Avoiding my Face/Need Support

RussellSue

Not Active
In the 1980s, my grandmother loved her video camera. She even loved it the day I got my first real haircut and lost my cookies because I could not find enough hair to cover my “disgusting” face. She was plenty disturbed by seeing me cry hysterically when I realized I couldn’t back into my hair cave, anymore, but I guess she felt these memories were precious, too.

My cleft lip and palate were severe and no one knew for sure if surgery would be successful - that’s not just the corrective plastic surgery but the life-saving shit. The corrective surgery was also a challenge because I had a lot less upper lip than most kids with clefts are born with.

My family mostly felt the best place for me was silent in a corner, somewhere. I spoke very little after a terrifying threat from my stepfather that involved my “embarrassing” speech impediment and severe bodily harm. I kept to myself at school because I was so nauseatingly self-conscious by the time I was 8 years old from family criticism that I had little room in my consciousness for anyone else. I was also terrified of people because if my family treated me that way, I knew I was plenty screwed. I developed depression very young.

Two years after my fateful haircut, someone had the great idea to get me a makeover. Because, you know, what every 10-year-old, pale-faced ginger going to school on the reservation needs is bright red lipstick. Up to that point, school had been tolerable. Luckily, we moved shortly after I showed up with my bold new look but school hit a low point for the next two years, anyway. My depression and self-consciousness got worse.

By the time I was 15, speech therapy had been hugely successful, I lived with someone else’s family, and I had the most significant corrective plastic surgery I have had in my life. I went from invisible to datable before my stitches were out. But, far from being happy about this outcome, I ultimately ended up piercing my face in multiple places and shaving my head. This positioned me back into avoid-that-little-freak status (as I was a tad ahead of my time) and that was fine by me.

That was 25 years ago. I still cannot watch all those lovely home movies from 28-32 years ago without feeling sick to my stomach. Everything in my world centered around my face and my world was dark, as a result. This is very obvious in every portion of every video I am trying to avoid being in.

I have had a phobia of video cameras since the 80s. My grandmother would follow me with that camera no matter how much I protested and no matter how miserable I was. I see that little girl looking like death and my eyes go straight for the 3” square under her nose. What a mess - not my face, so much as how I learned to feel about my face, how I learned to hide it and myself, how I feared people, how I hated becoming socially acceptable, and how I managed to avoid making that transition.

Fast-forward to college like 4-5 years ago. I had to make a video. I had been in for a long time but this was the first and only video I was ever expected to make while in school.

With little hesitation, I contacted my instructor. It would not be fair for a person in my position to be graded on how well they performed on camera. My instructor said that now that she knew how self-conscious I was, she promised to be fair in assessing my performance on that video, but I wasn’t getting out of it. She thought it would be good for me. Being far too attached to my grades to not make the video, I forced myself through it but it was hell.

It was interesting because virtual post-secondary education was probably my most likely career choice. I had tutoring experience and ability, and I had the education and grades to be a good instructor BUT being on camera has been nightmarish for me.

This spring, I forced myself to create some video applications for online tutoring jobs but it was awful. I was amazingly offered a spot with one company, but couldn’t imagine being on camera regularly. One of my friends started Skyping with me in an attempt to help me through it. A VR counselor did the same. I had teletherapy weekly, as well. My overall sense of terror regarding cameras has lowered but that ball got dropped when we started moving around over the summer.

Yesterday, I applied to two virtual volunteer tutoring positions because even if I don’t follow in my husband’s educator footsteps, it pisses me off that the primary reason I might not lies directly in the middle of my trauma or the middle of my face. BUT that doesn’t mean that I won’t feel like a total newb the first time I’m told I need to smile more. It doesn’t mean this isn’t going to dig up a lot of shit for me because I don’t like being noticed, I don’t like being looked at, and I sure as f*ck don’t like having a camera focused on my face.

Thanks, Gamma. 😆

So, I know this is long and I applaud anyone who made it this into my shit without hitting the back button but it’s complicated. Honestly, I am uncomfortable with what I am doing and I could use some support. My husband is really busy and I’m not going to be able to run crying to him every time I feel like this was all a huge mistake and I am sure that I will have days when I really want to.

I am going to look for a therapist to help me through this but I know that finding therapists is hard right now. I also do have some anxiety meds I will probably use but the real work is going to have to come from me changing how I think/feel about being on camera - pills can’t do that for me.

So, does anyone have the time to encourage me if/when I start freaking out? Can I tag you, post on your profile, or whatever if I have a shit day and just need someone to tell me to chill out? I may never do it, but I am scared. I promise not to write a novel every time now that the backstory is clear.

Thanks for reading.
 
Last edited:

woodsy1

MyPTSD Pro
In the 1980s, my grandmother loved her video camera. She even loved it the day I got my first real haircut and lost my cookies because I could not find enough hair to cover my “disgusting” face. She was plenty disturbed by seeing me cry hysterically when I realized I couldn’t back into my hair cave, anymore, but I guess she felt these memories were precious, too.

My cleft lip and palate were severe and no one knew for sure if surgery would be successful - that’s not just the corrective plastic surgery but the life-saving shit. The corrective surgery was also a challenge because I had a lot less upper lip than most kids with clefts are born with.

My family mostly felt the best place for me was silent in a corner, somewhere. I spoke very little after a terrifying threat from my stepfather that involved my “embarrassing” speech impediment and severe bodily harm. I kept to myself at school because I was so nauseatingly self-conscious by the time I was 8 years old from family criticism that I had little room in my consciousness for anyone else. I was also terrified of people because if my family treated me that way, I knew I was plenty screwed. I developed depression very young.

Two years after my fateful haircut, someone had the great idea to get me a makeover. Because, you know, what every 10-year-old, pale-faced ginger going to school on the reservation needs is bright red lipstick. Up to that point, school had been tolerable. Luckily, we moved shortly after I showed up with my bold new look but school hit a low point for the next two years, anyway. My depression and self-consciousness got worse.

By the time I was 15, speech therapy had been hugely successful, I lived with someone else’s family, and I had the most significant corrective plastic surgery I have had in my life. I went from invisible to datable before my stitches were out. But, far from being happy about this outcome, I ultimately ended up piercing my face in multiple places and shaving my head. This positioned me back into avoid-that-little-freak status (as I was a tad ahead of my time) and that was fine by me.

That was 25 years ago. I still cannot watch all those lovely home movies from 28-32 years ago without feeling sick to my stomach. Everything in my world centered around my face and my world was dark, as a result. This is very obvious in every portion of every video I am trying to avoid being in.

I have had a phobia of video cameras since the 80s. My grandmother would follow me with that camera no matter how much I protested and no matter how miserable I was. I see that little girl looking like death and my eyes go straight for the 3” square under her nose. What a mess - not my face, so much as how I learned to feel about my face, how I learned to hide it and myself, how I feared people, how I hated becoming socially acceptable, and how I managed to avoid making that transition.

Fast-forward to college like 4-5 years ago. I had to make a video. I had been in for a long time but this was the first and only video I was ever expected to make while in school.

With little hesitation, I contacted my instructor. It would not be fair for a person in my position to be graded on how well they performed on camera. My instructor said that now that she knew how self-conscious I was, she promised to be fair in assessing my performance on that video, but I wasn’t getting out of it. She thought it would be good for me. Being far too attached to my grades to not make the video, I forced myself through it but it was hell.

It was interesting because virtual post-secondary education was probably my most likely career choice. I had tutoring experience and ability, and I had the education and grades to be a good instructor BUT being on camera has been nightmarish for me.

This spring, I forced myself to create some video applications for online tutoring jobs but it was awful. I was amazingly offered a spot with one company, but couldn’t imagine being on camera regularly. One of my friends started Skyping with me in an attempt to help me through it. A VR counselor did the same. I had teletherapy weekly, as well. My overall sense of terror regarding cameras has lowered but that ball got dropped when we started moving around over the summer.

Yesterday, I applied to two virtual volunteer tutoring positions because even if I don’t follow in my husband’s educator footsteps, it pisses me off that the primary reason I might not lies directly in the middle of my trauma or the middle of my face. BUT that doesn’t mean that I won’t feel like a total newb the first time I’m told I need to smile more. It doesn’t mean this isn’t going to dig up a lot of shit for me because I don’t like being noticed, I don’t like being looked at, and I sure as f*ck don’t like having a camera focused on my face.

Thanks, Gamma. 😆

So, I know this is long and I applaud anyone who made it this into my shit without hitting the back button but it’s complicated. Honestly, I am uncomfortable with what I am doing and I could use some support. My husband is really busy and I’m not going to be able to run crying to him every time I feel like this was all a huge mistake and I am sure that I will have days when I really want to.

I am going to look for a therapist to help me through this but I know that finding therapists is hard right now. I also do have some anxiety meds I will probably use but the real work is going to have to come from me changing how I think/feel about being on camera - pills can’t do that for me.

So, does anyone have the time to encourage me if/when I start freaking out? Can I tag you, post on your profile, or whatever if I have a shit day and just need someone to tell me to chill out? I may never do it, but I am scared. I promise not to write a novel every time now that the backstory is clear.

Thanks for reading.
@RussellSue,

I will be here. I don't know how good I'll be at supporting and encouraging you, but I will do my best!

Woodsy1
 

RussellSue

Not Active
I don't know how good I'll be at supporting and encouraging you, but I will do my best!
But you are good at being supportive and encouraging. 😁

Since you have GAD, you might appreciate that I am probably stressing out about my future stress more than I will probably stress when that stress actually comes upon me. I've done a lot of EMDR on this, been on screen quite a bit this year, and I have a history of not freaking out - BUT I still totally expect it.

Thank you VERY MUCH for being willing to try to help if I do toss my cookies. It means a lot.
 

woodsy1

MyPTSD Pro
But you are good at being supportive and encouraging. 😁
I hope so. Thanks.
Since you have GAD, you might appreciate that I am probably stressing out about my future stress more than I will probably stress when that stress actually comes upon me.
It stresses me just to think of the stress that I will have considering the stress that you have about talking about your stress. That kind of stress?
I've done a lot of EMDR on this, been on screen quite a bit this year, and I have a history of not freaking out - BUT I still totally expect it.

Thank you VERY MUCH for being willing to try to help if I do toss my cookies. It means a lot.
Just try not to toss your cookies on me, k? That's gross. 🤮

But, yeah, I'll do what I can.

Sometimes it just helps to know someone is listening.

I can do that.
 

RussellSue

Not Active
It stresses me just to think of the stress that I will have considering the stress that you have about talking about your stress. That kind of stress?
Well, yes. But I am sorry. I did not mean to cause you any stress. 😟

It'll all be fine. ;blank;
 

RussellSue

Not Active
No worries. Before we spoke of being stressed, I was quite stressed about being stressed without having anything to stress about. Know what I mean?
I do! Maybe I did you a favor by giving you something to stress on, then? 😂
Oh, anxiety - you're such an asshole! (PS Woodsy is not being called an asshole in that statement. 😆)
 

Kittie

Confident
I can relate in a lot of ways. I also hide behind my hair. I'm happy with the new mask law but many people aren't.

I'll support you in any way I can. I'm proud of you for getting out there and doing something with your life!
 
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