Dealing with the emotional side effects of having bad skin
This time last year I couldn't look my Dad in the eye, my skin was the worst it had ever been and my confidence rapidly shattered. I couldn't bare the pain of waking up each and every morning, walking into the bathroom, not turning the light on, looking into the mirror and having to look at my acne-ridden skin. Some days were better than others, some days there would be no new heads and like most days I would see a cluster of new pustules. For months I had hope that this new cream or tablet that the doctor had given me would make me back to "normal", that's all I wanted; to fit in.
With acne, you wear the condition on your face, the first thing that people see is your face. What do people see? They see clusters, lumps, bumps, cysts, pigmentation, scars, redness, they see an unhappy face and a young boy looking down with no backbone to face the world. What do they think? Oh he's just a teenager with acne, believe me it's worse than that.
As human beings we thrive to connect with people, to be accepted and be part of a group. Having acne makes you feel excluded. The amount of parties, sleepovers, walks with my family, days out, chances to meet new people and photos that I missed out on in the time I had acne was dreadful. I remember looking around constantly scanning people's skin with my eyes to see if they had a single blemish, that way I could somehow connect with them; I then wouldn't feel left alone.
Many people don't understand what it's truly like to have a bad skin condition, it changed my life. People would comment "Have you ran out of cream" or "Your skin looks bad"- that was the worse thing I ever heard. I remember the day I came back from Christmas break of 2012, my skin developed a much adverse type of acne; Severe cystic acne, covering almost 95% of my face. Starting at my chin, either side clustered with sizeable lumps, then receding across both cheeks, progressing up my temples and then to the forehead (Which was like a mountain). It was painful, not only emotionally but physically and I couldn't bare to squeeze them...who doesn't?
So I was sat there in my room, on my bed, legs crossed. It was the day before school, looking at my self in the mirror and dreading going into school. I felt incurable, a failure and unwanted. In a desperate reach for hope, I grabbed my over-sized tube of benzyl peroxide(BP) 10% (Any acne sufferer will have encountered BP before), exhausting the bottle of its contents. I felt like a drug addict, it had to work. It was like starting all of your revision the night before an exam; it never really works that well. I applied the cream to my face, I spent over 10 minutes massaging the thick, unpleasant paste into my skin. Slowly the BP began to dry, it was a mask and I hated the agonising pain; it made me feel stuck, it became tighter and tighter. At this point I couldn't break a smile, I couldn't even move my eyes without the mask feeling discomforting. I slowly fell asleep, not knowing what to expect.
*Buzz buzz buzz* my alarm was screaming at me to wake up, I switched it off. I didn't feel tired, my skin was moistureless. I felt my skin, still I could feel the lumps...everywhere. There was no hope. I entered the bathroom, looked into the mirror; I felt like breaking down, my skin had erupted. White heads and red lumps masked my face. Running parallel to my nose was a colony of spots, they aligned perfectly with the shape of my nose, it was awful. I squeezed my nostril and out like cheese the puss oozed from my skin. Then I had to do the same with my chin, cheeks, sideburns, temples, forehead, it was a strenuous task to do every day and night. I then cleaned my skin and applied a moisturiser, at that point I stopped wearing BP to school as it was too uncomfortable and made me look unreal.
I clothed my self, styled my hair and headed down stairs for breakfast. I made my eggs and dipping toast(My favorite) then sat with my head down. My step Dad said to me "What are you doing today?" (He does every morning) and I would sit staring at my egg, avoiding any possible eye contact and reply with "I don't know". All I wanted was for someone to not make a comment about my skin, so I made minimal conversation and eye contact. I continued with my eggs, sat there at the table scared and felt like crying. My mum spoke to me, I responded with minimality. She knew there was something wrong. I had that feeling that you get before crying, then I felt the cold tears began, my face shrivelled, my hand met my forehead. I had been so strong for so long, I kept it inside "I can't do this anymore"I said. My mum hugged me and we moved to the living room to sit on the more comfier sofa.
"I can't do it anymore mum, I can't put up with it" I cried for a long time, it was the first time since my uncle Phill had died that I had cried. It felt good to cry, it released my true feelings and was an opener to my mum. She gave me some advice and I pushed on, she gave me a lift to school.
"Have you lost your spot cream Will?", "Your skin looks bad", "You had it bad a year ago, it got better and now it's really bad, what happend?". The repeated comments really got to me, I am a sensitive person as such. I did what most people would do as a first reaction; hide. I wouldn't walk in the corridors, too many people, I would spend most of my lunch walking about on my own and pretending I had something to hand in or had to see someone. I had changed completely, before i'd spend my lunch time chatting to my friends, making jokes, feeling a sense of happiness and a sense of part.
The people around me changed; there was a prejudice towards me, I was an outsider to the world.
Anyway, comment if you think I should continue this story, as it's pointless writing anymore if people don't like this set up in my blog; some people prefer simple structure, but I felt that I had to express my emotions and hopefully this bit of text put your through my feelings. Please comment what you would like me to write about next. Thank you, William.