“Bacne” to Happiness

As mentioned in previous articles, I have depression and M.E. My latest confession is that I have adult acne. I was a spotty teenager, but not of acne proportions – except on my back. Or “bacne” for those of us in the miserable know. 

I’m 27 now, and the bacne is still here. Even worse, from the age of 25 acne appeared on my chest, arms and face. Lovely, great boils. I thought these things disappeared as soon as you turned 20?! It’s not the cause of my depression, but it certainly doesn’t help.

Bacne problems

My best friend is getting married next year, and she has asked me to be a bridesmaid. She’d LOVE the bridesmaids to be in strapless dresses. They are my absolute nightmare. Back, chests, and arms all on display. I’m willing to wear one for her, because I love her. I just don’t know if I can take my two exes, who will be there, having a good little giggle that I’m still spotty and single, while they strut about with their perfect girlfriends with their flawless skin. (I’m not bitter.)

Revving into action

This announcement geared me into REALLY doing something about it. I must admit, I have tried everything. From pills from the doctor, creams from the doctor, sunbeds, over the counter stuff, homeopathy… but something in my gut was telling me it was a diet issue. (No pun intended.) So this lead me to I paid £47, filled out a questionnaire, and was given a diet plan.

Diet swap 

The list of foods I wasn’t allowed was seriously shocking; sugar (including fruit), cow’s milk, wheat, yeast, nuts, caffeine (so no coffee, tea, diet drinks; even de-caffeinated coffee was out!), salt, spices, mushrooms, anything containing ANY sort of preservative. And that’s only a small selection. I won’t lie – I cried a little bit. What would I eat?! I thought I was going to exist on a diet of chicken and vegetables, which is what I did for the first couple of days. But then I went shopping. Sainsbury’s healthy section was a godsend. Corn thins = YES PLEASE. Their own houmous = YES PLEASE (it was the only one that didn’t have cornflour in it). I found yeast and gluten free stock cubes, which meant I could make soups. Rice noodles made me so happy. Lentils, chickpeas, grilled sardines. YUM.

The effect on my mental health

The first two weeks were horrendous. My mood dropped so low; I ruined my mum’s birthday with all my sobbing. They were all eating pizza, for goodness sake. Pizza! That was so cruel.

It’s been 6 weeks now, and I’m finally in the swing of things. My skin … has not cleared. Not one bit. BUT – my mood? It’s like coming up for fresh air. I’m breathing again. I’m brighter. In fact, I haven’t cried in two weeks. That’s been unheard of in the past 5 years. My family and friends have noticed the difference in me. Now, it could be the Cranial Sacral Therapy that I’m getting (but that’s a whole different article), or maybe a combination of the two, but I don’t ever want to go back to the way I was before. I am going to stick with this diet, although I won’t deny myself a slice of pizza at a family birthday ever again.

Finding my own way

The scary thing is that in all my time of being treated for depression, no one mentioned that diet could be a factor – probably because I had what appeared to be a reasonably healthy diet. So I cheated one day (I received VERY good news and my friends turned up with champagne and chocolates, and we spent the entire day eating rubbish). I felt ill, foggy, and depressed for about 4 days after. That’s when I knew I had to stick to this diet.

You know that way you begin to forget how a sadness felt? I’m like that. I can remember feeling it, but I can’t remember the actual feeling. I want to stay this way forever. The acne? Well, I’ll just have to keep searching for something that works.