The 2 Main Reasons I Decided to go on Accutane.

This is a follow-up to my 1st blog post on Accutane where you can see my skin’s transformation over just 3 months. 

 I have since been asked many times what it was that really allowed me to take the leap with this “scary” drug & get over my fears...the fears that so many women have at the thought of Accutane. Do you have those fears?

—So, the goal of this post is to share with you the 2 main things that got me to take that leap & my rational behind it.

...I hope that my rational behind going on it can help you make your decision {whether that be yay or nay} so you can move on with your life!!—

 

 QUESTION: 

How does a holistic preaching, won’t take Tylenol, advocate for getting off anti-depressants get to a place that is willing & eager to go on the strongest acne medication available—Accutane? Despite all the horror stories, side effects and just down right scary aura around the drug? 

 

My Mental Health +

The AvailabilIty Bias. 

 

Note: You may have your own, different reasons for considering Accutane. Nonetheless, it’s a tough decision. I hope my story is the perspective you need to see right now. 

 LIL’ Background.

For any of you who know my story, know me personally or just follow me, you know that I have a history of clinical depression & anxiety that wrecked some serious havoc on me during my teen years. That being said, I overcame those things and found what works for me...hence the creation of this blog.

The point is, I worked incredibly hard to get to where I am now and cherish my mental health status like one cherishes that first sip of coffee in the morning: it’s fuel to my daily fire. It gets me going…and keeps me going. I can’t afford to lose that…dramatic analogy but I think you get my point.

 

Mental Health: I LOST IT & was literally SHOOK.

When my acne cropped up literally out of nowhere, after never having had acne during puberty or teen years, how I felt inside did not align with what was staring back at my in the mirror.  

I had worked for years to reach a place of confidence and then all of sudden BOOM. Hormonal acne. Mind you all my hormone levels were great, my diet was clean and I was doing all the right things…but still, my face didn’t show it. Green juice and daily probiotics don’t align with a red, angry bumpy face...ya know? 

 

At first, it wasn’t “that bad” and a little makeup could cover up the bumps—because of that, my mental health was still in tact.

It wasn’t until it started to get in the way of my passions that I ran into problems. Bare faced to the gym. Job Interviews. Networking in the health & wellness space in LA with glowing faces all around. Month after month. Acne care system after acne care system— It. was. terrible.

Long story short, it got to my head & I am NOT ashamed to admit, I was NOT DOWN.

The Availability Bias.

 If you are anything like me when I was considering Accutane, you probably have some pretty scary words associated with it.

Before having acne, I had only known about the drug because my ex-boyfriend had gone on it while we were in high school and I remember him having to go in for monthly blood tests to make sure “he was ok” while on the drug. With a little more basic research I found horror stories, youtube videos, news reports, all the things on the “horrors of Accutane.”

I am sure if you have ever even Googled it or searched videos on YouTube you came across some pretty scary stories too. Everything from hair loss to suicide. Anyone would go, “oh my gahhhhd…”—Your brain automatically creates an idea of Accutane based on those eye-catching, emotion inducing, reports.

So, back to my situation with acne last year:

… mental health starting to be affected and the last resort, Accutane seeming too extreme to even play with becasue I was terrified based on the model my brain had constructed around Accutane.

Until…My AHA Moment {thank you Professor John}. 

The same semester my skin was burdening me was the same semester I just so happened to be taking a course in the Psychology of Decision Making.

Not gonna lie, wasn’t my favorite class, BUT I will never forget the day we talked about this mental heuristic:  The Availability Bias.

In simple terms, it’s the idea that at a psychological level, our brains have the tendency to latch on to most shocking or memorable examples over the mundane or normal ones {which are usually more frequent} whilst forgetting the basic rules of probability!! 

Psychology Heuristics. 
For example, let’s say 1000 people are prescribed Accutane & one person experiences terrible suicidal thoughts as a side effect—That one instance is going to be reported. Don’t get me wrong, that’s terrible and unfortunate....but that’s that one person. That’s what gets written about. That’s what sparks conversation. Thus creating this false idea that there is a highly likely chance of you experiencing that thing.

What you won’t see, hear or read about are the 999 cases where that didn't  happen. 

The news, the media, & probably your mom will start to assume that the freak event is the norm instead of an unfortunate rare circumstance. All simply because that’s the example that is most available to in their/your mind. Hence the availability heuristic.

See where I am going with this?

It’s our brains coming to conclusions & making decisions based on heuristics, not logic.

As you are reading this, I feel you thinking “Omg lol that is exactly what I have been doing!!” & no shame in that girl. That was me!! And had I not been alerted to this by my class, I may have never considered Accutane.

One thing that class taught me that intelligence does not necessarily equate to logical decision making. Basically, I had an “Aha! moment” as Oprah would say and was able to look at the probability of something going terribly wrong logically, rather than emotionally.

Makin’ the Move.

So despite all all the noise, I was able to make the move by:

1st understanding my values and 2nd fighting fear with logic.

I made the appointment. Went through the screening. Had fears. Had doubts. Had plenty of unwanted opinions. Still, I had made the decision as to what was important to me & stuck to guns.  

...and I’m so glad I did!!  

Take Away for You. #LOA

I get it—Accutane is a serious drug. There are undoubtedly risks, extreme things have happened, and I have certainly experienced some mild to moderate side effects. Still, what really helped me make my decision to go on it was the two things I mentioned: my mental health + realization that my idea of Accutane was based on the rare horror stories, not probability {which is actually in your favor}!

There is so much power in unbiased knowledge. AKA the straight facts.

Knowledge is power. Had I relied solely on hear-say, worst-case scenarios, and the media, I would have never considered Accutane. I would have been crazy to!! But, being made aware of the availability bias and how it can result in very illogical decisions changed my opinion completely. Understanding basic probability + only expecting things to go well is the reason I think I have had such a good experience. I’m not siting here waiting for the worst case scenario to unfold, ya know? “Ask and you shall receive,” so best believe I am only asking for my best case scenario.

Good thoughts & expectations only and you will be fine my darling *in my most mommy voice*. 

…But at the end of the day, it’s your body. It’s your decision. I just hope this helps put your situation in perspective 😘. 

 Is Accutane for you? 

So despite everything I’ve said, I cannot advise anyone to go on Accutane. I am not a doctor {yet ;)} & honestly my experience is my experience.

How Accutane worked and affected my body is completely and totally unique to my body.

Please keep that in mind! 

But, in my opinion, if nothing else has worked & acne is holding you back in any way, it’s worth considering.  

   NoteIn this case, “fueling my female fire” really meant seeking out the facts, being logical, and going for itdespite the noise.

—Morning Dove 🕊