Monthly Archives: December 2012
Do I choose to pick?
A friend of mine said some things to me today that have really got me thinking. Although at the time I felt angry, defensive and even a little bit upset, I realised when I got home that he had probably raised a few valid points. One was “I choose to pick”. Of course as most skin-pickers know we do not choose to have this condition. More like it chooses us. It creeps up on us out of nowhere and then all of a sudden we are left with this life changing habitual addiction that we can’t seem to break free from. I’ve always likened it to being addicted to Heroin. We NEED to pick just like an addict NEEDS their fix! Without it we, or at least I, start to feel like I am going a little bit crazy… ok insane even! I get withdrawal symptoms if I go even a few hours without picking. My skin starts to itch, I become incredibly fidgety and anxious, I can feel my heart rate quicken and my stress levels start to rise, my hands start wandering craving their next session, my mind begins to focus on all the imperfections I know are on my body and then I give in. I have to. I pick! And then the relief washes over me. My thoughts stop. My mind goes numb. My heart rate drops. The anxiety disappears. But then the shame and disappointment kicks in and so does the stress when I realise how much of I struggle I am going to face in trying to hide all of my fresh wounds. All of my battle scars.
So why do I keep doing this? AM I CHOOSING to do this? I’d always thought no… but maybe I am? After all my picking has been with me for 20 years. It’s all I’ve ever known. It’s been with me through the good times and the bad. It’s helped me when I’m angry, sad, excited, stressed. It’s almost like a friend that I turn to for EVERYTHING! But like all dangerous friendships my Derma has caused me a lot of heartache and a lot of suffering too. Do I still NEED it? Do I still WANT it? Is it as easy as CHOOSING not to do it anymore?
I thought I was beyond willpower. I thought I was stuck with this for life now. That there was no way out. I mean surely there are times when I have no control over this condition? Like when I am sleeping or when I enter a “trance-like” state. But what about the other times? The times when I consciously choose to sit myself down on the bathroom floor and pick at my skin for hours. The times I grab my tweezers off the bathroom bench to “fix” my myriad of imperfections. The times I allow my hands to wander over my skin because I am feeling emotions that I don’t know how to deal with and picking is the only thing that offers me a way out of my thoughts and feelings.
I guess I face a tough question now. And an even tougher decision. Do I REALLY want to stop? If I stop will I miss it? OR will I have the life I always dreamed of living?
Maybe for once my yearly New Year’s Resolution “to stop picking” might actually be achieved. Twenty years of making it and breaking it so far. Maybe 2013 will be the year of change for me… If I choose it to be!
One Really Long Picking Session
Ok so today has turned into one really long picking session. I posted “Broken” a few hours ago and haven’t stopped since. I have left no scab unpicked.. no blemish untouched. My legs are stinging all over and every open wound is throbbing as if they each have their own unique, incredibly painful heartbeat. I feel numb. Almost dead inside. The disappointment and shame I feel right now is beyond words. I want to hide myself from the world but sadly life is not that easy to escape from. Instead I will stifle a cry as I flinch in pain while pulling on my work pants tonight.
Time for me to apply my makeup and paint on a happy face. I hide the emotional scars and wounds almost as well as I hide the phsyical ones.
I hate whenever I have a lot on my mind. When I go deep into thought, it’s almost as though I’ve entered a trance-like state and my hands start to wander. They skim over the surface of my body hunting for imperfections – scratches, pimples, insect bites, paper cuts, heat rash. And then once I’ve found even the tiniest of blemishes I send my fingers to work and I begin to pick until I’m red, raw and aching.
I can’t get out of my head at the moment. I’m so in my head that the only way I know how to get out of it is to pick. So far today I have already picked off every blemish on my face, torn apart the top of my back and my arms and I’m now sitting here picking at every spot I can find as well as feel on my legs. I’m bleeding and weeping and that’s just what you can see on the outside. The inside of me is a mess.
I feel broken.
So I went to see my Doctor today because I have been suffering from bad headaches that feel like pressure building up in the back of my head, have been having trouble sleeping (averaging about 3-4 hours sleep a night) and felt like I had lost more weight because of this OCD I have about food at the moment.
Turns out: I’m stressed! Tension headaches, insomnia and am now down to 38.6kg. The Doctor asked me if I was anorexic to which I replied “Is that when you want to be thin? Because this is not what I want at all!” I then went on to explain about my current obsession with food and how I think everything I eat is contaminated with bacteria (the bad kind!). He has now requested I come see him regularly so that he can continue to monitor my stress and weight levels. I also start seeing my psychologist again towards the end of January 2013. I’m still avoiding taking the antidepressants I’ve been prescribed – I guess I’m still holding onto the hope that I can conquer this on my own.
Not looking forward to coming home from work tonight either. Usually I retreat immediately to the bathroom where I begin to pick and tweeze at my skin for hours on end. It would be nice to come home and not do it for a change. I guess we’ll wait and see what happens.
Paranoid About Germs
So after four hours sleep (because I spent a good few hours in the bathroom last night picking) I woke up to my little man saying he had a sore tummy, followed by him vomiting everywhere. Thanks to my Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) I am now sitting here paralysed with fear thinking that I am going to get sick too. I’ve always had this intense fear of vomit and vomiting, ever since I was a little girl, because I worry of the germs and what I may catch from it. If I knew it wasn’t contagious it wouldn’t bother me so much. Does anyody else have such an intense fear of germs or vomit? Anybody else start to imagine “symptoms”?
I wish I could cry or get angry. Smash things. Break things. Instead I sit here endlessly tearing at my skin. Gouging my fingernails deep into my flesh and then tearing apart whatever is left with tweezers until I bleed and I ache. Skin stinging. Blood pouring. Heart breaking. Night after night it’s the same thing. My only escape. I need an escape from my escape. I hate this disease. This crippling life-sucking “thing” that I “need” to survive yet…
… life would be so much easier without it.
Welcome to my life… this is Dermatillomania. This IS my life!