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Feeling ugly

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I am new here. I am 17 and have low self esteem when it comes to my appearance which makes me feel depressed. I have struggled with acne for the past 4-5 years of my life. It is not that severe but it has been pretty bad. I have been clearing up lately which makes me feel better but I still feel that I have an ugly face. I have never had a girlfriend and I feel like I am missing out on my teenage years. I spend a lot of time worrying about my acne and my appearance in the eyes of others. I have a fair amount of friends; I'm not the most popular at school, nor am I an outcast. They are mostly guys and have had their fair share of girls. I feel really awkward when it comes to talking about girls with them sometimes just because I have never really been with anyone. I have had people tell me that all I need to do is get good at something. For example, one guy online told me that Michael Phelps isn't very attractive but he is really good at swimming and can get girls. Ironically, I swim and am one of the best in the state. I would expect that to help me some, but it hasn't seemed to do so. As I go into my senior year, I want to have fun and enjoy it but it can be hard when I get distracted with how ugly I look. I don't want to waste these years feeling ugly and pitying myself. I want someone to talk to and someone who will listen.

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replied August 31st, 2009
Thank you for taking the time to write in about your concerns. I am sorry to hear that you have been struggling for so long with self-esteem and feeling unattractive. I can appreciate how much you would like to not only have fun during your senior year but also to develop relationships with young women and to feel confident about yourself. I'm sure you know that there are medications that can treat moderate-severe forms of acne; however, you mention that your acne has lessened which has helped but that you still struggle with viewing yourself as being attractive. Such Michael Phelps is a world-class swimmer but he also appears to be confident. That is often one of the most attractive features in a person - male or female. Based on your difficulty feeling confident about yourself and the fact that you note you "feel depressed" I would highly recommend that you consult with a licensed mental health professional. You may or may not need assistance with depression; however, a qualified mental health professional should be able to assist you with developing confidence in yourself and identifying the barriers that keep you from being the young man you want to be. Your last comment - "I want someone to talk to and someone who will listen" is by definition a well-trained psychotherapist. I would encourage you to find one in your are with whom you feel comfortable.

Best wishes,

Dr. Selby

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