There is a lot I haven't talked about on this blog just yet, and I was hoping to get into some of that today.
As I've said in previous posts, it's difficult to explain my entire health history because it's been a long--and sometimes maddening--journey. I have suffered from a lot of different symptoms over the years, from terrible depression and anxiety, to painful and disfiguring skin rashes, to constipation, to hormonal issues. A variety of things have helped me climb the ladder towards health, especially cleansing my liver with liver flushes, iodine therapy (which I no longer do but am interested in trying again in the future), fasting, and a high-raw, grain-free diet based around salads, veggies, fruits, meat, eggs and certain nuts and seeds. I've come a long way. I no longer have depression. I can now use the restroom more than once every 2-3 days. I no longer have chronic psoriasis all over my body.
However, there are still a few things I am battling, and I'm sure they are related in a number of ways. They are:
2) Hormonal issues (severe PMS, fatigue, bad breakouts around my period, extremely heavy bleeding and horrendous cramps that interfere with my ability to work)
Like I said, these two things are most definitely related. I have some theories about what exactly is going on in my body but I think I'll save that for another post because I want to explain it in greater detail. In this post, I just wanted to open up about my skin issues. I know you can't tell from any of my perfect-lighting pictures, but for about 10-11 years now, I've been battling cystic acne. I wouldn't even necessarily call my skin condition "acne," but I'm not sure what else to call it. I get cysts and lesions on my face that go very deep down into my skin and are extremely painful. During periods of my life, they have taken months to heal. At the level of health I've achieved now, they usually heal in a week or less, but they are still very painful and often leave dark red scars on my face.
This is something that is hard to talk about, especially on a blog where I show my pictures and true identity. People who have never suffered from skin issues just don't understand how traumatic and upsetting this condition can be. Acne sufferers remain lost in a sea of suggestions and theories, constantly trying new things, getting our hopes up, getting let down over and over again... I have been suicidal over my skin condition at times, and I know others have as well.
I have also, in the past, experienced times where I healed my body enough to clear my skin--with medication. I was coating harsh benzoyl peroxide based acne creams on my face 2x per day for many, many years. It helped, and along with an absolutely perfect diet and lifestyle, my skin was clear. But the medication has side-effects and after many years of using it I began to notice it drying and aging my skin. It also is expensive, and I hated having to rely on a chemical in order to look and feel relatively normal.
So, about six months ago, I decided to say screw it. I'm going to quit using chemicals on my face. I'm going to fight this my way. I want to truly heal my body and skin, not just medicate the symptoms of an imbalance. I'm going to commit to a natural, chemical-free path. And I'm going to resist going back on the medication, no matter how bad my breakouts get. Breakouts are a sign of something happening in my body, and I want to be able to read those signs. When I achieve clear skin, I want it to be real.
I am proud to say that throughout this year, I have stuck to my commitment. Coming off the medication (along with straying from my diet) also led me to experience some of the worst breakouts of my life, but I've remained strong. I've only used natural things on my face, such as organic oils, honey, baking soda, apple cider vinegar, organic soap and clay. I don't think any of those things will heal acne on their own, but I have fallen in love with using natural products to pamper my skin.
As far as the internal treatments go, I am now following a regimen that is working better for me than anything I've done in a long time. However, I think any acne sufferer will be able to testify to the fact that often times we try new things that seem to work at first--and then we are incredibly disappointed when the acne starts returning. I don't necessarily think that is going to happen in this case (I really think I'm onto something here) but at the same time, I don't want to get my hopes too high. I can't say that I've cured anything just yet, but as of now my skin is looking better than it has in a long time, and I'm feeling better too. If these theories I'm following turn out to be right, it could possibly help many people who are suffering from this and other conditions.
I know that I could have been fake with this blog. I could continue to post pictures of myself with makeup and perfect lighting and pretend to be this clear-skinned, healthy, happy hula-hooping girl. None of my readers would ever know how much I've suffered in private. But I want to be honest. I want this blog to really document my journey towards health and help others do the same in their lives. To do that, I have to open up about my problems.
I refuse to accept acne. I refuse to accept menstrual cycles that leave me feeling psychotic, drained and in severe pain. I don't think these things are signs of a healthy and normal functioning human body, and I am going to do everything in my power to make sure that I no longer have these issues in the future.
On that note, I leave you with a picture of me. A real picture with all of the makeup and flattering lighting stripped away. This picture was from back in August when my skin was a bit worse. I know many of you will think I don't look that bad, but I still hurt when I look at this. I remember those breakouts on my cheek and how deep they went, the aching pain they caused in my teeth and jaw. I remember crying because I felt so ugly and horrible. But despite how bad I feel when I see myself this way, I am going to care about myself anyway. I deserve love, peace and happiness, no matter what my skin looks like.
So here goes... *raises glass* To honesty and being real.
Thanks so much for reading. To all my fellow acne sufferers, I am with you on this journey. Please don't give up. We are in this together and we will find our answers.