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New*My Story*Acne

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by HollDoll, Feb 15, 2018.

  1. HollDoll

    HollDoll Peer Supporter

    Hi there, I'm Holly.

    I suffered with lower back/hip/knee pain for years until discovering Dr. Sarno's book. My pain practically went away overnight because the whole thing just made so much sense to me (and I was very desperate and open to alternative possibilities at that point!).

    Since that time, I have had other symptoms crop up including foot pain, numbness in one hand, insomnia, heart palpitations and acne. The foot pain and numbness lasted only a very brief period as I had an easy time applying the mind-body principles to them. The insomnia and heart palpitations took longer (several months) because they scared me in a way that all my other previous pain symptoms did not. While the insomnia still crops up for a night or two here and there, as long as I think psychologically and reassure myself, it quickly resolves itself.

    The acne has been the macdaddy of symptoms for me. It started nearly two years ago, when I was 26 and with NO prior history of it whatsoever. The month it started was an incredibly stressful month: I started a new job that made me anxious, I found out about my sister's drug use, and I dove deeper into my eating disorder recovery than ever before; giving up disordered behaviors that I had relied on for 13 years to soothe me.

    I tried all sorts of things to heal the acne before finally coming back around to TMS. In that time it has certainly gotten better no question. BUT! It is still there. I get every kind: clog covering my entire forehead and chin, pustules, nodules and cysts. The only pattern I have been able to detect is breaking out (with "big" acne) before big events (weddings, parties etc.). The rest seems random; not even necessarily aligned to my cycle.

    I had my hormones and adrenals tested a year ago. I came up low on progesterone so I am taking an herbal supplement for that. I have played around with natural topicals but have yet to see a difference. I have been working on majorly reducing my stress and learning calmer, healthier ways to react to it which has been great. I eat well and exercise often now that my insomnia is no longer present.

    I have read Steve's book and am currently re-reading; as well as Ted Grossbart's "Skin Deep," both of which have been massively affirming, eye-opening and helpful. I FEEL that my acne is TMS but I am frustrated because it continues to persist after I have done so much work in terms of reading / learning, journaling / making connections, analyzing my personality type / making more connections, working on the areas in my life I could feel needed it...and yet the acne persists.

    I'm at the point where I can feel I've become a little obsessed with this symptom and how to heal it- always searching for that "missing link," but maybe that's part of the problem at this point?

    While I have read some acne success stories, they have been very few.

    I need to get out of my own head with all this stuff and that's why I decided to join the community, so hi :) And thank you to anyone who took the time to read this novel lol. I am majorly appreciative of ANY feedback or advice!!!

    P.S. I do not believe that my acne is diet-related. I even pursued this avenue in the midst of desperate despair (going Paleo) even though I KNEW it would send me backwards in my eating disorder recovery and mess with my head...which is exactly what it did. I have prayed about this and sincerely do not feel that food is an issue and that I should be getting on any sort of restrictive food plan due to my history.
    EmilieHeals likes this.
  2. Ryan

    Ryan Well known member

    In my opinion you are correct in that acne is not caused by diet. My acne and whole other hosts of symptoms left when i healed. Of course like most tms symptoms it starts with fear (rejection). Your on the right track good luck

    Lainey likes this.
  3. Lainey

    Lainey Well known member

    Hi Holldoll
    When I was 24 I had my first bout with acne. I had just ended a marriage and was in a state of shock about where I was headed, what to do, etc. The acne surprised me as I had always had clear skin prior to this. As I grew more comfortable with my new life, and knew I was going to be okay, the acne went away. I did not know about TMS at that time, but it makes sense to me now that my own life trauma had created this problem.
    It sounds like you know what may be the precipitating causes, the eating disorder, your sister's drug problem, and a new stressful job. You have lots on your plate, maybe you can take some time to just find some distracting, but pleasurable activity to do that can take your whirring mind off all of these troubles, even if it just reading a fun book, or taking a walk on a nice day. Your constant searching for a 'cure' for your acne is probably not needed, since you appear to know, in your heart, that it is TMS.
    I think you are right.
    JanAtheCPA and Ellen like this.
  4. NIClubber

    NIClubber Peer Supporter

    I had acne for mnay years from when I was 11 up. I still consider that I have acne on some of my body, and I'm nearly 41.

    I believe my acne started as a reaction to changing from primary school to secondary school and to somewhere I was going to know nobody. Keep at it.

    I am still struggling with my chronic back pain, six and a half years on, but I believe I am starting to 'win the battle'.
  5. EmilieHeals

    EmilieHeals New Member

    Hi Holly

    I'm fairly new here too. I just wanted to chime in and say I'm 28 and suffering from acne which has troubled me for a few years now, and started up after years of clear skin during a particularly stressful period in my life. I too have had slightly disordered eating for several years and found that no amount of paleo/gluten-free/low-carb/vegan (etc, etc) diets alleviated the acne to any extent and just made me feel restricted and miserable, topical treatments don't seem to do a lot - I've spent a fortune over the years on highly recommended products, I use all organic/natural products and they make no difference. I also don't feel that it correlates with my cycles. I've had a bad flare-up of it this weekend actually, and have been feeling extremely down/anxious/stressed so that figures. I'll check out the Skin Deep book you mentioned, thanks.

    Good luck with your recovery, I'll be interested to hear how you get on :)

    Emilie x
  6. HollDoll

    HollDoll Peer Supporter

    Thanks so much for the replies you guys, I really appreciate it!!

    Ryan- Hearing that acne was one of your symptoms that went away when you healed is very encouraging!! Self-rejection has been a big theme of mine during my TMS journey, and of course there's the fear of the symptoms themselves (a distraction from what I'm *really* fearful of, but still)- and so far the acne has been the trickiest for me to be able to ignore and just live my life despite it being there. It's been such a tough lesson in humility and ego, but I am pushing myself to show up anyway and learn to love myself for who I *am* despite what I look like- which is what I believe the manifestation of this symptom has been all about for me... Thanks again for the encouragement and for sharing your experience!

    Hi Lainey- Thank you for sharing you experience with acne. Every TMS story I hear that involves the resolution of this symptom is SO helpful to me. That makes sense that this symptom cropped up at such a stressful time for you, and that it resolved when you started to trust and know that you were going to be ok. My acne cropped up at a very similar time of transition during which so many things were feeling overwhelming / scary / confusing / uncertain. The thing I always relied on for my sense of security - my eating disorder - is no longer what I turn to. As I continue to learn how to cultivate my security / confidence from *within* I have seen my acne lessen. I stress over "the missing link" because it is still there though, but I cannot *force* myself to have any more revelations than I already have. Many have already come and I need to trust that any others will come to fruition at the right time...but in the meantime, I think living my life and doing my best to ignore the acne is imperative. Like you said, I know in my heart that it is TMS. Thank you for the reminder to seek fun, joy-filled activities to engage in- as I can easily become too focused on "healing" to the exclusion of "fun"!

    NIClubber- Mmmm that's very interesting to hear that your acne first cropped up during such a big period of transition. I have thought a lot about skin conditions as way to be hidden. This symbolism has absolutely rang true for me, and perhaps it did (still does?) for you too? At the time my acne started I was so overwhelmed by everything going on, and was very concerned about settling into my new job and *being liked.* Before my go-to for hiding was ALWAYS my eating disorder- no matter what was going on in my life, I always had that to retreat into for a sense of safety, value, meaning, purpose etc. etc. and when I finally decided to remove that option (i.e. recover further and more seriously) I believe my acne cropped up in part to HIDE ME. Interesting to think about... I am glad to hear that you feel you're finally starting to win the battle over your chronic back pain!!! I too had that as a symptom back in the day- you will be free from that pain; just keep plodding!!!
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  7. HollDoll

    HollDoll Peer Supporter

    HI Emilie!
    I sort of laughed when I read your post because our stories are SO similar. We are the same age, struggling with the same symptom; with similar histories. I've also gone down the rabbit hole of trying to heal through diet and spending ungodly amounts of money on all sorts of topicals and treatments to no avail. In fact, I first started noticing an improvement in my acne a year ago when I finally decided to listen to my own intuition about it all and went back to eating whatever I wanted in order to continue moving forward in my e.d. recovery; quit putting anything on my face I didn't feel like; and came back around to viewing it from the TMS lense!

    Despite its persistence I still believe in my heart that this is TMS and I refuse to give up or let this acne dictate my life anymore (which is exactly what I did for quite some time!). It sounds like your acne is also TMS. Yes I highly recommend Skin Deep- you can download the PDF for free actually. It's a long, fascinating, and very helpful read! I will absolutely continue to check back in, and please let me know if you ever want to talk further about your own experience with acne or disordered eating- I am here!! :)
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  8. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    What a great introduction, Holly - welcome! If you haven't already discovered them, we have two free programs to offer. The SEP is the original - the Structured Educational Program designed by Forest and some early volunteers - it's on the main wiki. And last year our wonderful friend and supporter Alan Gordon, LCSW contributed his online Pain Recovery Program for our use here. The two programs are different - the SEP is structured, just like the name implies, and introduces you to resources and techniques, especially journaling. Alan's program is more emotionally-based - and takes full advantage of his brilliance. You'll see many references to Alan and his advice all over the forum.

    All the best in your journey,

  9. HollDoll

    HollDoll Peer Supporter

    Thanks so much for the warm welcome Jan! Going to give Alan's program a looksie- thanks for the suggestion! :)
  11. NIClubber

    NIClubber Peer Supporter

    My acne is all but 'cured', but my back pain continues. I have made an appointment for January to go and see a TMS specialist, to try to find out what I am doing that could be better.

    It is nearly six years since I discovered Sarno and his theories, just by accident.

    I understand that a lot of the emotions relate to being bullied into isolation, but there is clearly more to it than that.

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