Hello. I am Bri and I have had HS for over 13 years. I was diagnosed at 17 and put on antibiotics which didnt help and since then I have been trying to manage it on my own.
Firstly I would like to say thank you to the people who have posted their stories. The shame associated with this disease means so many of us suffer in silence feeling like we are the only one in the world who has this problem. Whilst I wouldnt wish this affliction upon anyone it is really comforting to know that I am not alone.
I am 26 years old and currently half way through my Diploma of Beauty Therapy. Doing this course has completely changed my relationship with my skin and I would like to share this victory with you in hopes it will support you in yours.
The diagnosis for me like many of you was not a relief. I was told there was no cure and that life long antibiotics and surgeries were my only option. The antibiotics had barely any effect and I was shattered. I suffered in silent self loathing for years, covering myself up in every way I could, terrified people would find out about my 'dirty' secret. That all changed when I began my course and was forced to confront the reality a decade of infection and scars had wreaked upon my body.
At beauty school the way you begin to learn is to practice techniques on each other. It is expected you would receive all treatments you will eventually be performing on your future clients, including waxing and body massage. I had no choice, I had to tell my lecturers about it. It was one of the scariest things I have ever done, but I took my lecturer aside and showed her my shame. I was not prepared for her reaction. She was sympathetic, and in no way was she disgusted or condescending. She inspected my cysts and scars and immediately began suggesting ways in which I could be helped.
Let me say that again. Ways in which I could be HELPED!
I had never been told there were options like this before! She also assured me that I would not have to share this information with anyone else in the class if I didnt want to. Well this made me a bit braver, and I started sharing my secret with other girls in the class. Every time I prepared myself for their revulsion but it never came. This made me realise that my skin was not something I should be ashamed of. I have a painful and unsightly condition and that is not my fault. I am not disgusting and I am not beyond help.
My honesty encouraged others to be honest with me about their imperfections and I realised that as a beauty therapist, this is what I would be dealing with every day. People with imperfections. As a result of my HS, I have a unique perspective on skin and it is the part of beauty therapy I am most passionate about. I have the knowledge now to approach my condition with understanding and for the first time ever, hope.
I will create another post detailing what I now know about HS and the things I have found that do and do not work. This post is about how I begin to heal, both mentally and physically. You can be beautiful and have HS. You can have HS and not live in fear and shame. It is now my mission to bring this message of hope and understanding to all those too scared or despondent to seek solutions to their afflictions. I owe a deep debt of gratitude to my lecturers and fellow students and I thank you all for helping me break free of my HS prison