It's really weird for me to be writing a post entitled living life, especially when acne has dictated so much of my life. I let it keep me imprisoned for two months in the summer of 2012 and I almost let it drive me to the point of wanting to end my own life. Of course i have depression but acne was a big trigger for me and it has taken away so much of life that I can't even recount all the lost moments that I have missed. But this post is not about going back, it's about moving forward. I sit here thinking that for the last few weeks/months, God has put a calling on my life. A calling to allow him to work through me. A calling to give up my burdens and allow him to take it unto himself. I know for a FACT that I am only able to get through this by his grace. My acne is going back to my pre accutane state and it is doing so very quickly but I have not felt an ounce of stress as if my world is ending. The tightness in my chest that is so common place for me is noticebly absent and I don't feel that too all familiar sense of dread. My acne is not upsetting me and while i want it gone, the fact that it is here is just a minor annoyance rather than a life ending crisis. I know that it's not me holding me up and giving me the strength to keep on living ...no sir...it's not me. My point it that while we struggle, it is ok to enjoy life in the midst of it all as there is only so much that we can control. And whether you are Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Catholic, Buddist, etc, it's important to understand that there is a higher power out there that wants to see us happy and prosperous in the face of challenges.
I want to start out by saying I am grateful for all the trials I have been through. I have learned so much about myself and I have found that my support system is the best. Also, I have come to learn that FAITH can make any hopeless situation not so hopeless because at the end of the day, there is a God who rises with the sun and sets with it. I have discovered an inner peace through my FAITH that has not been there before and I thank God for instilling it in me. This does not mean everything is great because it is not. I have acne, acne that is worsening everyday, acne that has turned cystic and is painful and red but I also know that I have prayed upon my struggles and have laid everything at God's feet. I have asked him to guide me to the right people who can help me and shut the door on things that he doesn't want me to do ( as he did with accutane). I have been connected with two wonderful women who are committed to helping me find a solution. One is a holistic naturopath who does blood/food testing but treats naturally and another is a derm who has been in contact with me more often than i can recall since i met her in May. I don't know when my acne will go away but i have FAITH that while i go through this journey, I will continue to learn and experience the love of God and be of assistance/inspiration to someone else.
It's pretty much a guarantee in life that we will face challenges. Some will be temporary and some will be life long. Acne is my life long challenge and right now, it is tough. At fist, it was just confined to one side of my mouth and then it spread to the other side. It went up to my lips and down to my chin. Now I have it on my cheeks, nose and forehead. It's lumpy, red, puss filled and just so embarrassing. For a brief moment i was thinking of covering it up with makeup but what would that solve? I have begun a new holistic treatment and already in my mind i have set it to fail. God says to have faith and I am struggling with that in the face of what is happening to me. In my own strength I feel weak and pathetic but my God is strong for the both of us. I know the next few months are going to test my faith, health and acne wise and I know i'll need to lean hard on him. Tonight, as i write this, my face is a mess and I feel incredibly sad about it. Questions of why me are swarming in my head and thoughts of giving up intermix with these. I am feeling challenged at the moment and could appreciate some words of comfort/
While many of my fellow peers were probably shopping or going to the beach or hanging out with friends, I took a ride to the cemetery in my area. I've always driven past it and had always wanted to stop in but never did. Well today was the perfect opportunity. I brought a snack, my bible, my notebook, my pen and i just sat there. I spoke to a woman who we will call C who is like my 2nd mama. We spoke about God and his grace and how we are being tested not because he hates us or is mad at us, but because he loves us and wants to make us into more mature Christians. I 100% honestly believe that....no doubt in my mind. I have to admit though that my faith is not as strong as it could be. I lay my burdens down and I pick them right back up. Well today, I had an epiphany. Well 2 actually. The first: Good doesn't always give us what we want but he gives us what we need. This is so true. I want clear skin and I want to feel 100% healthy but God is telling me that I need to mature a little first and dig deeper into him. I declare that the healing has already begun and when God sees fit to do it, all these things will go away. A few months ago, I went to my friends church and their visiting pastor said that she was getting a message from God. She walked up to me, took my hands and stated that she knew my body was in disrepair and that my healing had already begun. How did she know to pinpoint my exact issue and to choose me from a room full of people, all with different issues. I was in tears! I believe in signs and wonders and this was God sending me a message that he has heard my cry and that he was in the process of answering it. I admit i have gotten discouraged as the months have gone by but God will heal all things in his own time not mine. My job is to just declare it, praise and thank him, be a blessing to others have faith The second epiphany was: A life of regret is wasted. Walking through that cemetery, seeing those gravestones and coming upon a few of young people and children, i thought to myself, is this really what i want to do with MY life. Be alive but act dead....because of acne and my body?!? Did i want to look back at the end of my life and think about all the things i missed? That's a sad thought. I may be physically uncomfortable with my conditions but that does not mean that I deserve to be a hermit, that I am less than. Who gave me the right to punish myself for something that is beyond my control (that's for you holistic forum)? I wont proclaim that I am going to be the life of the party now but honestly, I don't think my acne and feelings of low self esteem and self image warrants a prison sentence. If other people are uncomfortable with it then that's their problem. I know that it is within God's power to heal and he is healing me. Right now I am more spiritually ready for battle than ever before. And while perfect health and clear skin would be nice, I can't be happy if I keep anchoring my self worth in these things. Moving forward, i'm going to let my derm and dr's do what they need to do and I am going to leave the rest up to God.
I have gotten to a point in my life where i don't feel the need to always question God for the things that happen to me. It just becomes a part of life. It doesn't make it any easier to go through these things none the less. My acne for instance. 16 years and counting - the embarrassment, the struggle, the explaining to people what happened to my skin.......it's tough. I feel like giving up, i do but as God has come to mean more to me than anything else, i have learned that Christians don't give up. We lament, we pray, we cry, we bounce back, we endure, we struggle but we don't ever give up. So why do we go through tough times? To toughen us up. To prepare us for things to come. To test our patience. To build character. To deepen our relationship with God. Because everyone has a demon their fighting and acne happens to be mine.
So many ions ago, the rap group 'Bone Thugs-n-Harmony' made a song called 'Meet me at the crossroads'. It was basically talking about friends that had passed on and meeting them up in the afterlife. Well the title of the song got me thinking that we all have many crossroads in our daily lives. Times when we are faced with decisions, often difficult ones which have the ability to change the course of our lives. I am in that exact spot right now in 2 specific areas: 1) my career 2) my acne Career wise, I am a teacher and I am looking to switch jobs as my current school is just simply not where i want to be (an administration issue). I have interviewed out of state and may be offered a position soon in Alabama (I live in NY and the thought of leaving my support system is crippling). Acne wise, after a year on a regimen that actually worked for me (kept me worry free from acne for half a year or so), my acne came back. It's been such a difficult thing to deal with but Thank God, I am going through it and not locking myself away like i did in 2012. My Dr is willing to put me on accutane but also suggested Spiro since topicals have not worked for me ( thanks to BP, i developed facial eczema/hyper sensitive skin-boo hoo). My last course of accutane was a failure (never cleared) and I am terrified Spiro will make things worse as it messes with hormones and my acne doesn't correlate with my menses so..... With all these decisions that lead down all these different pathways and have different outcomes/consequences, I am incapable of choosing. I need to leave it up to God because I am only human and I am bound to make things more complicated. It's a hard thing for me to do but I know this is what is best. I ask for your prayers that my faith will carry me through these crossroads and that on the other side, things will be better.
So as I sit in front of my laptop and type this, I have to say that having just celebrated my 31st birthday yesterday has brought on some clarity on my acne situation. As a person that has suffered with this disease since 15 with 1 or 2 years of clear skin due to medication/topicals, I have come to the epiphany that we as acne sufferers are masters of playing the Blame Game. This idea that we are the cause of our acne is reinforced by doctors, the media, well meaning friends/family and other people that want to share their 5 cents of unsolicited advice. That has not been made more clear more so than on this site where everyone is an acne expert and knows the 'true cure'. Well folks, i'm here to tell you that I am more than ready to get off the blame game carousel. I have been systematically trying to 'cure' my acne through topicals, diet, lifestyle changes and such since 2011 and guess what, i still have acne. My trial and error process went something like this: "Ok, maybe I need to see a skin care professional for natural products because natural products work miracles." NOPE - Acne Worsened "Ok, my skin care professional said to get off dairy, and get on supplements, that will help." Dairy free since 2011 and have taken 'acne' supplements off and on and I still have acne "Ok, accutane is the way to go, it worked well before....nope changed my mind, let me try topicals." Acne cycled, thought I was getting better, then i got worse, then i got better, then i got worse and stayed worse. "Ok, I need a naturopath, why didn't i think of this before?!?" Hundreds of dollars on visits and supplements and zero change in acne "Ok, diet is the key, i knew it! Paleo, here i come!" Nope, lost a ton of weight, looked like a skeleton and guess, what, still had acne "Ok, accutane again." Never stopped breaking out but acne improved "Ok, i'm desperate to try The Regimen! Topicals and a healthy lifestyle should help better than either alone" It worked for a year and gave me facial eczema "Ok, juicing and an elimination diet. This is it, i can feel it!" Acne worsened "Ok now i'm back to square one. No idea where to turn." So this is where I'm at in my acne saga. I am still searching for some respite but while I look, I realize that I don't have to keep on blaming myself for something that is out of my control. I had my birthday yesterday and wasn't gonna even eat the cake that my friend had bought for me (dairy and gluten free = expensive) and then I thought to myself, that is so ridiculous. It's my birthday, a day that should be all about me, not my acne! It made me mad that I was even considering staying home because of my skin....grrrrr. I also don't have to get all psychotic over my food choices because in all honesty, diet, while important has never cleared my acne.....i mean not even a little bit. Am i going to have a heart attack because I ate rice or beef or even pork? Is it worth the aggravation? Needless to say, I am going to continue eating mostly paleo because I like it but you know what, rice once in a while is an option too. My derm is going to have me try a salicylic acid product so we'll see how that works out and I am going to continue to live because I have no choice. I won't be the 1st person with acne nor will I be the last. Moving forward, i'm going to take ideas from this forum with a grain of salt and keep on keeping on because while life with acne is annoying, embarrassing and at times, distressing, life with acne and a negative mindset is much worse.
It's fascinating to me when I see people with adversity that go about their day like nothing is out of the ordinary. Some of these people have life changing disabilities that are highly visible and yet they go out and LIVE not just EXIST. I so want to be that person that overcomes. I am struggling though, I truly am. I know this is not God's plan for me, it can't be. Maybe this struggle is meant to build endurance for me and most definitely patience. I pray to God to relieve me of this physical and emotional burden and yet he hasn't. I know deep down that there is a plan for me but from where i'm sitting, I can't begin to fathom what that plan may be.
So anyone who has accomplished anything in life knows all about peaks and valleys. We usually have to go through a ton of valleys before we make it to the peaks. And even then, it doesn't imply that there will be no more turbulence to go through. That's life. Well right now, I am in a valley so deep that I can't even see the top of the peaks. Since last Monday, my acne has just exploded and it's been inflammation after inflammation after inflammation and there is no end in sight. It's also rapidly multiplying and spreading out to my cheeks where I got my 2nd deep pimple in a week (those suckers hurt like a mutha). I've been staying in the word and trying to fix my eyes on God but it's hard. The human side of me is trying to find a solution but of course, nothing works. Not diet changes, not juicing, not just washing and moisturizing, not zinc, not anything in the natural. I have a derm appt on Wednesday and I don't think it will make an ounce of difference as she is derm # 7. I am tempted to lament to God, 'Why Me' but i know this is a part of his plan. I just need to hold on to the promise in his word that all things God works for the good of those who love him, whohave been called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).
Hi guys! This is definitely not my first rodeo when it comes to blogging, especially when it comes to my acne but it is my first experience strictly devoted to the emotional aspect of having a skin disorder that most people grow out of by the time they're in their 30's. Acne has had a more psychological impact on my life than any other single event. It also has the dubious honor of extending over half of my life as I am 30 and I have been dealing with this in one form or the other since I was 15. I plan to update often and to bare my soul and my skin to you all so that I can truly let go of this self hatred that I have been carrying around for so long. Another component of this blog is to record how I am letting God be in charge of how I deal with my acne. For too long, I have stressed and worried and cried over something I have ZERO control over and it has served me no purpose except to bring severe, mind crippling depression on me. Well today is a new day! I am a recent Christian who is putting my faith out there and casting my cares about acne unto him who gives my very body life. I don't expect this to make my acne go away but my hope is that it will deepen my relationship with God, allow me to finally accept the me of NOW and to love myself the way that God intended. Would love to hear the feedback of others. Any other Christians out there?