I Hate The Way I Look

Hello Patricia Marie,
I am writing to you because I don't know where to turn. I hate the way I look.
I have a dreadful birthmark across one side of my face and also a misshapen nose. I feel like everybody stares at me and laughs, even though I try and turn away and never look directly at people as I can't stand the shock I see in their faces when they look at me. 

I was born with this, and I know by now at the age of 41 I should have learnt how to deal with it, but I haven't. I was fine with myself until recent years. I have become so introverted, and hate ever going out, and at times feel suicidal. I am considering imminent cosmetic surgery as make up doesn't seem to make much difference. I only have one close friend, and of course she tells me to take no notice and that I am lovely inside, but I just can't bear it. Do you think surgery is the answer? 


 Patricia Marie says...

In a world obsessed by perfection, those living with face disfigurements often find this a struggle. One of the biggest problems people with birthmarks experience are psychological, including low self-esteem and crippling shyness. It's all about how you choose to see yourself. Your friend means well when she says you’re lovely on the inside, however everyone is unique and beautiful on the outside too - although many have difficulty accepting themselves in this way. Nevertheless, there are those who feel their flaws define them, and would feel neither the same or complete without their familiar blemish. 

I feel there is a link between what has happened in your life over recent years for your imperfections to have become of such significance and problematic. Because you’re feeling seriously depressed, I would suggest an urgent chat with your GP who could refer you for some counselling which I believe would benefit you greatly and allow you to explore why feelings over your appearance have surfaced. Talking therapy can help you learn to love yourself because of your uniqueness, and not in spite of it. A cosmetic surgeon can change your appearance, but surgery cannot change how you feel about yourself unless your psychological health is addressed. I would recommend you consider all options before making a decision to go under the knife. 

The British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) have a directory where you can find a qualified registered therapist in your area. www.bacp.co.uk

The Birthmark Support Group is a fantastic organisation that offers support for anyone with a birthmark.  info@birthmarksupportgroup.org.uk

Patricia Marie, our Agony Aunt, wants to hear your problems, dilemmas, and quarrels. Just email them to patricia.marie@lady.co.uk