Long time. No write.
So it has been a while since I have written anything on here. My apologies! Last year I found it really hard juggling full time uni, my night job, volunteer work, a teaching prac, being a single mum as well as keeping this website updated and selling the Dermatillomania Awareness Wristbands. Something had to give because we all know what happens when we suffer from this disorder and we become stressed and overwhelmed: PICK PICK PICK!!! So I decided to leave the blog for a bit and just become more active in my Dermatillomania Support Group. It turns out that this year has been just as hectic as the last (although I have learnt to manage my time a bit better) and next semester is going to be one of the most chaotic semesters I have ever undertaken so I may or may not go quiet again on here. Please understand it is not because I have stopped raising awareness of the cause or because I have no more stories to share… quite the opposite in fact! So here’s an update on how I’ve been doing:
NOT SO GREAT!!
Any surprises there?
To be fair I was doing quite well. I managed to wear a dress to a party in January and a pair of shorts to a catch up with friends but then… that dreaded word… RELAPSE!! Made worse by the fact I am on break at the moment and when I find myself with nothing to do, well, I pick of course! Stress and boredom are two big triggers for me. Plus I suffer with depression so unless there is something motivating me to get out of bed each and every single day then chances are I will stay in bed and pick. I will also stay up all night and pick. Of course this makes me feel bad so then I pick more! But you all know this right? This vicious cycle… the never ending merry-go-round of derma, a ride we desperately want to hop off from but how?
Not only do I feel bad for myself but now I am starting to feel guilty. Guilty that this skin-picking disorder is now impacting on my son. I mean we have spent most of the school holidays inside because I am too ashamed to leave the house… I won’t even go outside to throw rubbish in the bin! Yes I am back there again! BUT if I put makeup on then I at least manage to force myself to go outside. It’s just finding the motivation to first look at my reflection in the mirror and then begin the painstaking process of trying to cover up each and every one of my self-inflicted wounds so that I at least appear somewhat ‘normal’ to the outside world. But my son brought something to my attention the other day in the roundabout innocent way that children get straight to the crux of the issue.
I was sorting laundry when I noticed certain stains on little boy’s jocks and so I teased him that boys were dirty (because let’s face it, we’ve all found those stains in grown men’s underwear too)! Little did I realise I’d get teased back!
“Ewww boys are dirty” I teased with a smile on my face.
“No you’re dirty” my little man retorted.
“How” I asked, curious as to what response he could possibly have for girls being dirty.
“You’re not clean because you have polk-a-dots” he said, pointing at my face.
“Can’t you just go and put some makeup on” he added, pouring salt into my wounds.
Well what was I supposed to say to that? I did manage to mutter a “that’s not very nice mate” but at the end of the day he was just speaking the truth. And that’s the thing about kids… they’re damn honest even when you don’t want them to be! Family, friends and even partners (as nasty as they can be sometimes when it comes to this disorder) mostly try to make you feel good about yourself placating you with comments such as: “It’s not that bad” “I can barely notice it” “You still look beautiful to me” bla bla bla. But let’s face it; my seven year old nailed it! I know I look like shit. In fact I think I look like a junkie at the moment. My hair is unbrushed and all over the place, I stay dressed in my pyjamas all day and my face and hands are covered in open wounds. Luckily it’s winter at the moment so at least my legs and arms and all the rest of me are mostly covered up!
I admit I sometimes criticise people (only in my head of course) for their dress and body art choices after they’ve become a parent. Not that I have anything against people’s choices when it comes to their own appearance but sometimes becoming a parent means a bit of conservativeness wouldn’t go astray. I often wonder if these children will be embarrassed of the way their parents’ look; however never once did I stop to think how my son must feel about the way I look. I will put on clothes and makeup to cover up this disorder to everyone else (family, friends, partners, work colleagues, etc.) but not my son. Never my son. Maybe I thought because he had only ever known me this way that he wouldn’t even notice it. But he has. And I know that now. And I feel awful that he has to look at me every single day and stomach what this disorder has and still is doing to my appearance. I have a good kid! In fact I think he is fantastic and he’s usually super sensitive to other people’s feelings. But maybe just maybe I needed to hear in a roundabout way what MY disorder is doing to HIM. Part of being a good parent is protecting our children, especially from pain and suffering, but how can I do that when I keep exposing him to my own pain and suffering? This is not his battle. This is mine. It is not fair that he has to suffer because I am suffering. I have always wanted to stop picking but now I want to stop for him. I just wish I knew how…