Ughhh, I'm sorry it's been so long since I've written anything. I've been wayy busy. Currently, I'm at work, my bosses are in a meeting, and I am at my desk doing "homework." I've made an honest effort at my math practice test, honest to goodness, but so much has caught my attention this morning.
For one, I found an awesome resource for Dermatillomania/CPS/compulsive skin picking, etc, whatever you want to call it. I've had my dukes up against this battle for a year or two now, but if you saw my legs you'd think I'd been at it for numerous years. Though I've made some drastic changes to my thinking/behaviors, I'm still not free from CSP. It's nearly impossible to explain to someone who doesn't have any form of OCD or anxiety disorders what it's like to not be able to control your own behavior or suppress destructive urges. My mom keeps trying to scare me out of my skin picking. She's a physical therapist and a specialist in wound care, so she has seen patients who have had to have limbs amputated due to an infection from skin picking. I wrote about it three months ago when my mom first started noticing my sores:
When I'm bored, I feel unproductive. When I feel unproductive, I get antsy. When I'm antsy, I habitually pick at my skin. That's embarrassing to admit. But there it is. Merry Christmas.I'm sharing all of this now because a) it's a major part of my life now and shouldn't have to hide it and b) resources for CSP self-treatment is so incredibly limited. The resource I found today is the first I've seen to actually explain the disease from the perspective of someone who has been afflicted with it, and it provides ways you can combat it.
Really, though, I've had an anxiety disorder for as long as I could remember. But it has changed over the years. First, I was insecure and depressed. Then, I was moody and mercurial. Now, I'm anxious and stressed (hopefully it goes without saying that this is not all the time. I am a fairly content person, but I go through temporary happiness eclipses). I've always had the habit of biting my nails, but now, I've altered the habit to picking at my nails. Also, I pick at the skin on my legs. It's gotten so bad that I have sores and bumps. I don't like wearing shorts in public. I finally have the healthy, thin shape I've always wanted, but I can't show it because I have to hide my skin. The only place I felt safe from judgment was home until recently when my mom began noticing my skin.
"It makes me sad just looking at those," my mom said a couple of afternoons ago when I entered the room.
"Looking at what?" I asked.
She lowered her eyes to my legs. "Those sores." She continued to tell me how scary looking they had gotten and, honestly, she may as well have said that my legs were ugly now and that it was all my fault.
"You could lose your legs, Danielle. If they got infected and it spread, you would have to get your leg amputated to stop the disease." By this time she had raised her voice to the point of almost yelling at me. "Do you want that? Do you want to lose your leg from MRSA or a staph infection?" She was yelling now. "Stop hurting yourself!"
My mom and I have an open, honest relationship, and I'm aware of and thankful for her protective nature over me, but I was now the bug under the rock who looks up to find a little kid standing over him instead of the rock. I know how it feels to be poked and prodded at when all you want to do is burrow yourself into some moist dirt where no one can examine you.
I've tried explaining to her that if I could stop, I would have a long time ago. If my health was enough to stop, I wouldn't have these sores and scars. I'm driven by the desire to have clear skin; maybe it's a touch of perfectionism. Ironically, though my mind is convinced that picking will solve my skin issues (acne, ingrown hairs, etc), it is the very thing causing my skin to deteriorate and become irritated. I know it to be a fact that picking will not fix my skin and that it is hurting me, but stopping cold-turkey only causes me to become more frustrated and antsy.
The thought of ridding myself from CSP thrills me and scares me at the same time. But I want to be able to say I conquered it so that I can be living proof that you can be free from the daily torture. I want to help people living with Dermatillomania and similar disorders to get their lives back. We could start a club, even. Secret handshake and all (and provide hand sanitizer afterward for those among us who don't like to shake hands).
I love this song. It's so uplifting. Ch-ch-check it.