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Never Ending Struggle

Never Ending Struggle

Woke up… Started picking. Completely forgot that today was the day I was meant to start trying to stop. Got angry with myself. Went to the mirror, grabbed my tweezers and picked every spot I could find on my face. In this picture you can even see the indented scars by the side of my eye. They look like pock marks from acne but they are just from me picking continuously at the same sore over and over again until I’ve created a “crater”.

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Good night had after a bad afternoon ♥

Decided not to let my picking, depression or other people’s “not-so-nice” words and lack of understanding get to me tonight. Sooo after I posted my blog post and made my video I shouted myself a Jacks n Coke and took myself to see a movie – The Internship. First time I’ve ever gone out on my own and I LOVED it!

I think for me, when trying to stop picking, even if I relapse I need to push myself to get out there and not curl up into a ball under my doona. Which is tempting… BUT unproductive and doesn’t help me feel any better. Now that I’m home though and it’s past midnight I think I’ll give myself permission to make a cuppa and curl up under that doona… just got to make my bed first… ooops!

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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Putting myself back out there!

After receiving a lovely comment the other day that my old YouTube videos helped someone discover they were not alone in suffering from this illness, I decided to put myself back out there online in video form. About 4 years ago (maybe more!) when I first found out what my skin picking was I uploaded 4 videos or so to YouTube depicting my struggles with Dermatillomania. When I find these old videos I will re-upload them to my channel!

Discovering My Triggers

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Over the past few days I have been trying to think of ways to help me achieve my goal of stopping or at least cutting down my picking. While I was standing in front of my bathroom mirror the other night I thought to myself “I know how I can stop picking: Cut my hands off!!”. If I chopped my hands off I quite literally would never be able to pick again, I mean I wouldn’t even be able to pick up my tweezers! But of course this is silly, one simply cannot do this. So then I started thinking what is it about my hands not being there that would help me stop my picking. Obviously I wouldn’t be able to pick up my tweezers anymore so that would certainly help but then I clicked onto a bigger discovery! I would no longer be able to feel for imperfections… no longer be able to run my fingers over my skin, searching for scabs, bumps, pimples, cuts, etc. So this is a trigger for me! Never before have I thought of what triggers my picking. I mean I know certain emotions usually trigger a session but I’d never paid much attention to the physical things I do that trigger my picking. So now I have to work out why I feel this desire to search for “imperfections”? What does it satisfy inside of me that keeps me doing it? This is something I will think about and perhaps even pose to my psychologist in my next session.

So now I know feeling for “imperfections” is a trigger, so are my emotions (stress, anger, depression, etc.) and when it comes to picking at my face mirrors can also trigger me. Steps that I may be able to take then include: every time I touch my skin (and am aware of it as I often dissociate) immediately pull my hand away and tell myself “no”, learn to deal with my emotions using healthy positive strategies (maybe meditation for stress, boxing for anger), cover up my mirrors, shower in dimmed light or the dark AND throw out my tweezers (curls up into a ball and starts rocking back and forth at the thought of doing this… eeekkk)! I have thrown out my tweezers before and literally felt as though I was going insane. I probably looked as though I was as well… I was screaming, crying, pulling at my hair, hitting things, so basically throwing a 2 year old tantrum fit!! Perhaps I’ll take that step after I’ve taken some of the others first hehe!

Anyway back to my exam revision… only one more to go for this semester! YAY!!! I just couldn’t stay away from my blog though, I felt compelled to update and it is thanks to all of you who hit “like” on one of my posts, comment under my posts, contact me on my Facebook group, send me messages and basically encourage me with your kind words to keep on going! So thank you to all of you who inspire me and encourage me to keep up the fight! 😀

Time to Quit

I have decided that I want to quit picking… for years I have been holding onto this behaviour because I don’t know how I will cope with my feelings and my life without it. My picking has been a constant companion to me over these last 20 plus years… a “friend” even… helping me out in times of stress, calming me down when I’m anxious, not letting my excitement over things get out of control, entertaining me when I’m bored, helping me hide from the world and the list goes on. But my relationship with picking (despite the good things I have gotten out of it – if that’s even possible!) is an unhealthy one! It has destroyed my skin to the point I am badly scarred all over (both the darkish scars from recent sores and the white lumpy scars from old sores), it has made me hate myself to the point I don’t even know how to love myself, it has almost driven me to suicide on numerous occasions, it has caused severe depression and anxiety, it has kept me from forming friendships and spending time with family, it has stopped me from loving others out of fear that no one could ever possibly love me while I look like this, it caused me to fail year 11 (almost twice!) and drop out of high school, it has lost me jobs, isolated me, tormented me, tortured me, trapped me and taken precious time away from me that could have been spent enjoying my son’s early childhood!

IT IS TIME TO STOP!

For these last 20 years I have made a new year’s resolution each and every year to quit picking and I have never been able to do it. I would also set myself goals… I’ll stop picking by the time I’m 13… ok 16… then it was 18… 21 came and went and now I’m almost 25! Every milestone when most people would be excited to become a teenager (13), be able to legally consent to sex (16), be recognised as an adult and be of legal age to drink (18) and basically to party it up (21) my focus for each of these milestones was instead on stopping picking so that maybe I could wear a dress and start to feel good about myself. But again each milestone came and went and still I picked.

25 is now my new milestone! I’ll be a quarter of a century old! Still young enough to hopefully have some fun, enjoy my life and let the scars heal. And hopefully my scars will recover (as I’ve already noticed my sores and scars aren’t healing as well as they used to)! Maybe just maybe I could wear one of the many dresses I’ve bought over the years that still hang in my closet, tags attached, for my birthday this year. I turn 25 on the 15th October. My final exam for this semester is on the 14th June (and then I get 6 weeks off) so if I put this plan into action on the 15th June that gives me 4 months exactly to get this under control! Perhaps 3 months to stop picking… 1 month to heal? Now my question is do I try and quit cold turkey, like I did when I quit smoking, knowing that I will probably go insane and experience incredible withdrawal symptoms or do I try and lessen the amount of picking I do each day? And the second question is do I 100% never pick again or do I still allow myself to target a small area that I can hide so that I can keep the urges at bay? I’m not sure what to do yet but if you have any suggestions please let me know!

I’m nervous about putting this out there and especially online because what if I fail, like I have so many times in the past? Well you know what – I might just fail but if that happens I will have at least documented the journey and hopefully other sufferers will realise they’re not alone in their struggles because I surely am not the only derma sufferer in the world who has many failed attempts at quitting under her belt. Wish me luck!!

There’ll be more to come after my exams… Wish me luck for those too 😛 hehe

Exam Stress

Exam Stress

Exam stress… be like making me pick!

Pick

Pick

Bullying in the Workplace

The sores are healing but my scars still serve as a reminder.

The sores are healing but my scars still serve as a reminder.

I wrote a post recently called “Don’t let the bastards get you down” where I talked about an ex-friend of mine spreading rumours about me in my workplace and telling my work colleagues all about my picking (my biggest secret!). Two nights ago in the staff room, I was questioned intensely by another work colleague. I was sitting at the opposite end of the staff room with my back turned to everyone, watching the TV minding my own business, when she called out my name in front of everyone else (I think there were 7 of us in total in the staff room) and asked me if they were bites I had on my arms. I was quite taken aback by this. I haven’t been questioned over my marks in a LONG time and for the most part my picking has been getting better. Add to this I also wear long pants and long sleeves to work so I was not at all prepared with how to respond to this. I agreed they were bites, hoping this would end the conversation (as it usually does) but she continued to question me… When do they bite you? They must be big mosquitos where you live! Where do you live? You have to be careful you don’t get Ross River virus! And so she went ON and ON and ON! I was that ashamed and embarrassed I walked out of the staff room in complete and utter shock. This personal attack on me came out of nowhere! I’ve been there almost a year, my picking was a lot worse when I first started, she’s had plenty of time over the last few months to ask me one-on-one what they were but she chose this moment when the staff room was packed and right after the rumours at work had gone around about me to question me about my scars.

THIS IS BULLYING! And it brings back all my old memories of being taunted in the schoolyard for having “chickenpox”, “rabies”, “scabies”, parents recoiling in disgust, fearing I was contagious, teachers asking if I had the “chickenpox” (one even lifted up my shirt in front of another teacher in the staff room to “examine” my skin) and employers accusing me of being a drug addict and having to check my “track marks”! I am not contagious and I am not a drug addict! I am a girl that has seen and been through a lot and because I keep all of this bottled up inside of me, it has to escape somehow, and THAT is what the marks are that you see – PAIN ESCAPING!

As you can probably tell, it really bothers me that people can be so nosy and insensitive! I would never ever question someone on their physical appearance or on any condition/illness for that matter. Dermatillomania is a serious, debilitating, life-threatening illness that deserves the same recognition, respect and treatment that is given to other physical and mental illnesses. No one jokes about cancer. No one asks a cancer sufferer why their hair is falling out. (Or at least I hope no one does these things!). So why joke about me? Bully me? Torment me? Question me relentlessly?

LEAVE ME ALONE!

It would be so easy for me to relapse right now but my mum has told me that I’ve been doing really well lately and encouraged me to not let this woman destroy all the progress that I have made! So I won’t. Because you know what… I AM strong enough to fight this and my scars prove that!

I hope one day I have the courage to tell ALL the people that I meet, especially the nosy ones, that I have a skin picking condition, and hopefully educate them in the process! Education and greater acceptance are two things Dermatillomania sufferers urgently NEED!

Staying positive & strong!

Staying positive & strong!

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