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I want to mull over thoughts brought about by Emma Holden’s blog from a few weeks ago here on Healthy Minds Canada about how we often tell our stories in the past tense and rarely when they’re happening. It’s something I already wrote about and responded to for another site I blog for, but something that hasn’t seemed to have left my mind yet.

It’s an interesting thing, how we tell our stories. As Emma discusses in her own blog, we tend to do it from a point of recovery or positivity, reflecting back instead of telling it how it is in the moment. In Emma’s blog, she opened up and was honest about her depression and anxiety getting bad again.

In mine, I want to take a moment to be honest about how sometimes having dermatillomania, picking my skin, still sucks.

I’m more likely to talk about living my life in spite of my disorder, which is entirely true. I don’t let it stop me as much anymore and I continue to make progress to break down the barriers I had put up to protect myself from judgment when it comes to my skin and disorder. I’m happy and don’t get upset over my disorder anymore, and definitely don’t hate myself for it anymore.

But, honestly, it still sucks.

It sucks to deal with the physical pain in the aftermath of picking and during the healing process. It sucks to accidentally bump one of the sore spots and to have to deal with that renewed or increased pain. It sucks that a by-product of my mental illness is that my body is physically and painfully affected the way it is.

A photo I took in 2013, but that is still a daily reality for me as a skin picker.
A photo I took in 2013, but that is still a daily reality for me as a skin picker.

It sucks to have to constantly be stocked up on bandages and, as silly as it might sound, exhausting to apply them. On any given day, I might have as many as ten bandages on my skin, and that’s just for me because I’m more focused with my picking. I can’t even imagine how it is for skin pickers who are more sporadic and numerous with their picking behaviours. It sucks that I’m allergic to bandage adhesive because it’s exhausting to deal with new wounds that are formed when I scratch at the irritated areas from where the bandages were.

It sucks that I can’t leave my skin alone and let things heal naturally. It sucks that I have no idea how long it even takes for things to heal naturally because even if I don’t pick at something to the point of a lot of damage, I still pick at everything and it doesn’t get to go through that natural process.

While this disorder has been a huge contributor to who I am now and has brought me friendships and strengths that I never knew I had, sometimes it still sucks.

Sometimes I wish it would all just go away and I didn’t have these extra things I have to do for self-care and as a part of my narrative. Sometimes I wish I could just wake up and go about my day and then go to bed at night.

Despite all the positivity, sometimes dermatillomania still sucks. And you know what? That’s okay.

About Laura Barton

Laura is a 25-year-old writer living in Ontario’s Niagara Region. Her passion for writing and personal journey with mental health issues has led her to become an advocate, a blogger for the Canadian BFRB Support Network and also to release her own book, Project Dermatillomania: The Stories Behind Our Scars. She struggled with depression and anxiety through university, but pulled through, receiving a BA in English Language and Literature from Brock University. She is currently pursuing a diploma in Journalism. You can follower her on Twitter and find her on LinkedIn.

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