Thursday, August 21, 2014

I Have Spots

I have spots.  There I said it.  But not just any spots, no these aren't like chicken pox, or mumps, or the measles.  They are caused by illness yes, but they aren't going to go away with chicken noodle soup and an oatmeal bath.  I have big spots and little spots.  Some look like craters on my body, while others are simply little scabs.  I also have scars.  Scars where previous spots have been.  Not because I let them heal, but because my body finally said enough is enough and healed them for me.  Sometimes it's weeks, and sometimes it's months.

I have spots.  They are all over my body.  Some in places everyone can see every day like my face and my arms.  And some in places nobody sees except my fiancé, and even those I don't like him to see.  And even though I am ashamed of my spots it isn't enough to deter me from making more and keeping the old ones alive.  Sometimes people ask me questions about my spots.  It makes me uncomfortable because I never really know what to say.  Sometimes I say it's from stress.  Sometimes I say it's bug bites or acne.  But I know it's not, at least not really.  Sometimes people say mean things about my spots.  Things like, "You look like a meth addict" or "You would be so pretty without all those sores".  That makes me sad.

I have spots.  And as much as I wish I didn't I can't seem to stop myself.  You see I make these spots.  When I am stressed, or angry, or anxious, or sad, or any other strong emotion that makes me feel bad I pick at my spots without even thinking.  It's a compulsion that I try hard to stop, but most of the time I just can't.  Sometimes, I even pick at my spots in my sleep.  Usually after I do it I feel really bad about myself, especially if I make myself bleed.  And even more especially if someone else notices I am bleeding.  I really dislike it if someone sees me picking at my spots and commands that I stop or treats me like a child who was caught picking their nose.  I am not a child, and it's not the same thing.

I have spots.  The mental health community calls my spots dermatillomania, and it is a form of OCD.  I am seeking treatment for my spots because I don't want to be like this.  But treatment takes time.  Part of it requires getting to the root of all those pent up feelings, and then working on what triggers my behaviors.  Then I need to work on redirecting myself.  Right now silly putty is my friend at work.  I try to play with that instead of picking at my skin, but it is hard to always remember.  And for some reason playing with silly putty isn't always as satisfying as pulling off a scab.  I know that may sound weird and gross to those who don't have this disorder, but for those who do you will know what I mean.  Part of the disorder is an obsession with "fixing" the skin and while it may not make sense to anyone else in my head when I am picking off a scab I am making it better.  I know logically a new scab is going to came back, but in that moment it is better.

I have spots.  Don't judge me on my spots.  You don't know my journey, and you haven't walked in my shoes.  You don't know the courage it takes to open up and tell you all of this here today.  And if you see someone with spots please don't assume the worst.  Be kind to them because you never know, it may be me.

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