I’m Not Perfect… And That’s OK!

I haven’t posted in a while. Purposefully. I guess I don’t really feel as though I have much to say. Much to share. I started this blog with the hope of encouraging myself, and others, to stop skin-picking. But I find the battle so overwhelming that I don’t know how to stop. I admit that I am in a much better place today than where I was just a few years ago. But I still pick. Daily.

I have sort of come to terms with my derma, in the sense that I now think of it and treat it as more of a physical dis-ease than a mental one. For example if one were to have diabetes, they may have it for life but they become aware of the symptoms and risks and how best to manage them. With skin-picking I am aware of the symptoms and risks (depression, suicidal ideation, open wounds, scarring) and I simply have to learn how best to manage them as I may very well have this disorder for life. Part of this disorder is having a desire to ‘perfect’ the skin when in reality we are actually destroying it. I am trying to shift my thinking to actually caring for my skin – ‘perfecting’ it in a different way. I exfoliate. I moisturise with coconut oil. I use scar treatment oil. I cover open sores with bandaids to let them heal and to remind myself not to pick. Little by little these small things are helping in their own small way but I know I could be doing a lot more.

Every year I make the New Year’s resolution to stop skin picking. Every year, I fail. This year is the first year I have not made any New Year’s resolutions although I know in the back of my mind I still want to stop picking. And the sooner the better. It’s just I can’t handle the failure anymore. I’m trying to find things to motivate myself to stop picking – less time to get ready, more confidence, be able to wear what I want, enjoy summer, date. And again whilst these desires motivate me a little, I still can’t seem to take that extra leap to actually stop.

I know I’d be a better mother if I stopped. A better daughter. A better friend. A better partner. A better lover. But at the same time my derma has made me who I am today and I guess I have to be thankful for that. My derma has made me a more compassionate and empathetic person who has the ability to look past physical appearances to the person underneath the skin. I find all people beautiful – if they are beautiful on the inside. I have never judged someone for their appearance. I give people second chances. I make people laugh. I will always listen. I will always care. I’m a better person on the inside because of my derma. I may be more scarred and a little less appealing on the eye than the ‘average’ person but perhaps that’s a compromise I have come to not only accept but also to appreciate.

I'm not perfect and that's ok. There's no one I'd rather be than me.             (Inspired by Wreck-It Ralph)

I’m not perfect and that’s ok. There’s no one I’d rather be than me. (Inspired by Wreck-It Ralph)

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Posted on January 7, 2015, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. Hi! My name is Aja and I have been struggling with derma/tricho since I was about 12 or 13 (21 years old now). I have been searching for people who share my struggle for support, and also to know I’m not the only one fighting this battle. This post really spoke to me, and reminds me of what I have been trying to tell myself lately; my picking does not fix my skin, it only maims it. If I never had derma to begin with, my skin would be significantly healthier. However, like you said, it is important to recognize this is a legitimate compulsion and illness I am battling, and it is okay when picking takes over. What matters is that we continue to work to better it. This reminder of the damages, as well as the reminder that it is okay to slip up, really helps to progress forward. Thank you for sharing your story!

    • Hi Aja. Reading your comment today helped me greatly. As you’ve probably experienced yourself, we have both good days and bad days living with this disorder. My negativity was starting to creep back in after a week of bad days so reading this reminded me to keep positive and be gentle on myself. If you’d like to connect with other sufferers I run a group on Facebook called Dermatillomania Support Group which is very welcoming and supportive. In the meantime thank you for visiting my blog and taking the time to leave a comment 🙂

  2. You are an inspiration to all of us who struggle with skin picking.I have picked since i was 5 years old (I’m 30 now). Up until five years ago, I didn’t know picking was a real medical condition.I’m grateful to know I’m not alone and there’s someone who I can relate to. Thank for your story!

    • Thank you so much Taress 🙂 It means a lot to me to know that I am making a difference somehow. It was only 6 or so years ago that I also discovered I was not alone in this and that it was an actual condition. It was such a relief and a lot more awareness and research is going into the condition now, which is great. Thank you for visiting my blog and taking the time to leave a comment. I wish you all the best on your journey to recovery with this disorder. We’ll get there one day! It’s also comforting to know I am not the only one who has been suffering from this since I was a little girl. I started when I was 4 and I’ll be 27 this year.

  3. I am 59 and have picked my skin since I was around 6. I remember not being allowed in the public swimming pool because of the sores on my legs caused by picking scabs from mosquito bites and scratches. I am so glad that brave sufferers such as yourself have come public with your stories to help others and to let them know they are not alone. For 45 years, I thought I was the only one who did this – what was wrong with me? Why couldn’t I stop? I mainly pick my face, and have ups and downs. I am lucky to have a very supportive husband who understands the emotional upheaval that goes along with this disorder.
    You are a beautiful girl, inside and out. Keep doing your best.

    • Hi MCC,

      Thank you for getting in touch with me. I am sorry to hear that you have suffered from this disorder for as long as you have but I am glad that you have found you’re not alone in this. There are a lot of us out there who suffer from this, mostly in silence and shame, but little by little we’re all starting to share our stories and get the word out. It is comforting to hear that you have a very supportive husband, that makes the battle so much easier when you have loved ones that care about you and are willing to stick by you through the ups and downs. Thank you for your beautiful comments and wishing you all the best in this. I know how hard it can be!

    • I am 50. I have picked as a way to self-soothe probably since I was a toddler. I picked all the fur off my teddy bear. I only recently learned about dermotillomania. Nobody mentioned it to me. I tried the Naltrexone; but that did not seem to help. I tried The Tapping Solution; and it works to some degree. I have stopped drinking alcohol, stopped abusing drugs, and stopped have sex. I used the 12 step programs for those. And I used the Roman Catholic Church and confession to slowly break away from addictive relationships with men. I used to run marathons, but now my knees are trashed. I have been taking Seroquel for 8 years. I have put on a lot of weight. My doctor suggested NAC, an amino acid. I plan to try this next.
      As to making New Years resolutions, the 12 step programs tell you to break it down into just for this moment I will not (drink, smoke, binge, pick). I am also doing DBT dialectical behavior therapy. I believe this helps a lot. But sometimes I forget to practice. I downloaded 2 apps for my phone. They are helpful. There are also apps for eating disorders which are useful because they remind me to stop whatever I am doing and check on myself. I like the idea of trying to take care of myself, but just switching obsessions is not helpful.

      • Thank you for writing in and sharing all that information with me. Good on you for managing to beat all those other addictions, that takes a lot of strength and courage! I especially liked how you mentioned to break steps down into just for this moment. I think it would be a lot more useful for me to try and not pick moment by moment rather than just trying to stop picking altogether! Also I thought I might mention that there is a group who run a 12 step program for skin picking which may be useful to you if you have had success in the past using these programs. The link to their website is: http://www.osparecovery.org/ Hope it helps! 🙂

  4. Hi! My name is Niku! I am a terrible devil to my skin 😦 I pick whenever I see a bump and after I pick I get very emotionally upset and it is hard for me to forgive myself… I hate it whenever I pick. I get the worst feeling in the world.

    I was wondering, How long does it take for picked at skin to heal?

    Do you know any lotions or treatments that can heal my skin VERY FAST? Are moisturizing face masks ok to use?

    • Hi Niku 🙂 Thank you for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment. I feel the same as you do whenever I pick, it really is one of the worst feelings in the world. As for your questions I will try and answer them as best I can but a dermatologist would know more than me. When I was younger (late teens-early twenties) my skin would heal and my scars would fade in a couple of weeks maximum, now it could take over two weeks for a sore of mine to heal and I could be left with the scar for two years or more. In order to heal my skin fast, I use coconut oil. It is antibacterial, antifungal and very moisturising! As for the face masks, I have never refrained myself from using them so maybe try it once and if it goes well continue to use them but if you get a breakout maybe switch to something else. Good luck!

    • Aloe and cortisone can help heal and help stop the itching.

  5. Hey, we’ve talked before. I just want to give you a song that you can cry to “A Better Son/Daughter” by Rilo Kiley. I cry almost every time. My favorite lyrics are
    “But the lows are so extreme, that the good seems fucking cheap, and it teases you for weeks in its absence.”
    Also its been a struggle for me as well. I don’t know if I should go to college, or if I should take care of myself first. And like you said, if I have more time, I have more time to pick.
    Remember that whole “I don’t care” attitude I had? Yeah I don’t give a shit because I don’t give a shit about anything. I’m not happy with myself, or with my life and I haven’t been happy for awhile. I’ve been trying to get better but worse shit keeps triggering it all back again and I feel like I’m back where I started, which isn’t good. I get impulsive when I’m depressed, I sleep even less, and I pick even more.

    Also those white things that we look for (kinda like reverse whiteheads or really deep whiteheads) in our skin can come from wheat and alcohol. I’m cutting those out and seeing if it works. I’ll let you know if it does or not. But I don’t know how I’m supposed to eat healthy when I am broke.

    The hardest thing for me though is accepting that someone finds me pretty. I look like a fucking crack addict insomniac, who just tears at her skin all the fucking time. At least only two of those are true. I haven’t broken the guilt cycle, I’ve just tried to ignore it.

    It doesn’t even matter whatever my confidence in my skin is, my picking is always triggered when something bad happens or I’m stressed. When my skin is good, I’m okay; when its not, I’m so fucking unhappy its unbelievable.

    Sorry for the long comment.

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