My Accutane Journey: Day 1

14115531_10154071690596645_5689482265638936363_o

This is my Day 1 no-makeup mugshot! In 4-6 months, when I’m done taking Accutane, I hope I won’t be so embarrassed to share a no-makeup selfie!

Advertisements

Bipolar and Hypersensitive Hearing

bipolar-noise-sensitivity
Today I read this article about the connection between bipolar disorder and hypersensitive hearing. I have always struggled with noise sensitivity and never realized until now that there might be a medical/psychological reason for that. People talking in movie theaters send me into a rage. Walking down the busy street near our house is oddly disturbing. Noise from our neighbors frustrates me incredibly, even though I realize I may be overreacting. I also regularly wear headphones in busy stores because I simply can’t stand the noise sometimes. I feel very uncomfortable in busy restaurants and bars (mostly open concept ones where noise travels easily) and feel the need to escape. This is interesting. I guess I learned something about myself today.

My Accutane Journey: Preamble

I hate No Makeup Selfies. They drive me crazy, because all the people I’ve seen share them are still beautiful without makeup. Sometimes I can totally tell that the person who took the selfie is still wearing makeup (albeit minimal) and I just want to hit her in her stupid, lying, bitch face.

This is my no makeup selfie.


I’m really glad that you’re still beautiful without makeup. Rock on.

I am not.

A lot of my friends only wear makeup for special occasions. They’re really lucky to be so naturally beautiful. Sometimes they joke with me about how “glam” I am for wearing makeup on the regular. How classy I’m keeping it.

And while I appreciate that and laugh with them about it, the reason I wear makeup everywhere I go is because I CAN’T STAND MY COMPLEXION.

For years, I have felt UGLY. I didn’t even feel very beautiful at my own wedding because I was stressed that week and my entire face broke out.

I know that probably sounds stupid, and is the result of our warped society that worships celebrities and photoshops even the most beautiful people. The standards we are held to, especially as women, are complete bullshit. I get that. However, my acne and the scars it leaves behind still bother me.

I’ve had acne ever since I was about 12. It probably started after I got my first period and is likely hormonal due to the areas it normally affects (mostly my cheeks).

I’ve struggled with it for more than 20 years now and have felt incredibly self conscious due to it (I began wearing full makeup at 13, much to my mother’s dismay). It affects my social life and makes me feel ashamed to even look people in the eye if I’m not in full makeup.

I’ve tried EVERYTHING. Proactiv, antibiotics, topical treatments, cleansers, vitamins, diets, facials (which only made it worse), umpteen brands of makeup, obsessively cleaning my makeup brushes, changing my pillowcases and towels each day, growing out of it (haaaaa that doesn’t happen), etc. etc. etc.

I am goddamn tired of it.

My face is tired of it. My face legit looks and feels tired.

For the past year, I’ve been seeing a local dermatologist and have made several last ditch efforts to try to resolve my acne without resorting to extreme measures.

Again, nothing has worked.

I am DONE.

Yesterday I saw my dermatologist again and finally made the decision to try Accutane. I was initially resistant to resort to this. Accutane is a serious drug with potentially serious side effects. However, several people I know have taken it and said it was a miracle for them and that the side effects were not that bad. The best part? After 6 months or so, it cured their acne completely and helped rid them of the (once permanent) scars they had from acne.

The “hard” part (I don’t dare bitch, because this is a cosmetic issue and there are people out there with serious, life-threatening conditions): Because it reduces oil production and shrinks oil glands, I will have to apply lotion all over my body everyday and probably carry it with me everywhere. My lips will get super chapped. My nose might be so dry that it bleeds. I will need eye drops to keep my eyes from becoming too dry. I might not be able to drive at night because it could affect my vision. I can’t get my eyebrows waxed due to the risk of permanent scarring (I will be Frida Kahlo-ing it UP). I shouldn’t drink (got that covered!) And I can’t get pregnant (That’s easy for me, actually). I was basically given a 30-page booklet telling me that I can’t get pregnant due to the risk of deformities and that I must use at least two forms of birth control.

I’ll have to see my dermatologist every month and sign forms saying I understand the risks of the drug and that I WILL NOT GET PREGNANT. I will piss in a cup to prove that I’m not pregnant. I will have blood work to monitor my liver function. Only then will I be given my prescription each month, and it has to occur within a specific 7 day window.

Did I mention that I can’t get pregnant? I can’t get pregnant. (They are super serious about this).

My mental health team will also have to be contacted due to the risk of depression and suicide (my dermatologist said the studies on that are kind of bullshit, but they have to tell you about this risk anyway).

Oh and I can’t get pregnant.

So here goes. Next month, I’ll be taking the plunge in the hopes of ridding myself of acne forever and saving a shit ton on skin care over my lifetime. Wish me luck.

To anyone who has taken Accutane: Please message me and let me know how it affected you. I’d like to get as much input as possible before I start my treatment. Thanks.

9 Months Sober

9 months sober as of July 1st.

It’s taken me a while to muster up the motivation to share my monthly update. I’ve had my ups and downs for the past month and a half. I’ve been talking with my therapist and she suggested that I try AA. Right now, I’m not very willing to try AA because I think people who do AA should have the desire to give up drinking forever. I don’t have that desire right now. Because of that, I sometimes wonder what the point of my current sobriety is. Should I simply start practicing moderation? Can I moderate effectively? I don’t know.

Coincidentally I attended an AA meeting last week because someone I love was celebrating 5 years of sobriety. I can’t say who it is, because that would break AA’s 11th tradition and would violate the whole anonymity thing. Anyway, I’ve known this person for a long time and his life has been improved immeasurably by giving up drinking.

13654239_10153972852841645_7492734459954377227_n

This person has been an inspiration to me and many others who are in the program with him. Many attribute their sobriety to him. During the meeting, he told his story to the group. Five years ago this would have never, EVER happened, since he always struggled with severe anxiety and hated being the center of attention. He discussed his struggles with anxiety and how that was the main reason he drank. He said he always wanted to be like people who approached social situations so easily. Alcohol gave him the confidence to talk to people and made him more of a “fun” person since it decreased his anxiety.

I immediately identified with this. I think being sober has made me realize that I’m naturally kind of a shy person who doesn’t say a lot. This is SO. WEIRD. But I remember that I was always a quiet kid in school. Alcohol has been the lubricant for myself and social situations for years, so it’s hard for me to remember what I was like before that. I, too, have also wished that I could be like people I know who are so good at talking to people. My Dad and several of my friends are social masters, and in turn they are very likeable people. I have always wished to be more like them and I try to practice some of their conversation tactics, but I’m just not a very social person naturally. I think part of it is because I want people to like me so badly and I’m afraid that I will mess things up by saying the “wrong” thing. I am also so, SO afraid of sounding stupid. So I tread carefully in conversation.

Back to my loved one celebrating 5 years of sobriety. He also recalled a time where he got into a terrible car accident and was taken to the hospital by an ambulance. His only thought while he was in the ambulance was, “Why didn’t they just leave me there?” While I have never been in a terrible accident myself, I have often wished something bad would happen to me. Suicide goes against the morals that have been branded into my brain and it would just be so much EASIER if something happened that wasn’t of my own volition that would simply take me out. I often think of what a relief that would be (I recognize that this is depressive thinking and have discussed it with my therapist).

Alcohol ruined this person’s life. Just ruined it. He lost several jobs, lost his driver’s license after a DUI, alienated his family members, lost good friends, hung out with terrible friends who took advantage of him financially, and turned into someone unrecognizable.

The most painful part of watching a loved one struggle with addiction is that you KNOW that good person is somewhere in there, but he’s hidden away. Occasionally he shows himself because he’s the type of person who would literally give someone the shirt off his back. A kind gesture makes you temporarily remember who he really is because he was always thoughtful. But he’s almost impossible to be around because he’s SO. NERVOUS. (it makes you want to drink too) and so prone to anger that you feel like you’re walking on eggshells around him. And as you get older and as you start to experience some of that same anxiety and anger, you see how alcohol helps you relax and love everyone. This is why he drinks until his eyes are dead. This is why he blacks out and embraces oblivion. This is why his soul dies, because he’s just trying to kill the bad parts. But in the process, he destroys everything.

And the problem for you is that it hasn’t ruined your life yet. You saw him and how bad he was and you thought you’d never be that bad. But there’s still a part of you that wants to destroy the unpleasant parts of yourself. But they’ll never go away.

They’ll never go away.

Why can’t I be perfect.

Why can’t I be like that person. They have their shit together.

Why do I have to be myself.

I’m UNCOMFORTABLE. I CARE. Drinking and over-medicating rid me of these.

I am willing to ruin my life so I don’t feel this way.

Back to this special person. Every year, he receives a medallion for his sobriety. And every year, he gives it away. In fact, he has given away every key chain and every chip, in addition to every medallion. Even his 5 year medallion.

He does this to thank others for helping him along the way, but mostly to show those who are struggling that anything is possible.

Anything is possible. Your true self is possible. She may not be perfect, and that bothers you SO MUCH. But you need to accept her. You need to let her be.

You need to nourish her. Not destroy her.

Because there’s good in her.

Stop Body-Shaming Skinny Kids

Trending today: people body-shaming skinny kids and accusing their parents of malnourishing them. Come on. Some people, due to genetics, are naturally thin and sometimes their bones poke out. It doesn’t mean that they’re unhealthy or that their parents don’t feed them enough. Stop judging. Love yourself. Love others.

13620948_10153962831671645_99357080658928257_n

Photo of my brother Paul and I. We were skinny and completely healthy, well-fed kids.

We Were Lost; We Became Found

We started dating 13 years ago this week.
He was wandering aimlessly after dreams were dashed.
I just told an abusive fuckhead to stop contacting me.
We were lost.
We became found.
We found ourselves through each other.
He was nicer to me than anyone, his Midwestern ways amused me, and he challenged me.
Plus he liked Neil Diamond.
This day in Hyannis was one of the happiest days of my life.
July 4, 2003

A Lot of Soul With a Little Baggage