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 27th. Friday
It’s only the third day off and I’m noticing major differences in myself. There are moments when some thoughts are cloudy and out of reach, but there are many more moments when I’m able to think clearly and productively. I had a really good and sane and fulfilling conversation with a friend from home yesterday. I felt like I was able to follow along with everything she was saying, which is so nice for a change. I didn’t get lost trying to make sense of one thought and forget everything else she said. That used to happen a lot.
I’m also feeling more emotionally healthy. By that, I partly just mean I’m feeling emotions. I was looking at leaves on the late-Autumn trees and how the sun shone through them. I felt some happiness as opposed to the repressed imprint of it I’m used to feeling.
There was a horror movie screening that I definitely wasn’t planning on going to but got pulled into by the flow of traffic. I’ve been much more impressionable in the past few months. I’ve been much more scared in the past few months. I was afraid of walking through the forest trail between my dorm and the music building because there have been a lot of bear sightings recently. I used to walk down that path all the time. But I watched this horror movie and I was fine.
I know a lot of these indicators I’m getting of my return to Me are brought on my by own desire to be me again. But I’m feeling like myself. And I’m not going to try and stop that.
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.
October 18th. Wednesday
I went to Canada! It was a weird and wonderful thing. A few friends and I decided to get off campus over a long weekend, and it was such a good decision. I keep forgetting how much school sucks you in. Being away has reminded me how much it’s necessary to be away.
We were in Montreal, and since school in VT is so small, we spent a lot of time just walking around the city. I’ve never been to a place with so much art. Literally every block had a mural on the side of a building, else on the sidewalk or storefront. It was so refreshing after only having spent time in cities dipped in dull tones of brick red or concrete grey. Montreal also seemed a lot friendlier than Chicago or Boston or New York. It was intimidating, navigating a city where English is somewhat of a noob language. They all know it, but they’ll still judge you for now speaking French.
Getting away from work and people at school was so good for me mentally. For a good four days, I only had to focus on eating, sleeping, and looking for fun things to do. I always forget how important it is to leave your normal life for a while and chill out. I forget to make my world a bit bigger than my routine.
I got some bumps on my right cheek. Not pimples, that I can tell so far. I’ll keep an eye on them and let you know.
I also got something that more resembled a pimple on my left cheek. It was just a little old thang, but I scratched it a tiny bit and it bled. My intuition is that it shouldn’t have been there 7 months in.
I almost lost my medicine case today. I usually punch out all of my pills from their packages and put them in a pill box. I misplaced the box today, and for a few minutes, there was hope. How glorious it would be to just stop taking Accutane right now. All of a sudden like. I’m getting so close.
October 15th. Sunday
Things are going. Time is passing. Not nearly fast enough, but such is time.
This week has been strange. I had some really good mornings when I was able to grind out some major progress on a script I’m working on for my screenwriting class. That was so good for me. On the other hand, this Thursday was super lazy. I went to bed late on Wednesday, was woken up by a page, and had to respond to a medical emergency at 6am. I start my day at 7:30, but I decided to sleep in because I had gotten like 5 hours of sleep at the point. I slept in until 9:15, thinking I could catch breakfast before it ended at 9:30. By the time I got there the buffet line was wiped out, so I had a breakfast of orange slices. I was still pretty hungry at that point, and more than just disappointed, so I just went back to bed. I then woke up at 12:30 and went to lunch.
I get weird looks when I tell people I wake up at 7. Especially if they know I don’t have any classes in the week that start before 1pm. I don’t sleep in on weekdays and I only ever sleep until around 9 on weekends. With this in mind, after waking up at 12:30 on Thursday, I felt disgusting. Beyond that, I didn’t have the will to do any work. I think having a productive morning is vital to my having a productive day. And when I’m not productive, I start deteriorating.
The rest of the week was similar as well. I watch more movies this week than I usually do. Since I rarely have to do homework after dinner, I have this tendency to sit in my room and just get really sentimental. 3/5 nights I’ve ended up watching really sappy romance movies. It doesn’t help. Well, every once in a while, I watch one that I kinda jive with. 500 days of summer was alright.
I’ve gotten a few new pimples recently. One on my thigh and two on my arm. Only one of them was a pimple pimple… the other two were just angry bumps. I didn’t pop it. When it’s just one, I can spare the self control.
It’s frustrating that this is still happening, but it’s not on my face, so I’m not going to pay it any mind. I’m not going another month after this. Even if I do get something on my face. I am done.
There are been a few painful moments when I feel like I’m really not able to follow some part of a conversation. Something that I know I would have been able to keep up with before I was on medication. Stuff like this drives me insane.
October 7th. Saturday
I made a countdown calendar. I’ve never been one of those people. But I’ll find out who I am after this is over. My last day is Halloween. Weird, but I like it. I’m going to cross every day leading up to it.
I’ve found this last month to be a lot better than the ones before. I think it’s because the end is in sight. I also realized this is my 6th prescription. Which means if you’re spicy hot at scheduling appointments, it’s possible to get this done in just over six months instead of seven and a half.
I’ve been the usual up and down, emotional void this past week. I’m more optimistic, granted. And that makes a lot of things easier. But I can’t wait to get out of here.
I spent a lot of yesterday in bed. I didn’t have the energy for anything. Or… willpower rather. It was one of those days when there are a million things you can do so you start all of them but then are too stressed to continue doing any of them. After a while, I just gave up and went to my room. I ended up watching some Youtube videos for a few hours, something I forbid myself to do while I’m at school. I injured my leg in a rehearsal earlier in the day, which added to my lethargy.
All of this time I spent in bed reminded me of how my face used to feel when I had it up against a surface for any significant amount of time. I would start noticing a kind of stinging after a bit, and then came the dread of wondering whether that spot would be the stomping ground of a new breakout. I didn’t feel any fear yesterday.