Living With Scars, Both Inside and Out


It all starts so innocently — the satisfaction of scratching a bug bite

The release of popping a pimple.

It starts small: broken skin from falling, a blister from running, a burn from the oven.

But then it takes on a life of its own.

Scabbing.

Picking.

Bleeding.

Scaring.

It’s bloody sheets, stained clothes. It’s raw wounds. Red, swollen infected sores.

Pain.

Sometimes it’s an urge so strong, a desire so intense.

“I must pick!”

Sometimes it’s subconscious — I don’t even realize I’m doing it.

“Why am I bleeding?”

The cycle continues.

Scabbing.

Picking.

Bleeding.

Scaring.

It’s self-control during the day, and then bleeding all the way home because I just couldn’t wait .

It’s making up stories for the deep wounds: “

It’s a bug bite.”

“It’s from my skin peeling.”

“I fell.”

“I have a boo boo.”

When the reality is I pick. I cannot leave it alone.

I use tweezers and nail clippers. Scissors and bobby pins. Anything to remove the scab.

It’s trying to hide it: Make up. Band-Aid. Long pants. Long-sleeved shirt.

I hate that I can’t stop it.

Scabbing.

Picking.

Bleeding.

Scaring.

It’s feeling ugly every day, covered in scars, head to toe. Anywhere I can reach.

Scars and more scars.

Causing tears and more tears.

It’s despising this part of me. I can’t imagine feeling beautiful, or anyone else thinking I am.

Looking in the mirror, I only see wounds — scars.

Looking at my heart I see the same.

It’s trying to heal both my body and heart.

It’s recognizing small victories, and taking one day at a time.

It’s hoping and praying that some day the scabbing, picking, bleeding and scaring will be healed.

Both inside and out.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here. 

TOPICS
JOIN THE CONVERSATION

Related to Dermatillomania

A collage of side by side images of the same woman with and without makeup

How the Fashion Industry's Beauty Standards Affected My Struggle With Skin-Picking

Ever since I was a little girl, I wanted nothing more than to be in the fashion industry. I would sketch for hours on end and taught myself how to sew alongside my best friend. I thought being in this hypersexualized, hyper-beautified industry was my ultimate goal, but I was so incredibly wrong. Even though [...]
woman with a bandaid on her shoulder

'When I Stop Picking My Skin I Will...'

Although widely experienced, compulsive skin-picking is a little known, often undiagnosed condition that an estimated 2 to 5 percent of the U.S. population has. If it is so common, why do we know so little about it? And why are there so few mental health professionals who are skilled and knowledgeable in the treatment of it? I have heard [...]
woman after nose surgery

To the Parents With Kids Who Pick Their Noses (Hint: That's Everyone)

I have struggled with dermatillomania since I was a child but only realized it had a name, and was something others struggle with, within the last two years. Dermatillomania is a body-focused repetitive behavior (BFRB). I remember I was at a dermatologist having a regular mole scan done for any skin irregularities. My dermatologist lovingly asked [...]
Face with one side covered in paint.

Liz Atkin Uses Compulsive Skin Picking As Inspiration for Her Artwork

When Liz Atkin was 7 or 8 years old, she began picking her skin. “I was at boarding school away from home and I picked the spots on my upper arms,” Atkins recalled. “I didn’t realize what I was doing until large wounds travelled down both arms.” The next day a parent of another child at the boarding [...]