And hell, at my worst I couldn't even sleep lying down. Like most of you I'm sure, I've done so much research about diet, tried all kinds of meds, treatments, pills, creams (antibiotics to light therapies to acupuncture, you name it). And some did work a bit momentarily but effects were not lasting, and some definitely did more damage than good.
It was really at my worst, when I was so hopeless - thinking maybe I'd be better off dead and considering jumping off the balcony than having to endure this burning pain (let alone the mental and social struggles and loneliness that come along with it), I stumbled upon Jo's phone call session. To be very honest, I was at that point so desperate that I was willing to try anything - even though my first thoughts were definitely: someone, from TURKEY?! offering counselling session for FREE?!....sounds scammy AF (no offense Jo lol)
Anyhow I took the call, that's the best decision I've made for my healing journey - and guys, I'm not shittin' ya, this ain't some marketing ploy(!).
It was after taking the call with Jo that I realize, how much I needed to work on my mentality. I say this, because I'm sure a lot of us rosaceans tend to focus on the tangible, physical aspect of rosacea - is there a magic pill or cream, or some super diet that will fade my face and stop the pain? is there some amazing foundation that would cover all the redness? But seldom do we give thoughts about our mental aspect.
Of course diet, products we use will affect our skin. But so does our stress levels, our emotions and moods - because of rosacea I've developed anxiety and had panic attacks, because of rosacea I've constantly lived my life so restrictively which made me feel so depressed about life in general, because of rosacea I've hated myself so much and felt so ashamed of myself. And guess what - this all feeds into this vicious cycle which keeps on worsening our condition.
If we are persistently willing to spend so much time and money on meds, creams, products, treatments and diets (even when the results aren't obvious) - so as to be fair, shouldn't our mental state of mind deserve some attention and work?
I know everyone has their own demons. For me - as a typical Chinese, I've lived my life as an overachiever - top school, competitions and awards, law school etc, everything I've been doing was not a conscious choice but rather a feeling of obligation. I never say no because I want to play nice and not offend or disappoint. It was after talking to Jo which made me have this lightbulb moment - I needed to take ownership of my life. This started from standing up to my harasser at my workplace and voicing out, to openly explaining to people about my condition and saying no when I don't feel like it now.
I've spent thousands of dollars on medical treatments - but it was after having that lightbulb moment, a change in the mindset, that my face started fading.
I'll have to warn you guys though, a change in the mindset takes time and practice. And Jo has offered me tremendous support throughout the period - from digging deeper within during our phone call sessions, to gentle reminders and supportive texts during the day. Because it is so. friggin. easy. to. resort back to your default mindset.
I am by no means cured - this is an incurable condition (for now at least), but I can say I have it under control now and do know how to manage it. I am a lot more in sync with my body now, and in touch with my mental needs.
If it's so bad and frustrating that we feel like we have nothing more to lose, why not take that leap of faith and reach out and take the first step to work on our minds? What more do we have to lose?
I understand everyone's journey is different, and the above's mine! Lastly, I've attached a few photos here just to let you guys see how far I've come (some with and some without makeup)! I've even recently been able to travel to Taiwan and Vietnam with my boyfriend (have been so scared of plane rides ever since I got rosacea), go on hikes, eat street foods, and hit the gym without flares. I know how scary the before pics look, but hey if I can make it this far, so can you. Don't lose hope, don't give up :)