The past couple months I’ve been coming to terms with a few things that I’ve done my whole life and never really realized were problems. Things that I thought just made me weird and made me feel ostracized. I finally did what people do for everything now and googled what I do, only to find out that it is considered a form of OCD.
I have known that I had anxiety issues for over two and a half years. I was on medication for it and mild depression and was in therapy for almost a year. I feel that a lot of the anxiety issues I had that were specifically dealt with are better. Looking back, many of those were compulsions as well. I had insomnia because I couldn’t fall asleep due to thoughts of things I’d doen and said throughout the day running through my head. I would replay conversations and actions over and over, criticising every single thing I’d done and other people’s reactions to them. I remembered nearly everything that ever happened because of it. But i was also torturing myself with "what ifs" and wondering how I could’ve done things better. I’d had that problem as long as I could remember. I used to think it was normal when I was young to take over a half hour to fall asleep at night, even when you’re tired. Until I started having sleep overs and realizing everyone fell asleep very quickly except for me. That has subsided, especially when I am sleeping in the same bed as my boyfriend. I find that when I’m with him I feel so safe and comfortable that I can relax and fall asleep easily. I am so glad to now be able to sleep and not be plagued with thoughts all night.
One other compulsion I’ve had issues with my whole life persists, however. It’s something that I’ve never discussed with anyone other than my current boyfriend, and I only told him very recently. People have noticed it all throughout my life, but I’ve never verbalized it. I decided that maybe talking about it will help, so here I am. Whether or not anyone reads this, I’ll feel better having written it out. I have what I’ve learned is called Dermatillomania. It is obsessive picking of the skin. It’s worst when I’m anxious or nervous. I scratch my ankles over and over when I’m nervous. I have always picked at any scar, scab, pimple, anything that causes my skin not to be perfectly smooth. In my mind it’s better to be bleeding than have some type of bump on my skin, some imperfection. I do it even when I have no idea I am doing it. I wake up in the morning and have spots of blood on my pillow from picking in my sleep. I have scabs and scars on this certain spot on the back of my neck and I never know how they manifest. I can only discern that I scratch there without realizing it. I will be in public and suddenly someone will tell me I’m bleeding and I’ll have no idea why, other than I’m sure I did it without knowing it. It’s incredibly embarassing. Everything about it.
I have so many visible scars, which only add to my insecurities about my skin. I hardly ever wear shorts because my legs are covered in scars. When i do, I put fake tan spray on them to even them out. I’m so embarassed, and people to this day ask me about it. And it just is so humiliating. I hate it so much.
I want to stop. I want to not have these scars. I want to stop my self destructive behavior. When I’m upset with myself I will pick or scratch to cause pain because it makes me feel better. I feel like I deserve to feel pain. I feel like I have to punish myself, even if other people never would. I’ve tried getting fake nails, because it makes it harder to pick. The operative word there being harder. It’s still possible. If I can’t get something with my nails, I’ll get a tweezers. I feel sick to my stomach thinking about it. I want to change for myself and my boyfriend’s sake. He hates that I do it, because he knows that part of the reason is because what I pick off are things I think make me ugly. I don’t want to be like this anymore. I want to get help. But I don’t know how.