Nope, it’s not an exotic breed of Armadillo 🙂
Very, very few people in my life know I have this problem, but I’ve had it for about 25 years. I’ve never spoken to a Doctor about it, and up until late 2014 I never knew it was a “thing” with a name, or that anyone else in the world suffered from it.
It’s Dermatillomania. Or Compulsive Skin Picking (CSP).
I’m only brave enough to write this because none of my real-world friends or colleagues know about my blog and they can’t see the area where I pick, which is on my backside and the tops of my legs. I find it shameful, embarrassing and confusing.
It’s extremely difficult to stop. I’m currently sleeping with gloves on and have bought a tangle toy like this to keep my hands busy when I’m bored, but these methods don’t work when I’m cooking or reading and my hands wander, or when I’m upset and don’t care, or when I’m half asleep and gloveless and unaware of what I’m doing.
Stuffing tissues into my underwear to catch the blood. Waking up with blood stains on my bedsheets. Staggering around in pain as the multiple raw wounds rub against my clothes. It’s ridiculous but it’s so hard to stop.
I don’t know whether, in my case, it’s anxiety, OCD or self-harm. I don’t know why I started doing it in the beginning, or why I do it now. But at least I know now that others suffer from it too and I can research more about it.
(Note: this is a helpful link if anyone would like an introduction to CSP).
Perhaps going public will help me quit… at the very least it will add my voice to the tiny community of CSP’ers who I’m sure feel just as alone and confused as I did / do. If nothing else, it’s kept my hands busy for an hour or so!!