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.