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20 year old male .. insecure


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Hello. I am a 20 year old male from Eastern Europe in my 3rd year of college.


I am at a point in my life where I feel very unhappy and don't know what to do.


I always feel very inadequate and inhibited, afraid of being real and honest about myself. I just feel an extreme level of shame whatever I do. I had really bad acne and still have it and that has left very ugly marks all over my body and that has a lot to do with it. I am single and never had a real gf. Instead of having the best time of my life like all people say I should at this age, it just feels like I'm accumulating more and more regrets because I just feel like I can't get over the fact that I am ugly and my appearance sucks. I have been to multiple doctors, they gave me Accutane but it only worked while I was taking it. I am lonely and depressed, feel like I can't connect with anyone, very scared of intimacy and women and starting to hate them for no reason..


I'm just scared that I will end up on my deathbed having so many regrets and never being able to take the chances because deep down I don't think of myself as being worthy of anything or anyone. There are days when I don't do anything, I just lay down in bed all day hating on myself..


Some advice would really help.. thanks

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You've dealt with doctors about your physical affliction. It's now time to visit a psychiatrist to address your internal strife. Changing your outlook is going to take a lot of work with a therapist. In the meantime, you can start reading books about triumphing over depression, learning positive self talk to make your life what you want it to be.

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Your college does provide free counseling, so you should set up an appointment. Just talking to someone about it will make some of this burden go away, and give you a clearer view on how to help yourself. As for that acne, it never stopped Brian Adams from pursuing a career in music, and dating hot chicks.

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Yes, i agree, please go to your college counselor. They may have free services.


I don't know if this helps you or not - but many people feel the same way you do right now. College isn't the best time of everyone's life. Lots of people have acne and feel self-conscious and unhappy during college. Actually, accutane does have bad mental health side effects so maybe it is good that you stopped. Eventually, your acne will go away. I used to get bad acne and I went to get facials often and that helped (though it was expensive). I think a lot of young people feel not so confident and that they don't fit in. Just keep trying your best, I am sure that you're not as ugly as you think you are, and the acne will stop. Focus on your studies, be friendly, maybe find some friends and form a study group. You WILL have a girlfriend! It's going to happen for you.


Please hang in there, it will be ok.

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Acne sucks, it really really does, people who do not have to deal with bad acne will never truly understand.


I had it pretty bad, so I do understand and your pain is relatable, so I will share my story... hopefully it will help, even though it is probably is not the quick solution or ray of optimism that you might be hoping for.


I had pretty bad acne in my late teens, I tried all the usual basic treatments between 16 to 19, they did not work at all. At 19 or 20 I was also prescribed accutane. It was very effective, but I stopped taking it before my finishing my full prescribed course because it was causing serious dryness, which meant constant dry lips, flaky skin and even frequent nose bleeds (because the tiny capillaries in my nose became fragile)... and @annie24 mentioned, it is also known to be linked to depression, which I suffered from extensively in my 20s. (But I don't know for sure if I can blame it on the drug).


My acne disappeared (mostly) for about 2 years after accutane, but it came back with a vengeance in 2011/12, hitting me worse than ever before. This was very depressing as I had hoped to be done with that particular nemesis, and it certainly did not help with my mental health in that rough period of my life. For a while I became very depressed, antisocial and isolated, though not purely due to bad skin... and I stopped caring about my appearance.


I sort of emerged from my rut in 2016, started exercising, eating healthier... and at some point between 2012 and 2016, my acne had calmed down, I genuinely do not remember when. Don't get me wrong, it was not gone, I still have acne today in my early 30s, but it has become much less serious, even though I have not been on any medical treatments since accutane in 2009. I think this is due to two main reasons:


1) Stress, poor diet, poor hygiene etc all contribute towards acne. When I was in a bad place mentally, I did not take care of myself as well as I do now. It becomes a vicious cycle. Nowadays I manage my acne with a natural (non-chemical) cleanser, moisturizer and spot treatment gel, just three products in total, two of which most people should use in their skincare routine anyway. I generally avoid eating spicy and/or oily foods too much.


2) Sometimes I wonder if my acne in 2011/12 was really as bad as I remembered it, and how much of it was psychological. I was in a very unhappy place mentally at the time, so every new spot was soul crushing and made me feel repulsive. Nowadays, I still hate spots, but they don't bother me anywhere near as much as it used to, so maybe I am not that much better physically, just mentally.


When I think back on my acne struggles, I think I placed far too much importance on my spots than they deserved. In hindsight, I had friends who did not care that I was spotty, I even had girlfriends in those periods who did not seem all that bothered about them. Even when my spots were at their worst in 2012, I think I pulled away from a girl I liked because of my insecurities regarding acne, because she never actually pulled away from me as my acne got worse.


My point is that when you are suffering from serious acne and the insecurities it causes, it becomes the front and center of your consciousness, the thing you focus on. I still have legacy effects to this day. I am short sighted, I almost never look at myself in the mirror (close up) whilst wearing glasses, because I do not want to see my spots clearly. I think I focus on my spots and those on others far more than average people, so I have always been very jealous of those with clear skin and find girls with naturally clear skin very attractive.


But I genuinely think that most people are nowhere near as fixated on spots as I am (and other people for whom acne becomes a major struggle). For example, I dated a girl who had decent skin, but she loved spicy food and had the occasional breakout. She also did not like to wear makeup, so she mostly did not bother to cover up her occasional spot or blemish, even though she cared about beauty and appearance as much as any other girl... she was just confident enough in her appearance and regarded the odd pimple as very minor in relation to other aspects of her appearance, like her figure, hair, clothes etc... She had insecurities about her appearance for sure, but the occasional pimple was not one of them.


For a young man such as yourself, you need to realize that whether you have acne or not, and how bad it is, is ultimately a very small part of what defines you as a man, and the value of you provide in a relationship. If you focus purely on your acne, it will destroy your life, if you do what you can to manage it and accept it for what it is, then you can focus on other aspects of your life that are within your control, like your fitness, health, education and career.


You will find that if you are ambitious, intelligent, driven, educated, wealthy, fit, healthy, well groomed, well dressed, well-mannered, kind, generous, friendly, confident etc (obviously you don't need to have all those attributes, I'm just listing the sort of things that women find attractive), then having acne and/or acne scars will not be a deal-breaker for most women.


Work on yourself, accept yourself, develop your confidence and the women will come, sooner or later.


Good luck!

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I did not have a gf until I was in my early 30s. Some might think that’s pathetic but it turned out well for me. At your age, my life was complicated enough and I observed my friends, over half of their concerns are love problems. So I thought it will come when the time is right. I did not compare my life with others. I was able to do many things as a single person and in time I met someone. I was mature enough and confident and had a little savings and so did she. We have been happily married for over two decades. I like to simplify my life, so if I were in your shoes I would concentrate on my studies. MirrorKnight’s advice seems to make sense, so I would do that as well.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hello again.

First of all I wanna thank everyone that replied and tried to help me.

I thought I would upload a few pics of my acne so you guys can actually see why it's bothering me this much: https://imgur.com/a/QnL7Zed


MirrorKnight, you said '' For a young man such as yourself, you need to realize that whether you have acne or not, and how bad it is, is ultimately a very small part of what defines you as a man, and the value of you provide in a relationship. If you focus purely on your acne, it will destroy your life, if you do what you can to manage it and accept it for what it is, then you can focus on other aspects of your life that are within your control, like your fitness, health, education and career."

I agree with this but I just cannot get over it, it just makes me feel ugly, inadequate. I am trying to focus on career and studies but at the end of the day at this age you wanna love and be loved right? And this thing that I'm suffering from doesn't really allow me to be confident and comfortable in my own skin.

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