By Jayzle-May, age 13, California
I suffer from Dermatillomania which is classified as an obsessive compulsive disorder. When suffering from Dermatillomania, the person feels the need to constantly pick at their skin. I didn't think I would remember the first time I picked at myself. But when I think about it, I do. I remember sitting at the computer and playing games on it. I remember running my hands through my arms, and whatever bump or imperfection I found, I picked it off.
When I find an imperfection, I obsess over it. I want it off of me. When I pick it off, for one second, I feel better. Then I get so mad at myself for doing it. I start attacking myself for giving in.
"Why did you do that?" "How can you move forward if all you keep doing is falling behind?" I need a better way to escape my demons.
I'm not cured from Dermatillomania, but I've notice I've gotten better. There isn't much known about this disorder, but I've done my research and come up with some conclusions. There are three reasons why Dermatillomania sufferers are led to pick at their own skins. The three reasons are: Stress, Boredom, and it's a Habit they can't break.
Why It's Dangerous
When people are stressed out, some people take a break while others take nice deep long breaths. According the thehelpguide.org, there are a lot of stress warning signs and symptoms. Stress can affect your memory, concentration, and your way of thinking. Stress can also affect your emotions. You might start feeling more moody, overwhelmed, and might even suffer from depression. With too much stress your behavior might change. You might start eating more or less, sleeping too much or too little, isolating yourself, or even start nervous habits like nail biting.
To avoid stress, you can go ahead and take a five minute break from your work and just try to calm yourself down. Inhale and exhale using your diaphragm. Look at the task at hand and think about it for a moment. Why is it causing you to stress out so much? What can you do about it? Once you've relaxed a little, go back to your work, and when the stress starts creeping up on you again, go ahead and take another short break and do some re-evaluating.
Boredom or Unproductiveness
There's nothing wrong with relaxing. But there is something wrong with relaxing too much. Being a couch potato is very bad for your health. Not only is it bad for your health, but you're also just wasting time. We never know how long we have on this earth. We'd like to believe we will live for a long time, but sometimes that's not the case. It's important to live today like there's no tomorrow. We'll never know if there's going to be a tomorrow, and it's good to always remember that. Don't waste today because you just never know.
Avoiding Boredom and Unproductiveness
Instead of doing nothing, do something productive, something creative. Stop sitting around and work on yourself. Do your homework or clean your room. Call an old friend and tell them 'how's life.' There are so many things you can do. Sometimes your day goes terribly. Just remember, life moves on, with or without you. Today is only here for today. In the next couple of months, you'll look back and say, "Wow, I've done nothing" or you'll start to question, "Why did that bother me so much?" Life is beautiful, and unfortunately, very short. Enjoy what you have because even though we do know what we have, we never notice how important it is until it's gone.
Habits can be good or bad. Bad ones are like cutting, constantly putting yourself down, biting your nails, Trichotillomania (pulling out your own hair), and even Dermatillomania. A habit starts becoming a bad habit when it's constantly affecting your life, your emotions, and how you feel about yourself. When people try to break habits, the main reason why they don't succeed is because they give in. I haven't been able to break Dermatillomania because I've used all my energy to cope with everyday stresses. Even when writing this, I have trouble keeping myself away from the mirror.
I've used a website to break my other bad habits and I believe they wrote it beautifully. I can't paraphrase it any better way.
Live life beautifully. Be happy you're here. Don't stress out too much, enjoy some relaxation, and keep working on yourself. Nobody is perfect. But that's not a reason why you should treat people terribly. Nobody knows what tomorrow will be like; there are no guarantees. Unfortunately, I'm still battling Dermatillomania, but I've noticed that I'm getting better. This is exciting news. I'm moving forward in life and that's always important to remember.