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Thread: I'm New...Here's my story

  1. #1
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    Default I'm New...Here's my story

    Hey Everyone,

    I'm new here, and would like to share my story, and get feedback from you regarding what I've been going through. I'm a 26 yr-old male, living and working in NYC now for close to 2 years. Prior to my current living/working situation, I was a much different person, being that I was a top athlete. I grew up competing at the highest level in tennis - top in junior ranks, played Division 1 collegiately, and then for a couple years professionally traveling the world. A hip injury in 2006 forced me to the sidelines and to reevaluate my career path. This, as I'm sure you can already predict, was the beginning of my "rosacea."

    I started work in a completely new industry (finance) and moved into the city in the winter of '06. Already extremely anxious and nervous, I had to give a presentation in front of a training class and top executives, and here begins my first traumatic experience with extreme blushing. It really didn't faze me at this point, but slowly but surely, each subsequent nerve-wracking moment resulted in an intense blush. Also, keep in mind that during this time period, I was dealing with extreme stress surrounding a necessary hip surgery and rehab, which weighed on my mind quite a bit. Throw an attractive girl into the work enviornment, and things only got worse. That was my defining moment in fact. I had a chance to speak with this girl outdoors for an extended period of time, and came out of that conversation extremely red (very embarrasing). At this point, however, I was still able to enjoy going out and having alchohol without any thoughts of blushing coming into play. By the fall/winter of 2007 though, blushing certainly came into my mind when entering a heated bar scene, and as we all know, the alcohol only made things harder to control - until, of course, I had enough drinks to relax me beyond blushing thoughts.

    Over the last 5-6 months, things have only become harder. My face flushing consumes every thought, and I find it very difficult to cope with the tingling in my cheeks that I encounter occasionally. I have seen a normal doctor, two different dermatologists, and a psychologist. After doing blood work, the normal doctor said I'm in good health and likely do not have rosacea. Dermatologist #1 said I have a little bit of rosacea, and prescribed Finacea and Oracea (none of which worked the slightest bit). Dermatologist #2 (who I'm currently seeing) said I have rosacea like symptoms, but it's more of a nerve-reflex disorder, that has developed from a "constant state of mind." He suggested correcting this state of mind (relaxing, stress-free enviroment, staying away from triggers, etc), and then perhaps some laser treatment (which cost $500!!!)

    I'm 100% sure that this "rosacea" would never have erupted had I not had such a sudden change of lifestyle. I went from being a top athlete in great shape, to all of the sudden working in finance in NYC, and not being able to work out (because of the hip issue). It is because I believe this is 99% mind-related, I am seeking the help of psychologist for an additional push in the right direction. With all of this being said, I am very much a mess right now. I can't push "rosacea" thought out of my head - it is consuming every aspect of my life. Even working out (which used to be my escape for anxienty), is now a trigger for the flushing and more axienty. I guess what's weighing on my mind the most is the fear of this "rosacea" cotinuing to get worse. I already very fearful that I have a slight permament redness showing on my upper cheeks, and this will not go away. Additionally, I'm scared of how this will affect my social/work life. I understand that my rejection attitude is only making matters worse, but man, this is not easy. I know very well how everything has developed, but I am still quite confused about what exactly I'm going through. I have no family history of rosacea, and have always tanned well when playing tennis outside. My family decent is from the eastern europe and the middle eastern region, which is not typical for rosacea.

    I am sorry for such a long post, but I wanted to share as much as I could in the hopes someone can relate and/or share some solutions for my current state.

    Best Regards,
    David

  2. #2
    Moderator phlika29's Avatar
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    David

    You are not alone in finding stress a trigger. Many people have perhaps come up against a number of aggraveters (such as harsh acne meds, sun burn, etc) and then found one final thing sets off this mix and bam they have rosacea.

    As I am sure you are aware rosacea is not quite the same as excessive blushing. A flush (associated with roscea) can start off as a blush and then go on for extended periods or it can arise out of a known or unknown trigger. The increased blood flow can set up many problems ranging from dilated blood vessels, fluid leakage (papules/pustules), surface redness and tingling sensations.

    If you would like to know abit more about the mechanics of what your skin is up to have a look at this PDF.

    So what to do with anxiety related flushing. My best advise would be to have a look in the prescription medication section-propanolol, moxonidine, clonidine may help.

    If rosacea is becoming all consuming as it often does then a talking therapy can help as can some antidepressants. Mitrazipine (remeron) is meant to be good for rosaceans as it has an antiinflammatory effect as well as working to lift moods. Should find a few threads in the prescription meds section. Sometimes you just need abit of extra help.

    As you mentioned lasers/IPL can work wonders in the right hands. I have found the ND:Yag great for reducing flushing and getting rid of those horrible sensations.

    Got to dash now.

    Best wishes

    Sarah

  3. #3
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    Hey David,

    I can sympathize with you completely. Prior to last September, I never had an issue with my skin; no acne, nothing. Out of the blue, it was like I was whacked up the side of the head with all this rosacea crap. I still don't know what 'caused' it. I don't recall being under a massive amount of stress, like you were... god knows I'd had more stressful moments in my life (final exams during university, etc) than last summer.

    I also don't know of any family history of rosacea. Nor do I "fit the profile" so-to-speak. I have dark hair, dark eyes, and always tanned relatively easily (I was capable of burning, too - but I rarely did). I'm not a nervous person, who blushed or flushed a lot. I'm only 25! So what gives?

    I find myself concerned about things I always took for granted. Just being outside in the sun, for instance. Not being able to enjoy a beer or two with my buddies. No longer being able to enjoy a glass of wine with my girlfriend (or, worse yet, feeling a flush coming on just because of her body heat.) Sometimes I'll get flushed for no reason at all, in a cool environment!

    None of it is easy. I want my life back, as I'm sure you do. What price do you put on that? ...I'm probably going to be trying laser soon in hopes that it'll help. Like you, antibiotics have done nothing for me.

    <sigh>

    ANYWAYS... Best luck to you, man... this is a good place to look for answers... or just to know that you're not alone.

    -Brendan.

  4. #4
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    your story sounds like mine, and I agree this condition consumes you which, in turn makes it worse!!! I think about it all the time and I am very anxious about it getting worse, I never had problems with my skin before, now it is all I think about, so I hear ya!! Hopefully some miracle drug will come out and cure us all!

  5. #5
    Moderator Melissa W's Avatar
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    Hi David,

    I am sorry you are going through all of this but you are taking positive steps in the right direction for sure. It's great that you are talking to a psychologist and that should help the emotional stress that you are dealing with now. In addition the meds Sarah recommended might be something you want to consider in addition if necessary.

    It can all be overwhelming, especially in the beginning and I recommend taking it one step at a time. You might want to think about laser in the future if you need it but I would give the other treatments a chance to help first.

    In the meantime make sure to protect yourself from the sun with sunblock and treat your face gently with a minimum of products.

    Best wishes and welcome to the forum.
    Melissa

  6. #6
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    Thanks Everyone,

    I really appreciate the help and am grateful to have your support. Over the last 48 hours, I've met again with my dermatologist and last night, saw a new psychiatrist (upon the recommendation of my father).

    As you may recall in my previous post, I've been seeing a psychologist here in NYC for the past month or so just to talk it all out. I've never been one to consider medication, but the fact that I've been having trouble sleeping and feel like my chest is caving in on me, I figured I would see this psychiatrist last night.

    So...I gave him story. I felt myself turning red halfway through (* one interesting note - I have never turned red in front of the psychologist), but he really didn't think I was. To prove it, I showed him in the mirror what I was seeing. I saw my cheeks nice and rosy, and he told me it wasn't that bad. Easy for him to say I guess. Anyways, he didn't feel like I have rosacea. He chalked up my condition to OCD and axienty. To his credit, I am obsessed with rosacea thoughts. Every thought of every second revolves around whether my cheeks are tingling and/or getting flushed. And now that I think about it, I really don't get flushed unless those thoughts are in my head (which obvioulsy is quite frequently now). As per his diagnosis, he prescribed Lexapro (10mg) to treat my OCD. I'm going to give it a shot, so we'll see how it goes.

    Additionally, I wanted to quickly share the regimen my dermatologist put me on. Basically, he gave me a mild face wash/mosteurizer for day and night, and also Noritate to put on before going to bed. I suppose the Noritate is a cousin of some sort to Metrogel and Finacea.

    Thanks again, and good luck to all of us..
    David

  7. #7
    Moderator Melissa W's Avatar
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    Hi David,

    I just want to add that you shouldn't let people (doctors included) make you feel you have mental disorder by thinking about your rosacea a lot. It is totally normal when you are first dealing with this that you would be worrying about it much of the time. I think it's great you have someone you can talk about this with but please do realize you are not abnormal in your thoughts about rosacea and how it is impacting your life. Sometimes people chalk up our feelings as "obsessions" etc and that may not be a fair portrayal. Having said that though it is good to put the rosacea in perspective and know that you can be happy and lead a productive and wonderful life with rosacea. So anything that leads you to that conclusion is beneficial. Do not let anyone make you feel badly about your feelings though. You have a right to your feelings no matter what. The doctors and other people are not in your circumstances and have no right to tell you how you should feel.

    Best of luck and we are all on your side!
    You will be OK!!

    Best wishes,
    Melissa

  8. #8
    Moderator phlika29's Avatar
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    Have moved your thread to the newbie section.

    You might want to do a search on the prescription just to make sure that it wont have any problems if you do have rosacea.

    It is so hard to know what is psychological flushing and what is the actual rosacea. One thing is for sure you need to stop the cycle of bad thoughts and hopefully this medication will help.

  9. #9
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    David,
    I will skip all the welcomes etc. as everyone before me did such a capable job. I will also be very candid and say that a couple of years ago I felt myself to be in a similar situation as yourself. I have always had a tendency to OCD and the rosacea, or fear thereof, was tipping me over the edge.
    So, I went to a therapist with whom I spoke for awhile and a psychiatrist who perscribed me Lexapro identical dosage to yours. As for side effects, I want to word this carefully- there is a listed sexual side effect, not so much of a problem starting, but finishing if you will. That was the only side effect I noticed. Made me feel like a champion with the wife but really there are limits to one's time and stamina!
    Other than that, I don't want to influence you or your expectations. Suffice it to say I no longer take it and have learned to handle everything in what I hope is a more positive, constructive manner, including spending time here. As will you I am sure,
    Best,
    Rob

  10. #10
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    Thanks Rob,

    The doc told me about that side effect - I laughed and said that's not such a bad thing...I guess we shall see though. I have a girl that I've been semi-dating coming to stay with me in a couple weeks.

    I've been looking forward to this visit, but I've been going crazy trying to come up with ways in my head of how I'm going to hide everything (a month or so ago, I pulled it off when she was here with me). Basically, a few weeks ago, I decided to give alcohol a break completely after one last mega flush (sake bombing). For me, alcohol is a trigger (largely because I think it is), and makes it extremely hard to control my flushing. That being said, after I've had a few and am relaxed, I'm completely fine - not red at all. I did want to stop drinking though, because I've become fearful of those intense flushes - not only do they look scary, I'm scared that will each flush, it only exacerbates the problem even more.

    I wanted to ask all of you about how you go about handling going out and alcohol. All of my friend know me as my former, easy going, go out and have fun self. Right now, however, I'm keeping to club sodas.

    Thanks,
    David

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