DIM (Diindolylmethane) Supplement bottle

DIM: the Supplement You Should Try for Hormonal Acne

I know what you’re thinking – you’ve seen clickbait like this before. There are tons of products out there being touted as the cure for acne, and if you’re like me, you’ve tried about a million different ones, all with less than stellar results.

For those who have followed me on my blog for a while, you know that I have a long history with acne. I was on Accutane as a teenager, and even after that I still continued to battle acne into my early 20’s and beyond. I went on extreme diets to try to control my acne and make my skin perfect. I got to where my acne was manageable, but never achieved perfection.

About 6 months ago, now a 34-year-old woman, I started getting crazy breakouts again for what seemed like no reason. Like, 3-4 new pimples DAILY! (Not just regular ones either, the huge ones that take like 2 weeks to go away which then leave marks on your skin that take months to go away!) That’s when I started getting strict with my diet again to try to control them, and I wrote a post titled, “Would You Eat Salmon Every Day for Clear Skin?”

That post got a lot of likes, and even now still seems to be popular among my readers. (I think it might be my most-liked post.) I think this is a testament (NOT to how great a writer I am – I wish!) to how many people are dealing with the issue of acne and looking for a solution. When you’re desperate for a cure, you are constantly Googling things, and you get to the point where you’re willing to try anything.

Part of the problem with acne is that it’s so hard to nail down the reason WHY you have it – acne can be caused by food intolerances, hormones, sensitivity to skin or hair products, dirty pillowcases, excess oil… I knew that some of my issues were coming from food – sugar seemed to cause breakouts in me, as well as too many carbs, or overeating in general.

But it also dawned on me that I was primarily dealing with hormonal acne, which doesn’t always respond to dietary changes or topical treatments. I came to this conclusion for three reasons:

1. I consistently had large breakouts on my chin

2. I remembered when I was pregnant, that my acne virtually went away

3. Back on one of my extreme dieting phases, when I got so thin my period actually stopped, my acne also stopped (aka. no hormones, no acne)

Back in April, I was in one of my Googling phases, trying to see if anyone out there had solutions I hadn’t yet tried or thought of for hormonal acne. I came across a health and wellness blog, Living Minnaly, and read a post from 2019 where she talked about how she had successfully managed her hormonal acne (and she even included pictures of her before and after, which is always helpful for us skeptics.)

You can read her post to hear her full story, but in a nutshell, one of the supplements she describes as “magical” for acne was Diindolylmethane (DIM). I had never heard of it before. She recommended this brand, which also contained dong quai and chasteberry (Vitex), two herbs that I had heard of in the context of treating hormonal acne.

Read More »
women fighter in sunset

Running with Knives (Part 2): the Self-Preservation Instinct

We each have a self-preservation instinct, to preserve our body, its life and effective function. This instinct, therefore, focuses us on physical safety, well-being, material security and comfort. Anxiety or stress may combine with this instinct to drive us to conserve or hoard energy and resources in response to demands from the environment or other people.

“Enneagram 27 Subtypes” | Integrative9.com

My therapist and I are both big fans of the Enneagram.

It’s pretty clear that I’m an Enneagram 1, but each Enneagram type also has a dominant subtype, or instinct. My therapist asked me which subtype I thought I was (the choices being self-preservation, one-on-one, or social), and I said I thought maybe I was a dominant social type. She smiled politely while shaking her head, and said to me, “self-preservation.”

We laughed together and I immediately knew she was right.

So much of my struggle with anxiety comes from the unknown, and being worried about being unprepared. I’m a worst-case scenario thinker, I expect the worst to happen so that if it does, I will be ready. Hence, why I always carry a knife in my pocket when I go out for a jog.

This is part two of a series on trauma, explaining how an event that happened 17 years ago still affects me today. (You can read part 1 here, where I share my story of almost getting abducted while walking my dog at night.)

In this post, I’d like to focus on the aftereffects of that traumatic event, how it changed me, and how I’m trying to strike a healthy balance between being overly fearful and feeling safe.

After watching my attempted kidnapper drive away that night, I went back inside and probably went into a bit of shock. I felt numb. My parents called the police and I remember a policeman asking me to describe the man. It felt so arbitrary, I knew they weren’t going to catch him based off of my generic description of his estimated height, weight, and hair color. I was so mad at myself for not memorizing the license plate number of his car.

The next day I went to school as normal and I don’t really remember thinking much more about it, except that my mom made sure I agreed I was never again going to walk our dog alone at night.

I do remember making a rule for myself that from that day on, I would never be out alone at dark – whether it was walking a dog, going to the store, checking the mailbox, or going for a run… and I followed that rule religiously from then on.

Of course there were times when I couldn’t quite avoid it entirely. Sometimes I’d be leaving from a friend’s apartment after dinner, or from working the night shift at the library, and I’d have to walk back out a ways to my car in the parking lot at night, by myself. I would always have my car keys in hand, ready to use them as a weapon. My old car had a key where you pushed a button and they key popped out of the side, like a mini switchblade – I figured it might be good enough to do some damage if I needed to poke an attacker in the eye.

I am usually always aware of my surroundings. Is there someone walking behind me? Is it a man? Which way would I run if he started chasing me? Does it look like I could outrun him?

I began to view most men as potential threats – if I was at home alone and the doorbell rang and it was a man, I wouldn’t always answer it. I’d let my dog bark and bark and bark until the guy left. If I did answer it, I was keenly aware of where the man was standing, and if I felt like I sensed any danger from him.

If I was getting into an elevator, and realized it was going to be me and a man alone inside, I would either wait for the next one, or have a very stressful 10-second ride to my floor as I hoped I did not get attacked.

It’s hard to say whether my prepare-for-the-worst, self-preservation personality was caused by my traumatic event, or if I naturally had those tendencies in me anyway. My guess is that it’s a bit of both, but that my traumatic experience intensified those tendencies, especially when it came to my physical safety.

It’s only been very recently that I’ve been working on finding the balance between recognizing the dangers out in the world, and being able to live in the world without fear. I do think it is important to be on guard against potential threats, but I don’t think it needs to be something that causes anxiety all the time.

Read More »
silver Gerber knife

Running with Knives (Part 1): Reflections on a Traumatic Experience

*TRIGGER WARNING – trauma, attempted assault

I know normally it’s a bad idea to run with knives, but every time I go jogging, I always have one in my pocket.

Many times when I go running, it will be early in the morning, a little before sunrise. It’s dark outside as I head off down my road, the occasional street lamp helping to light my way. I’m acutely aware of my surroundings, looking out for anything suspicious or unusual. I check behind me often to make sure I’m not being followed. The irrational side of me (or is it actually my rational side?) feels somewhat unsafe and the warning bells are ringing loudly inside my mind. The other side of me pushes those feelings aside and thinks “what are the odds that something bad would actually happen?” The problem is, I’m all too familiar with those odds, because all it takes is one time, one event – and that event happened to me when I was a junior in high school.

Our family had a dog growing up, and by dog I mean a little chihuahua-dachshund mix that weighed about 10 pounds. Her name was Peanut. Every day my dad or I would take her on walks around our neighborhood in Phoenix, Arizona. One evening, I don’t remember why, I decided I was going to take Peanut on a short walk. It was around 9pm, and the sun was long gone. The warning bells were softly chiming in my mind – it’s dark, you shouldn’t go out by yourself, yes YOU, the skinny 17-year-old girl! – but I brushed the thoughts aside and told myself, “what’s the worst that could happen?”

Our house in Phoenix was unusual in that it had an 8-foot stucco wall surrounding the entire front yard. (All the houses in this neighborhood were like that – I guess to offer more privacy.) So I walked out the front door of my house, and then unlocked the front gate in the outer wall that led out to our driveway.

I walked along the sidewalk past all the stucco-surrounded homes, carrying my pooper-scooper and plastic bag on one hand, and holding Peanut’s bright pink leash in the other. The next block over (continuing straight) was just a big empty dirt field, and on the other side of the street were various apartment complexes. I wasn’t that far from home, I had just made it to the dirt field in the next block over, when I noticed a man walking a ways behind me. But he was gaining on me fast.

I didn’t like the way he was walking or how fast he was catching up to me. The warning bells were now full-on blaring in my head, I knew this was not good. One thing I’ve learned about myself is that when I’m in a bad situation (real or perceived) my personality initially wants to do something to try to fix it. In other words, I’m not going down without a fight. That being said, the LAST thing I really wanted to do was get into a fight with a strange man who might be out to harm me. But I wasn’t going to go down easily either.

Read More »