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Self Portrait – Keeping My Hands Busy

Self Portrait - Keeping My Hands Busy

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Just a little update…

Got about 5 quotes so far for the wristbands 🙂 and am getting some samples sent out in the post next week! Told the guy on the phone all about Dermatillomania & Trichotillomania….AWKWARD!!! Haha raising awareness in Australia one person at a time 😛

Also enquired at the post office and it will cost $2.60 (Australian Dollars – AUD) to post a band to the US/UK in a regular envelope via airmail (should take approximately 10 working days to arrive). It was the most affordable option they could offer so I hope that’s not too expensive for everyone – I think it works out less for US & UK buyers though due to the exchange rate at the moment.

Next step will be working out the cost of the band and this will depend on how much they cost to make. TLC sell their awareness bracelets for $4.00 and there was one recently being sold on ebay for $10 with 10% of the sale price going towards TLC. I was going to try and sell the derma ones for $4 or less with 50% of proceeds (the money left after expenses) going towards TLC and the other 50% going towards raising awareness in Australia. Does this sound acceptable to everyone?

Sunshine and Scarring

Sunshine and Scarring

It’s Winter here in Perth, Western Australia but you wouldn’t know it! The sun is still shining and there’s hardly a chill in the air so yesterday I decided to catch a bit of the sun’s rays while they’re still hanging around.

I decided to take pictures so you could see the different types of scarring I have on my body. There’s the white lumpy scars on my belly. The dark purply brown scars on my legs. And then of course as soon as my skin is exposed a bit of picking is bound to happen. In that photo, not only can you see the freshly picked spots but also the white and brown scars. If I tan, the brown scars fade but the white ones stand out and if I remain pale the white scars aren’t noticeable but the brown ones are. So I can’t win either way really!

Minor Relapse plus Genetic Precondition?

Sooo I’d finally managed to get my face clear and then last night while I was reading a book I started to pick at it again. I attacked the spots that were almost healed (they were dry and flaky) and I don’t know if subconsciously I did it because I still wanted there to be something to pick at on my face. :/ So now I can not wait for my fidgets to arrive! TLC sent me shipping confirmation today so I am excitedly waiting for my parcel!

On a different note while I’m sitting here writing this my 6 year old son is picking at his lip. He’s a lip picker but ONLY when there is dry skin there to actually be picked off. I’m telling him to stop because it will hurt if he rips it off and he gives me a cheeky smile like he knows that’s what’s going to happen but he wants it off anyway. So far I’ve kept his hands busy with a drawing & writing activity and I’ve told him to drink water to hopefully rehydrate his lips but I guarantee you he’ll pick at them later when I’m not looking. I also went to visit my nan last night with my mother and while I was sitting there picking at a spot on my back, my mum was sitting there scratching at her face. Genetic much?

Dermatillomania – My old skin care routine

Video 3 is live! Titled “Dermatillomania – My old skin care routine” it was filmed back in 2009 & I was demonstrating the routine I used to follow for my skin. At the time I was using The Body Shop’s Vitamin E range but switched a couple of years ago to their Seaweed range which is super light on the skin which means no breakouts for me yay!! I’d also forgotten about the Aloe Vera gel for the open wounds… I now use Bactroban cream, prescribed by my doctor, if I get an infection. Last year I was getting LOTS of them thanks to the huge amount of stress I was under. Thankfully this year has seen improvements all round ♥

Dermatillomania Awareness Wristband

Ok so here’s what I’ve come up with so far for the awareness bands:

I’ve chosen these colours because I feel both sexes would be comfortable wearing them as would both sufferers and non-sufferers.

I like black because I think it represents the depression/isolation that comes with derma (also I don’t notice many black bands around) and white is for hope (plus it stands out quite nicely).

I like blue because it is associated with mental health awareness and it’s also the colour that represents Trichotillomania (although there’s is a lighter blue) and again white for hope.

Also by choosing to fill the words in with white it means it stands out… I can opt to not fill the words in with colour, so they will still be there but they will only be indented into the band.

So far this is just an idea… I would have to figure out a cost-effective way of being able to post the wristbands worldwide first. Will enquire about this at the post office within the next couple of days.

So my questions are what do people prefer:

Black or blue?

Indented words only or indented and filled in with white?

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

Dermatillomania – It has a name!

Video Number Two: This was made at the beginning of 2009, a few weeks after I found out that my illness had a name: Dermatillomania. By this stage I’m getting pretty desperate for help… it’s very hard for me to watch back over these but I’m uploading them again in the hope that they will help other sufferers realise that they are not alone in this. Much love to you if you are feeling or have ever felt like I did in this video. x

Dermatillomania – My video to Dr. Phil

One of the very first videos I made about my Dermatillomania. Never before has this video been uploaded until now. This was filmed in 2008 when I was 19 years old and before I knew that my condition had a name. You can tell in my video that I have no idea what I suffer from or that there are other sufferers out there as I still refer to my condition as “scratching” which is the only name I knew for it growing up. This is painful for me to watch and intimidating for me to upload but I’m hoping in sharing this it may be able to help others out there. It’s also a way of showing how far I’ve come in this battle over the years. There will be more videos to come over the following days and weeks containing old footage of myself describing my struggles with Dermatillomania – so stay tuned!

Could I have BPD?

I learnt something very interesting in my psychology session the other day after I asked my therapist whether or not she thought it was possible that I could have Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) due to my inability to maintain relationships and feel attachment to people. I dated someone with BPD whose similarities to me were uncanny and this, along with the fact he continually told me I suffered from it, prompted me to finally get up the courage and ask my psychologist once and for all. Turns out, there is a very fine line between simply having the traits and having the actual disorder. The way she explained it was this:

  • Picture a circle with three lines stemming from it. The circle is the circle of sensitivity and each line represents a sensitivity – these being Separation, Esteem and Safety.
  • The lines are like a continuum and if you sit in the circle you are what’s considered “normal” although there is no such thing as normal.
  • The closer you are to the circle the further away from a disorder you are but it is perfectly natural to experience traits in each of the three categories: Separation, Esteem and Safety. It is when you cannot control your feelings/traits that each of these can then become a disorder. Separation turns into Borderline, Esteem turns into Narcissistic and Safety turns into Schizoid.
  • Each person sits along these continuums and I just so happen to have Borderline traits but this does not mean I have Borderline Personality Disorder. It would also be perfectly natural for me to exhibit Narcisstic and Schizoid traits and again this does not mean I have the disorder.

My relationship problems (and she’s been my therapist through 6 relationships now) stems from my choice in men. I choose men who “need me”. Men who expect their needs to be met before my own. And that is where the problem lies. As demonstrated by the main female character in “The Silver Linings Playbook” – “Time after time, I do all this shit for other people. And then I wake up and I’m empty, I have nothing.” It is also when I am putting other people’s needs before my own that my picking gets worse. I pick at myself both metaphorically and physically.

When I am happy in life and happy in myself my picking lessens because I feel worthy! When I am in a relationship and my needs aren’t being met or are just outright being ignored I take this out on myself by picking at my skin. I also do this when someone is bothering me and instead of telling them I have a problem with what they are doing; I go to the bathroom instead and PICK PICK PICK! I need to stop internalising other people’s problems and picking myself because of it. My therapist said I need to realise that their issues are their issues and I don’t have to take them on. Their issues are for them to deal with – I have my own that I need to sort out!

Now this is hard for me to do because I like to help other people. In fact my dream in life is to help others. I feel like I have experienced so much pain in order to help others through theirs. I am also a good listener. BUT I realise now that I am not in the correct mental space to be taking on other people’s issues while I am still sorting out my own. This does not mean I have to stop being a kind, caring friend to others – it simply means I do not have to beat myself up (pick at my skin) when I cannot solve their problems. The best thing I can do right now is BE HAPPY and show them how they can be as well; and also to stop dwelling on the negatives and start focusing on the positives. Life is what you make it… and I choose to make life FANTASTIC!!

It’s been a week since I started on this stop picking journey and for the most part my skin has been getting better. I haven’t stopped cold turkey but I have definitely cut down! I was going to post a picture for you all to see my improvement but I had a little slip up last night and turned two almost healed scabs on my face into two nice open wounds. I started to get angry at myself when I saw my reflection in the mirror this morning and then I stopped. I decided to be kind to myself instead. I told myself “You’ve been sick in bed with gastro for the last two days and it’s stressed you out. You’ve only made two sores so just leave them alone from now on and don’t be so hard on yourself.” This is a big change from the negative internal dialogue I used to succumb to.

Anyway sorry all for the delayed post – this stomach flu has really knocked me. And also the conversation I have written about between me and my therapist is not to be taken as medical/psychological advice and may not be accurate word for word. This is what I remembered from our conversation and I thought the theory she discussed might make sense to others as it did to me. I have also told her I want to stop picking, I don’t need it anymore to which she replied something along the lines of “Wow this is the first time I’ve ever heard you say you actually want to stop; before you would always hold onto it because it was your only coping strategy.” So now, together with her help, we will be looking for healthy coping strategies that can be used to replace the picking as she mentioned I can’t quit until I find something to replace it with. Otherwise what will I do when I’m stressed? How will I cope without my picking?

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