Like most people, I didn’t plan to figure out my illnesses. I thought I’d be stuck forever in a broken, albeit young, body. At 17, I broke out in acne all over my face. Previously, I only had it on my forehead. Other than that, my skin was like porcelain. My friends were jealous. I didn’t appreciate it until it was gone.
At 17, the stresses of my senior year of high school, a new relationship, and a changing diet pushed me over the edge. I had giant red sores on my face. I had scabs. I couldn’t stop itching. I cried to myself because it was so awful – all of a sudden, out of nowhere.
At the same time, I was experiencing migraines. I had to stop running so much and snowboarding because my joints were aching. I tried to tell my parents that I thought it was all connected. After specialists and doctors, birth control, topical treatments, and advil, my family started to think I was convincing myself I had problems because I wanted people to feel bad for me. I started to believe them. (To get a head start on what my future posts will be about and my “connected” illness, here’s a sneak peak.)
I went to dermatologists to ask for help – it was my final resort.
He said the same thing my doctors had said. That acne would require multiple topical solutions, birth control, and that diet was completely unrelated. Can I tell you a secret? Just a little one? For two years I bought into it. I bought the topical antibiotic lotions, the retinoids, the oral antibiotics, the birth control, the gentle face wash. On top of that, I tried natural and tar based shampoos to treat random dandruff that was both stubborn and unpredictable. I didn’t want to spend more money for foundation so I went out into the world with open sores.
And then I stopped listening to my dermatologist. I decided it was enough. I couldn’t take it, nor could my wallet. My next course of action was to listen to my friends and college roommates who said sugar made them break out. I tried to tell them, no no, my dermatologist says it’s not connected. But I watched their faces evolve. I’m 21. I had to listen to testimony over professional expertise. After all, the latter never got me anywhere.
That’s where I am right now. Listening to testimony. Experimenting with my body. I’ll leave with you this for now. This summer, I planned on writing some short stories, working on cleaning my house, and taking the summer off before returning for my senior year of college. Instead, I fell in love with a new lifestyle and learning about my body. Here was the first book I read: