What do you do when you’ve reached the stage where your derma could pass for acne, or pimples, or bug bites or just generally shitty skin? Do you still tell people you have Dermatillomania? Welcome to my current conundrum.
I mean obviously I still have it. Enough for people to still point out the scars and the scabs… but not so bad that I can’t pass it off as something else. Something everyday. Something normal. Something that anybody could have. “Oh it’s just pimples. Oh it’s just acne. Oh my cat just scratched me. Oh bugs must really like me. Oh I just have really shitty skin. Oh I scar really easily. BLA. BLA. BLA.”
And people believe it.
And I mean there’s some truth in it.
Yes I do get pimples. Yes I do suffer from adult acne. Yes my cats do scratch me. Yes bugs think I taste delish and they help themselves to a snack whenever they fancy a feast. Yes I have shitty skin. And yes I do scar easily.
But I also pop the pimples and the acne until I create sores that last for weeks and months on end. That 1mm cat scratch… I’ll turn that into something that looks like I’ve been attacked with Captain Hook’s hand… you know the one with the hook in it. And those bug bites… I’ll itch them until I bust them open. So I do have shitty skin and after years and years upon years of doing this to myself (24 years and counting) I am really really badly scarred. White scars. Brown scars. Red scars. Purple scars. Smooth scars. Lumpy scars. You name it, I have it.
And you know what… scars kinda suck. I mean, I love scars on other people. They’re cool. They tell a story. But on me… no. What story can I possibly tell?
I do this to myself. It’s self-inflicted. But it’s not self harm.
Derma is my demon.
I may go into remission from time to time and let my demons lie but relapse is always there. Within arm’s reach. At the tip of my fingers. What’s that saying… Idle hands make devil’s work.
You see the thing is my skin has been going kinda ok lately because I’ve been batshit busy. Like crazy super busy.
I graduated uni with a double degree… YAY.
I landed my first full time job in my chosen profession… YAY (sort of).
I bought my first house… YAY.
And I’m renovating it from scratch… HELL!
And so with barely any time to pick, my skin isn’t dotted with as many wounds as it is used to. But the scars tell a different story and they remind me that I still have this thing. This demon that I want to bury. To forget about. To never talk about. Again.
Notice I’ve been quiet on here. Notice I’ve been quiet everywhere. I shut off when things get too hard. I shut off from things. I shut off from people. I shut off from life.
I’m in a dissociative state right now. I am writing this in an attempt to come back to myself.
But I still feel so detached.
Things have been hard lately.
I always assumed that when life started falling into place (degree, job, house, child, etc.) that I would fall into place. That I would start to feel normal.
But I don’t.
As the picking lessened (and not through any choice of my own)… wait is it bad that I feel sad about being too time-poor to pick… anyway where was I… Oh that’s right. As the picking lessened my anxiety sky rocketed. I mean like to infinity and beyond… Buzz Lightyear style because I haven’t really left Earth yet. But I mean WOAH. Like leaving my house is hard. Driving is hard. Shopping is hard. Breathing is hard. Thinking is hard. Being is hard. Living is hard.
Is this what always lay underneath the surface of my Dermatillomania?
Because, shit, pass me the derma and depression any day over this anxiety.
It’s so suffocating.
To the point my heart is always beating twice, almost three times, as fast as it should be. The doctor reckons it’s gotten up to 180bpm. I wore a holter monitor for 24 hours and they recorded 167bpm at its fastest.
The diagnosis… inappropriate sinus tachycardia.
I feel like dying everyday. Not as in I want to die. As in my heart beating this fast all of the time makes me feel like I’m about to die.
And of course they’ve given me medication. And of course the anxiety and OCD have kicked in about taking the medication. And so it’s just one big vicious cycle.
OCD DERMATILLOMANIA ANXIETY PANIC DISORDER DEPRESSION
I know something needs to change. I know I need to get my shit together. I know I should give the beta-blockers and antidepressants a go. I know I should probably be reassessed by my psychiatrist because I know something’s not quite right.
And I know I probably shouldn’t be writing all of this because I don’t really want anyone to be in my head right now but here I am.
I never thought I would go silent. Disappear. But I have. And I’m sorry. I shut myself off from talking about this disorder – Dermatillomania and my other basket full of mental health issues – because I just didn’t want to be that person anymore.
But I’m still her.
And I’m still here.
Thank you to everyone who still follows me. Who still request to join my Facebook group. Who still enquire about my wristbands. Who still read what I write. Who take the time to leave comments, even though I know they go unanswered (I’m truly sorry).
But most of all thank you for being you. I could not survive this shit without knowing that there are other beautiful human beings out there just like me who totally get what it’s like to be a prisoner in your own body.
I love you all and thank you for keeping me going.
For bringing me back to life.
Me 6 months ago… mostly scars.