I must start this post first off apologising that my posts are becoming less and less, but it's because I feel as though I don't have much to talk about recently. My blog started off in its infancy as a blog to inform people about my severe eczema and to help them, and other fellow sufferers, relate to the debilitating nature of the condition. As time went on I found out about Red Skin Syndrome and I was getting illnesses pop up far too frequently for my liking and so this here blog took the form of a journal.
Not a great deal has changed since my last entry regarding my skin, it is still rather pale, however the scabs on my legs have dramatically spread and look even worse in their appearance because I just can't leave them alone. This is why I would like to turn to the subject of Dermatillomania.
Dermatillomania is described as an obsessive compulsion of skin picking. It is much the same as Trichotillomania (hair pulling) where the compulsion becomes too much and despite knowing the consequences, such as creating ugly, raw and even scarred, disfigured skin, it just can't be helped. It brings a sense of relief to pick at the skins irregularities and is even a pleasurable experience.
I, myself have been picking at my skin since the beginning of my severe eczema phase (Jan 2009). Prior to this I had strange habits such as cutting individual split ends from my hair for hours and hours. Skin picking is not a habit that can be easily broken, much like scratching the all-consuming eczema itch. Having eczema primarily means that I will always have scabs to pick and dry flaky skin to attack with tweezers, it's just part and parcel of the condition. I know I won't be alone in my skin picking habit, as I know of many others with eczematous skin who do the same.
I wanted to talk about this because I am having a lot of trouble breaking the habit of picking at the scabs on my legs. Skin picking has always been something I've done as a way to relax and is one of my coping mechanisms. I have been known to spend hours and hours just picking and tweezing away at my skin and I even have urges at various points in the day to just go home and pick. When I'm out away from home there's always the thought in the back of my mind about how I will go to town on my skin later on. It's a bit like a dirty little secret because I like the experience of just sitting there picking off all the dead and irregular skin but if people knew what I did, and I have told some of my friends, they would be horrified and disgusted.
I realise how I'm basically destroying my skin and making it even worse because it just isn't being given the time or the means to heal naturally but I just can't help myself. It's like an addiction. It has been compared to self harm because you're fully aware of what you're doing to your body but the compulsion for relief is just too much.
I've decided to publicly create this post because I feel the more people who know about this, the more I may feel embarrassed that I am causing myself harm. I've been taking measures to not use tweezers on my legs, to keep them covered up, and if they do become itchy to allow myself to scratch if I have to just to quell the itch, otherwise it just becomes all too consuming and there's no stopping me. I will literally go to town taking every single scab off, making it bleed and produce proteinaceous fluid so that it can form new scabs. Sadly if scabs are picked off too much it can cause scarring and larger areas to form.
I said in a previous post how one of my life goals was to be able to freely wear shorts next year without tights or leggings. Let's hope I can leave my legs alone to actually fulfill that.
Does anyone else suffer from this annoying little quirk? Please comment and let me know :)