I’ve written before about my experiences that parallel something similar to the story of the ugly duckling. About how, people mocked me on the street, in class, how I attained invisibility for the most part from people who might have otherwise wished me well. If you have been following my blog, you’ll know that these experiences were rooted in the complex consequences of the child neglect and emotional abuse I experienced as a child and adolescent.
A new state of being is a new vantage point for observations. Over the past year I have collected some more experiences to add to my understanding of my past. Fortunately, I don’t feel so flawed anymore, so I feel it does not add so much to my current condition.
I have asked a lot of people over the last year about what sort of appearancial qualities they are looking for in a partner, what the people they fell for looked like and whether there have been any usual qualities in others that they sought.
My little disabled brother’s favorite type of woman is one who is very fit and even muscular. My dad prefers women with extra weight on them, and preferably of the gothic variety. He loved my mother who was not gothic in the slightest and towards the slim side of the spectrum. Unlike his stated preferences my mother had red hair, not dark hair. My crush thinks my blushing, aka my minor rosacea, is cute and reminiscent of sex. My boyfriend originally held stock for a ‘classy woman’, which might be exemplified by an old photograph of a beautiful woman from some time ago. And yet, he loves me despite my fashion sense which is some combination of earthy, mysterious and ethereal according to him. Not only that, but I have a very asymmetrical face which is not exactly beautiful. Maybe cute on a good day. It is plain or worse most days.
I have been with a short strawberry blonde haired and curvy woman. A tall, skinny, ash brown haired man, with acne and of the dorky variety. A semi-short dark haired and dark haired man with puppy fat. And now I am with a tall, mousy brown to ash blonde haired man, with a short beard who probably has mild seborrhoeic dermatitis on his face. It is obvious by now what my point is, I’ve said before that because most people end up with a long term partner irrespective of what they look like, that you will most likely find someone even if you are unattractive. Of course there is a limit below which finding someone becomes difficult. The good news is, unless you become homeless and extremely bedraggled you’ll probably never get to that point. You know you’ve dipped below the line when shop clerks begin making sarcastic comments about your appearance, and people seem to actively move away from you in a crowd.
We have all read the studies about men focusing more on women’s bodies when they want sex, focusing on women’s faces when they want a relationship, that men prefer a certain hip to waist ratio around 0.7 and whatnot. This is true, and people will treat you differently according to how you look, and it will affect your life. But maybe you have noticed the inconsistencies between women preferring more dominant men which may imply some degree of aggression and that apparently they also prefer men who are good with children and dogs. This apparent inconsistencies are likely in part due to women’s monthly hormonal shifts, and yet such studies usually look at averages and general tendencies.
It is likely that people dating people who are less attractive is in part due to the market, and yet even if men value appearance more than anything in surveys the number of variables that fall underneath it is large. My point is, the world is not so simple. That studies looking at single variables are not an exact representation of the reality you are part of. Being more attractive will probably contribute to your happiness, but you have a massive amount of personal power in spite of what you have. The same unhappiness and doubt that can be so powerful as to push you to lock yourself away from the world. That can cripple you. Make you a shadow of your former self. Can be equaled in power by positive emotions and actions. That is part of the root of charisma, and why some people are saved by others and themselves.
There is also a certain power in featuring your flaws and using them. If you can use your unusual face to make an artistic or aesthetic impression, great. You made what many would have considered a flaw or weakness into something powerful. If you can educate others about the world and give others hope by showcasing your flaws. You are excellent, just the same. If you cannot do such with your flaw, then let the pain and stress caused by your flaw, give you energy so that you might grow in other ways. You are your best tool. Remember that.
Repeat after me:
Attractiveness is important.
Improving it will make my life better.
But is not everything I have.
It is not the determination I have.
It is not equivalent to the intelligence I can use in pursuing my goals.
It is not the power I have to influence others and myself.
Attractiveness is not me.
I am a whole person and I live in the real world.
If something stands in my way, I can find a way.
No one cares if I broke a few boring social norms to get there.
People will treat me like the person I am.
It doesn’t matter so much how I got there.
What matters is that I became stronger.
In trying to get where I am and where I want to be.
Hello, I would like to apologise to my followers for falling into a sort of rut in terms of motivation and energy for many months. Lots of things seemed to stagnate in my life, like my relationship, the movement of things outside of my control such as events regarding my siblings and myself sort of energetically. I suspect this might have had something to do with the antidepressants I took for rosacea, having received a free sample of maca I feel a lot better, so that might have something to do with my attempt at refocusing myself. Additionally I am having some relationship problems as a nice organic love triangle developed, but I won’t get into that here. This seems to provide me with a bit of motivation to improve myself.
I am going to focus on some key elements in this update.
Academically I left Psychology with a 2.1 and returned to Philosophy. I have utterly bummed this semester due my issues with motivation and hope I can compensate for this in the 3 semesters remaining. That said I am enjoying all of my lectures. Though my attendance is very poor.
In terms of the situation with my siblings, who live with my neglectful mother, who also neglected and abused me, one of them has been made to leave the nest. On June the 22nd my then 12 year old disabled brother, came to live with us, having been scratched, bruised and pinched by my mother. Under police advice, my brother was sent to live us. He never returned to his mother. Because the investigation is now over, I can post pictures of the marks.
At the moment we are looking for a bigger house, and our current flat is overcrowded and under-decorated as we await our new home.
In terms of health, I unfortunately enjoyed a sigmoidoscopy, and a SIBO breath test, both of which found nothing. The only other things I can think of pursuing right now pertain to parasite stool samples and thyroid tests. I was on the FODMAP diet for some months and it didn’t really do anything. At the moment my gut is functioning near normally, and my rosacea is essentially the same as when I initially started taking citalopram even though I am eating very unhealthily and drinking right now. This means I only have a major flush about once a week, and my rosacea doesn’t appear to be progressing at all.
In terms of facial development, my face seems a lot rounder. My implant has been completed, which has filled out my right cheek to a slight degree and offered support to the right side of my lips.
Here you can see the progression from large gap, to healing gap which resulted in the gum healing in a circle with a gap ready for the implant, and the implant inserted as to fill the gap. The whole process was relatively painless. It took a few days to get accustomed to the implant, as I kept biting my cheek until it I cut it. But this no longer happens and my implant feels as warm and natural as a regular tooth. Having had the implant inserted I feel my enunciation has improved and chewing feels easier.
Below you can see how my lower lip seems more supported, which is a general trend I have noticed in pictures since the insertion of the implant.
The differences in the more deformed right side of my face, courtesy of child abuse induced tooth loss, have been much slower but notable. Despite the fact all I have maintained since I lost most off my motivation has been my oral posture, rather than any gum chewing.
Notice the fuller profile, the rounder jaw, and the slight difference in gradient of the nasolabial fold. The first picture is from November last year, and the second picture is from today, the 31st of December 2015. My skin quality has obviously improved, despite a recent acne break out from falling out of the habit of washing my mineral sunscreen off before going to sleep.
I have found that the supplementation of spirulina seems to help prevent acne. This is likely due its role in the alleviation of lipid peroxidation. I am currently experimenting with a few antioxidant topicals, which might be relevant to rosacea too. I suggest anyone with rosacea, checks Instanatural and Camden Cosmetics on Amazon.
My hair has grew a surprising amount in a year, which might be a reflection of greater focus on minerals and protein.
In terms of new experiences in overcoming the sort of fears and anxieties mediated by child neglect and emotional abuse, this year I went down a sort of super slide, did my first bout of semi-independent traveling, ate squid and all sorts of foods for the first time, got my first tattoo and professional piercings, went on a speed boat, got some ferrets, planned out my first independent travel to London and probably did some other stuff I can’t remember. Unfortunately my trip to Amsterdam fell through due to a combination of passport office issues and my own failure in terms of motivation.
To close here is a comparison of passport pictures from 3 years ago, up until around about now. This is what abuse and determination can do to people.
I have yet to locate a vitamin C or licorice topical that is affordable, or visit Polish shops for kefir, or locate a tougher chewing gum. The chewing gum is currently irrelevant as I won’t be chewing much for a while anyway. I have however dyed my hair, which upon fading looks a lot more appropriate. Additionally I have acquired the antidepressant Celexa which has reduced my periodic flushing substantially. I also acquired some Skinoren (azelaic acid 20%) which is a little drying so far, and seems to exacerbate the facial redness, but I have only being using it for 5 days. It occurs to me that the context of the how the flushing started is extraordinarily unusual, and I will be revisiting my GP in the hopes of gaining some insight and initiating some further tests. Perhaps I have hormonal imbalances, a thyroid disorder, allergies or have suffered some sort of unusual infection.
Just to recap, I posted this in the rosaceagroup too, but as of yet I have acquired no insight.
“Here’s the story. I had some flushing on accutane, and this was mostly transient, and went into a sort of remission a short time after my last dose. I was using the accutane as a treatment for severe cystic acne, and I was on a low dose at 20mg for 6 months. The flushing generally happened in response to heat and the sun. I think the accutane may have contributed, perhaps via vascular and sun damage, to what was about to happen.
Some months after this remission I trained to run 5km, one day I took a protein powder, and felt a bit sick and bloated and was unable to complete my run. After I got home my face began to burn, even swell a little, all over. So my entire face was red/purple, and it settled down very slowly over three days, but I was left with recurrent flushing. Soon, I developed symptoms of anemia like dizziness, prolonged headaches, lightheadedness, and exhaustion. I lost a lot of weight really fast and I had no appetite. I also had a weird change in how my gut works, it’s not necessarily bad, but its weird and is still the same now. I also had palpitations, abnormal moods and sleep disturbances too. After this I acquired about 3 colds in a row. I put some weight back on with some iron tablets and metatone, but my gut is still ‘different’, my face still flushes some, and I still have residual anxiety. I sleep like I did before.
You don’t have to be a GP to say, that this is not medically normal. Unfortunately my GPs do not yet understand just how weird the events prior to Christmas were. I think I’ll be visiting them again very soon.
Up until very recently I was experiencing a lot of blushing in response to heat, nervousness, and flushing after every meal but breakfast. My face was burning and tingly. Soon I developed facial erythema, mostly on the right side, and some dilated surface blood vessels. It became socially unbearable. I began to stay indoors. ”
I also posted this too, regarding yesterday. It was unpleasant, I also had to run to the bathroom unfortunately.
“If anyone is thinking of using Celexa to dampen the flushing response, you should be aware that people have some unpleasant side effects, including me. Today I had hot/cold feelings, aches in my legs, sweating hands, jitteriness, palpitations, dizziness, breathlessness and later in the day, these effects settled and were replaced with slight elation. It has been a weird and unpleasant day. I hear most of the side effects attenuate after two weeks, I am on day five of Celexa, so there is not too long to go. It really helps with my flushing so I want to continue if possible. You were warned. Hopefully while the flushing is limited it won’t get too much worse while I get tests and attempt to unravel what has happened.”
As you might have guessed, according to the title, I have had a little bit of dental implant work done. The screw is inserted, and in 6 months after the bone has healed about it, the cap will be fitted. Upon entering the surgery I was given some codeine and made to drink a fairly gross amoxicillin drink. This morning and yesterday morning I took 10mg of prednisolone in preparation for the surgery. I had an xray or two, had my blood pressure taken, a surgical drape, surgical hat and some light block glasses too. I had a lot of local anesthetic injections, which were somewhat uncomfortable, and I did not feel much if anything after that. Dr V. cut my gum a little bit, and used a sort twistable screwdriver to insert the implant into my mandible. She then closed the cut with two stitches. During the surgery I had a little bit of involuntary shaking, felt a little heavy and drowsy, After the surgery I was disorientated. The implant was successful, and the post-surgery xray showed that the vagus nerve had been evaded. No bone graft was needed which saves me around £900. There were no complications.I have an impressive collection of painkillers in preparation for when the local anesthetic wears off. Additionally I have a wisdom tooth on the right side that hasn’t emerged yet, which is good news for the right side of my face! Plus, I have £95 on my points card which is almost enough to pay for the post-implant hygiene treatment!
It would appear that things are looking up. My skin and dental situation are improving.
I am still alive, and finished my last university exam yesterday. The exam was fine, very easy, and much easier than the statistics exam. Two and a half years of university life to go, assuming I don’t take a PhD loan. Anyway, let’s get down to business:
- My GI symptoms are much reduced, having removed all the obvious sources of wheat from my diet, and I exist in a way that is similar to how normal people exist. Perhaps, I have a sort of cyclical allergy to wheat, or rather it is a main trigger for something else that is wrong with me. Despite this, there are improvements to be made, and I still experience symptoms if I engage in any sort of exercise.
- My rosacea-like situation is mostly unchanged, the flushing is still short lived and generally temperature dependent, but I seem to have developed permanent erythema on the right side of my face. There are still many angles to approach the matter, and so as it is early on in its progression, I am not worried and instead determined. My GP stated that I had rosacea, but she did not conduct a skin biopsy, or examine my facial redness. She seems to think I have type two rosacea, which I believe is incorrect. My skin is essentially clear of lesions of all kinds, I have post hyper-inflammatory pigmentation from previous acne lesions, and flushing is my main symptom. I fit the first subtype of rosacea description.
- My GP prescribed Duac, that is a topical treatment containing 1% clindamycin and 5% benzoyl peroxide, which having had a reaction to benzoyl peroxide before is useless to me. I do not intend to use it. She offered me broadspectrum antibiotics of the tetracycline variety, which I declined, as they offer temporary relief followed by a worsening of GI symptoms after cessation. Not only that, but antibiotics permanently reduce gut flora diversity, and I will only use antibiotics specific to the treatment of SIBO as part of a longer SIBO treatment protocol, so that antibiotics help the GI issues rather than worsen them.
- That said, I am currently looking into other topicals that might help with facial redness. Benzoyl peroxide and oral antibiotics are my only real no-gos, and therefore anything else is fine.
- I have been referred to hospital for tests, including a SIBO breath test, my GP said SIBO is a possibility, but that there is an innate overlap in my conditions and that the conditions might be manifesting as separate entities. I am awaiting a letter from the hospital detailing my appointment.
- I have found that EGCG, that is the main polyphenol in green tea, may enter the skin in useful amounts if around 1 teaspoon of quadruple concentrated green tea is applied to the face (according to this AcneEinstein article: http://www.acneeinstein.com/fresh-green-tea-topical-acne-treatment/). A small number of studies concerning EGCG and rosacea have been done, one study introduction states that EGCG has immunomodulatory, anti-oxidant, photoprotective, anti-angiogenic and anti inflammatory properties (see here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2933390/). In this particular study EGCG topical treatment over the course of six weeks, was found to inhibit HIF-1α induction and VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) expression, which play a role in angiogenesis, in treated skin. However, no significant difference in erythema was found after six weeks of treatment. It was concluded that topical EGCG may help prevent telangiectasias and erythema. Another study, sponsored by Syed Skincare, was reported by WebMD and concerns type two rosacea. A significant reduction in skin lesions and inflammation was noted in participants who received the green tea extract cream, in comparison to the placebo (see here: http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/news/20050223/green-tea-helps-reduce-red-in-rosacea). I am applying quadruple concentrated Clipper loose green tea, that has been left to brew for about 5 minutes, to my face using cotton wool pads every morning after washing my face. It is too early to tell whether it has helped with the rosacea, but as it seems more like a preventative move to me, I may never know whether it has helped or not. But it has given me a nice golden glow that looks quite natural at no extra cost to me, as I have been drinking very concentrated green tea every morning for about two years. This golden glow has helped offset some of the acne mark redness and seems to make flushing episodes more psychologically bearable. Interestingly despite the child neglect dental scenario, when I visited the dental hygienist privately of my own accord for the first time last year, she was shocked at how clean my teeth were. I believe this was in part because I have been drinking the equivalent of 3-6 cups of green tea every day for the last 2 years. Green tea helps prevent periodontal disease and dental caries. I would also like to add that daily consumption of green tea made a notable dent in my severe acne in 2013.
- I tried the Maybelline Baby Lips Strike a Rose lip balm, and as a person who doesn’t like bright makeup, was impressed. However it did not have great staying power. At about £3 from Boots it is an easy way to subtly enhance your appearance. It isn’t that moisturising, but it has a nice texture.
- Thinking about my own personal experiences, having alternated between ash brown, auburn, and blonde hair colours, I can say that redish and red hair colours can help offset facial redness. The opposite is true of ash shades. I have also seen my observations manifest in my friends. This tendency is also supported by The Beauty Department and its articles on hair colour (http://thebeautydepartment.com/2013/10/hair-color-guide-hint-of-red/). In my view patterns in recommendations based on skin tone are not reliable, and some of them may even be faulty. I have a cool or neutral skin tone and I look better with a neutral to warm hair colour and look quite drab in cool ashy colours. In terms of hair colour recommendations I think people with more severe facial redness should move towards red hair as much as they can stand and is appropriate for them. People with mild or moderate rosacea should stick to hair colours with a hint of red like copper blonde, strawberry blonde, honey blonde, honey brown, auburn, chestnut brown, mahogany brown, and cherry black. Or, they can go straight to red. Generally, I find that blonde hair looks more attractive on people with naturally fair skin, and it may accompany financial benefits statistically in terms of employment. Blonde hair can suit individuals with pinker complexions too. I do not consider red hair to be ideal as cultural stigma regarding it, just as there is a certain distaste towards curly hair, is still alive and well. Be prepared to get less views on online dating sites and be spoken to less in clubs. The image below serves to demonstrate the rosacea hair colour ballpark in my view. Dyeing your hair is an easy way to make erythema look less troublesome, and I am going to dye my hair auburn soon, but after that I will look into honey blonde, reddish brown, chestnut brown and mahogany brown. The first one is ideal to me, but I would like to experiment with the other colours.
- In terms of easy over the counter rosacea treatment I found the following “Topical vitamin C preparations have recently been studied in the reduction of the erythema of rosacea.18 Daily use of an over-the-counter cosmetic 5.0% vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid) preparation was used in an observer-blinded and placebocontrolled study. Nine of the 12 participants experienced both objective and subjective improvement in their erythema.18 It was suggested that free-radical production might play a role in the inflammatory reaction of rosacea, and that the antioxidant
effect of L-ascorbic acid might be responsible for its effect. These promising preliminary results still need to be confirmed in larger, long term studies.” (see here: http://www.jabfm.org/content/15/3/214.full.pdf+html).
- I have my pre-surgery dental implant appointment on the 21st of January.
- I have been drinking a double concentrated ginger infusion with every meal. Ginger is anti-H Pylori, anti-angiogenic in vivo and vitro, a broad anti-inflammatory, and helps release digestive secretions including enzyme lipase and gallbladder secretions. ( see here for antigenesis: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0006291X05014543, here for anti-inflammatory action: http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/jmf.2005.8.125?src=recsys, here and here regarding digestion: http://informahealthcare.com/doi/abs/10.3109/09637486.2011.627841, http://informahealthcare.com/doi/abs/10.3109/09637489609028561and here regarding H Pylori http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3761965/) It seems to help with the GI symptoms and make me feel better somehow in a very general way.
- In terms of general good news Simple Skin Care has reformulated its line, and notable amounts of vitamin E and vitamin B3 can be found in its extremely cheap products.
In terms of plans regarding the next two weeks:
- Chris Kresser offers a number of free ebooks, including one of skin health and another on gut health, and I believe that I can use these to help create a sort of alleviation of treatment protocol. I intend to cross references both ebooks with the FODMAP diet (very important)
- I want to go back to the GP, claiming that the Duac caused a skin reaction, with a list of topicals I want to try and acquire something more appropriate (very important).
- Find a Polish shop that sells kefir at a cheaper price than Asda, this will constitute the main part of my breakfast (quite important).
- Locate more topical products containing licorice, or vitamin C, as to reach an investment (quite important).
- Search foreign shops and the internet for tougher chewing gum, which is useful for giving your face more width (quite important).
- Ideally I want to use Kathryn’s Marsden’s Good Gut Healing to produce a mindmap post on fibre, which might be useful to some people (bonus).
- Obviously I want to dye my hair, and invest in my next dye, which will hopefully be more up my street (bonus I like the sound of)t.
- I intend to pay more attention to fashion, and style, and may in time post research and ideas on that (bonus).
This post concerns how the experience of something very prolonged, multifaceted and negative can be transformed into a sort of psychological strength, or drive. Again, this post might be a little abstract.
Child abuse liberated me, because I have known a point wherein I had to do something, that is I was either going to kill myself or I was going to find a way to overcome its consequences. Back in 2013 I was very sick, much sicker than I am now, hideous, essentially poor, isolated and unable to conceive of how I would find happiness in a world that seemed to want to destroy me. I simply could not imagine how things would get better, when everything seemed only to rapidly disintegrate. It was then in the stairwell of a dilapidated tower block that a series of vague longings, I had long since had in a dispersed fashion, convoluted together to form a promise and a plan. I promised myself that I would not kill myself without doing everything in my power to alter my situation and fate. Only after demonstrating that there was indeed nothing in the world for me could I allow myself the option of suicide. After considerable reflection I broke the different ways in which I was damaged into categories, assigned each category a year and order, and gave the associated year a title. Each year was made up of a series of main goals, broken down into subgoals and assignments. And, so it began.
I did many things, so many I cannot remember, in following my pursuit. There are of course the main things like arranging the funding for my dental implant in January, completing accutane, laboriously putting together a skin care routine, changing my diet, changing my oral posture and whatnot, but there were other things too. These smaller activities often resembled everyday life activities that those who were not neglected as a child who were the around the same age as me, had been able to do for a long time. Generally I pursued my goals in isolation and with little to no input from others.
In pursuing my goals I was able to realise the latent strengths in myself, I was able to actively create my own practical strengths and happiness, and take control of my life. In a sense I was free to realise myself. In my isolation, enforced by both myself and the world, I found freedom from the rules and values of my immediate world. I was free to look at the world and see it in a way that may not be available to those who participate in it. I saw its contradictions and falsities and in doing so I liberated myself from some of the hold these falsities had over me. I saw that unattractiveness was not in fact an absolute barrier to the acquisition of love, and merely required a change in tactics. I used to believe that for my peers, ignorance was bliss. In fact the very reason they were ignorant, meant that they were unable to prevent and work around many of the negativities that affected them in their lives, which caused them continuous grief. In fact, they often experienced more everyday suffering and drama in time than me.
In the end I was liberated from many of the beliefs that haunted me and caused me despair. While, I am not immune to the affections of others, I became better able to manufacture of my own accomplishment, esteem and happiness. Because other people did not appreciate me, I was free from them, and from there I was able to create and appreciate myself. In defining who I wanted to be, and pursuing my hypothetical future self, I developed my own standards against which to weigh myself. My understanding of the ways in which I had been damaged, my analysis of my experiences, and my desire to know myself such that I could fix myself allowed for personal depth. I began to embody a sort of authenticity that in time became known and appreciated by others. Individuals began to see me as interesting, self aware, determined, resilient, much more confident and invulnerable than before. Humans tend to recognise strengths irrespective of their form. Soon I began to see myself as occupying a privileged position, of being able to view a rarely discussed, rarely seen, facet of human existence, and use that experience to bare witness to different levels of human reality. The paradox is that the very crimes committed against me are to a great degree, the source of my strengths today.
In this sense, my ‘mother’, who I believe is a psychopath or a sociopath has ultimately failed. Her desire for dominion, ‘vengeance’, and willing victims, is partly unfulfilled. While she may have those who believe in her, despite the contradictions she makes, the lack of empathy she shows, and the impulsiveness of her actions, she has ultimately failed to crush those closest to her. Me and my father are ever growing in resources, health and confidence. Although damaged not a single one of her children have succumb to despair or believe in her. In the sphere of psychological dominion she has lost. She has failed to crush the spirits of her own vulnerable and dependent children. The cards she plays are slowly being used up, and the pillars of her power continuously crumble.