this post has nothing much to do with my TSW journey.
it merely chronicles the beginning of this blog and the thoughts that went through my mind back then.
it’s one of those days when i suddenly have something i want to say and i want to get it out of my head.
i call it, brain farts. i just can’t hold it in!
a few days ago i went to catch a movie,
not knowing much about the it, i expected a fun ride.
in fact, i opted for the 3D version just so that i can escape into the movie.
good news: i did enter the movie-scape.
bad news: it’s not a pleasant place to be in.
the movie-scape is an unpopulated dark and cold place.
you are trying to leave the place but you realize you couldn’t.
you have no one to turn to for help, and you think your chance of survival is low.
everything is out of your control and you can only foresee yourself dying there because you don’t know if there are other ways to get you out.
there just isn’t a guarantee.
this blog didn’t start out as antisteroid.
it used to be a private blog for the sole purpose of documenting the home remedies that are supposed to help my worsening skin.
later on i started to add photos as pictorial evidence that i’ve worsened or improved.
it was started in march 2011 under another url,
before i knew i was having TSW,
before i even hear about TSW.
ok, maybe i did hear about TSW, but i was still in denial when i learnt that it takes at least 6 months to heal.
do you know how steroids distorted my definition of “fast” and “slow”?
fast = 1 day.
slow = more than 1 day.
6 months was a lifetime to me.
back then i always thought that i’ll keep this as a secret for life.
why would i want to show those sides of me to anyone else anyway!?
the photos i post are uncensored. it’s for personal reference anyway.
when i realized i am suffering from steroid withdrawals in 2011,
i tried to scour the internet for others’ experience.
even though dr rapaport have treated 2000+ patients, it was incredibly difficult to find any reference photos or first person account of their journey.
the only thing that i can rely on was his journal, which is mostly words that required me to use my own imagination to translate those to actual symptoms.
you can imagine my (horrific) surprise when my skin performs a new trick on me.
never in my life did i imagine/expect my skin to go this bad.
it was way out of my imagination.
but i did not give up in looking for photos of TSW.
with my limited japanese, i figured out what TSW is called in japanese (i believe with the help of dr fukaya’s japanese website),
typed it into google (and yahoo.co.jp) and what returned in the results are stunning.
there are probably hundreds of japanese blog (that i can’t understand) out there talking about TSW.
i even saw photos of how TSW looked like, too many of them.
I THOUGHT I STRIKED THE LOTTERY!
so many photos that shows the many faces of TSW.
by clicking around, i landed on a japanese lady’s blog where she documents her journey.
she had a wealth of photographs there,
photographs from day 1 of her steroid (she also stopped using moisturizer, she actually labelled her entries under moisturizer withdrawal) withdrawal, all the way to almost 2 years later.
while it was really comforting at first to see photos of her recovering from a very bad flare,
it discouraged me a great deal to know that she still has not fully recovered 2 years down the road.
(she stopped updating her photographs from then on, so i have no idea how she’s doing after that. the author of the blog is clearly too clever for google translate.)
all the other japanese blogs that i found were abandoned by their owners before they healed.
i saw a lot of TSW photos,
but i didn’t see anyone who has healed from TSW.
worst of all, i saw someone who was 3 years into the withdrawals, only to be hit by a second rebound.
WTF!? you mean i might have to spend 3 years with bad skin, only to have it worsen again!?
with no one to let me know when i’ll recover,
and whether i’ll recover fully at all, it was probably the most depressing thing i’ve ever faced.
what if my skin takes 5, 10, 20 years to heal?
what if it don’t even recover to the original state, what if i’m red and dry for life?
can i even function normally like this? do i need to rely on my mother for life? i’m such a burden to her. i feel so fucking useless.
what if.. why don’t i just kill myself right now and stop all these misery since i don’t even know if i’ll be back to normal or not.
dr rap said he healed 2000+ patients but it’s all words.
where are the proof? they say seeing is believing, and i’m not seeing any.
i was in the unpopulated dark and cold place.
i was trying to leave the place but i realize i couldn’t.
i have no one to turn to for help, and i think my chance of survival is low.
everything is out of my control and i can only foresee myself dying there because i don’t know if there are other ways to get myself out.
there just wasn’t a guarantee.
on the bright side, before i started feeling that depressed,
a surge of positive feelings hit me first.
after i landed on the blog mentioned above and saw all her photos,
my first reaction was “so this is what i have! OMG this is so useful! a picture does speak a thousand words!”.
and then i studied the photos religiously to cross reference my symptoms to hers,
sometimes i feel lucky that my skin isn’t as bad as hers (oh well, it was only a matter of time before mine overtook her severity), but seeing how she got out of her worst flare within 2 months was quite comforting.
at least there’s a time frame that i can count on.
and that was when i realized i could have done the same for others – to share my photos so that all the lost souls can identify TSW symptoms and diagnose themselves (and to a lesser extent, gauge their progress).
as you know i’ve only gotten better in the past 10 months.
before that i never thought that i can use this place to give people hope because all the photos only showcased my skin going from bad to worse.
in any case, it probably ripped out the last bit of hope in you (seeing how long i dwelled in my flares and thinking “this could be me”).
my documentation went from sad to sadder to depressed.
antisteroid started out as a place to let you all recognize TSW and know that you’re not alone in this.
but today, i want to do more than that.
i want to give you hope that you will heal from TSW; it’s just a matter of time.
why do i want to do that?
because hopelessness (and helplessness) was the worst thing i’ve ever felt, and i don’t want anyone else to go through that.
you’re welcome, because i just saved you from all those crap that i’ve experienced 😉
i choose to look at the bright side of things.
going through that phase wasn’t entirely bad.
being devoid of all hopes really opened up my mind.
i even made friends with depression, which i wouldn’t have a chance to do so under normal circumstances.
it made me more sensitive and more perceptive to other’s reactions, finally looking beyond my own ego to listen in on others.
i’m not sure if i want to share with you guys the url of the japanese blog that led to the birth of antisteroid.
i think it’s wise if i keep those discouraging images away from you.
i hope you all understand that i am trying to protect you from a possible depressing whirlpool.
wow, that was a long fart.
p.s. did a spell check, only 1 spelling mistake!