, it is something that consumes my every thought of every day.
Last fall, I was diagnosed with rosacea and adult acne.
Then, it was a relief to finally have something that resembled an answer. But a year later, I can recognize that the diagnosis was just the beginning.
I have always had terrible skin. I went through two rounds of Accutane as a teenager for acne. I have vivid, cruel memories of classmates commenting on my skin in junior high. I was not confident, nor was I comfortable in my own being.
Fast forward 20 years, and I’m here again. My skin continued to be adolescent in my late 20s, but when I turned 30 all hell broke loose. First it was just one cheek. Then both. Then my nose too. And now, my forehead. I am in a constant state of misery, because my condition is right on my face.
It hurts. It physically hurts me. It hurts to smile. It hurts to touch. I cringe when people comment on my “sunburn,” because it’s not. That’s just how I look. My 6 yo asked me this week when her face will change. When I questioned what that meant, she clarified by asking, “When will my face get bumpy?”
Rosacea has caused me anxiety. It has caused me to be depressed. I struggle in face-to-face situations, because I’m worried about how my skin looks. I lack confidence, and have passed on numerous opportunities, because the painful bumps on my cheeks hold me back. Who wants me as the “face” of their company? No one.
I was prescribed a topical cream and a low dose antibiotic. In the last year I have fluctuated with both treatments. I have tried various skincare lines, and eliminated “triggers” as I could. Nothing, other than doubling my antibiotic dose, has helped in the slightest.
I go back to the dermatologist next week, which I’m sure will be a restart in treatment. Here’s the thing about rosacea – there is no cure. It doesn’t go away. Money is not an object to me at this point, because I just need to be able to function. I need to be able to look my colleagues and peers in the eye, and not worry about the 10 giant pimples on my face that currently feel like fire. I just want to be normal.
It makes me uncomfortable, obviously. I don’t talk about it to anyone other than my husband, and even that is rare. I don’t want anyone to bring it up. I like to pretend that I’m the only one that notices, even though that can’t possibly be true. I shouldn’t have to obsessively pick at my face , or slather on makeup that barely covers my condition, or use a filter that hardly makes a difference on social media.
I’m ashamed of my skin. Like I said – the depression and anxiety is real, and can be vouched for by every member of my family, even if they don’t know the real cause. I have never even divulged this to my friends.
My husband is supportive, but he’s also gorgeous. Greek God-like, in many ways. How can someone who looks like him, be with someone so hideous like me? I don’t know, and it crushes my confidence. How am I worthy?
I have no wrap up. I’m shocked I put this into text, actually. But this is me. This is real. This is what I deal with in every second of my day – can people see me beyond my rosacea? Because I can’t.
Girlfriend, you are so freaking gorgeous and I wish you felt that! Love you always.
Samantha, I thought it was a short time that you have been dealing with this issue. I’m so sorry I brought it up when you were here. I do think stress and possibly food allergy could be bringing it out more. I would talk to a nutritionist in addition to dermatologist.
You have always been beautiful!! Feed your soul as well as your body. We all need lessons on loving ourselves and forgiving our flaws. When the inside is cared for it shines thru to everyone around you. And what you have inside is smart sassy and beautiful. Love you Aunt Tammy
I have a loved one who struggles with rosacea. Thank you for your honest post. It gives me insight into their struggles.