Pick. Scratch. Heal. Repeat. It has been a vicious cycle. I never knew that the constant picking at your skin is a disorder. Dermatillomania. I know, it’s a big ass word. It can also be called Excoriation Disorder. It is related to OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) and is the repeated action of picking at one’s skin. Dermatillomania affects 1.4%-5.4% of adults in America, with more women having it than men. This is a body-focused repetitive action and usually starts in adolescence. Looking back, this has been a problem for me my entire life. Now that I’m older, I want this to end. It affects my life, my relationships, and my well-being. It is time to figure this shit out. It is time to fucking gets better.
My psychiatrist recently told me I needed to see a doctor because my skin picking has gotten out of hand. She told me to look up this disorder and see what it is. Everyone (especially me) loves a good google search. Excoriation Disorder is when someone picks at their skin repeatedly. It can cause blemishes that aren’t already there and make the ones already there hard to heal. I pick constantly. I think I do it subconsciously at this point. I want to have a better understanding of this before I go to the doctor. Let’s learn bitches.
Dermatillomania has no specific cause. They do believe genetics has something to do with it–shocker, I know. It can be onset by stress/anxiety or any other condition and can be used to cope. I use my fingers, but some use tools (tweezers, pins, etc.).
Signs you may have Excoriation Disorder:
- Constantly picking
- Your picking leads to blisters, cuts, and bruising.
- You are picking at the spots that you think are blemishes/imperfections.
- Sometimes you don’t know you’re even doing it.
- You’re picking when anxious.
For as far as I can remember, I have always picked. Scabs, scratching my skin until it bled, and I’ve even pulled moles off my body. It sounds gross when I type it out. The scars are overwhelming. Most have faded over time, but they keep being added on. It puts a damper on my everyday life. It’s hard to keep the lights on in bed…if you know what I mean. I’ve never been as ashamed of my body as I am right now. That’s not how I want to go through my life. I’m open to learning how to manage the urge to pick and not judge myself as hard as I do. It’s a long road to loving yourself, and the road is probably never-ending. It’s all about progress. Every day is a new day to wake up and decide to love yourself.
Let’s look at the Do’s and Don’ts I found while researching.
- Find something to keep your hands busy, like those fidget spinners. Lol, I wish those worked for me.
- Look at the most common place you pick your skin, then work on being more aware of those spots.
- Try resisting longer each time you have the urge.
- You can find a way to care for your skin instead of hurting it. Rub some Aquaphor or lotion on your skin.
- Have a support system. For instance, Tristan tells me to stop when he notices I have started to pick my skin. It made me feel insecure at first, but now I know it’s out of love.
- Make sure you are keeping your skin clean.
- Let your nails get too long. Keep those fuckers short. It’ll be harder to pick as well as before.
- Get rid of any tool that you use to pick.
There were a few things I found that are used as a treatment for Excoriation Disorder. I didn’t want to dive too deep into it because I want to ask my doctor all the questions I have.
This post made me uncomfortable, which is why it took me so long to finish. I kept finding excuses to not finish it. I need to hold myself more accountable. This blog has been nothing but good to me since I started it. There’s no reason for me to let it go. I had been trying to find any reason to take Manic Mama down, but none were good enough. It may take me awhile to get back into the swing of things, and that’s okay. I’m a work in progress and I’m working on holding myself accountable for the things I want in life.
If you are struggling with self-harm, skin picking, depression, or anything…make sure you find some sort of support system. If you don’t know anyone you feel comfortable with, my contact page has all my information. You can contact me through my blog, my email, or any social media.
Just know that you are not alone.