Thoughts and my cure - chill the **** out.
I got E.C after taking accutane nearly 10 years ago. While I was on the drug my lips were terribly chapped, always bleeding, and crusting regularly. It got to the point where my lips became far more stressful than my acne and I wondered why I ever took the drug in the first place.
Fast forward a few months to when I finished my accutane course. I took my last pill excitedly knowing that in a few weeks my lips would be back to normal, or so my doctor had told me. The only thing was that my lips never returned to their prior healthy state. That is, never until now. I should say too that during the course of my accutane regimen I became quasi-obsessed about keeping some sort of chapstick or ointment on my lips. After all, my derm told me that this was my only option for relief.
So now it's nearly a decade later and I've finally started to think that I am cured of EC. More than that, I am beginning to doubt whether E.C is really a disease at all.
I don't expect this to win me many friends here, but frankly I don't really care. This is more therapeutic for me than anything else. If it helps anyone, great. If not, well, that's fine too.
This is what I believe and why I believe it:
What we call E.C is a predominantly self-inflicted disorder, the product of a subconscious and compulsive mania similar to the classical display of OCD symptoms. I've been reading this forum for a long time - many years actually. As I see it, the common thread linking all the e.c patients on this site is that they are all somewhat (or more often very much) obsessed about their lips. Now granted, they are obsessive because they are stressed out about how bad their lips look, but my theory is that the obsession itself is what fuels the vicious cycle that is E.C. It's what turns chapped lips into something else.
Like me, for instance. My problem began as a consequence of my taking accutane. At the time my lips were objectively hideous. But when I stopped accutane my lips never returned to their normal healthy state because I was too entrenched in my obsessive habits. I was constantly smothering aquaphor on lips or subconsciously touching or licking them - peeling them. I had forgotten how to relax my mouth. Forgotten how to chill out. I started reading this site all the time and trying different things. I still read this site now even though I would never even consider trying a new treatment.
In the last 6 months I have seen a total turn around in my lips. Granted, a lot has changed for me. I moved to South America, I changed my diet, and I've been all around healthier. Still, I believe the real catalyst for my healing lips has been 1) I stopped putting stuff on my lips and 2) I stopped caring about them.
Like magic, they just started to heal. Now, as many others have reported, it's a slow process. Often it feels like it's 2 steps forward 1 step back. Still though, for the first time in many years my lips look like what anyone would consider "normal lips". This, and I am no longer plagued by the constant need to carry a little tube of chapstick or ointment in my pocket. I can't tell you how liberating it has been to break my dependency on these products and discover that I'm actually better off without them. I guess actualy whoever is reading this would understand best. I don't think I'm exaggerating when I say that at first, it was better than sex.
In the end, my experience with E.C was pretty horrible. It was an incredible burden that hampered my quality of life for nearly a decade. Obviously if given the choice, I would never do it again, but now that I am at a point where I consider myself "cured", I have to admit that I feel stronger (or at least smarter) for it. I've learned a lot about the ego and the manias that can develop as a consequence of the influence it exerts. I've learned a lot about myself, both how weak I can be and how strong I can be.
I don't know if I'll ever check this again but if I do I'll try to answer any questions you may have. I won't however, put up with any of the ridiculous and juvenile temper tantrums that I see on this site all time. If you don't like what I've written here, (and I imagine many people won't, considering the implications of what I'm suggesting) that's great, but don't expect me to have a conversation with you about it. I don't care anymore and frankly, it's against my treatment plan. That my cure after all - to chill the **** out.