3 Things I Wish I Knew Before Taking Accutane

3 Things I Wish I Knew Before Taking Accutane

It may not be worth it. And it will hurt.

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I survived my cystic acne.

Seems like a dramatic thing to say about some pimples--but for me, it isn't. The self-hate that came with the lesions on my face made me feel anything but beautiful, anything but worthy of love--sometimes, anything but human at all.

I went through four years of various topical and oral antibiotic treatments, feeling increasingly discouraged as they failed, one after another, to clear my skin. In a last-ditch effort, my doctor sent me to a dermatologist who could prescribe me the Accutane--the strongest of all acne medications, and my last hope.

While acne has no known "cure," per se, Accutane-- the brand name of isotretinoin, which is essentially a form of vitamin A--is the only known drug that effectively puts severe forms of the acne into a sort of "remission."

Like all strong, promising medications, Isotretinoin has its fair share of side effects and problems--here are a few I wish I'd known about before I made the decision to go on Accutane.

They aren't joking When they said it makes depression worse 

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I'm naturally an anxious person who tends towards depression when I'm stressed, so taking this medication during the most stressful period of my high school career was definitely not the best decision I've ever made. There were days where I couldn't seem to stop crying or get out of be--days when suicidal thoughts threatened to overtake me. Taking accurate definitely impacted my mental health, which made it 10 times more difficult to do...well, anything. My relationships with my friends, family and boyfriend all suffered, as did my work ethic and my physical body.

"Chapped lips" is putting it lightly 

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I had one chapstick that worked actually to moisturize my lips while I was on Accutane--it was from the Johnny Cash museum in Nashville and it contained Lanolin, an oil from sheep's wool that I later found out was the key to stopping my lips from falling off entirely. When i eventually lost my magic chapstick, I felt the real pain of accurate dryness. Most of the time, the surface of my lips looked like I had spent days roaming the Saharan desert with no vaseline on hand. My dermatologist told me that if my lips weren't chapped, the medication wasn't working, so I guess in some ways the dryness was a good thing....still not the most fun to deal with, though.

You can't be afraid of needles 

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Because vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin--not water soluble like B or C--overloading on it has been known to cause liver damage. Because isotretinoin is a high concentration of vitamin A, it has the potential to mess with your liver function..which means your liver function must be monitored closely...which means blood tests. Lots, and lots, and lots of blood tests. Generally administered either once a month or once every other month for as long as you are on the treatment. Luckily, I am not afraid of needles, so this part didn't bother me as much--but it would've been nice to know beforehand!

Despite the debilitating side effects I experienced, I believe taking Accutane was the right decision for me--but that certainly doesn't mean that it's the right medication for everyone.

In the end, The one thing that I really wish I'd have known before I took Accutane was that...my pimples didn't make me ugly. they didn't make me unlovable, or any less than human. They were an impediment to my self-worth, and one I'm glad I got rid of, but with or without them, I remain the same person: strong and anxious, imperfect and beautiful.

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5 New Year's Resolutions

That are truly beneficial

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1. Pledge to do something active every day

This may sound a little silly, but any sort of activity will help you destress and feel good about yourself as well, plus who doesn't enjoy a little time outside? It is really important to stay active and healthy, especially while you are young! It is proven that exercising releases endorphins which will decrease your stress and truly just make you feel healthier.

2. Pick a word to live by for the entire year 

This is incredibly beneficial! Last year, I chose to live by the word: Patience, and let me tell you this made a HUGE difference in my life, throughout 2018 I was constantly thinking about how to live my life with more patience, and now I truly know what being patient means (in all aspects of life). My word for 2019 is Mindfulness!

3. Find Something Positive in Every Negative Life Situation

This one sounds really corny, I know, but it truly makes an impact on how you handle life situations. I have handled a lot of them very badly, but when I started to reflect on the positives, I began to look at these situations as life lessons or stepping stones, that way it did not feel like it was the end of the world to me, which bad life situations should NEVER make you feel like that.

4. Save money every day

We all know our world revolves around money so, to eliminate that stress, pledge to save money everyday! Start a money jar and put the amount of your choosing in it everyday- it could be a penny or it could be five dollars, it really adds up in the end.

5. Set goals for yourself

This is really important, especially if you have a goal oriented personality like me! I thrive on trying to reach my goals, therefore when I started setting goals for myself I noticed a huge improvement in my productivity and work ethic. I chose to set small daily goals, sometimes different each day, like: clean my room, do dishes, etc, as well as setting larger, long term goals like: get in to my dream med school, save ten thousand dollars in a year, and little goals to live by like: go to class all semester, get up earlier, stick to a sleep schedule, clean out closet once a month, etc. I have truly noticed a difference in my life since I have written these goals down on paper, I have noticed myself genuinely working hard to achieve them and feeling better in the process, which is why I believe everyone should try it!







These are 5 New Year's Resolutions that will truly make an impact in your life and health (mental and physical)!





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It's The Most (Miserable) Time Of The Year

As January approaches, the once-happy winter season ends.

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Temperatures have dropped below freezing, mounds of black snow line the sidewalks, and all the pretty lights put up a month ago have vanished. That's right folks; it's January!

Given the gloomy weather and lack of activity, it comes as no surprise that post-holiday January is considered one of the most depressing times of the year. Only a month ago it was the "happiest season of all," but after all the gifts were given and the families (finally) returned home, the anticipation and warmth associated with the early winter months left. And then we were forced to return to school and work. It's a depressing combination, to say the least.

The "winter blues" aren't just a colloquialism -- for about five percent of Americans who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), the months of December, January, February, and March can mean severe depression. The disorder, more commonly found among women, is believed to be caused by changing circadian rhythms, a result of shorter days, and/or melatonin imbalances in the brain.

It's worth noting that SAD is rare, and though most people do not experience such severe depression in the winter, no one is completely immune to seasonal sadness. In fact, the third Monday of January, dubbed "Blue Monday," is commonly referred to as the saddest day of the year. The concept was first introduced in 2005 by public relations firm Sky Travel and backed by Dr. Cliff Arnall, a former tutor at Cardiff University in Britain. The date is formulated by a combination of factors that affect seasonal depression, like post-holiday debt, bad weather conditions, and low motivation to act on New Year's resolutions.

Although "Blue Monday" has no scientific standing and is usually used as an advertising ploy, the idea that January owns the most miserable day of the year doesn't sound too far from the truth. But it doesn't have to be so gloomy -- there are multiple ways to ease seasonal depression. One of the most popular of these, light therapy, involves sitting a few feet from a light box right after waking up each day. The light box mimics the natural sunlight so often lacking during winter and is thought to act as a mood-booster.

Yes, winter may be a particularly terrible time, but all this isn't to say that it's the only melancholy season. Those who suffer from depression show symptoms no matter what the weather. It's important that we make our mental health a priority all the time, not just during these few somber months. 'Tis always the season for self-care.

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