Attempting To Heal: Beginning Week 3…or Am I?

As I’ve blogged about before, I have Dermatillomania, an impulse control disorder; it’s where a person uncontrollably picks at their skin until tissue damage is caused. It’s quite embarrassing and I’m very ashamed of it.  Recently, two Sundays ago, I started a new project, that being a healing plan for my skin, which is currently afflicted with terrible wounds from CSP (Compulsive Skin Picking). I blogged about Day 1 here: Attempting To Heal My shins, in particular, had become so damaged that I was unable to wear skirts or anything which shows my legs.  I have a wedding to attend May 19, and so I decided to start a new routine, and I was hoping that by forcing myself to follow this healing regime day after day, I’d develop an obsession for it, and would begin compulsively treating my wounds. That was my hope. It’s not uncommon for me to develop new obsessions and/or compulsions, so I was hoping to force this one into being.  So far, that has not happened, although I have been treating my sores daily. What I want is compulsive treatment of my wounds, and an obsession with healing. Still hoping that will happen.

I lasted three days.  Three days, and I caught myself scratching.  I didn’t actually pick at the sores until Day 6, and on Day 8 I finally ripped off a scab and started bleeding.  So I guess I must admit this project was a failure. But. I will start again tomorrow.  And truthfully, my legs do look better.  Even though I scratched them a few times, the creams I was layering on really did aid in healing the scabby places, and there are no bloody spots anymore.  Correction: there is one place on my left leg.  I scratched til I drew blood yesterday.  Sigh.  But the number of wounds on each leg has decreased; I only have 12 on my left leg now. (it was over 20 at one point) My right leg, on the other hand, only has 6, and really it’s less than that. I’m counting every blemish that I can easily see.  Some of those really shouldn’t be included as CSP injuries, as some of them are moles or freckles. Of course, if and when I scratch at them until they bleed, they then become part of my list of CSP-afflicted areas.

The second week of my healing routine was a rollercoaster of good days and bad days. The bandaged areas are healing nicely, but the majority of my wounds are still tempting me to pick at them.  The itching, which I suppose is caused by the healing process, well it’s just about unbearable. I unconsciously scratch my legs; I catch myself doing it and sometimes I’ve drawn blood and then I feel like a failure and have to start all over again with the steroid cream and the antibiotic gel and the hydrocortisone.  The wedding I’m attending is fast approaching, and I’d so hoped that my legs would look decent by that time.  I have 2 weeks from today. So I’m making a promise to myself. No more scratching. No more picking. I will NOT touch my legs other than to apply medicated creams which will aid in healing.  I lasted 3 days the first week without picking, and only 1 day the second week.  Let’s hope the third week is more successful. Perhaps I should plan on rewarding myself when my shins are healed.  Maybe I’d motivate myself to stick to the plan if I bought myself a new dress to wear when my legs look good again. Last summer, my skin looked pretty good.  Granted, I have scars all over my body, but I wasn’t picking at that point and I was able to wear more revealing clothes.  I even went to the pool a few times. There will be no pool for me this Summer unless I am successful with my anti-CSP plan. I MUST do this. No one in real life can find out about this humiliating condition, and I’m afraid that wearing long sleeves and long pants in 100 degree heat might look suspicious when everyone around me is in shorts and tank tops.