Broked – Week 7

April 28th. Friday

Maybe it’s my nature, but there’s are a million and one things on my mind right now and I’m acknowledging none of them. I’m still really confused about whether I like Anna or not. RA work is a constant drone. My econ paper is coming along, but slowly, which is freaking me out like nothing else in this world.

I have a friend who I felt a lot closer to before spring break than after it. I’m altogether less inclined to share feelings (with him or anyone) while being on Accutane, which means I feel somewhat distant in all my friendships; however, this one pointedly so. He got together with this girl he liked, which is great and I’m stoked and feel happy in all the ways you’re supposed to feel when two of your friends get together and no longer hang out with anyone else. I’m not bitter. Stop bringing it up.

I feel like I should talk to him about how I feel. And how we literally stopped hanging out altogether. But I don’t feel equipped at the moment to have that conversation. I’m lately prone to letting feelings bottleneck at my vocal chords and cause a blockage. I’m not mad at him as much as I am sad and disappointed. It’s a delicate conversation to go about and I’m not up to it at the moment.

Another thing… with finals around the corner, it’s all-nighter season. I’ve gotten through most finals weeks without forgoing too much sleep. I usually find myself staying up late for a single night and getting most of my work done that night. But I’m only up until one or two AM on these occasions. I’m able to do this without any major fatigue the following day. Not the case now. I was up late last night writing and I slept in this morning. Not something I usually do. Not something I have time to do right now. I was just so tired though.

This is what I was talking about last entry. This sort of stuff kills me. I used to be able to pull all-nighters and function fine the following day. Now, I can’t. I HATE feeling like I’m able to do less than I was previously able to do. Like I’m regressing in ability. Even when I’m not on brain-blending drugs, I spend a good portion of my waking life thinking about it.

Having measurable results of regression is beyond breaking.

Run – Week 7

April 27th. Thursday

Positive energy is short lived. There’s too much to think about for me to sustain my volatile chipper disposition.

I have a final paper due in a week. I was thinking to myself, if I can get three pages done today, I’ll give myself the rest of the day off and do something fun. But then I tried thinking about what I might do that could be fun… and I couldn’t come up with anything. How fucked is that? The problem isn’t that fun is now out of my reach. The problem is that enjoyment is very fleeting for me right now. I’ll have really funny conversations with people, but I’m miserable only five minutes later.

I’ve tried journaling about how I feel – about this fleeting happiness thing. It isn’t working. I usually come out of a journal entry feeling recentered and equipped to deal with whatever problems I’m facing. At the very least, I end up knowing and appreciating what the problems are, even if I can’t solve them. Now, as I stare at the blank page of my journal, I only think about all of the tasks on my list of things to do, how soon finals are coming, and how little time I have left at school. It seems to me that the world is spinning a bit faster. No, it feels like the world is spinning just as fast as it always has. I’m just a bit slower.

I’m not very good at handling feelings like that. I’m not good at feeling incapable, or less capable than I should be. That’s the thing that kills me every day, more than the dry skin or the chapped lips or anything else.

Calm – Week 6

April 25th. Tuesday

I’m feeling good. I feel like myself again. If there’s one thing that has changed about my mental health since I started taking Accutane, it’s that I have not been feeling like myself. But today I do. I’m not sure what happened.

I’ve been enjoying conversations with people a lot more. I’m more involved in social things, beyond just being present. I have a need to feel like I’m communicating eloquently, and I believe I am doing that again. Which is such a relief.

I made up with Anna. I’m really lost here. I’ve noticed a considerable deterioration in my ability to talk to people about feelings. I’ve noticed a considerable deterioration in my feelings while we’re on the subject. To be candid, part of the reason I made up with her was that it was easier than going about life and not talking or interacting.

It’s worth saying that I’ve gotten more pills. Someone was driving into town and I hitched a ride with them. I keep saying this, but Accutane should not have this immediate an effect on me. I don’t have it in my system one day and not the next – it takes time to settle in and it probably takes time to get out. Maybe I subconsciously believe it’s going to have an immediate effect and I end up feeling different because of that belief. I don’t know.

To further this point, my face seems very clear today. It’s strange; at the beginning of this week, I thought to myself, this clearly isn’t working. Now, at the end of the week, I’ve completely changed my mind and think that I’m ready to get off Accutane. My face is less peely. This actually freaked me out a bit. I was paranoid that it had stopped working. I seem to change my mind about what’s happening to me every 15 minutes.

It has been almost six weeks since I started taking Accutane. I don’t know whether to believe this is making a difference or not. If it is, it’s veeeeeery gradual. If it isn’t, well I’ll be livid.

Loose ends – Week 6

April 23rd. Sunday

So I left you hanging in that last entry. Now you know how I feel right now. Though, beyond hanging, I’d say I’m thoroughly hung.

For finals, I have a big final paper due for Econ. I’m understandably stressed about this because I don’t like/do well in Econ. Luckily (and infuriatingly) we get to write about what we want (specifically an economic system, not anything). This makes things easier and more difficult: easier because I don’t have to read something I’m not interested, to, in turn, write about something I’m not interested in, but harder because I have to present information via my own framework. Which is torture for the insecure.

I’m a very slow reader, which makes research very stressful. I can’t pour over dozens of books in a week, particularly these days when I’m more likely to fall asleep than reach the next page. I’m a fine writer, but I’m hella stressed about this paper, and I’m pretty slow when it comes to getting any to substantial word count. I usually enjoy writing. But not like this.

This girl. I like her. But do I? I like that she likes me… She likes me. She’s really nice and really smart and really pretty but I don’t know if I like like her. I didn’t let that stop me, figuring that the like like might just come in time. But it’s been a while since then, and I still feel the same way.

I told her. That I don’t like like her. No one told me you weren’t supposed to tell people that. I’m not sure where we are right now or what’s going to happen but this was a proper awful time to do a romance. I can’t concentrate on anything but how messy I’ve made this. I want to kick myself because confronting how I felt about her could have waited. But at the same time, being with someone who I don’t feel completely romantically attracted to was also very draining for me. This sucks.

It’s these two things that are battering me good and hard. I sat down between writing times and tried to journal, but my mind kept getting carried away and I immediately lost track of what I wanted to write. While writing a few basic stressors down, I realized today that I wasn’t really looking forward to anything. Usually there’s something I’m pumped about or am trying to accomplish. But right now, I’m just a bit hollow. And if not hollow, largely filled with worry, stress, and frustration. I sense that my field of vision (mental vision. My eyes are fine) is super narrow right now. And all of this sounds symptomatic of depression. Oh goodness. I’m reaching out to friends, talking about how stressed I am and about love and writing and everything else that’s on my mind. But I’m a wee bit worried.

 

Mangled – Week 6

April 20th. Thursday

I’m so tired. I’m working out, finals are right around the corner, I’m rubbish at relationships and this one is a royal mess, I’m trying to keep a balanced social life besides, and I’m getting like 6 hours of sleep. Econ class is a nightmare. I’m behind on the readings (intentionally) which means most of the stuff the professor is talking about in class goes right over my head. This makes staying awake in class even harder. But it’s not just Econ I’m struggling in. I’ve been having a really hard time wrapping my head around new concepts lately. I’ll try to focus on something but as often as not I’ll immediately forget about it.

I’m out of meds today. I took my last one at lunch yesterday. I’ve missed a day here or there before, but knowing that I’ll be off until my dermatologist sends more to Walgreens/whenever I can find time to pick them up is nervous-making. I should probably be back on track by Saturday or Sunday, but still. I’m worried. I felt better yesterday than I did today, and I’m trying to convince myself that medication has nothing to do with it, because basically just as much of the drug is in me right now, but I find myself a very hard person to convince.

I’ve also broken out a bit yesterday and today. Nothing major, nothing out of the ordinary. Just two lil white boys, one left of my forehead and one on my cheek.

Gah this is way too much right now.

Cetaphil – Week 5

April 18th. Tuesday

I’m turning into a big flake. I think my professors are noticing. And my friends.

I should be more specific. My chin is turning into a big flake. Or at least a lot of little ones. All of the skin under my lower lip is getting really dry and falling off. I can feel it, especially right after I take a shower. As the water on my face dries, my chin gets really tingly. I’ve been using Cetaphil moisturizer on it, and it does help, but only to cover it up. It just presses everything down, meaning that when I wash my chin the next morning, my chin is white again. It’s not an elegant solution, nor is thinking about the layer of dead skin that I’ve just replastered to my face, but it gets the job done for now.

Update on symptoms… I don’t know why it took so long to realize, but my hair texture is totally different. I used to use shampoo every other day out of necessity; my hair would get oily that fast. However, now I can easily go five or six days without and not notice anything. I still use shampoo every third or fourth day, but it’s more because I don’t like going too long without it. Having less oily hair is quite wonderful.

I’ve been working out since I got back to school. I have a buddy that goes to the gym every morning and I’ve always wanted to get more into shape, so I just decided to join him one week. It’s going well; being physically active (throwin’ some weights around) feels good and clears my head a bit throughout the day, but it’s also hurting my sleep schedule a bit. College is not without its engagements, and I was in the habit of getting to bed pretty late (12 or 1am). However, my friend wakes up at 6am to work out so I’ve been trying to get to bed earlier lately.

The first week of this was great, as most first weeks are for me; I felt like the health nut I never was. But I’ll see if this lasts.

 

Check-in 1 – Week 5

April 13th. Thursday

The check-in was frankly quite underwhelming. The fact that I have to talk to a specialist in person just to get another prescription, plus how hard it was to physically get to the clinic put a lot of pressure on this for me. I didn’t know I had to get bloodwork done before they prescribed me more Accutane. I don’t like getting blood drawn. A doctor poked me once when I had some kind of stomach bug and I threw up all over her.

I forgot to switch my iPledge physician to the dermatologist I was visiting in VT before this appointment, and I’m worried that it’s going to mess something in their system up. I rationed my pills to get me right up to today… I didn’t realize that it would obviously be a few extra days until I actually got my hands on the medicine, but my dermatologist said it was fine to miss a few days.

After filling out incoming paperwork and trying to switch my provider/getting locked out of my iPledge account on my phone, I sat down in the waiting room. She must have been quite busy because I had to wait 40 minutes before I was called in to see her. She was nice and not the type of doctor that would bullshit you, which I liked. But she didn’t have any bullshit to not tell me. I told her that I was doing fine (though I am doing less than fine), and she told me she could refill my prescription as soon as I went and did a blood test at the nearest hospital. I hoped she’d say something about progress, which in retrospect was a stupid hope because she had never seen me before. I had it in my head that there’s some sort of objective measure in gauging how your course is going. Needless to say, she didn’t comment on progress.

She did say that in many patients, the drug takes this first month to establish itself. It’s a good way for dermatologists to determine whether Accutane is going to be okay for you in the longer term. As I said earlier, I haven’t noticed any huge difference in my acne, so at this point, I don’t have much to work with. Which is feckin infuriating.

Bloodwork was annoying. Another wait. The nurse was nice. She did seem like the kind of medical professional that would bullshit you, but I made it out alive with my lunch still inside me and not on her. The sound of your own blood hitting the back of a little vial is really gross.

All in all, this seemed like a big hassle. Especially because of how much trouble it is to get around in VT.

Snitch – Week 5

April 12th. Wednesday

My first check-in is tomorrow. I’m nervous. To be honest, I’m just as nervous about getting there as I am about the actual appointment. The clinic is over 20 minutes from campus and I don’t have a car. Just getting there on time is going to be a battle, on top of convincing them to let me continue taking Accutane (kidding).

Accutane is messing with me mentally. I’ve said that a few times in past entries, and I’m saying it now. However……… I don’t know if I’m going to tell the dermatologist this. I’ve talked to friends about it, one of whom also took Accutane when he was younger. He said that he got super depressed and got put on antidepressants. It sounded altogether unpleasant. Don’t get me wrong, it sucked for him; I’m just not sure if I want that. If I thought Accutane was causing me depression or some other serious mental health problem, I would reconsider. Where I stand, I think Accutane definitely gets in the way of my functionality, but not in a dangerous or unyielding way. I’ve made time for myself to unwind, I’ve reached out to friends, letting them know I’m on a medication that can make me act abnormally… I’m supported, by myself and others.

If I thought Accutane was causing me depression or some other serious mental health problem, I would reconsider. Where I stand, I think Accutane definitely gets in the way of my functionality, but not in a dangerous or unyielding way. I’ve made time for myself to unwind, I’ve reached out to friends, letting them know I’m on a medication that can make me act abnormally… I’m supported, by myself and others.

In terms of progress, I’m not totally sure where I’m at. Whenever I’d use OTC meds for acne, the first week seemed to go great, but after that I wouldn’t see any difference. With Accutane, either the improvement has been so subtle and gradual that I haven’t noticed, or there hasn’t been any improvement. My hope is that the dermatologist tells me tomorrow.

 

Pre-Check – Week 4

April 9th. Sunday

My first dermatologist check-in is coming up. There hasn’t been any major improvement. My outlook on overall progress with Accutane is at a point where it depends on my mood. Sometimes, it seems as if there has been a noticeable improvement, whereas other times, often in the same day, I look just as I did weeks ago. This likely also is just the way of acne; it waxes and wanes.

I did some digging and found out how Accutane is meant to work. According to acne.org, the objective through a patient’s course of the medication is to hit a target dosage corresponding to the patient’s weight. Once I have consumed about 120mg/kg of body weight, I should be acne-free (obviously, this is also reflected by visual improvement). I weight about 140lbs (63.5 kg). Multiplied by the target dosage (7620mg through my course), since I’m taking 40mg daily, I can expect to be done in 190 days (7620/40).

I’ve usually heard that it takes 5 months, so this math is rather annoying. But all bodies are different, so there is still hope. Also, I have no idea whether 40mg/day is a high dose or not. I hope it is. I better be suffering for a reason.

Flaky – Week 4

April 5th. Wednesday

My eyebrows are like two little, reasonably attractive (like a solid 7.5) twin clouds raining down dead skin upon us all. Which is fun. What do I do about it?

No, I’m asking. I’ve tried rubbing them and that just kicks up more flakes. I’ve tried leaving them be and that’s eye-braux-pas. My strategy thus far has been to carefully pinch out the more visible flakes and glare meaningfully and resentfully and the smaller ones. They haven’t taken the hint.

I’m noticing how much mental strain this is adding to my life. Maybe just ‘experiencing’ is a better word at this point. One of my reference points is my Econ class. I’ve had a hard time keeping up with the professor to begin with, and I had fallen asleep in class a few times (which isn’t a great thing to do in a 7 person class) pre-ccutane. I don’t think Accutane was every going to make this better and it definitely feels like it’s gotten worse. I lose the thread of conversations in class mid-sentence. I’m not super passionate about economics but I do make it a point to try to understand the concepts at hand. Maybe just to keep my brain sharp. I’m having a very hard time doing that.

This week, we went to an economics conference for class. An ECONference. There were some pretty important-sounding people there, and that usually makes me perk up. Make it easier for me to convince myself that the subject matter at hand is important and that I shouldn’t write a seven-page mental review on the what the conference room carpet add to the interior decor of the joint. There were some World Bank execs (or if they weren’t, shame on them for talking like they were), some people who had done fieldwork in countries impacted by natural disasters. The short of it is that I fell asleep in the first speech. I’ve never done that before. I’ve sat through much more deeply uninteresting things than this. I drank two cups of coffee in before the next speech because I have reputations to maintain, but I ended up getting sleepy again by the time we were planning on leaving.