Picking. Popping. Scratching. Digging.
Constantly picking at pimples. Popping the little whiteheads that show up every morning. Scratching at bumps. Digging out scars and digging out blackheads. Not feeling a relief until the flaw is gone, only by creating more fingernail indents around the circular clogged pore that invaded my perfectly flawed skin.
When someone makes me uncomfortable, my hand goes up my back to “scratch an itch”. When I’m concentrating or stressed, it likes to go to my chin or behind my ear and hairline. When I’m bored? That’s when my hand goes to my arms and face.
It’s a nervous tick. It’s one of the products of my anxiety. I don’t like to talk about it.
Dermatillomania is something that many people suffer from everyday. It has obsessive compulsive type tendencies, except instead of keeping a desk organized, or flipping a light switch multiple times, you honestly believe that your skin is flawed. It’s flawed because of the clogged pores. It’s flawed because whenever you pick, pop, scratch or dig, your nails and finger tips leave more oils and dirt surrounding the flaw you messed with and you end up creating another one. Ironic. It’s flawed because someone once told you in fifth grade that you had really big pores, or that you could never look like Katy because you had too much acne. It’s flawed because once during summer band, someone pointed out the flaws on your arms from being out in the sun.
I still know who said all of those things. Another perk of anxiety. Constantly thinking about things that happened days, weeks, months, years ago. Every insult is fried into my brain. Instead of memorizing dates in history class, I was thinking about why the boy I had a crush on left me. I was good at school, sure, but I was better at overthinking.
Today, I am twenty-three-years-old, and I’ve finally started to come to terms with what it takes to live with dermatillomania. As a full-time college student, school, life, and anxiety causes my skin-picking tendencies to flare up even more.
Right now, I am typing with cuts on the tips of my fingers. Cuts from a knife. Cuts from my cat Patrick, who believes that “playing” has to involve claws. The cuts make it difficult to type, however the subject of this blog makes it more difficult. Exhaustion has led me into discussing things I’m uncomfortable with. I could talk about anything right now. I could talk about the things on Facebook that irk me or I could talk about the issues with society nowadays, because damn, there are multiple.
However, I chose the one subject I dislike about myself. I am opening up to the internet about a self-diagnosed “disease” that I don’t like to talk about.
AllBee, signing off. ❤️
If you, or anyone you know, is living with dermatillomania (skin-excoriation disorder), please feel free to contact me. Later on, I’ll be publishing other people’s experiences with it as well because it’s important for you all to know that you are not alone. Attached is also a slideshow I made for a psychology class I took this spring, it has all of the statistics and everything.