F*** You Folliculitis

A week ago, I suffered unbearable itchiness on my face. Also, tiny lumps that feels disgusting under my palms. On the first day that I realized that I have these tiny lumps on my forehead, I immediately called 811 to ask some initial suggestions on what I have. The lady asked me different questions which all narrow down to questions about measles. I was vaccinated but it still didn’t stop me from thinking that maybe I was one of the very few people where the vaccine just didn’t work.

The next day, I prepared myself to go to the hospital. I didn’t want to go to a clinic because what if it’s something that’s easy communicable? I may need to be isolated for a week from the general public. I drove to the ER because I didn’t want to potentially infect anyone else. I entered ER and the triage nurse asked me what I was in for. I pointed at my face which is now full of red dots and he said, “Acne?” And I was almost like, “Yes, I went to ER for acne”. But no, I was feeling itchy and feverish so I told him, “I think it’s an allergic reaction because I have it on my arm too”. He asked me to sit down for a while and I waited for my name to be called. About 10 minutes later, another triage nurse called me in for my vitals to be taken and she immediately though I had chicken pox. I am 80% sure I haven’t had chicken pox yet because my mom said I didn’t have it as a kid but my grandma said I did. So I was isolated in to a room and I was texting and updating my dad about what is happening.

The doctors came in the room and looked at my dots on my face, arms, chest and back. He asked, “Did you tell them you have chicken pox?” and I was like, “No, the lady (nurse) did”. Ultimately, it wasn’t chicken pox and measles. He said the dots looks very different from chicken pox and he said I may have folliculitis, inflammation of the follicles. It just so happened that they decided to inflame on my face. Anyways, he prescribed me a topical and oral antibiotic.

The next few days felt like years to me. I refused to go out of my dorm room because I was so ashamed of my own face. There were tiny red dots and many white bumps. I’m one of those people who feel disgusted when seeing tiny circles in such close proximity from each other. Unfortunately, that’s what happened to my face. I would wake up in the morning and I can’t even directly touch my own face because the tiny dots felt so disgusting under my palms. I had to use a wash cloth and gently press it on my face. I would apply the topical medicine thrice a day on my face and body. For four days, this was what I did. By the fifth day, the bumps started to dry out and one by one, they started to fall off. I have this tendency to pick on my face but this time, I tried my hardest not to or else it’s gonna create some holes on my face. I’m vain like that.

By the end of 7 days (the duration of my antibiotic treatment), my face felt smoother and the last of the bumps had dried out already. It’s flat now and not like some mountainous terrain. I feel my confidence coming back and I know that I can finally get out of my room and get my parcel from the lobby. It’s been there for four days and I refused to go down and show my face to anyone.

For those seven days, I finally understand how some people with severe acne gets some low confidence. For those few days, I would look at my face and pity myself. I was just about ready to quit my job and go home if it didn’t clear up by the end of 7 days. Thankfully it did and I was able to return to my job two days after I finished my medication.

Growing up, I’ve always had bad acne especially on my forehead and chin area. I learned to just love myself and not care about the pimples that just show up on the middle of my face. But for the past few years, I’ve had less acne and the scars were already starting to heal and I was finally feeling a tad bit pretty. When this happened, I thought it was gonna be the end of my world. But then I hyped myself up and just reminded myself of my dreams. All of those can’t be achieved if I just decided to hole myself inside my dorm room.

Anyways, I have dark spots on my forehead and pretty much my whole chin. Some people suggested I wear foundation but I don’t want to. I don’t like wearing make-up because I sweat easy and you’ll just see water streaks. Also, my face is still healing and I don’t want to irritate it and get more redness. For now, I’m just using some gentle cleanser and tone correcting moisturizer. This whole ordeal made me realize that I really am vain.

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Seeking Help: One of the Bravest Things I’ve Done

I remember that one morning, I woke up uneasy. I sat on my bed and bad, suicidal thoughts clouded my mind. My heart felt heavy and my head was messing with me. I remember being emotional and irrational. The thought of jumping off a bridge or driving my car through a cliff kept on replaying in my head, over and over again. I was a mess. I was crying, I was in pain. I remember deciding not to to get out of the my room on that day because I was scared of actually harming myself. The sight of the scissors made my skin crawl as I imagined it piercing through my skin. I winced at the thought but it did give me comfort. Thoughts of hurting myself always gives me comfort as well as uneasiness.

I couldn’t take it anymore. The emotions were taking over and I knew that I had to help myself before I lose myself. I searched the suicide hotline and called them. It rang and I had the strongest urge to cut the call off but I knew that I had to push through. A lady answered, she said she was a registered nurse and she could help me for the time being. I was crying but she was calm. She talked me through and helped me find the nearest help center. She asked me if I feel safe from myself, I said “Yes” even though I wasn’t too sure myself. She directed me to the center and a few hours later, I was calm enough to drive and started my baby steps towards a better mental health.

I remember sitting on that chair with the lady across me. She was asking me questions, questions a counselor from two years ago have asked me too. In my head, I thought she would be the same as that counselor, with fake empathy and note-taking BS. I hated that counselor. I only had one session with her and never came back because I felt too embarrassed pouring out myself to a stranger which obviously showed me fake empathy. But this new lady is different. One of the first things she told me was, “You are very brave in coming here“. Brave is one word that I would describe myself when it comes to tackling many life challenges but I never thought that asking for help is considered a brave move. But this lady just called me brave because I finally sought help to better my mental health.

I was eventually placed as urgent in the list for day therapy sessions. I got a single-session therapy with this male therapist (probably a psychologist?) who told me that I didn’t have depression, but I already know that. What I didn’t know was that I had Childhood Trauma. No one has beaten me to a pulp nor sexually harassed me. But the way I was brought up definitely affected how my brain works. It affected my personality, my emotions and how I breath. I didn’t know that I breath differently from a normal person. Apparently, regular people breath mainly using their stomach. I, on the other had, breath mainly using my chest. When this therapist asked me try and breath using my stomach, I had a hard time doing it and I still have trouble doing it right now. He said that my way of breathing shows that I’m always on the end, that my brain is rarely relaxed which explains why my anxiety is always at the background. Also, he showed me a diagram relating to childhood trauma. It wasn’t just anxiety or depression, it’s a combination of different things but never the whole thing. I didn’t have depression just because I still have appetite with food and pleasure. However, I still showed the other signs and symptoms for it. In short, he said that I have GAD, a bit of depression, a bit of OCD and a bit of some more other things that I wish I remember because I was an idiot and didn’t just took a photo of it.

I have finally started my therapy sessions. These are free so it definitely helps me a lot. I’m looking forward in finding more about myself and actually experience emotions that I have probably deprived myself in a long time. I’m also considering taking some medicines so I’m just gonna have to wait until I meet with my family doctor.

Seeking help for your mental health is not a bad idea. It’s gotta be one of the best things you can do for yourself. You get to stop asking “What is wrong with me?” to start asking “How can I help myself?”. It can be scary at first, but it can definitely help you in the long run.