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Educating the Uneducated

Why are people so damn naïve? And why do people keep saying “God can help you”? *facepalm* -_- I suppose this is what I get for jumping on the Dr. Phil bandwagon haha! For those who have no idea what I’m talking about:

Dr. Phil featured a fellow skin picker April on his show not long ago and reran the segment yesterday… unfortunately he portrayed April as having Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) instead of Dermatillomania. This has upset a lot of derma sufferers because it has made our condition look as though it is all “made up in our heads” despite it finally being recognised in the DSM5 as a condition in its own right. Soooo I decided to comment on his Facebook page underneath the post “Could YOU be suffering from body dysmorphic disorder” and of course the ignorant comments are now flowing in.

Here’s a link to his Facebook page where the above mentioned post is featured:

Dr. Phil’s Facebook Page

And here is a link to Angela Hartlin’s article where she interviews Dr. Phil’s guest April about her experiences with Dermatillomania:

Angie Asks: April, Guest on Dr. Phil

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Derma Dilemma’s

Started blogging and ended up vlogging after my blog post triggered me to remember an incident when I was in year 6 at primary school. Sorry for the crummy quality (light across my face). I’m not very techno savvy!

When People “Just Drop By”

I hate it when people “just drop by”. As a skin picker it is not only one of my biggest fears but also my greatest annoyance! I know that my skin, especially on my face, is nowhere near as bad as it used to be but I still struggle to see myself any differently and I am still caught up in certain ritualistic behaviours that have been created by my Derma. This includes jumping every time my dogs bark as well as anytime I hear a car on my street because I think this means someone is coming to my front door. I will also hide from my phone and my laptop in case someone is trying to call or message me wanting to catch up. And if someone does “just pop by” unannounced, and I don’t have any makeup on, my hands will constantly be playing with my face trying to cover up any spots and scars while they are talking to me. All of these behaviours may seem extreme but there was a time when there were almost as many open wounds on my face as there was skin and for some reason I still see myself as that girl… that hideous monster who people would ogle at because they thought I had some kind of contagious disease.

To people who don’t suffer from this condition they may not see the harm in “just dropping by” for a visit or coming over to say hi and even if they know about your Derma they may try to make you feel better by saying things like “but the way you look doesn’t bother me”. What they don’t understand is – IT BOTHERS ME! I CARE how I look! And no this does not make me vain. It makes me INSECURE! I do not find myself attractive with all these marks on my skin and thanks to many many people telling me the same thing over and over again for the past 20 years, I’m not sure I ever will. And if you don’t understand that then you don’t understand my Dermatillomania!

Sorry for the rant… I’m having a bad night 😦

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I fixed it! I fixed it!

So my nose is quite sore at the moment. What started off as about 3 miniscule little blackheads is now one massive open flaming bright red gash across my nose. I’ve been picking at it for about a week now and gouging at it with my tweezers… I haven’t managed to get the blackheads out but I have managed to do some serious damage to the surrounding skin. The photo doesn’t do it justice and I’ve also covered it in cream to try and reduce the swelling. I seriously just do not understand why I do this to myself? And what’s worse is I actually thought I was fixing it!! Well doesn’t a bright red open sore look soooo much better than 3 tiny black dots you could barely notice!!! The worst thing about this disorder is not understanding at all why you do it. And even though I know I’ve just damaged my skin and made it look 100 times worse than what it was I am still sitting here picking at another spot I’ve found while I write this. Does it ever end???

If I didn’t pick…

There are many things I dream about doing. Many things I want to do. There is so much of my personality that remains locked away because of how I look and because of how I feel about the way I look. Have you often wondered what you would be like if you didn’t pick? What you would do? Who you would be? I have!

If I didn’t pick I would:

– ♥ love LOVE shopping!! I could try on anything I wanted any time of the year and not have to cringe at my reflection in the mirrors or only pick items off the shelves that contained sleeves or legs! I could singlet shop and shorts shop and swimwear shop! It would be grand!

– Go out whenever I wanted. Whenever I felt like it. I would just go. No need to apply makeup. No need to search for the perfect outfit. No need to check the weather. I would just head out.

– Lay on the beach surrounded by a group of friends in a hot bikini soaking up the sun and the laughter in between dips in the ocean.

– Dance, dance and dance! I could go clubbing in a gorgeous outfit that showed off my body and I wouldn’t have to worry about overheating or sweating so much my makeup ran off because I would be dressed comfortably and it wouldn’t matter if my makeup wore off.

– Answer the door when someone knocked on it, instead of hiding in fear or hurrying to the bathroom first to cover up all my spots and scars.

– Love having friends just “drop-by” and say hi!

– Love freely and unconditionally… I wouldn’t be so afraid of putting myself out there.

– Hang out more, date more, and enjoy meeting new people and making new friends.

– Have more friends.

– Enjoy intimacy.

– Be confident!

– Smile more!

I want to be that person who can do all of the above things. I want to be the real me!! The “me” that is just dying to burst out and finally be free of this prison that is Derma. It feels like I’ve been given a life sentence, one where I’ve already served twenty years. I think I’ve done my time. I think I’ve suffered enough. I think it’s time I was set free. Don’t you?

Tweezers, BDD and a Bit of Background Info

I was thinking the other day about tweezers and how I got to using them. I’ve been trying to read up a little on Dermatillomania and have come across some information about there being a connection between Derma and Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD). This is most likely due to the fact that both Derma and BDD sufferers have an unnatural precoccupation with perfecting one’s image. It did not start this way for me but over the years I believe it has developed into this.

I started picking when I was four years old. Around that time we had just moved from one state to another – from a small country town in NSW with moderately cool weather conditions to a larger tropical touristy town in QLD which was often hot and humid. It was in this new town that I also met mosquitos and was constantly bitten all over by them. So there are two major things which could have contributed to the onset of my picking – the stress of the move and the itch of the mosquito bites. However it started; it soon developed into a habit. One that I could not seem to stop. Doctors did not know why I did it. Psychologists didn’t have an explanation for it. And I sure as hell copped a lot of bullying for it in school.

Then our next move came. Now I was a teenager – fourteen years old. I found it difficult to cover up my skin in QLD because of the heat and humidity but now we were in WA. A fresh start where no one knew about my picking and where the weather consisted of four seasons – which made it a lot easier for me to cover up my skin. So the heavy makeup started, as did the long sleeves and the long pants. Now I could keep my secret hidden which made the picking a LOT LOT worse! It was almost as if I could get away with it now.

At around the age of 16 – 17 I discovered tweezers. I’d only ever used them once or twice before to pick at a really difficult scab that I couldn’t get with my nails alone. Those ones where a tiny bit of white/green skin sits stubbornly amongst the deep red wound and you have to pull it out or it just stays there driving you crazy. And I felt wrong using the tweezers so I tried not to use them.

Then when I was 20, thanks to the internet, I finally discovered that my condition had a name. I also discovered that I was not the only person in the world who suffered from it, much to my surprise. For 16 years I thought I was the only person who did this to their skin. And all of a sudden I didn’t feel so alone anymore. There was a community of pickers out there. And they used tools on their skin too. So unfortunately for me, and it’s probably been the only downside to discovering other Derma sufferers, using tweezers on my skin became acceptable.

Picking was a habit. A way of releasing stress, anger, tension… happiness even. It was a way of controlling my emotions. Tweezing on the other hand was a way of “fixing”, “smoothing” and “perfecting”. I became obsessed with the wounds having to feel smooth, no excess or dry skin could be hanging from the edge of a sore. I would use my tweezers to tidy this up. To make it feel better. To make it “perfect”. And now I can’t pick without them. I do not get the same satisfaction from using my nails as I can with using tweezers. So I pick the scabs off with my nails and then “perfect” the sore with my tweezers. And this is my routine now. So I can see how Derma may sometimes be linked with BDD – tweezing has turned my Derma into an image issue whereas before picking just used to be a form of release for me.

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