Find out the severity of your symptoms with this free online test
Last night was a bad one. I did my face, my chest, my arms, my legs, what i could reach of my back. I don't know what set it off, but i never do. Maybe it was because Mum said I was looking good? Compliments always seem to trigger a big picking session. I have dermatillomania, or compulsive skin picking. I've never been diagnosed, because I've never been to a doctor about it, but the internet is a wonderful thing; I've pretty much self-diagnosed without actually having to talk to anyone about it. It started when I was 13. I'm now 22. I'm fucking sick of it. Now is the end. I've been sick of it for a long time. I've resolved never to do it again pretty much everyday since it went from just popping the odd pimple, to a compulsive, uncontrollable habit that has left me scarred and with zero confidence. So, why is this time different? Because this time I'm reaching out. This time you're helping me. Up until about a month ago the only person I'd ever talked about with was my Mum, and even then only reluctantly. I finally caved to her concerned questioning. Recentlý, I've really opened up to my older sister too. She's great about it. She listens, asks questions and seems to understand, as much as someone who doesn't do it can anyway. I've read that one of the defining characteristics of dermatillomania is that it's very isolating. Sufferers are embarrassed about our condition and we don't want to talk about it, we go to great lengths to hide the signs. In my experience, this gives power to the condition and starts a never-ending, hellish downward spiral. So, I've decided to do the opposite, to go public and talk openly about it. I'm taking the power back. Admittedly I'm not going totally public-I'm using the internet, a conveniently anonymous medium, rather than talking face to face with people. I'm ok with that. Talking face to face with my friends and family will come, but at the moment this is right for me. Back to Day 1... ...I woke up hating myself. I can't believe I've done it again! What is wrong with me?! I've got to work today (I massage at a hotel day spa), but I sleep in as late as I can, I don't want to face the world. I get ready slowly, my thoughts on what I do, why I do it, what I look like. I move in slow motion when I'm depressed. Work is a struggle. Until my last treatment of the day, I feel like I'm on a different wavelength to everyone else. I can't connect with them, the hole i've dug myself is too deep and we can't reach each other. By mid-afternoon I'm in a better mood and I have a good last treatment. I have dinner at my sister's with Mum, who's here for the weekend. My 2 year old nephew gets me to play trains with him and he sits on my lap at dinner. After dinner, Mum leaves and the others watch tv. I search the internet for a chatroom or forum, I've got to talk to people about this, it's gone too far. I feel like it's taken over my life, like some sort of parasite that sucks at every experience and relationship I have, making them a pale comparison to reality. No more.