***Possible Triggers for Self-Harm***
I’m sitting here on my sofa, contentedly watching A play Saints Row. Legs folded comfortably over one another, relaxed, comfortable. A perfectly ordinary way to while away a dark and rainy November evening.
Except for one thing. As I sit here with my lower legs bared, I cannot help but be drawn to gaze upon one of them. You see, I’m mesmerised by a deep, beguiling, dark flow of blood pouring out of my shin.
I’ve not started self-harming again, in case anyone finds this a perturbing state of affairs. Or rather, that is to say, I didn’t sit down consciously with my scalpel or a knife, and inflict a gaping wound. I have no idea how the gash got there, but that part doesn’t really matter anyway.
What does is that the wound was healing – until I pulled the scab off it, and re-opened it to the air and all its multitude of dangerous impurities.
I pick every scab on my body. Regularly, and compulsively. I have some fairly hardcore eczema in my ears, and I have the most disgusting, lurid habit of digging scabs of dead skin out of both aural cavities with hair grips (I know. I know! But if it’s not hair grips, it’s my nails – so should you ever encounter me in person, make sure I have one of the former with me ;)). And as for spots – I squeeze the few of the fuckers that I get without exception, and in fact actively go in search of others – usually non-existent – to burst. In that way, I end up picking random bits of skin; in doing so, I frequently and unwittingly scar myself.
I have always engaged in these anti-social behaviours, much to the repulsed chagrin of my manner-minded mother and, to a lesser extent, A. When, historically, Mum would call me up on an incidence of same, I would simply say that I couldn’t help it.
I continue to hold to that prerogative. I truly feel that there is no way to control any of this mistreatment of my skin; frequently, the actions are unconscious, but they are always compulsive.
So anyway, I never really thought much about the nature of the phenomenon until recently, but if I had, I suppose I’d have termed it nothing more than a bad habit – and one that was not, at least to some degree, particularly unusual. Since my descend into utterly chaotic madness (as opposed to ‘mere’ clinical depression), though, I’ve come across the term dermatillomania.
According to the linked Wikipedia article, in order for compulsive skin picking to be deemed dermatillomania, one has to experience anxiety in relation to it. Whilst in my case, that doesn’t commonly precede picking, what does happen is that – should I be stopped from scratching – then I’ll start panicking.
Arguably then, I suppose I could say I had this ‘condition’, being as it is compulsive, and obsessive. But perhaps I’m just over-pathologising myself – it would hardly be the first such time, would it?
Either way, I can’t imagine not skin-picking. It’s one of those things that just cannot compute in my tiny, limited brain. So, bad habit or dermatillomania – do other people really not do this, or is it just that they have enough self-control to avoid indulging the practice when they’re in polite company? I can logically accept that it’s the former, but I cannot truly believe that the latter is not the more accurate picture when fully painted.
Is this yet another manifestation of my wide-ranging madness or it just…meh? Do you do this or do you honestly, truly not?
A side note: A and I are off to Laaaahhhdahhhnnn in the morning. Tomorrow, to my delight, we will finally meet bourach for the first time. Yay yay! Sunday sees a lunchtime meeting with my best mate Daniel, and (hopefully) his partner Craig, then drinks in the evening with the lovely CVM. And – Jesus Christ almighty – Monday night sees the long-awaited awards ceremony. GAH! I know I was banging on last week that I was excited rather than nervous, but I’ve just lost a mission on Saints Row six times in a fucking row and packed, so now I’m in an apprehensive rage, which has led to a still-excited-but-OH-FUCK-I’M-ACTUALLY-GOING-TO-THIS-THING sense of…well, oh fuck, I’m actually going to this thing.
Wish me luck as I take my worried strides in the unknown…
Bye, by the way! See you next week. I’ll try and post about how the awards went on Tuesday (or, as I probably more accurately mistyped, Ruesday. Rue because I’ll no doubt feel slightly deflated at not winning anything, even though I already know that’s going to be the outcome. Well, no one ever said I was rational). Love you all, lovely people. Take care. xxx