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 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 have become so introverted, and hate ever going out, and at times feel suicidal. I don't have the money for cosmetic surgery, and 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.

Is there anything that you could suggest?

Thank you so much for reading my problem.

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 your 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 am wondering what is happening in your life at this present time for your imperfections to have become of such significance and problematic to you.

As you are feeling seriously depressed, I would suggest an urgent chat with your G.P, who could consider referring you to a cosmetic surgeon through the NHS. Nevertheless, whilst you feel surgery may be the answer for you, I would still recommend you consider all options before making such an important decision. Counselling would be particularly beneficial at this time, and most importantly, could help you learn to love yourself because of your uniqueness, and not in spite of it.

The British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy have a directory where you can find a qualified registered therapist in your area. www.bacp.co.uk 01455 883300

The Birthmark Support Group is a brilliant organisation that offers support for anyone with a birthmark.info@birthmarksupportgroup.org.uk 07825 855 888