Cystic Acne Journey

I struggle like you. But I also stay strong like you.

We all have our challenges, weaknesses, and times of hardship. I have been hesitant to share my story, but every day it flickers in my mind sparking the thought, “this could be helpful for somebody.”

I spent the past 2 years struggling and you probably had no clue. That’s the thing with social media. We only show the highlights of our lives, but does that mean we don't experience lows.

October 2017 my skin drastically changed. I went through a couple stressful transitions in life and then next thing I knew I was ashamed of being seen by anyone. I hid away from the world, stopped taking photos, lost my light and my confidence.

May 2018 I reached a place of utter despair. At 26 years old with so much to look forward to like graduating with a masters degree and I couldn’t even look myself in the mirror. I felt defeated and out of solutions.

I have always been pretty health conscious and I thank my mom for instilling those habits in me, so when I initially approached my skin going through changes I optimistically thought, “I got this, finally I can use my health and wellness knowledge to solve a challenging problem,” but it turned out to be a depressed—(my passion—health & wellness—couldn’t even save m) I couldn’t solve. This made me feel even more defeated.

Through my skin healing journey I tried everything holistic under the sun. From trying to eat only red meat for breakfast lunch and dinner (only lasted 2 days before having worse effects-thanks #joeroganpodcast), eating vegan, vegetarian, no sugar, no dairy, then elimination dieting where I only ate ground turkey, sweet potatoes, and spinach totally plain (no sauces or spices) for breakfast lunch and dinner for 8 weeks to still have no luck in healing my skin. Then I hit a point where I was scared of food. I completely screwed up my mindset toward food/dieting/listening to what my body needed my body because I just wanted to solve this problem. I didn’t know what to eat anymore.

October 2018 My family and friends starting seeing the effects of my lack of confidence spill over into my every day functions and interactions. I didn’t want to apply to jobs because that meant I would have to go out in public and meet new people that would stare at my face and judge me. I didn’t want to go out to dinner with my family nor friends because I didn’t want to have to look in the mirror to put makeup on only to be sitting stuck in a restaurant where people who know me would wonder what had happened to me.

The judgement from others is real when it comes to imperfect skin. People assume they eat unhealthy, don’t wash their face, let themselves go, or are just downright dirty.

My grandmother felt my pain and took me to the dermatologist in October 2018. Before even opening my mouth the doctor said, "You need accutane." I immediately burst out in tears. I was so scared of what that meant, all the complications, and what hurt me the most was that I was unable to heal myself on my own. I felt like a failure having to use a medication as a crutch to heal my skin. I wanted so badly to be able to tell the story of healing my body through food, but instead I have a different story to tell.

Five months after taking accutane I am slowly coming down from the side effects. I had a horrible experience through the past five months, but my acne has subsided. I do have scarring and struggle to keep a positive mindset at times, but I am trying to stay strong, just like you to be the best version of myself and share my journey to inspire others to keep moving forward.