My new motto to try and get me to stop picking when I’m in the moment. I thought I’d share it on the off chance it may help someone else!
So you know how I was having a bad day… WELL I decided to put my big girl panties on… managed to do the grocery shop just fine and even buy meat! Then when my son suggested we head to the river before dinner I just had to say YES! And boy was it worth it! Check out that sunset:
Then like the BIG KID I am, I just had to have a go on the swings:
And there’s no faking that smile! I had butterflies in my stomach and I couldn’t stop laughing! Plus I didn’t stop there… I played chasey in the playground with my little boy and squealed going down the big “scary slide” with him, I even had sand in my shoes at the end of the evening… always a sign of good times had.
So I guess what I wanted to share with you all, is that even though my day started off plagued with depression, anxiety and all things Dermatillomania, I somehow managed to have the BEST afternoon I have EVER had with my son! And I laughed… I really laughed!!
Sometimes we build these things up inside our head to the point that they seem insurmountable but if we just push ourselves that tiny little bit then the possibilities are endless. Let this be your little push for today…
Having a not-so-great day today. I’ve relapsed since coming on holidays. Most people find holidays relaxing – I, on the other hand, find that having nothing to do actually makes me incredibly anxious and allows my depression to creep back in a little. I didn’t want to get out of bed today. I felt sick (I suffer from medically diagnosed Irritable Bowel Syndrome with the possibility of also having chronic appendicitis) so trying to push past the pain/discomfort barrier was a little difficult this morning. Since then I have spent the last 3 hours picking at my face… mostly while sitting here on the laptop but I’ve also headed into the bathroom a few times to have a session in front of the mirror with my tweezers. This is what my face looks like now, it is the same on the other side:
I’ve been trying to figure out what about today is making me so anxious that I feel the need to pick. I’ve hit on a few things… someone is coming over today to feed the birds so being “skin-ready” for visitors always makes me anxious, I need to go to the shops to get something for dinner & because my OCD also manifests itself in the form of fearing all food is contaminated with bacteria, especially meat, food shopping is really nerve-wracking for me and I then need to cook dinner which is also making me incredibly anxious.
So I’ve since put on some makeup, brushed my hair & changed out of my PJ’s in the hopes it will encourage me to get off my ass and finally face the day:
However even with the makeup on you can still see the pockmarks on my skin 😦
I’ve been doing really well lately – so well in fact that my picking has lessened enough that I went to the dvd store last night with NO makeup on my face. I was devastated when I realised the dvd store was shut and I would instead have to go inside the shopping centre to return my rentals BUT I did it! I may have been extremely anxious, fiddling with my fingers in my pocket the entire time and turning my head or looking down every time I passed another shopper, but I managed to leave my house without makeup and this is a small step in the right direction! I’m also weighing in at 43.3kg, and that was after a yucky bout of vomiting thanks to gastro, which means I have managed to put on 4.7kg in 6 months (probably more now that I can finally eat again)! Which means I’m only 1.7kg away from my goal weight of 45kg and I am slowly starting to not be so paranoid about germs in my food. Next step will be buying and cooking mince or chicken. At the moment I’m only ok with steak!
If you’re wondering why I’m all of a sudden talking about food I too suffer from OCD and have done since I was a little girl. I used to spend hours checking locks, taps and light switches but I managed for the most part to overcome that. Now, after a stressful period last year, it has returned in the form of thinking my food is contaminated and being extremely cautious with what I buy and eat. And I also have to wash my hands quite frequently with hot water and soap! I thought I’d kicked my OCD but my psychologist told me that in times of stress it can return as it is the only way I feel like I can have some control over what’s happening in my life. OCD is about control and when I felt like I was losing control the OCD returned.
Does anyone else suffer with any other conditions on top of the Dermatillomania? My official diagnosis a few years ago, when my picking was at its peak, was: severe depression with suicidal tendencies, anxiety disorder, OCD and Dermatillomania. Fun times… not!!
My new motto to try and get me to stop picking when I’m in the moment. I thought I’d share it on the off chance it may help someone else!
So you know how sometimes your picking starts to get pretty good and you’re like “Hey I’m actually getting better!” and then all of a sudden you relapse and your self talk goes a little like this:
“Why the fuck would you do that for? Now look what you’ve done! You were going so well! Your face/arms/legs were looking so much better… now look what you’ve done to them! You’ve totally fucked them up! Oh my God you’re so fucking ugly! You look hideous! Now how are you meant to go out tomorrow? Makeup is hardly going to cover THAT up! You’re such a failure!!!! What is wrong with you?”
That’s been me the past two nights. In fact everytime I relapse that is the kind of self-talk that goes on in my head. And actually even when my spots are clearing up I still tell myself how ugly I am. Why do us pickers do this to ourselves? It’s hard enough dealing with the physical afflictions of this illness, do we really have to torment ourselves mentally as well?
One thing that seems quite common amongst skin pickers is our desire for perfection. Most of us seem to be perfectionists at heart striving to make ourselves “look better”; to “fix” ourselves. We are the same when it comes to other things in life as well, such as getting high marks in school, doing well at our jobs, etc. The other day I got a D- for one of my university assignments and suicide was the first thing that entered my mind. I immediately assumed I’d failed, not realising that a D actually stands for a Distinction in University. But even a D is not good enough and neither are all the C’s (Credit’s) I’ve been getting. I want HD’s (High Distinctions). I want to be the best! But why? Why do I need to be the best? Why am I always so hard on myself? I’m passing, shouldn’t that be enough? You only need P’s (Passes) for Degrees after all!
It just feels like I’m constantly failing in life. The narrative that continually repeats itself in my head goes something along the lines of: “You’re such a bad mum! You spend so much time studying you hardly play with your son. You’re a terrible mother. He’d be so much better off without you. And you’re spending all this time studying and you’re still sucking at University! You’re only just passing and you’re putting in so much effort, you must be really stupid! And look at how ugly you are! No wonder you’re such a failure! You spend so much time picking, how do you expect to have time for anything else? You’re wrecking your skin. Look at it. It’s covered in spots and scars! You’ll never be beautiful!”
With a narrative like that no wonder suicide constantly crosses my mind! So maybe it’s about time I adopted a more positive narrative – one of self-love. Maybe it’s about time I started noticing the achievements I make, the things I do well and focusing less on the things I don’t do so well at.
“Ok yes you’ve relapsed! But who cares, tomorrow is a new day. Don’t take it out on yourself and more importantly don’t take it out on your skin!!! You’re doing such a wonderful job, you’re so incredibly strong! This is just a tiny slip up on a very long road to recovery. The spots will be almost healed again in a couple of days. You are beautiful! You are worthy! You are strong! Keep it up!”
Simply tell the negative thoughts to GO AWAY! You don’t need them in your life any longer. All they do is bring you down!
“Ok so you didn’t get a HD. But you still passed and you passed well! That’s one step closer to getting your degree. And who cares if this one particular tutor didn’t like your style of writing? Some of the best writers amongst us today got rejected SO many times before they became the best sellers that they are today! And you’ve got a lot on your plate! You work, you study full time, you have a son, you help out at his school. You’ve got a lot to juggle and the balls haven’t dropped. You’re doing such a good job! Keep it up!”
“And you are a good mum! In fact you’re a fantastic mum! Your son gets fed, bathed, clothed, and told he’s loved each and every single day. Everything you do is for him! The reason you’re working so hard right now is so you can provide him with the best future possible! You want to succeed so he can succeed! And you’re still here. You’re still here for him. It would have been so easy to give up but your love for him keeps you going. If this doesn’t prove you’re a good mum then what does?”
How much more uplifting is it to hear positive words of encouragement instead of a constant barrage of hateful and negative comments? Don’t be so hard on yourself! People AREN’T perfect. People CAN’T be perfect. So stop striving for perfectionism… strive instead for being the best person you can be, flaws and all! Something my mum pointed out to me and it is so very true, is the beauty of nature. Nature is incredibly beautiful, breathtaking even and yet what is perfect about nature? Nature is not symetrical, leaves have bumps and holes in them, rocks are sharp and jagged, trees weep sap and peel bark, creek beds dry up, rivers overflow. Not perfect at all but so beautiful… so perfect in its own way with all its flaws. This is what makes nature unique. And this is what makes human beings unique. We are all different. And we all have a lot to offer. There is no one such thing that defines a perfect human being. Learn to love yourself and others will too. See the positives in life and the negatives won’t be able to take such a hold on you. Live your life and lead your life alongside a positive commentary. Lord knows YOU DESERVE IT!!!!!<
What do you liken your skin picking to? If at all you liken it to anything.
For me I feel my skin picking is closely related to drug addiction. I “depend” on my picking to feel a certain way. I “use” it to dissociate, calm me down, relieve anxiety, entertain me and of course when I get a good “pick”, kind of like a good “fix”, the rush I feel is indescribable. However once I “come down” off the picking “high” I feel ashamed, resentful, disgusted and phsyically ill to my stomach. I experience nausea, the shakes and suicidal thoughts.
In saying all this though; I am also a perfectionist. I suffer from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I pick compulsively. I pick to “perfect” and “fix” my skin. When I am doing it, I think (truly believe!) that I am making it better. I know it looks worse but it feels better. I like the feel of smooth skin. Picking achieves that for me. There are no bumps, there are no scabs. Unfortunately what is left in its place is raw skin – open wounds.
Then I hear picking compared to cutting… which makes me very very angry. Because for me, as a person who used to cut, I do not pick for the same reasons I used to cut. Cutting was about feeling physical pain in order to gain some release from the emotional pain I was feeling. And also at times to “bring me back to Earth” because I felt so out there. Not even in my own body; like I didn’t exist. I needed to feel something. When I pick, I don’t feel pain. I am numb to it. I admit that sometimes if I am angry my picking becomes aggresive and I do dig and tear at my skin with my nails in a way that is not focussed on perfection. It is me self-mutilating and taking my temper out on my skin instead of on others. However I only do this on rare occassions. Most of the time I pick I am not even aware I have started to do it. Then by the time I realise what I am doing, I feel like I need to keep going in order to achieve something or fix the damage I have already done.
There are multiple reasons why I pick. And there are probably multiple conditions that picking is similar to or related to. Drug addiction and OCD is something I feel my picking is similar to. Cutting is something I hear picking compared to. Whatever your reasons for doing it, it probably differs from mine. I am curious to know why people pick and what it is like for them. There definitely needs to be more research done on this condition and I hope to discover other sufferers who are open about sharing their stories with me. Together we can raise awareness and encourage further research on Dermatillomania. A silent, often misdiagnosed, and even deadly condition.
Much love to everyone reading and anyone suffering. ♥
About to attempt the grocery shopping and already I can feel my anxiety levels rising. I break down and cry in shopping centres because I am that OCD about food. I NEED to get over this! I NEED to start cooking again! Food is essential to life. You can’t survive without it. I can’t. And I know my son certainly can’t. I just wish I knew how to fix this. Life was much easier when all I had to worry about was the skin-picking. This food obsession is a whole new confusing ball game.
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.
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”?