Generation Medication: Creating more problems by trying to solve one

Vanessa Abplanalp, Editor-in-Chief

“What’s wrong?” my mom asked.  “Just Sunday?”

I’ve never been a fan of Sundays.  It’s nothing against those who have a desire to wake up obscenely early and go to church or an incensed hatred of football.

It’s a transition, an anomaly.  It’s a weekend day treated as a weekday.  You have the day, but it’s in preparation for the next.  In a way, it’s change.

The dislike was rooted throughout the week, creeping in with disguised disgust and implicit fear as it edged further into the weekend, materializing into existence on Sunday. Mid-afternoon Sunday was the time is usually took place.

During those Sunday afternoons, I’ve never felt more inconsolably miserable in my entire life.

Before those Sundays, there was sophomore and freshman year, the beginning tides.  Around then, the foreign invader of acne was slowly dominating my face, overlooked for a majority of the time.  Then, completely occupied from junior and still into senior year.  Eighty-five percent of teenagers, those adolescents around my age and filled with angst, develop acne, from U.S. Davis Health System.

Oh, yes, here comes the talk of waiting for the miracle of ProActiv to work, which it never did.  Along with this false advertisement, two years of other products and methods were tried, and for the most part, failed.

In the second semester of junior year, a tactic from the inside out was attempted.   Instead of acne caused by what’s on the surface, mine is hormonal, denoted by acne along the chin and jawline, especially around the time of one’s menstrual cycle, according to Women’s Health.

So began the first round of pills: antibiotics,  as did the trips to the dermatologist, both beginning March of junior year.  Along with the dermatologist, another professional I saw for a month or so was a holistic health coach, believing that the acne foundation was rooted in dietary problems.

Per the health coach’s recommendations, I could no longer consume the joys that are gluten, dairy and sugar.  Around the same time, I began my first job at Dairy Queen.  The conflict is tangible. From March and a little into May, my diet fluctuated from all vegetables to gluten-free pastas to the savior of cheesesticks when there was no more hope.

My nutritional renaissance wasn’t the only thing to take a beating.  My face, already marked and bumped, received skin peels and pore extractions, leaving it looking worse than previously.

After the almost two months of continuation with this process, it seemed futile, and the notion was abandoned.

From the end of junior up until the first month of senior year, I was pill free.

Acne changed that again.  With no prospect of improvement, the dermatologist was revisited, and she offered a different type of pill.  Minocycline was the name of the first, a hormone blocker that is meant to suppress the hormones that cause the acne.

I didn’t feel like my acne was getting better, but I also didn’t feel like it was getting worse.  It was the standstill I had been at for two years, and that’s two years too long to solve a problem.  The pills were advanced to spironolactone, also to block hormones, but stronger and with a higher dosage.

It started as two pills a day, one in the morning and one at night.  Still, the stubbornness of facial imperfections persisted and the dosage was increased to three pills a day, along with a low-dose birth control to aid in the battle.

In these few months of pill swapping and hormones, whether real or suppressed, my face wasn’t the only thing to react.

My emotions were altered beyond my control, and my mood was subject to the hour.

I can’t exactly say when the change occurred, but it began with no emotion.  Not all the time, but at a rate common enough to notice. I wasn’t even the first to notice.  Josh, my boyfriend, pointed out my voice would became listless and my attitude apathetic sporadically. In short, he said, I became emotionless.

It’s a difficult choice to make, feeling too much or feeling nothing at all.

I don’t know when this change occurred either, but it was a Sunday, the first I really noticed the severity of what was taking place.

I had spent every day of fall break with at least one person at some point in the day, most of the time the person being Josh.

Then, it was the Sunday before going back, and I was alone in my room.  Putting away clothes, finding strewn and stray books, when tears began their torrential downpour from eyes that were dry seconds before.

The first phase is tears. Then, the emotions hit. I cannot think of a time in my existence of the past 18 years that has so irrevocably shaken me and challenged everything I thought I was.

Tears set in, followed by thoughts. Thoughts of hopelessness, of wanting nothing in life, of feeling like wasting life and dreading every tick of every clock, feeling no desire for a future and feeling no reality other than the walls of the room I was trapped in.

Four hours later, it was over.

The cycle of daily pills, having no time to think throughout the week and being left with a buildup of time on the day that’s supposed to start the week felt like the end of my life.

This went on for two months.

I missed school. I couldn’t stop crying long enough to go to school or fear that if I opened my mouth, tears instead of words would be what came out.

I called off of work.  Or, some days, I’d go in crying and not look customers in the eye with my red, wet ones.

I didn’t care about my future. I couldn’t bring myself to apply to colleges.

I couldn’t sleep alone. I needed someone in the room, usually my mom,  Josh or a pet.

I hated my room. For all the time I spent in it, it felt like a prison I could let myself out of, but only because the only place I was truly locked in was my mind. The light depressed me, and on an impulse, I made my mom buy me a lamp so something could be able to get rid of the darkness.

I loathed out of everything the most, and it shook me to the bone, watching the clock go from 5:44 p.m. to 5:45 p.m., seeing time go, feeling like I was wasting life, and all I could do was cry. Which, led to more crying.

I couldn’t talk about it with anyone but Josh and my parents, and even then, if it’s something one hasn’t experienced, it’s so much harder to explain.

The best way I attempted to tell Josh is it felt like being at the bottom of a hole to the point where you can’t see light. Darkness is the only presence, and while you can’t see anything, you feel and hear everything moving and happening too quickly to comprehend. Then, there’s nothing. It’s just darkness. You can’t feel anything.

At that point, I realized I preferred feeling everything at once instead of nothing at all.  Neither are pleasant, but at least one makes me feel human.

My parents, along with the dermatologists, told me that it was just the pills. That I wouldn’t normally feel this way if I didn’t have all these hormones and hormone blockers in my system.

Being told what you’re feeling isn’t real doesn’t change what you’re feeling.  It doesn’t stop the torrent that rages or soothe the burn that’s been seared into your thoughts.

The line between thought and reality blurred into a masquerade of life hidden behind intolerable emotion.

Now, my pills are cut to amoxicillin, an antibiotic with no hormonal effect and low-dose birth control, still three pills a day, but they make all the difference in the world.

Nov. 22 marked something new. It was the first Sunday I didn’t spend crying.

I enjoy school more.  I see friends more often.  I can actually speak to my parents pleasantly.  I’ve been accepted to UIndy and invited to partake in the honors college.

Emotions still spill over occasionally, even last night, for example, but it’s nowhere near the precipitation rate my eyes were accustomed to.

I cannot emphasize the amount of relief having Josh and my parents has given me through each month and hour. I’m in firm belief that I’d still be crying more often without them and everything they’ve put up with.  Even one person can be enough to save everything you think you’ve lost, and I have three.

Now, Sunday is just another day that ends in y.