Saturday, May 5, 2012

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.

Friday, May 4, 2012

False Truths

I had a psychiatrist's appointment yesterday morning, and now I'm feeling paranoid and nervous and highly uncomfortable and terribly anxious.  I fear I have made a huge, glaring mistake.  I am afraid that my words have tarnished the professional relationship that I have with my doctor and that she will never trust me again.  I'm scared that I've planted a seed, a seed which will sprout into a full-grown disaster.  I can't believe that after all the progress which has been made, I had to go and fuck everything up like this.  Or, at least I think so... It seems like we were advancing before then...  I mean, it's easier for me to talk to her now; isn't that an improvement?  So it seems that I've been coming along-after 2 years I was finally able to talk to her openly.  And then I go and do something like what happened yesterday.

First, I told her how some people feel about my illness. I told her that I'm not taken seriously, that I am thought to be pretending, that I am believed to be a spoiled brat who just doesn't want to work.  That's completely outrageous. How could I possibly, as a little girl, have thought out this elaborate plot to fool everyone into thinking that I'm mentally ill over a span of decades?  More importantly, what could I possibly hope to gain from that?  Why would anyone want people to think they're nuts? It's done nothing but make my life harder.  It just doesn't make any sense.  K was so actively involved with life when she was younger, (plays, choir, soccer, Girl Scouts, Art Club, gifted class, etc) I guess it's just hard to believe that she could be living with all these symptoms for all these years and have only a couple of people ever figure out what's really going on.  Only a couple of people ever "got it"; just 2 in my lifetime, only 2 people outside of a couple of my doctor(s) recognized that I switched and became different K's.  Both of the people who figured out my secret were men who lived with me for a year or more.

So it would seem that I really am a good actress.  I fooled everyone all right, I fooled everyone into thinking that I'm just one of them. That I'm stable, that I'm existing in the same reality as everyone else is. We certainly can't let on that we are on a different plane of reality; that might upset people or create problems for us, so we must hide that from the world.  And that's just what we've done, for all these years.  We've been pretending to be emotionally mature, to be a regular person, to think clearly and rationally. It's not true.  It's all make believe.  The part where I'm "sane" that is.  That is all just make believe. Then, as if that weren't bad enough, I suggested to my shrink that the memories I have could possibly be false memories, or that they might only be true in my head, not in the real world.  I said this as an outside observer of K, watching from the sidelines. (I wrote it down; that's how I remember) So I basically admitted to my shrink that there's a chance the bad stuff I remember is all fairy tales, that it's not true.  That I've somehow twisted the facts around in my memory and created things out of misconceptions.  I'd like to call these memories "false truths", memories which I completely believe to be true, but which are actually just distorted partial recollections. I can't remember now where I got that idea or how I started thinking stuff along those lines.

Maybe I was reading something from out of the diary...  I remember taking it into the session. In fact, I'd left home and forgotten to bring it, and I actually turned around and went back home to get it before my session.  So it seems there was some stuff in the diary that I wanted to talk to her about.  Yes... yes, I remember talking about 3 different males in my life who would have had both the opportunity as well as the reputation to suggest that they might have done something wrong, and that it involved me.  I just don't get it.  I am struggling with myself to accept that these things from my childhood are not my fault and to forgive myself.  I suffer from guilt like you wouldn't believe.  I feel perpetually guilty, about things I can't even remember properly.  It's completely ridiculous. And now I've gone and implanted the thought in my psychiatrist's head that I might be a fraud.  What the hell were we thinking?!  Now the paranoia has me, and it's squeezing the breath out of me.

I'm also worried that perhaps I am faking it and just don't know it.  But that doesn't seem to make any sense.  I mean, if I don't know I'm doing it, then it's a subconscious thing, which means it's real.  Fuck. I'm so confused.  Am I doing all this on purpose?  Have I taken so many pills that my brain is fried and I'm unable to be like other people?  Have I forgotten what normal means? Yes, there's a good chance I have forgotten the meaning of normal.  I haven't felt like a regular person since, roughly, age 10.  That's tough to admit.  But it's true.  I've felt like an outsider, like a visitor or something, not like a real person existing in the here and now.

I'm so paranoid that I'm thinking of doing something crazy, like stalk my shrink. I need to find out if she's still on my side, or if she's the enemy now.  Because I honestly don't know anymore.  I don't know if she's with me, or against me.  I can't stand not knowing.  I MUST find out what she thinks.  I can't live with this feeling.  I can't tolerate being disbelieved, being thought to be dishonest.  I strive so hard in my life to be truthful...  I even hurt people's feelings sometimes as a result of my brutal honesty (I hate when that happens though).  I believe lying is bad karma. I just won't do it.  I may withhold information, but I cannot lie. I'm just beside myself with worry about all of this.  What if Dr. H doesn't believe me anymore??  What if she's crossed the line into enemy territory?  I'll have to get a new doctor...  Damn!!! And I was just getting to feel really comfortable with her.  Now it's all weird between us, even though she doesn't know that.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Jewelry Jumble

I just had one of those moments.  Those moments when I remember that there's something "wrong" with me.  Those moments wherein I seem particularly symptomatic, or especially mentally...confused.(?)  It was trivial really, but for some reason it just struck me, and I can't stop thinking about it now.  I was going through my closet, and I found a box containing a bunch of necklaces and bracelets and some earrings.  According to the evidence and my husband, this jewelry was all made by K (She's an artist who has worked in many different mediums over the years) but I couldn't remember making it.  I couldn't remember the jewelry at all in fact.  That was not me who had done that, who had designed and created those delicate glass-beaded necklaces and colorful gemstone bracelets. When I got to the bottom of the box, I found a whole cluster of necklaces and other pieces of jewelry, all wadded up together in a big mass.  It looked as though it'd been long ago forgotten.  As I carefully separated each piece from the tangled mess, I looked at the necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and anklets with the eyes of a new beholder.  Here I was,  someone who liked jewelry, and I was checking out this random lady's jewelry that she'd made and collected over the years.  I liked some of it but not all of it.  It's hard to describe how it felt.... it was like I was a stranger going through my own things. They didn't feel like MY things.  In fact, they weren't my things.  They were HER things.  There was one necklace that was familiar to me, but it seemed like I'd only seen pictures of it before or something. It felt like I was touching it for the first time. Strange. Very strange.  I can't remember the last time I made jewelry...