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Hello everyone out there! I have just stumbled across this website a couple of days ago, and I wish I would have known when I was younger that there were so many people like me with same issues!

I have felt alone my whole life, struggling with the red blotchy face... I felt like no one truly understood me.

Starting to notice at a pretty young age, in the middle school years, that my face would get so red and hot feeling for the most odd reasons. People would ask me why I was so red and put me directly on the spot ALL THE TIME. I couldn't figure out what would cause it, because it would happen during random times of the day and in different situations. I constantly tried using foundations and other makeup products to hide the embarrassing blotchy red skin. Nothing worked. Wasting my allowance money on all sorts of quick fix remedies that always failed. And the family that I grew up in was a very strict and private family. I was the oldest of two girls, and my parents brought us up in a Christian church. I loved my childhood, don't get me wrong. But I could never go to my parents for issues I had. I always had a hard time communicating with them, and that made my anxiety about getting red and blotchy even more. I started to only wear my hair down, to hide the majority of my face. I never had short hair cuts. When it came to school activities, I was too afraid to join in most of the time. I would go to one school dance, get an episode of a long lasting face and chest blush, and never go again. It kept me in a social state of being shy and nervous. I turned to food as comfort because it made me feel good. My self esteem was very low due to weight gain and the red face. In high school I couldn't even participate in P.E. class because I would get all worked up with the hot red skin, so I got an exception to graduate without taking the required class as long as I took an online class. When senior photos came around, I made sure the photographer would edit the pictures to make my face blend better instead of having harsh red blotches all over.

After I graduated high school in 2007, I went to a Christian Bible college that my parents paid for. It was just a year long course, and I made a lot of good friends. But even in college, if I started getting a tiny feeling of an episode starting, I would run and hide in my dorm room. I would be so very afraid to participate in activities, I would just pray and pray for it to go away.

I graduated the Christian college, and came back home to my parents house while I looked for a job. I only applied for places that I wasn't required to put my hair up. (So no fast food jobs that make you have your hair pulled back for the food... etc.) I was still packing on weight because it was the only comfort I had. I was hired at a grocery store as a cashier, and things seemed to go pretty well. I would still have episodes, but I was able to have my hair down so that I could hide it. And if it got too bad I would just run to the giant walk-in freezer and try to cool it down.

While still at the grocery store and living with my family, I joined a dating website. I figured since no one in my day to day encounters liked me, someone online would have to like me even though I was over weight and had this blushing problem. Sure enough, I started talking to a guy who lived almost 2 hours away. My family always wanted me to wait until marriage to move in with a man, so of course I was eager to marry the first man who liked me. He purposed after knowing me for 3 months, and we got married a year later. (The whole engagement I would pray and beg God to just let me have a normal face during the wedding. I would find myself trying to bargain with God, and demanding him to do this one thing for me.) The wedding turned out beautiful. I caked on makeup and made sure my hair was down, which helped me feel like it wouldn't be noticeable. My husband made a pact with me that he wouldn't point out when I would get red. He never understood it, but at least he didn't draw attention to it.

The marriage was awful, I suffered from depression and anxiety. He turned out to be an abusive man. I had the courage to leave him thankfully after 2 years, and no children. I was put on anxiety/depression medicine for the first time, which started to kind of help the episodes become less frequent. But they still occurred often, and I spoke up about it with my doctor finally for the first time. They just increased the dosages of the meds, which made me a zombie. And then prescribed me topical ointments to try, as well as recommend that I take an allergy pill to relieve the redness. Nothing helped it still. I felt helpless. And they were out of ideas. 

I tried to change my diet and exercise... still no change in the facial blushing.

I just kept eating my pain and fears away, gaining and gaining more weight... and then still having episodes daily. I had got pretty good at figuring out times of the day it would happen, and situations (like eating out at a restaurant) that it would happen the most. I would avoid going to different events due to this. I finally wanted to at least put a stop to my weight gain if I couldn't fix my red face. So in 2014, I had a gastric bypass surgery. I lost 104lbs in just a little over 1 year! It was amazing results. During this time I would go tanning everyday to make my blushing less noticeable. Which helped some, but it would still show.

When my funds could no longer support my tanning, I just stopped cold turkey. And it made the redness become very noticeable again. I became fearful once again to be as social as I wanted to be. I started gaining back weight because I would go straight home after work to eat and hide out in my home. I went to therapy in hopes of working through my anxiety and triggers, but no one I went to could help me. It was only scratching the surface of my issues and never directly dealing with how the red blotchy skin affected my everyday decisions. That is when I finally decided to keep looking for answers and stumbled across forums like this one. It is amazing to see that I am not the only one out there that struggles with this.

I want the ETS surgery soooo bad! I had never heard of such a thing until last month. I wish I would have known about it back when this all started. My life would have probably turned out so different if I wouldn't have had this haunting blotchy face. I made an appointment with my doctor next week to talk about it and see if I could have insurance cover most of the expenses.

Wish me luck!

 

 

 

 

 

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Please don't take this as me being rude, but have you ever talked to a psychologist. Physically it's not going to do anything, but it can definitely benefit your mental state. I tried it and they teach you some breathing exercises and way to put your mind at easy. I still have moments where I feel absolutely terrible, but I tend to rebound much faster. Hardest part is admit you have a problem. For the longest time I never went because I thought I would be labeled as mental ill, but it was honestly a great experience. I don't go any more because of time constraints, but I probably should. Lol

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@pre-fer_to_stay_anony-mous 

Thank you for bringing the psychologist up.

I have been to about 7 different ones throughout the years. All of them had tried methods of some sort to help it, but nothing has really made the difference yet.

I am still hopeful though! I go see a brand new psychologist on Friday, and he will be focusing on CBT. Let's see where that leads me!

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Thanks for posting.  Unfortunately I can relate to most of what you wrote.  Make sure to read the reviews about ETS before going through with it.  Although some people who've had ETS say it was a great success, for others it didn't work or even created health issues and the redness eventually came back.  So there is certainly a fair amount of risk involved, which isn't surprising given that the intent of the operation is to sever nerves connected to your spinal cord.  I realize it's frustrating that there is no real 100% safe and effective cure for this.

Edited by Big Red

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@BigRed

I appreciate your comment! Thank you for the reminder to be very thorough in my decision to do the surgery or not.

I know that there are risks... But am I crazy to think that I should just go for it? My thoughts are: I have been miserable pretty much my whole life with this, and can't enjoy life to its fullest. What do I have to lose by getting the surgery? It will either be a life changing for the better by curing it, or I just keep being held back from life's fullest potential.

Does that even make sense?? Lol!

 

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Yes it makes sense.  I used to have these thoughts all the time in high school and still do sometimes.  If the biggest risk was simply that there would just be no change, I would gladly pay the $10,000 and give it a whirl.  Unfortunately, ETS can result in irreversable medical problems such as extreme fatigue and circulatory issues.  I need energy in my job and decided against surgery.  I have a family to support and that is my first priority.  I've learned to deal with the comments people make by insulting them back about something they are self-conscious about.  That has proven to be a very effective strategy.  So what if some people don't like me.

My advice to you would be to get your weight under control first.  This will improve your self-confidence and improve your health.  Keep trying new combinations of facial creams and makeups.  Consider going on Effexor.  Never taken it myself, but other posters on this forum write that it considerably reduces nervousness and blushing both in terms of intensity and the frequency of episodes.  ETS really should be a last resort in my opinion, but of course it's your life and your decision.

Edited by Big Red

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