Basically, since fourth grade I have struggled with acne. It's difficult to differentiate between the severity of my acne and that of others, because I am not ignorant to the fact that my BDD heavily influences my opinion / exaggerates it sometimes. However, it's been pointed out by others on numerous occasions, and those words stuck with me for years. Although I recognize that it has drastically improved over the past five years or so, I still feel the same about people viewing my skin...if not WORSE. When I have asked my friends / family, they deny being able to see any marks whatsoever (aside from very slight blemishes). Although this puts my anxiety at bay...for about half a second...I feel as if I am failing every time I ask them how my skin appears. I feel this way because I ask them dozens of times per week and I know it probably drives them a little bananas. But to me, it's critical. I feel as if my day revolves around how my skin appears when I first see it in the morning. I constantly leave my register at work to inspect my skin in the bathroom mirrors, I re-do my makeup whenever possible to cover up my acne spots, and I can't STAND being in fluorescent lighting / bright, sunny days. I feel as if I am under a magnifying glass and it's terrible. I feel such an adrenaline rush, but in a negative, awful way. You know that feeling you get when you narrowly avoid a car accident or some other terrible event? And you feel on edge and panicky and buzzing with energy, even after you realize that there's no reason to be feeling this way? That's how I feel....all the time.
And the worst part is, no one takes me seriously. Everyone thinks I'm being vain or superficial, but they just don't understand the horror that I deal with every single day. I feel as if they were to feel the way that I do...for even a minute, they couldn't handle it. & I wouldn't wish it upon anyone. I just feel so overwhelmed and disgusted and misunderstood that I constantly want to cry.
The only person who seems to "get" me, is my boyfriend. We have been together for two years and he is the most absolutely wonderful man. He understands my habits and my routines and reminds me to stop picking (I pick at my skin without even realizing it) and lets me know that he thinks I'm beautiful constantly. We sat down and read "The Broken Mirror" together and I showed him specific passages / excerpts that closely related to how I feel on a daily basis. I appreciate his concern and his efforts...so so so much. However, I wish that I could just accept his compliments without immediately negating them or sometimes getting angry with him because he doesn't perceive me the way that I perceive myself. I just jump to the conclusion that he's a fool for not seeing me for the monster that I really am, and then I feel guilty later for shutting him down so harshly when he's only trying to help.
I really need some advice here. It's not just my skin, it's my body in general and it's getting so horrific (my BDD) that it's interfering with my work, school, relationship etc. These are supposed to be the BEST years of my life, yet my disorder is ruining them! I can hardly focus at school (my 4.0 is spiraling down and quickly!), I leave work early because I feel as if my customers are mocking me when they comment on my appearance and I am not being a pleasant, caring girlfriend like my boyfriend deserves, because I am so fixated on my problem. Does anyone feel this way?! Is there anything I can do to possibly feel better?! :(