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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Jade Merrihue


When I was 15 I got a pimple on the side of my cheek. Right next to the smile lines. I had gotten these before.

No big deal.

Things were good.

I had a punk boyfriend with neon pink hair and piercings.

I was an evil monkey in the wizard of Oz play at school. No biggie guys.

Life was looking up, clearly.

Until this one. Singular. Pimple.

Let’s call him Vladimir for story telling purposes. (Yes the pimple not the boyfriend).

So I didn’t think much of old Vlad.

Except that he lasted a little longer than he should have (probably like that relationship). He was moody. Angry to the touch.

I didn’t think much of it.

Until I did.

When I touched him he would get REALLY ANGRY. And then he started multiplying.

I had had breakouts before but up till now nothing major.

Slowly but surely, I began my horrific journey with acne.

Unless you’ve had acne, I’m not sure you understand just how strange it is to have this mask on your face. This layer between you and humanity that hurts and is in most people’s opinion, hideous.

But I got to see the change. I had had smooth skin. I got to compare the way people looked at me before and after.

The aftermath of Vladimir and his angry takeover was intense. Grown women would hold my chin in their hands and shake their heads sadly and say “if only you could take care of the pimples, you would be so pretty!”

I don’t care how old you are. Never say words like this to a teenage child.




Used makeup religiously. Never leaving anywhere without it.

Rage and anger at my face. A face that could betray me at anytime. A face that could surprise me with 30 extra minutes of ‘work’ each morning.

A face that I could never touch.

A face that couldn’t be touched.

A face that hurt.

A face that caused others to look at me with sadness.

A face that would get in the way of my dreams.

Of my love life.

Of my future (oooh teenage angst).

And so at 15 I went to a Dr.

They gave me chemicals to put on my face that burnt the skin but started to work. But only treated symptoms of what was a major underlying issues.

I prayed and bartered with God.

I got so mad and turned against myself.

I felt true hate for myself.

And then a different doctor offered me the contraceptive pill.

He said I would be glowing in just a few months.

And I took it. Bamboozled my mom into getting it for me.

Didn’t tell her it was the contraceptive pill. She found out and got furious thinking that I had way more interesting problems than acne at that age.

She assumed I was having sex and using acne as an excuse to get on the pill. But at that stage I hated myself so much that I was my own walking condom of a human being.

And so began my life with pills.

My practice of taking a pill everyday to solve problems.

And oh did it work. My skin lit up like a pregnant ladies. Silky and smooth. I gained a little weight which as a teenager meant I got a huge rack and convinced myself I was on track to being obese.

But I would take that over acne any day.

I stayed on the pill for 15 years.

Sometimes taking extra pills instead of the morning after pill if there was an accident.

Sometimes skipping periods by taking the months consecutively.

Masking symptoms of an issue I would eventually have to face as an adult.


The symptoms were from PCOS, I would later come to find.

Polycystic ovarian syndrome...

After I became a nutritionist I considered that maybe taking hormones every day might not be great for you.

What's the worst that could happen in getting off of the pill?

Well Vladimir came back with a vengeance. Along with all of those feelings I medicated away with the contraceptive pill. Only difference was I was an adult now. Right back in my teenage mind. With new acne. Trying to date. Go to work and be taken seriously.

I had WAY better things to do as an adult than obsess over this. Get the right makeup. Search a million possible cures.

It was 6 months off the pill when I stopped being so obsessed by Vladimir and company that I realized I hadn’t had a period for 6 months.

8 months off the pill, I wasn’t pregnant and still hadn’t had a period.

I went to a doctor.

The highest rated hormone doctor on the Westside.




Late. In a rush. Barely looked me in the eye. Literally hid in my room from a patient.

Had me on her cold table. Stuck a frozen speculum into me.

Took a jabby ultrasound.

And with the ultrasound stick still inside of me told me that I had PCOS.

Told me it was causing the acne

Told me it would make me gain a bunch of weight

Told me it would possibly cause me to GROW A BEARD 🤦🏼‍♀️


Told me I could never eat carbohydrates again unless I wanted to be obese

Told me I could never eat sugar again unless I wanted to be obese, get diabetes, and die young

Told me I was infertile

Told me there was no cure and this was my life now

Told me she couldn’t help me anymore

Walked out the room annoyed

Tears streamed down my cheeks

No babies. No carbs.

The next year was intense and massively educational.

There was limited information at the time on PCOS. I couldn’t find any. I went to nutritionists and doctors and Acupuncturists, all who had no idea what it was or how to treat it.

So I trialed and errored a bunch of things on myself. And eventually I used diet and nutrition to reverse everything.


☀️The acne is gone

🥞I eat all the carbs I want

☀️I am fertile as fuck (according to my

hormone panels)

☀️I don’t gain weight



They told me it couldn’t be done. They were wrong.

I share because I hope to give you hope even in impossible situations.

We are trained to believe that doctors know better than we do.

We are taught to believe labs + specialists as final.

I think you can change your reality no matter how dire.

I hope to keep living an example of that.

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