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Compulsive Skin Picking, or CSP, or dermatillomania, or excoriation disorder, or whatever you may or may not know it as, is the weirdest thing to explain to someone that doesn't struggle with it. To the outside eye, why would anyone in their right mind rip open their skin, making it bleed, bruise, and swell? Why would anyone permanently scar themselves, wearing these marks for the whole world to see?
You see, I used to think it was as simple as wanting to get the "gunk" out of my "dirty" pores. Or perhaps it was smoothing out an uneven skin texture that I could only see when I was nose-to-mirror, under bright white bathroom lights. Lights that made even the smallest, needle-point size bumps look like tremendous mountains. That was the thought when I was 14 years old, and starting to notice my skin. Now I'm 22, and it has manifested itself into a little monster, relentlessly taunting me every single time that I see my reflection.
The logical voice that tells me to stay away from the mirrors, to keep my hands by my side, to just let myself heal, is drowned out by the monster. And now, my self-esteem is somewhere so low, I can't even see it anymore. It's lying within the depths of the canyon of self-loathing inside my head. Starving, slowly dying within the belly of the beast. This disorder has come to affect every aspect of my life. It controls my thoughts, actions, confidence, everything. It has forced me to cancel plans, to hide, to obsess about this thing that I cannot escape: my own skin.
The monsters voice is louder than my own voice of self-love. The monster tells me how ugly I am. How scarred. The monster says screw it, pick that spot again, who cares? You already look like a leopard in human form, what's one more spot? That's the trance that I undergo. These illogical thoughts make so much sense in the moment, when I'm wearing this veil that blinds me to the damage that I am conflicting upon myself. The aftermath is so ugly. Not just physically, which includes bleeding and swelling and redness.....but the mental aftermath. The shame, guilt, and embarrassment, because what normal person self-sabotages this way?
It goes deeper than just simple extraction. It has evolved into something that I turn to when I am anxious, or angry, or overwhelmed. It has turned into self-destruction. I am so thoroughly convinced that I will never find someone that will be able to accept me how I am, and that thought process makes me feel all of the emotions that lead me to open my skin via my fingernails.
The monster has convinced me that I am an outsider, not worthy of love in any fashion, not even from myself. The monster has convinced me that he is the only friend that I need. That he will always love me. He will always be there for me when I need him. That he will never, ever, ever leave me. How does one get used to living in the dark, alone, with nothing but the voice of self-hate to listen to?
P.S.- These are my own thoughts and feelings. I know that I am not alone in this, though sometimes it's easy to feel that way. If anyone else is struggling or can relate, know that you are not alone either.
Also, if anyone can tell me who originally created the pic that I used, please let me know. I love it and would love to give credit to the original artist. I've tried looking for the artist, but the image has been shared so much that I can't find it.