November 30th. Thursday
I’m lost. The semester is at an end, I’m trying, succeeding, and failing to connect with my old self. I’m looking for ways to distract myself from the gnawing loneliness that is college life at a tiny tiny institution. It’s not going well. It’s not going poorly. It is going.
Every day, I have a packed schedule from breakfast to dinner. Sometimes I have class or work after dinner as well, but I usually end up with two or three odd hours of nothing. Since I got back to school after Thanksgiving break, I’ve been trying to make use of that time. I started reading for pleasure again, briefly. I picked up Turtles All the Way Down because our library bought a copy and it had been taunting me from the front desk display with a bunch of other new books. I like John Green but I think his books can be a bit excessive. I enjoy them no less for it, but I was avoiding this one for a while. I really enjoyed reading after I was done with work for the day, but the third night in someone checked out the book and I was left emptyhanded.
Relevant, conducive even, to this gnawing are developments with Emily. We are no longer talking. I decided after coming back that I needed more time to center myself and that starting something long-distance with her didn’t feel right at the moment. It was very civil. There were no tears or pouts or sad faces. Emily and I are both pretty dry when it comes to feelings. I definitely felt very confused while we tried to figure out what we wanted and needed. I definitely didn’t say everything I should have. I don’t think she did either. But I do think we said everything we needed to. Now we’re not talking. We’re letting the physical distance between us take its place. We both want to remain friends and in touch but I personally don’t think I can transition into that without some reorientation. So here we are.
No updates on the whole acne front. What a week.
November 26th. Sunday
Thanksgiving break has preyed once again upon us all. I went home to spend some time with the fam, which was actually not awful. Part of me was expecting it to be really nice to see them again, but another part of me was thinking there was a reason I hate home so much. I guess both were right. I forgot how impotent and stifled I feel at home. That space is too filled with angst and memories for me to do anything other than watch youtube videos and emotionally degenerate, which is exactly what I have memories of/where the angst comes from. I got over my family after about two hours. They’re fine. Sure they’re special, but so is everyone else in life. What WAS nice was space away from school and Emily. Emily and I talked about maybe leaving each other alone over break. We got in pretty deep this week about what we were doing and what we wanted/needed for ourselves and from each other. We landed in a place that was pretty compatible with the incoming break. We both wanted a relationship but both thought it was a bad idea, for different reasons. Time at home was a great distraction from her. We plan on settling things soon. One way or another.
I’m also feeling a whole lot better emotionally since leaving school. That place is like a sinkhole for mental stasis. Good time. Even though I’m confronted viscerally by the trauma of my childhood at home, sleeping in my room and doing the same things I did in elementary, middle, and high school, I feel so much more centered than I have in a while. This is especially reassuring after coming off of Accutane and not knowing who I am. I’m on my way back, and I believe that now.
I did get four pimples in the past week though. On the face. And that’s pissing me the hell off. Four. It’s some kind of joke. Two on the cheek and two on the forehead. They were all small but noticeable and of popping size. They all left marks, but none too too big. I’m so paranoid that as the Accutane continues to leave my system, I’ll be right back to where I started. Which is probably not going to happen, I know. But I’m still so freaked out.
I don’t think I’d do it all again.
Not anytime soon at least.
My face is once more so so so oily.
November 16th. Thursday
I’m not sure how I’m doing. My rela-friendship with Emily is weird. I didn’t write about it last week because there were other matters to discuss in that department, namely that I, with a love life that vaguely resembles Wade Wilson’s face, hooked up with someone. Last week, Emily and I were cruising. This week, I feel less certain. However, I think the part to note here is that my attitude towards her is different every week. Even if it is my MO (to flip mental states of being weekly), a healthy relationship should not fluctuate week to week. What’s more, this isn’t even a relationship. I’m confused as to why I’m even sustaining this with her. I think the rush of connection I get when sharing my life with her blinds me to all of the lingering fear, anxiety, and general griminess I’m feeling outside of it. I think it’s time to move on.
I’m feeling largely like myself. I can move and think at the same time now. I don’t get lost when trying to think about more than one thing at a time. I can remember things every once in a while. However, I still feel some slack. I think going easy on myself while on medication is catching up to me. I don’t think I try nearly as hard as I used to, and that’s driving me insane. I went rock climbing last night, and I gave up on the track(?) I was doing real fast. I tried a few more times, but I just wasn’t feeling it. I can’t stop thinking that I would have been able to continue pre-medication. I know that’s not a productive thought. But I can’t help it.
My face is suuuper oily again. Maybe not as oily as it used to be, but it’s on its way. My hair as well. I miss having drier hair. I used to be able to go a few days without shampoo but now it’s like clockwork again, every other day. I’m still spot-free though. This is what I paid for.
November 10th. Friday
I am returning back to normal. I’m finding all the pieces of myself I had left strewn about my life and slowly putting me back together. As an assignment for one of my dance classes, I turn in a journal entry every week about reflections I’ve had regarding the previous class. In the past month, the majority of my entries have been about how medication has inhibited my ability to dance. The journal has become more about Accutane than it is about dance, which is problematic academically but extremely useful for me, emotionally. This week, I journaled about looking for aspects of my personality. I’m living an intense identity crisis, and the terrified part of me that thinks I’ve changed irrevocably is looking for habits and thought patterns I used to engage with. I’m latching onto these, comforting myself by trying to force them back into my life. However, I am not these patterns; I am what inspires them in myself. So I’ve been looking for that deeper core of myself. This is all getting pretty weird and hairy, but rest assured I’m finding my way again. There’s attrition, there’s friction, but I’m getting there.
Something happened. I can’t find an elegant way to get into writing about this, so I won’t try. A friend of mine (who I wrote about a while back; the one who I was really close to but then got a girlfriend and whatnot), came here as a part of his tour. I went to see him play in Montpelier earlier in the semester and hung out with his chorus. I got along with one of them in particular, and we hung out quite a bit while she was here. I showed her around campus. She was very interested in dance, so I connected her with a dance professor. After their concert, we more or less snuck off together. I’m not one to put things bluntly, but I’m sure you can put one and two together (in a way that makes threes).
This was my second time. I’m not sure how I feel about hookups because this was my second time. It felt like a blitzkrieg of emotion and connection with someone I didn’t know at all. We spent something like three hours talking and hanging out before we went to my room, so I got to know her in a way. But also, I really didn’t know her. My outlook on my first few times doing anything is that it’s going to be strange and disorienting, and this was no exception. I know a big part of healthy sex is all about communicating what you want and don’t want, and we did some of that (not nearly as much as we could have, but we asked and provided input. it was real domestic like). However, I was definitely too on edge to calm down enough to communicate super freely. I’m much more stoic about it now than I was yesterday; I felt super weird about it yesterday. That’s fine though.
My nose’s 7-month-period is over, and my lips aren’t chapped anymore. I haven’t had a dry/rashy patch of skin in a while either. I noticed a good sized red bump on my shoulder. Which is fine. I wonder whether other Accutane users still get a spot here and there. The dermatologist told me at the beginning of this nightmare that sometimes people have to go through another course of Accutane like five years after their first one because their acne comes back. I guess I’ll have to keep track of whether I keep getting these bumps in the next few months/years. From what I understand, my acne is genetic or hormonal (or something else related to a decree from god himself) and OTC medications won’t get the job done. If I stop getting bumps, it means whatever was causing my acne has passed on. If I keep getting them, I’m assuming it’s only a matter of time before it comes back.
November 2nd. Thursday
It’s been over a week since I stopped. There’s much more me in me that I’m used to. I’ve been waiting for this for a long time, but I’m awfully confused now that it’s here. I’m stuck between this dysfunctional but comfortable Me and the now foreign-but-normal Me. It’s appreciably disorienting. I’m often lost in conversations, wondering how to act around people. While on medication, I noticed that I would talk a lot, but there wouldn’t be much purpose in it. I’d just blab thoughts. I’ve begun trying to listen more and talk only when I have something important or productive to say. It went well this morning. But I don’t want to extrapolate using such limited data.
My relationship with Emily is shook. This has something to do with me regaining some of my emotional capacity, I think. A week into being off medication, I was viscerally repelled by the kind of friendship/relationship I had with her. I was totally okay with it up until Monday, but I’m back to feeling like myself, meaning that I’m really really not okay with it now. I’ve spent more time being in between friendship and romance than I have dating someone. Emily and I have had many conversations about keeping an appropriate distance, and I think I was interacting with her in a healthy way for medication-me. But what I was doing isn’t healthy for me to sustain going forward. At very least, not in this transition period. I have too much hope for something to happen between us, which is not possible at the moment.
I’m much less chapped lately. My lips still chap, but they’re not nearly as bad, and I suspect most of it is from the habit I’ve developed of picking at them and licking them more often than I used to. Also, my skin as dry and flaky. I don’t have to put on moisutizer to cover it up. As often. I have a few times. Annnd, My nose has almost stopped bleeding entirely. I know this is a sign that the Accutane is leaving my body, but I have no idea where I am along that process. If all of the dryness-related symptoms stop, does that mean I’m clean? Will I have to wait longer than that even? I know I’ll feel as if I still have it in me for a good while longer.
I’m still somewhat flushed. I remember ar my check-ins, the dermatologist called it “The Glow.” I am aglow still.
And the spot is still there.
October 25th. Wednesday.
I’m done. I decided this morning. I was supposed to go until Halloween but I’m just done.
I freaked out really bad last night. It felt like I had changed so much. I wasn’t the person I remembered I was. The last 32 weeks of entries may have been some indication, but I am a tad self-obsessed. Particularly with grooming my own presence and personality, I am beyond fixated. Accutane, being the bitch it is, terrifies me, because it inhibits aspects of my personality. Last night, I realized that I might be whittling down the thing I value most about myself. I could live with literally anything else. If I lost a hair follicle every day I was on Accutane, I’d still go through with it. Sure, I’d look like half-Heisenberg by the end, but I could own that. I can’t own foreign qualities in myself. I can’t do it. So I stopped.
Sure, I’m being paranoid, and sure, six days isn’t going to make a difference. If damage has been done, it’s been done. But I’m reaching a point where I’m too scared to go any further. Also, whenever I have a breakout, I write it down. My last breakout was on the 23rd of September. It has been a month since my last breakout. I have met the criteria. I am officially clean. Out. Done.
Now. I have 11 pills left. Oh, the possibilities. It sounds a bit sadistic, but I’ve decided I want to destroy each one in a different and extreme way. Inflict the same pain I’ve felt for the past 7 months upon them. I said I have 11 left. I should have 12, but I went out into the woods and smashed one with a rock. A big rock. I’m planning on burning another one. If I had a firecracker, I’d shove one inside and set it off. I might put one in a microwave. Wholesome stuff like that. Just a nice way to destress and debrief is all. 🙂
It has been 7 months and 10 days. 32 weeks. 224 days. Some unholy number of minutes, and an unholier number of seconds.
September 1st. Friday
Where to begin. I think I gave you all the details last week. Developments in the Ella department. Something happened.
I think I’m blowing it out of proportion, with the relative experiential desert that is my history with romance. We kissed. A few times. It was desperate and fleeting and wonderful. We were tempted to leave our lives behind and run away and be together in the wet and wild forests of Vermont.
We basically just hung out a lot more and things just started to happen. We’d be up until 3 or 4 in the morning in the music building practice rooms, learning music we could play together. She was leaving Thursday. I think it happened Wednesday night/Thursday morning, hours after I told my boss (in my weekly meeting about how I was faring) that I was definitely 100% not pursuing Ella romantically. We were lying on the music hall stage, next to the massive Great-Grand piano (one of the long boys). It was cold outside and I had brought along a blanket to wear instead of a jacket. I had spread it out on the floor and we were rolled up in it, staring at the ceiling. I don’t even remember what way I was facing or whether my eyes were open when she kissed me. I was a bit startled at first. But she kissed me.
I had a class at 1:30 on the last day. For the past few days, while Ella was staying with me, I had been waking up for breakfast, eating real quick, and then hopping back in bed with her. Today, I didn’t get breakfast. I barely got lunch. It was hard to leave, even when I finally did at like 12:45.
We went our separate ways. I had class until dinner and she had to say goodbye to other friends. She was leaving later that day. I had told her to catch me at dinner before she left. My first classes of the semester were fine. They went right up until dinner. She didn’t tell me exactly when she was going to leave, but we found each other in the dining hall.
Ella and I are very alike. We both found something at school that we didn’t have at home. We grew in ways that couldn’t be nurtured at home. I never hug people when I’m in Wisconsin. Physical contact is much more free in liberal, woodsy Vermont, and that was something I missed a lot over the summer. We both came back to this place that we love and have grown into. I’m going to be here for a while longer, but she had to leave yesterday. I think that factored into what happened between us.
August 29th. Tuesday
I got a ridiculous amount of free time over RA training. Most of our sessions ran short, meaning we had a lot of time to kill. I’d have been okay if I had more to do, but I really don’t lately. I have a hard time being productive when my schedule is volatile like it is now. It would have helped if I had more stuff to set up in my room. But I don’t. There are only so many ways you can arrange two suitcases and a bed. I don’t have any bosom friends in the RA group; I’m friendly with all of them but I don’t hang out with any, really. I’m pretty bored, to be honest.
Lately, I’m spending a lot of time with Ella, the international student from last year. The camping trips lasted a week, meaning that she’s only been back for like three days. But the trip she was one was only a short hike away from campus, so I visited them once while they were out. Since they got back, however, Ella and I have gotten a lot closer. Despite my rigid routine, we’ve spent the last two nights rock climbing and playing piano for hours. Also, since she’s not a student, she doesn’t have much in the way of housing arrangements, so she’s been sleeping in my room.
I like Ella. I like like Ella. But she’s got a person at home and she’s only here for another few days, so I don’t see any reason to push things with her. Nothing has happened between us. And I’m okay with that. Stop bringing it up.
Ella’s been a great distraction from my overtime job of hyper-analyzing my own consciousness. So far, romance is one of the only emotional stimulants I’ve found that works while I’m on Accutane. I haven’t felt this much of anything in a long time. Maybe since Anna.
August 20th. Sunday
I picked up my new prescription today. I shortly after realized that my prescription for 80mg/day (two 40mg pills) is a different brand than all of my previous prescriptions. Before I was on Claravis and now I’m taking Amnesteen. I don’t know how much of a difference this will make. I imagine none. I fear it’ll make things worse. I hope it’ll be tamer than my previous prescriptions.
Today was wonderful though. RA training begins tomorrow, so I had all of today to put some finishing touches on my room and break it in. There were also a lot of other people hanging around; there’s this program at school where all new students go camping for a week before the term starts, and it’s led by returning students. A lot of those leaders are friends, and I got to hang out with them. The camping trips started today, and I tagged along/ferried supplies for a trip led by said friends in the evening. They had an awesome batch of new students, and spending time in that fledgling community was really cool.
Also, an international student I’m friends with was visiting/on the trip, and I got to hang out with her. A lot of hanging out of me today… She was only here for a semester last year, but we were pretty close at the beginning of that year. It was lovely to catch up with her a bit. My dorm is right next to a patch of forest, and as I was sitting in front of my door, waiting for the new students to put their stuff in their rooms, she appeared from between two trees. It was startling. Someone said something about her visiting around this time, but I had completely forgotten.
Things are looking up today.
August 7th. Monday
I’m suuuuper forgetful. I went to the Y yesterday and I forgot my card in the car. Then I went to get it and I forgot my water bottle. This sort of thing happened when I was at school during finals week, when I had 15 things to do every hour. I don’t know why it’s happening now… I’m not doing nearly as much. My days are pretty full, working full-time, working out, working on this blog, existing at home… but I’ve kept the number of things I’m doing pretty low. At school, I actually have a metric ton of projects I was responsible for and classes I had homework due for and the like. Now, I’m not sure. Maybe dosage has something to do with it?
I’m chugging along.