I have OCD – Living With Dermatillomania

Dermatillomania. I can guarantee you have never heard of this. I didn’t until I was diagnosed.

“Dermatillomania is a condition where a person feels compelled to pick at their skin, to the point where it causes visible wounds.

It is an impulse-control disorder – a psychological condition where the person is unable to stop themselves carrying out a particular action.”

NHS

Dermatillomania is a very difficult thing to live with. I have lived like this since I was a child, without being officially diagnosed until I was 19 as my parents just dismissed it as a bad habit because they had never heard of the disorder.

The disorder is known to begin for various reasons but it is regarded as a form of OCD and self-harm. Tips for quitting include occupying your hands with something else and/or wearing gloves.

I have attempted this but I have come to realise that sometimes I don’t notice I’m doing it and if  I do resist my urges it makes me do it worse later, which as you can imagine, causes more damage.

I have been recommended therapy and antidepressants but the pills made me high and therapy is hard to get when you are living between two cities that are far apart so I guess it will have to wait until University is over.

I was incredibly ashamed of my hand before my diagnosis because I never understood why I couldn’t stop. I used to lie to people about what happened too. It was hard to grasp that I needed serious help.

The scarring makes me feel ugly. I feel like no one would want to hold my hand because they are disgracefully scarred.

I just thank God it’s not on my feet anymore. When I was a kid I used to do it to my feet to the point where it made it painful to walk.  Awful.

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