In the last two months, I have gotten six shots in my face. I have taken four different antibiotics. I have gone to doctors at least once a week since Halloween. I have spent hundreds of dollars on doctor visits, medication, and replacing every hair product, soap, lotion, and makeup product I use. My face has felt like it's been badly sunburned and covered in bee stings. It's been swollen like a tomato, covered in bumps, big and small, and so painful that I could barely wash it, touch it, or put makeup on it.
The first diagnosis was shingles. The second was rosacea. The third idea was a product allergy (hence the replacing of everything I used). The fourth was cystic acne.
I just refer to it as a whole lot of unwelcomed dermatological drama.
I have felt the need to apologize to people for looking so terrible, to offer an explanation for looking and feeling hideous. "This isn't normal, just so you know," I found myself saying as I pointed to my face when meeting new people. Some women wear makeup as a mask, but my skin itself has felt like a mask to me that I haven't been able to take off. I haven't felt like myself. I have felt ugly and embarrassed and helpless to do anything to make this better. It really has been a nightmare, challenging my beauty, worth, energy, psyche. Some days I combatted the feelings of defeat with hope and humor; other days were just tearful ones, thinking "Is this ever going to get better?"
But luckily--and, gosh, I don't want to speak too soon--I think this week I finally turned the corner. After weeks of only worsening as I kept seeking help, the antibiotic I am now taking seems to be working. Some extra time off, mega amounts sleep, praying praying praying, and a bit of reclusiveness surely helped, too.
How did this happen? What triggered it? It's still a mystery.
Continuing to hope for clarity (in every sense of the word) very soon...