What we've learned from you
- "I thought I was the only one"
- "It consumes every aspect of my life"
- "I feel shame and humiliation"
- "I have never talked to anyone about this"
- "I live like a hermit, avoiding most social situations"
- "I have lost friends because I never go out with them"
- "I dropped out of school"
- "I only do customer service jobs over the phone"
- "I turned to alcohol and drugs"
- "My income potential is severely limited, due to others perceptions I lack confidence"
- "I have the self-confidence of a CEO or President but I cannot promote in my job due to other's view that I lack self-confidence, I have resigned myself to working jobs well below my potential"
"Thank you Brandon, you saved my life. I will never forget you."
You're not alone, most have never thought treatment was even possible, but it is.
Dear Thomas Family,
I first want to express my thanks for sharing Brandon’s story. I am a 39 year old woman who has suffered the same problem since high school. It was so perplexing to me why I would randomly blush and it still perplexes me. I could be talking to my friends and randomly blush about a story I was telling. I talked to a teacher about it once and she said, that happens to all of us. I dreaded even going to the grocery store for some time because if I saw someone I knew I would turn red, bright red. My husband would make comments about it and recently at work I have had days where I seem to blush to excess and one of my bosses recently kept calling me out on how red my face was. I am a very social person and I have struggled with blushing for a long time. I even prayed that on my wedding day, I would be spared the embarrassment of blushing as I walked down the aisle. I do suffer from anxiety to a certain degree which is so strange considering that I am an outgoing social person. Yesterday at work was a particularly off day for me with constant blushing. It gets so frustrating. I get so discouraged that I can’t control it. I had no idea that it wasn’t just me and my inability to handle being embarrassed. I also suffered the loss of my mom to suicide which is such a terrible way to lose someone we love. It can be difficult to share the story of their life when the way they died seems to overshadow it sometimes. I really cannot begin to express my gratitude for seeing his story today on MSN. I actually feel like crying knowing that his story will change my life. I honestly just thought this was something that I had to learn how to deal with for the rest of my life.
Thank you! Thank you Brandon for the words you left behind; your life was not in vain and your struggle will not go without hope for others!
Follow up story after seeing a doctor:
I just wanted to "It has only been three weeks but my days are so different now. I enjoy my daily conversations with people without the worry and anxiety over blushing or the shame that comes with blushing"update you on my “blushing” situation. After reading Brandon’s story and reading the recommend book (When Blushing Hurts) on your website, I decided to finally take action. I saw a counselor who referred me to another counselor/doctor who could discuss some medication options. Neither counselor had heard of “Chronic Blushing” so I offered my book to them to read. I was prescribed Lexapro (10 mg) and it was suggested that a daily vitamin B complex may also help me.. I also realized that I was having anxiety attacks along with my blushing. I am so excited to inform you that my new medication and vitamin combination is working for me. It has only been three weeks but my days are so different now. I enjoy my daily conversations with people without the worry and anxiety over blushing or the shame that comes with blushing. I feel as though thank you is not enough to share how truly grateful I am to all three of you –Steve, Dawn and Brandon. I knew when I first read his story that my life was going to change because I no longer felt alone in these (blushing) experiences. For your courage to share his story and for his legacy of love and kindness I will forever be indebted. My heart is saddened to know what Brandon went through, but he left behind hope and a commitment from you both to reach out to others. His story, his journey touched my life. Thank you again Brandon!!
To Brandon Thomas' family,
(The following two stories are from a daughter & her mother)
First I would like to say I am so sorry for your loss. This death has hit me so close to heart because I too suffer from chronic blushing. I have been suffering since I was about 16 and have noticed an increase in severity since entering college."I was hysterically crying and trying to explain to her that it is not just "blushing in embarrassing situations." Like Brandon, I am an outgoing, athletic, hard working student and can sympathize with Brandon because it is hard to not feel shameful about something so embarrassing that shouldn't be happening to "normal" people.My mom is the one that sent me the article because she got an almost identical phone call from me a month ago where I was hysterically crying and trying to explain to her that it is not just "blushing in embarrassing situations." I have tried hypnotherapy and talking with a counselor which has helped to an extent but I am definitely not satisfied with the results. I feel that the situation worsens with pressure and stress related to school and social responsibilities. I am so happy that you all are speaking out about this disorder and I would love more information about Doctors, books, treatments,etc. Again, I am deeply sorry that this happened and I hope his efforts will help the rest of us who feel crippled by blushing.
Never before has an article affected me as much as yours has. I’m not a chronic blusher, but like you I am the mother of one. As I read thru Brandon’s story I was shocked at how closely it resembled our story. I am sick about his death, and cannot begin to imagine what you are going through. But I do want you to know that I truly believe your son’s story will save lives.
My 20 year old daughter has mentioned her blushing (which actually looked like a rash) to me since high school. To be honest, I just completely blew it off as no big deal. It bothered her, but it didn’t seem to really be affecting her life. She was popular, an excellent student, "I was too ignorant to believe that this was not just something in her head. Luckily for me, she was very persistent, and I could hear the urgency in her voice and knew that she was in trouble."a star athlete, and generally a very happy outgoing teenager. She left for college a few years ago, and other than the normal girl drama she was doing great. She was on the dean’s list every semester, and was very active in her sorority. In the summer she worked at a children’s camp, and loved it. So, when I received her call this past May, I was pretty shocked. She began to tell me about her blushing problem, and how it was affecting her life. She’s studying to be a teacher, so she has to do lesson plans in front of people, as well as give speeches etc in class. She explained to me that her neck would turn blood red every time she got up in front ofthe class. She started wearing scarves, but even that wasn’t helping. Her fear of breaking-out, was actually making her break out more, even for no reason. She was getting to the point where she did not want to go outside. I did not understand this at all. This was not my daughter…she was strong, smart, outgoing. If anyone had their life together it was her. I tried to play the syndrome down, and I think I even told her that she was probably making herself worse by reading about it. I was too ignorant to believe that this was not just something in her head. Luckily for me, she was very persistent, and I could hear the urgency in her voice and knew that she was in trouble. I was afraid she might not make it through her finals. She made me go online and read about it, and told me she wanted to try the hypnotic therapy. I thought it was hokey, but I went ahead and let her. I also made her an appointment with a counselor. It was so frustrating being so far away from her, and unable to help her, but we talked every day and I was able to help her get thru finals.
But, to tell you the truth, although I read a little about this and did try to help my daughter, I don’t think I really took it serious until I read about your son. My daughter is also 20, and in college, and her story seems identical to Brandon’s. As I read thru what he said about the condition, I felt like I was listening to my daughter. I think the hardest thing about this condition is that if you don’t suffer from it, you really don’t understand how crippling and severe it is. In fact, I shared your story with my boyfriend, and the first thing he said to me was, “there must have been something else going on with this guy”. I said, no, you are wrong. This condition is much worse than any of us understand. My daughter was afraid to tell her dad or brother’s about what she was going through because everyone thought she was so perfect. I’m so fortunate that her and I have such a close relationship and that she was willing to open up to me. Her attacks have slowed down this summer since she is not in school, or under stress, so I debated about sharing Brandon’s story with her. I was actually afraid it might make her start panicking about her blushing again. But, I did it anyway, and I was happy to see that it actually helped her, and that night she told me she was going to write to you. I realized that hiding from this condition does not make it go away. Talking about it and reading about other sufferer’s actually helps.
Thank you so much for sharing Brandon’s story and for starting the web site for him. I believe that it will not only help the Chronic Blushing sufferer’s, but those of us who are ignorant to the syndrome and what it does to those who have it. Your son got my attention, and I promise you and him that I will never again take this lightly. I will forever carry your son in my heart, and forever be thankful to him for helping me understand this condition enough to save my daughter’s life!! Your son is a hero!!
Mr. and Mrs. Thomas,
I just read the article about your son Brandon on MSN and had to write to you both. I cannot put into words how very sorry and saddened I am to hear of his passing. I battled for years with chronic blushing and went through the same emotions, feelings, and treatment plans as Brandon. After much deliberation, I ultimately chose to have the ETS surgery earlier this year, and I have been very pleased with the results.
For years, I wondered why I had this blushing problem and thought that it was something I could control. I remember vividly when the issue started-- I was in the 5th grade and had recently moved to a new town and school with my family. I thought that maybe it was a symptom of being "the new girl" but the problem persisted throughout my teen and college years with no reprieve. "I thought that maybe it was a symptom of being "the new girl" but the problem persisted throughout my teen and college years with no reprieve."It was incredibly embarrassing and like Brandon encountered, once someone commented on it, it became worse. After college, when I began my career, I started researching and tried to figure out what this problem was. I would talk to family and friends about it, but no one really understood or could relate. Everyone thought it was something I could control through breathing or calming exercises. I knew that this had to be a medical issue, but I just couldn't figure out what it was.
I finally hit the breaking point last year. I was doing well in my career, but worried that this would hinder any real advancement. I am constantly interacting with people. Although I am perfectly comfortable in these situations, I know that to look at me, one would think I was nervous or not confident in myself. After years of research, trying anti-anxiety medication, beta blockers, and acupuncture, I was led to Dr. Daniel Miller at Emory University. Dr. Miller specializes in ETS surgery and absolutely changed my life. I knew the surgery was controversial, and was not guaranteed to fix the problem, but I was at my wit's end and had to try. He is caring, understanding, warm, and I felt 100% confident in him, and his abilities. I had the surgery in April 2012, and the affects have been amazing. While the problem has not stopped completely, it has been toned down drastically and does not happen every day. The side effects were minimal, really, and well worth it.
I think that what you are doing in terms of outreach and trying to raise awareness about this issue is wonderful. I would love to help honor Brandon and hopefully help others realize that there is help out there, and a network of people who understand what they are going through. If there is anything at all that I could do to assist, please let me know. Thank you for sharing your family's story.
All the best,
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Thomas:
I'm sitting in my office, in tears having just read the story of your son Brandon. I’m so sorry for your loss. Where to begin? I suffered for many years in much the same way your son did. Beginning in early adolescence, through my teenage years and into my late 20s chronic blushing profoundly affected my life. It is very difficult to fully explain to anyone that does not suffer the same problem. It’s inconceivable and yet so real. What is one person’s casual and occasional annoyance is another person’s daily terror and struggle. It colors every aspect of your life shaping and forming the person you become. In my case, I suffered from the chronic blushing and panic disorder. I don’t know which drove the other but the two were intertwined. Frankly, the few doctors I ever spoke to about the problem had no answers and never really addressed the root cause. I tried every anti-anxiety drug on the market with mixed results. Some of them worked but the side effects were significant. In 1995 at the age of 22 years old, I attempted suicide and was almost successful requiring surgery to repair the damage to my wrists and arms. The attempt was over a failed relationship but I know that one of the root causes was the fact that at 22 years old, I had real problems developing and maintaining relationships with woman. The social anxiety fueled by chronic blushing played a huge role. I was a popular kid, a good student and athlete with lots of friends like your son Brandon. However, intimate relationships were a huge challenge because the emotion would always trigger blushing and absolutely crippling self consciousness. I would walk around feeling that everyone in the world was staring at me as a result. I felt as though everyone could read just how nervous I was and the lack of confidence I had in myself.
In addition to social situations, public speaking became an absolute nightmare for me. I remember writing papers in school only to back out of reading them in front of the class. I would never tell my teachers, just accepting an ‘F’ and moving on. The few times I could work up the courage to speak the panic that would race over my body was so intense it was difficult to think straight. I would think I might pass out. I was sure a train was coming through the wall. My face would become an intense shade of red and would stay that way for hours. Other times, there was no trigger at all. I’m sitting on the couch watching TV and it would hit. My coping method was always the same – to flee. "It has simply been the biggest challenge of my life and the worst part was nobody really understood at any level just how difficult it was."To find someplace I could be alone and to wait it out. I would go outside and walk for miles. I would look for someplace dark to wait. I wondered if I would spend my entire life living like this? It was a daily task to avoid trigger situations, trigger people. It has simply been the biggest challenge of my life and the worst part was nobody really understood at any level just how difficult it was.
I turn 40 next year and looking back at this problem I think of myself as a ‘survivor’. For reasons unknown to me, my chronic blushing and panic disorder retreated with age. They are still there, under the surface but the attacks are not nearly as frequent or intense. I’m introverted but do not avoid social situations like I used to. I have a good corporate job, loving wife and adorable six year old daughter. I speak to groups often in my job. But never without a Propranolol in my pocket. My secret helper. My safety net. I’m as shocked by the fact that I’ve gotten my life back as I am that I suffered from this unusual problem in the first place. As the years go by, I think about those days less and less often blocking them from my mind and maybe pretending they didn’t dominate my life. When I read your story, Brandon’s story, all the emotions came flooding back. I’m so happy to hear there are some subject matter leaders out there helping people. At times, I feel I should be helping as well but I don’t want to even think about it. It was so tormenting I would rather pretend it was never a part of my life.
So, here’s what I really want to say. Your son was a very brave young man, much braver than me. The fact that he reached out to you and shared with you his problem demonstrates that no matter how great you are as parents, it is really hard to talk about. I first mentioned it to my Mom while in college and only in passing never giving her the full story. Frankly, I didn’t want them to worry or feel they had done something wrong. I didn’t think there was anything anyone could do about it so why bother those I loved the most? I’m sure your son felt similar thoughts. He was brave and he wanted to help others suffering the same fate. He wanted to bring light to a problem that those that suffer from want to hide in shame as a result of. He wanted to help others. He was brave and strong and had a heart of gold. I wish he could have held on and found a way through. When I see another person blushing I wonder if that person is suffering in silence the way Brandon and I did for so long. You are doing the right thing bringing this forward, helping others and honoring your son’s last wishes. Thank you so much for doing that and may God hold you both in his hands
We emailed a couple times before, me mostly seeking someone that understood and I'm thankful you were there. But I'm emailing again with a more positive note. One summer day/night I had just got back from a trip and was jet lagged and literally couldn't sleep all night! After I hit about 2:30-3:00AM the one thing that never fails to enter my mind did: my issues with chronic blushing. I would say I was determined and hungry to just find something, anything, a sentence, a word that could lead me to peace, even though I was restless from trying to go to sleep and having a little sleep deprivation. Now writing this, I have simply forgotten how I actually came across it, maybe the mystery of the night led me to somewhere I wouldn't have gone during the day. Anyway, I looked up "laser treatments" then "laser treatments for red face." My heart started to beat as I had seen a website describing how it is used for rosacea patients. I knew I was getting warmer. So I decided to see what was to offer under the You Tube (videos) section. There was actually a doctor who did a laser treatment on camera to an actual patient! She said it was used for people with pink/red complexion and of course for many other things. I did more research that night, now realizing is was 4:00AM and I had just pulled an all-nighter unwillingly. It was 5:30-6:00 and I knew I had just stepped on to an escalator belt, pulling me closer and closer to what I wanted.
What I found was a laser treatment called a V-beam laser, also would be referenced alongside an IPL (intense pulsed light) laser but isn't used as much for blushing cases. Even later that night I searched for a doctor, mind you I'm still young and didn't know if I would even find a legit one or my mom would even go for it. Thankfully I did! I begged my mom for an appointment and we finally set it up. Mind you I did do a lot more research on the side effects, what other issues it treats, if it's damaging and to skin (pigmentation or complexion), and if I would even have a chance. We had an appointment date set but had to push it back due to communication issues, and after that day I realized it was a very big and nerve-racking thing for me. The day finally came, yesterday, and it was definitely a great and different experience. Basically, I will attach a link, but also recommend you do some research yourself to better understand. The V-beam laser is COMPLETELY safe, I went to a very established and trusted doctor who said he even did it on a 10 month old baby. It is used for many different skin issues but I'm focusing on the redness of course. What it does is produce intense but gentle bursts of light that selectively destroy the blood vessels (or other vascular lesions) without damaging the surrounding tissue. Basically it kills the "extra" blood vessels in us lucky sufferers to reduce the redness that it causes. Speaking from experience and a brave girl that can take a lot of pain, it was quit uncomfortable and hurt, I did have to squeeze my mom’s hands and make grunting noises. I can describe it as a strong flick of a rubber band to the skin mixed with a bb gun that shoots first a hot bb then a frozen one-literally all in ONE SHOT! They do put numbing cream on your face about 10 minutes before, but for me 15-20 because I was so nervous and that really helped. Depending on how bad the redness is (mine being maxed out at 10, the worst) you may have to go back for several treatments. For me probably three more and just to keep it down, once every year after that. Keep in mind it is around $450 a treatment but I'm sure everywhere is different, and it's definitely worth it!
To tie it up, I am doing great after the second day, just some mild swelling around the cheeks and really no pain or bruising at all. The day I got it there were some indentations or bumps like medium sized circles all around the treated area because of the lasers round shape, but those have vanished. I can actually already see and feel improvement! Though I am near from finished with treatments, it can take up to about 2 weeks to see the true results so I will be emailing again with those results along with before and after pictures. My face is more of a pinkish color rather than red and there are some normal pigmented skin spots amongst the pink that make me actually look normal, it has also improved my complexion and texture of my skin! It doesn't get as hot when I do usual things when in the past it would and if it does, the redness goes away a lot quicker. I do believe this will work for me and other sufferers, all they need is the courage to try it. No matter their age, just remember, I'm just a 15 year old girl so give them that to go off of. Again thank you for taking the time to read this essay and I hope you will put this up on your site to show the others, because in my mind it's a crazy amount better than surgery or dangerous medications.
Dear Thomas Family,
I saw your story on the evening news (KOMO, http://www.komonews.com/news/local/Students-suicide-shines-light-on-chronic-blushing-190154621.html) and from there I found your site. I'm ordering Dr. Jadresic's book today. You've helped me to understand that I'm not alone and that the help for me that's out there isn't limited to a few pathetic message boards, filled with the same hopeless "You've made me realize that pathological blushing is very real and poorly understood medical condition. It's not just me."stories and bad advice. You've convinced me to redouble my efforts to regain control of my life, to beat this affliction, and to help others by not hiding from this anymore.
I've been living with this condition for nine years. While I'd always been capable of blushing and had some anxiety about speaking in public, I did not experience pathological blushing until I was in my mid 40's. It came on gradually over a period of three years and became serious following a bad turn in my career. I would blush several times a day so badly that it would cause physical burning of my face. I blushed in job interviews, on dates, at work, and soon it became so chronic I would blush in the grocery. I literally could not leave the house or interact with others without blushing. All I could do about it was come home, wrap my face in a cold washcloth, and drink it away.
You've made me realize that pathological blushing is very real and poorly understood medical condition. It's not just me. This condition ruins relationships, destroys careers, and devastates self-esteem. Sometimes it kills. Enough is enough. We have to take our lives back.
Until I decide whether to get ETS surgery, I'm going to be proactive about my medical care. Already, I don't leave the house without beta blockers and benzodiazepines. I have them with me at all times. I'm also in therapy, which helps a little. But it's not enough. I'm going to insist on getting the help that I need, whether it's better medication, better therapy, or ETS surgery. I'm not settling for a half-hearted approach any longer. So, for that, thank you. And I'm sorry for your loss.
Steve, Dawn & Devin,
I am so sorry for your loss. This condition along with sweating has ruined my life. I have never known anyone else to even tell my story to because no one ever believed me and the amount of pain it causes. I have passed the point of thinking of suicide, "I have never known anyone else to even tell my story to because no one ever believed me and the amount of pain it causes."but I believe that may be more to being unemployed for four years and hiding from society. I do not want to go back into the work force because of the shame, the stares, and the comments. Now that at least I know I am not crazy, you have given me the hope to face the world again.
This article was a blessing from God, because I have lost so much and have no savings left. I have to return to work soon, but was so afraid of the humiliation that I never thought I might have the strength to return to the office manager/administrative field that I had enjoyed. I had tried every anti-anxiety medication on the market and believed I was too crazy to be cured. Your loss may have a silver lining in the fact that I can now look at this as a medical condition not a thing of shame.
Mr. and Mrs. Thomas,
I would like to take this opportunity to express my condolences on your loss and my appreciation for the work you have done in Brandon's memory.
I am a retired University Clinical Psychologist in my 60's and have been a chronic blusher all of my life. As I read Brandon's and your story this morning, I immediately knew I was going to have my "righteous indignation" reaction (sadness, anger, and yes, extreme redness) in response to a loss of a young person that we all wish we could have prevented. Thank you for your courage in taking some important steps to help educate others about the complexities of blushing.
In reading your website, I applaud the options and suggestions that you are offering and wish I would have had the support during some difficult times in my younger years. In addition to blushing, I was a somewhat overweight child so teasing about being chubby and red-faced went hand-in-hand. I was lucky that I had an unusual aunt who was a chubby, blushing feminist nun that traveled worldwide and while modest, never lacked in confidence in conveying her message. So, I had a model that illustrated to me early in my development that blushing was not always about insecurity and need not hold me back.
I think because I struggled with weight until adolescence, I developed coping mechanisms for dealing with teasing that brought me some respect, but did not always ease the pain. Humor, irony, sarcasm, became my best friend against bullies and education was the best response to friends and those who cared.
Once I lost the weight issue, I actually practiced responses to use at school in response to the blushing comments:
To the bullies who commented on my redness, I replied, "I have a glowing personality that shines through...Guess that's hard for you to understand?"
To the benignly insensitive, "Don't worry, I think it's an Irish thing that runs in our family...we get red when we are happy, mad, frustrated, tired...Lucky for you this red is my happy blush!"
To a concerned boss when I was young, "This just means I'm thinking really hard while I'm working on the solution."
On rare occasions, with an obnoxious colleague who was bullying, "Yes, I am red because your level of ignorance in this situation is making me want to self-incinerate."
I'm sorry that despite all your efforts to help Brandon, he was subjected to negative messages from others and society in general that led him to feel diminished. How sad that intelligence, competence and goodness of an individual is overshadowed by this type of physical reaction. I do know there were days that the challenges of dealing with others reactions seemed overwhelming to me. My career helped me...working with traumatized individuals always reminded me that others had overcome so many difficult circumstances. As part of my career, I frequently had to testify in court hearings on behalf of victims. One Public Defender often accosted me in the hallway and said "I'm really going to get you today on the cross-examination. You're going to be so red no one will pay any attention to what you have to say."
He was wrong. Yes I knew I would be red, but I also knew I was well-prepared and knew the case better than he did.
I'll close with saying thank you again for your sensitivity to this issue and sound and well-balanced resources you are offering to those who are trying to make decisions about how to cope with blushing. I was motivated to write to encourage you in your efforts to help those that are struggling. I was lucky to have people in my life (husband, friends, mentors, colleagues) who could see beyond the blushing. For those who are afraid that blushing will impact their careers, yes, it can be a struggle. But I would say to those individuals that there are lots of opportunities with intelligent, substantive leaders who can see beyond appearances. I was given the opportunity to provide training worldwide...and my bosses knew that I had great PowerPoint presentations, videos, interactive exercises (to reduce the focus on me) and that I was always a bit grateful to have the opportunity to dim the lights!
Best of luck to you in this wonderful endeavor.
The Thomas Family,
This was an unbelievable replica of myself, when I read this story. I have been dealing with this chronic blushing for no reason for years! I have spoke to counselors (with complete shame) about this problem, and always felt like I was a hopeless and strange case. The counselors seemed to look at me with bewilderment and no answers. The blushing was affecting my every move in life, from the grocery store to work. I went to bed praying every night that something would click, and it would stop. I woke up every morning praying that it wouldn't happen. It has been absolutely crippling. I never felt the need to take my own life, although I completely understand this young boy's struggle. I have 2 small children, and was desperately seeking some type of relief. I was even fearful that my own children would pick up on the behavior somehow, and did not want them to endure anything of this nature. I got some relief from some anti-depressants and anti-anxiety drugs, but I couldn't deal with some of the side effects. This had taken such control of "I still have never told a single family member due to the complete embarrassment that I feel about it."my life, and I was so fearful of it happening that I worked myself up into panic attacks at work. I am a dental hygienist, and working with my hands in people's mouths with sharp instruments became a nightmare. I worried so much about blushing that I would go into the panic attack where my heart felt like it was going to explode out of my chest. My hands would shake violently and I had to somehow get to a point where I could put my hands in the mouth of the patient without them knowing what state I was in. I thought I would eventually die of a heart attack from all the stress I was under from this "blushing thing" that I didn't even understand myself.
I still have never told a single family member due to the complete embarrassment that I feel about it. Only a few close friends know this problem I have, or at least that's all I've spoke to about it. A friend mentioned a documentary she saw on singers that get stage fright and how they take beta blockers to keep their heart from racing when they go on stage. This beta blocker allows them to remain calm. No racing heart and no trembling hands. I immediately went to my general doctor and told her what I had heard about the beta blockers, and she said it is used for anxiety as well. She told me it gets prescribed for many CEO's, VP's, and people that have to get up in front of large groups of people so that they don't show the signs of nervousness. My doctor prescribed this for me and it seems (for the most part) to do the trick, with no side effects. This has been one of the best things that has happened to me. I have my life back again. I am so sorry for the young boy that took his life and I feel so sad for his parents. It is truly heartbreaking. I am so grateful that I read this today because I had no idea that other people dealt with this issue. I still fear that one day this medicine won't do the trick for me anymore, and I will be back to the person I was before the beta blocker.
Thank you for sharing your story
To Dawn, Steven, and Devin Thomas,
I found out from several news sources this week about Brandon’s suicide due to the syndrome of excessive blushing. I cannot imagine your loss since I have 3 sons, and the thought of losing any one of them is beyond unbearable. By way of explanation for this email, I must confess that I have had the same syndrome since 8th grade(I am now 67 years old), a"As some might think, it is most definitely not a minor problem--it unfortunately becomes a driving, negative, and all-consuming force in one’s life."nd it has completely altered the course of my life. From what you have told the media,your son (and brother)felt the same immense discomfort that I have always felt. And like him, I did not tell anyone except my parents and my brothers. But even then, I could not describe to them the true pain that this affliction has caused me.
We, who do suffer from this, tend to just escape from human contact since it so unbearable to continually blush at the slightest provocation. And, as some might think, it is most definitely not a minor problem--it unfortunately becomes a driving, negative, and all-consuming force in one’s life.
I hope, above all, that you do not blame yourselves individually, or that you do not blame your spouse or any member of your family for the outcome of what has happened to Brandon. I understand completely his predicament, and why he did not telegraph the severity of his problem or distress to you. AGAIN, LET ME PLEASE RE-EMPHASIZE--DO NOT ASSUME ANY PERSONAL GUILT FOR WHAT HAS OCCURRED! IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT! It is the luck of the “genetic” draw for us who have been born with a faulty overactive sympathetic (autonomic) nervous system. Those of us who do suffer from this syndrome, wish it were not there. But, unfortunately--it is there, and it never goes away.
With Immense Regrets for your son and brother Brandon.
If you are reading this and you suffer, silently, in loneliness please hear me, I’m begging you.
The pain of the loss of my nephew Brandon is so deep, raw, and profound it has changed who I am as a person. The loss of you would be equally painful and wounding to the people who love you. You are valued and loved. A bright future lies ahead for you. Please do not give up hope. There is a light at the end of your tunnel.
I’m praying for you,
Brandon’s Auntie Jami
Hello Mr. and Mrs. Thomas,
I'm all too familiar with what your son unfortunately had to go through.
I just knew it was only a matter of time before a situation like this would actually get some exposure. Nobody knows about blushing, and I'm just really sorry that Brandon had to be the one to help bring some attention towards the matter. I must say, I am really sorry for your loss.
As I read the article, it was almost like reading into my own situations, now and in the past - like looking into a mirror. I'm 28 years old now, I live just a short drive away and I've been suffering with constant blushing since my Freshman year in high school. Just "Like Brandon, I have to plan my day around my blushing."getting through the day was difficult, even more so when I'd walk around the halls, my cheeks as red as a stop sign and that's no exaggeration. Like Brandon, I have to plan my day around my blushing. Each morning I had to walk a 1.5 miles through the cold weather to get to school. going from extreme cold, to the warmth of the school triggered the redness like clockwork. So I would hide in the bathroom each morning to let the redness dissipate. Each time I did this routine it become more and more discouraging. And of course, it never helps when the teacher publicly points out your blushing to the rest of the class.
The redness really does more than affect ones exterior, it's the mental aspect that really causes all the pain. Although, I've gone through depression and at times I really did feel like dying. Not really ever sure, if I was serious about it...but deep down I knew I could never end my life. I would just deal with it. It's the hardest when you feel worthless, that nobody will accept you. Like I said, I'm 28 and it took me this long to find my first real girlfriend. Because if you aren't able to accept yourself, how can you expect somebody else too? I could go on and on, but I'm sure you know what I'm getting at.
I suffer from a skin condition called Keratosis Pilaris Rubra Faceii or KPRF, for short. The worst part is, there is no cure. All I have is hope that someday their will be one. Although, I must say the constant blushing and hot flashes were the worst in my early 20's, now at least the hot flashes don't happen AS much...still a lot, but not as frequent.
I want you to know that Brandon was never alone, there are others out their dealing with this on the daily basis and I just hope some good might come of his death. Maybe he will be the one to cast the light onto this difficult subject. Thanks for your time and I wish all of you the best of luck.
Dear Steve and Dawn,
I am so sorry to learn of your loss in Brandon. "I consider myself to be fortunate to have made it to where I am now. I have been able to manage my emotions and feelings regarding this condition and find myself in a place where I am happy and content with my life."My first son is nine months old and being a (new) parent I can only imagine the pain, confusion and sorrow that you must be feeling about Brandon's death. I decided to reach out to you because your article immediately caught my attention, as I have ( and continue to ) suffered from the same condition that effected Brandon every day. After reading the article on some of the things that Brandon revealed to you, as well as some of the things that you covered after his death, I could identify so many similarities that Brandon and I had, especially when I was his age ( I am 35 now ). Even before I read the article about Brandon, I would think to myself that I hope this is one of the genes that I haven't pass along to my son because it is something that is so hard to manage on a daily basis.
I consider myself to be fortunate to have made it to where I am now. I have been able to manage my emotions and feelings regarding this condition and find myself in a place where I am happy and content with my life. I would love to talk to you someday about some of my experiences so that you may understand a bit better how Brandon lived his life. I have a tremendous respect for what you are doing in trying to support others with this condition. I would be obliged if there was anything that I can do to help you in your plight because I think there are so many young children, men and women that could benefit from a source that may give them a sense of understanding and peace with who they are.
I just wanted to share my thoughts on the article I just read on msn: Unbearable Blushing: Parents Speak out about son's suicide. It makes me so sad that it took Brandon taking his life for this topic to finally make it into the news. Blushing has been a problem for me since early High School and seems to have gotten worse for me over time. I have been wanting the topic to"I blush so easily and it can be triggered by laughing hard, being excited, embarrassed, nervous , from crying, drinking, being warm..." become public knowledge for so long now and in a way I am relieved to see that it has finally been spoken about, but the action that was taken to finally get it there is tragic.
The thing about chronic blushing that most of the public doesn't seem to know, in my experience, is the fact that blushing isn't strictly caused by one emotion, for me it is triggered by any strong emotion and I, like Brandon, usually cannot tell it is coming on until after it has covered my face or someone has pointed it out to me. I blush so easily and it can be triggered by laughing hard, being excited, embarrassed, nervous , from crying, drinking, being warm, there are so many reasons why it can happen and to know people around you are automatically assuming that you are red because you are embarrassed is frustrating and embarrassing in itself. The main thing I wish people knew was that by pointing it out you are making it worse. It makes the blushing darken, last longer and makes it more embarrassing than maybe it should be. I am trying to learn to accept my blushing, but it is still nice to know that I am not the only one out there with this problem. I want to thank you for sharing this story with the world and for making some of us feel a little bit better about this problem that we face on a daily basis.
Hi Thomas Family,
I decided to email because I can so relate to him and never knew there was actually a name for the phobia. Also I never knew it affected people as much as this. I thought I was the only one.
Since I have been 15 and I am now 25 I have had problems with blushing. I have been to the doctors so many times. I have tried anti depressants, valium and I am now on propranolol beta blockers to control my anxiety about blushing.
I have been suffering over 10 years and it affects you in so many ways! I can't go into a super market as I'm scared in case someone"I get so wound up and agitated as I think because I go red people will think I'm lying or on drugs or something negative." looks at me and I go red. I can't go to pubs in the day when its light because I go red. I get so wound up and agitated as I think because I go red people will think I'm lying or on drugs or something negative. I have been on loads of websites I have even done a CBT(cog negative behavior therapy) course. I go on sun beds 4 to 5 days a week to give me a reason to look red. I wear so much make up its unbelievable but nothing works.
I wake up every morning feeling physically sick and shaking I have to force myself to go to work. If I ever have to greet anyone at work I worry about it for days till the day comes. Can't sleep and dont eat properly. I make stories up like I feel ill and oh I've come across all hot maybe getting a fever. It’s horrible.
I would be most grateful for more information on this as I feel no one understands and people do just say everyone goes red but we go red for the fear of going red. It’s very hard and if it was not for my family and friends I probably wouldn't want to be here myself. Your a prisoner in your own body I’ts not a good way to live.
It’s all you think about 24 hours of the day.
Thank you in advance
Dear Thomas Family,
I just read the article about your son. I am so sorry for your loss. I myself have struggled with this for years. It was probably the worst whenI was in my 20's. Certain things would trigger it. If it was hot outside, drinking alcohol, being nervous about something....but the worst would be fearing that I would have a blushing episode....that in itself was "For years I wore clothes with high collars because I would get splotchy on my neck and chest."probably the worst. I totally understand trying to avoid situations, not going on job interviews and when I did turning as red as a beet. For years I wore clothes with high collars because I would get splotchy on my neck and chest.
I am now 55. It is not as bad as it used to be, but I still have problems. I hate when people comment on it, which usually makes it worse. I have never read an article about this subject.....so it was actually comforting to hear that I am not the only person that suffered from this. Bless you for reaching out to others with this problem.
First, my condolences to the young man's family..second, thank you for giving a name to this condition...I lost a brother to suicide in 1998...his obsession, the redness in his face.