I remember as a teenager crying to my Mum because these things just kept popping up all over my face, neck and back. I distinctly remember asking her how long this would go on for, and she told me that they would clear up naturally in a few years time. That was one piece of advice that my dear Mum didn’t get right, because at the age of 37 I still think I am going through puberty!
When I was younger I would forge notes from my parents to excuse me from swimming lessons so nobody could see my back, and I wouldn’t shower after a football match for the same reason. I was constantly squeezing them because I was happier with a red blotchy face than one covered in whiteheads. This was despite the understanding that if I actually stopped squeezing them it would reduce the likelihood that they would spread.
As I got older my skin was still an embarrassment for me. I refused to take my t-shirts off during my trips abroad, despite searing temperatures. When I first moved in with another woman I spent the first few weeks turning the light off before I went to bed. Even today I go through a ritual of explaining to people that I have a spot when one appears on my face. It is as if I am apologising to people for looking so unclean.
I tried everything to rid myself of the shame. I was on daily antibiotics, shaved layers off my skin with Retin-A and spent fortunes on other antibacterial products – but nothing changed. I thought apots made me ugly and that nobody would find me attractive, something, which still follows me around to this day.
But why does acne make me so miserable?
Continuing the theme first started when I wrote the blog post Why Am I So Miserable? I have taken a deeper look at the root causes of this lifelong problem. The Five Why analysis actually breaks down into a few different tributaries: -
Problem Statement: I am miserable and angry when I have acne
Why? Because I am worried that people will look at them.
Why? Because I am worried they will think I am ugly and unclean
Why? Because I believe that being ugly and unclean affects my status in society
Why? Because this is the way my mind works
Why? Because my ego is constructed this way
Why? Because of years of societal conditioning
Action: Re-programme the years of societal conditioning so I think differently. Remove the power of the ego.
Problem Statement: I am miserable and angry when I have acne
Why? Because I am worried that my girlfriend will look at them.
Why? Because I am worried that my girlfriend will leave me.
Why? Because I am insecure
Why? Because my ex wife left me
Why? Because I no longer made her happy
Why? Because of my behaviour
Why? I lacked the necessary skills and awareness
Action: Learn from my past failures, become more aware and learn more relationship skills. Learn to talk about my insecurities and to learn to move away from those feelings and into more secure feelings.
Problem Statement: I am miserable and angry
Why? Because I have acne
Why? Due to a build up of Sebum and skin residue around my hair follicles
The why’s then branch out into various tributaries such as stress, poor diet, unclean hands and fingers, playing with my hair, squeezing spots and repeatedly touching my face.
Action: Wash hands constantly, try different foodstuffs such as the www.rawradianthealth.com, wash face twice per day, meditate and be more mindful about touching my face.
The results of the Five Why analysis actually creates a whole host of positive actions that you can implement to reduce your anger and misery. In fact, just by following this process, and taking positive action, will reduce your stress and therefore the likelihood that stress will be a contributing factor. Here are the main points that I have taken from my analysis.
1. My ego construct makes me believe that people care what I look like. When you take the time to ponder this notion, you realise that nobody really cares at all. Once you realise that nobody is looking at your spots the worry that you attach to it vanishes. Once again the problem of the ego presents itself to me.
2. I have to face up to the fact that the loss of my marriage has made me insecure in my current relationship. I now believe that relationships can collapse and people can leave you despite being very much in love. I don’t like feeling insecure and it is a relatively new phenomenon for me. I have already started to discuss this with my girlfriend and my counselor to try and work my way through this and to banish the feelings of insecurity.
3. I need to continue to work on my inter-personal relationship and communication skills so I can become a better partner for my girlfriend. The more time and effort I put into this area of my life, the more benefit I will derive from my relationship. This increases my feelings of security and reduces my levels of stress.
4. My diet can be improved and I intend to learn more about Natasha St. Michael and her raw food diet.
5. By writing this post and completing the Five Why analysis I am creating awareness of the problem within myself. This will help improve my facial and hand hygiene and reduce the amount of times I play with my face and shoulders.
There is a great quote from Dr. Daniel Amen who says, “When you’re 18, you worry about what everybody is thinking of you; when you are 40, you don’t give a darn what anybody thinks of you; when you’re 60, you realise nobody’s been thinking about you at all.”
It seems such a shame that for so many years I lived with so much shame and worry and all for naught. The problem is, at that age and without the benefit of wisdom, I would never have believed anyone if they told me the truth. In fact I know that to be true because people tried.
Puberty is on the agenda in my son’s school curriculum and it got me thinking about acne. It is likely that he may also suffer from acne because of my genes and so I wanted to complete this piece of work and talk to him about it. Maybe he can take solace from the fact his Dad suffered from acne and therefore can empathise with him should he suffer as well.