As far as medical conditions go, it is safe to say that things aren't always as they appear. However, sometimes, conditions can be very visible, but can appear as something much different. For me, answers came when my mom took a 23AndMe quiz when learning about her heritage.
I don't want to freak anyone out or trigger anyone, so I will link photos a bit farther down the page so that you don't see them if you don't want to. If you're triggered by scabs or blood (not a lot of it), then please click off of this blog. I don't want to lose you as a reader, and I don't want to set something off in you that makes you feel uncomfortable. I will use pictures of me until we get further down the page so that you don't see anything you don't want to.
was a bad habit, but I seem to fit the reasoning behind the skin-picking. When I looked it up myself, it said that most people who have this condition are genetically predisposed, meaning their relatives may also have this condition. It is also common in people with OCD, although I have never been diagnosed with it before.
For me, scabs normally start as bug bites, scratches, or pimples. I usually pick at my skin when I'm bored, but mostly find myself doing it in high-stress times. I also pick my skin because I hate the feeling of scabs and I hate how they look. I would much rather pick the scab than leave this big ugly red thing on my skin, but I just can't seem to help it.
MY CONDITION AND MY RELATIONSHIPS
Both my mom and my husband constantly scold me for picking at my arms. They use reason, which is good, but obviously that doesn't make me stop. Even while writing this, I have found myself stopping for a minute or two to scrape off dry skin or pick at my scabs. I'm not doing it intentionally.
The best way I can describe it is based off of a documentary my mom and I recently watched together. It was following a dirt bike rider who had crashed and become paralyzed. He said that he had to concentrate really hard and actually tell his brain and body parts to do something in order to move. I have to try really hard and repeat to myself not to pick at my skin.
My husband and mom both put up with it though, although they both think I can stop whenever I want. I've actually struggled with this for a long time, but never had a name for it. I remember a family member telling me in high school that people might think I was a drug user because of all of the scabs, as several drug users scratch at their skin or damage it with needles.
In the next section, I will add pictures of my arms so that you can see what they look like and how they impact my daily life. This is your warning, because I can't figure out any way to "click to reveal" the photo so you don't have to see it!
MY FEELINGS ON MY DERMATILLOMANIA
My dermatillomania bothers me more than I'd like to admit. I find myself constantly stopping to scratch. Sometimes, I will scratch myself until I bleed, sometimes even at work. I have gotten better about scratching and picking during meetings, but it still happens sometimes. I wish you could turn off a mental problem when you wanted to, but it isn't that easy. Now for some pictures.
The middle photo is my arm at the time of writing this blog. It isn't too bad, but you can visibly see scabs that are redder than others and my insanely dry skin. The other two photos are actually screen grabs from one of my YouTube videos where my husband and I played a game on a road trip. You can see my arm in both of the shots, and it looks very "dotted" and red.
This is what I struggle with. It is hard for me to take photos and videos where my arms are visible, because I know it probably looks gross and ugly. I mainly pick my arms and hands. I will sometimes pick at my legs and I often pick at my face due to the pimples that pop up and sometimes scab over. However, those are a bit easier to hide with makeup, as you can see in the screen grabs.
I really hope I didn't gross anyone out. These pictures aren't too bad, but I know that people can be triggered by this. I just thought I'd do something a bit different for today's Wellness Wednesday post. I hope that you learned something new. I only have one other friend with this condition, and he is actually my BEST friend funnily enough!
Do you have this condition or know someone who does? If so, do you have any tricks or tips for keeping your dermatillomania under control? Let me know in the comments!
LEGAL: All photos are my own.