My Body-Focused Repetitive Behavior Feels Like a 'Dog's Tic'


Editor’s note: If you struggle with a body-focused repetitive behavior, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can find resources at The TLC Foundation for Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors.

Every night I lie awake in bed scratching my ears. The inside of my ears, the ear canal. Sometimes I reach for a bobby pin and scratch the hell out of my ear until it almost bleeds. Then I stop, afraid I’m going to hurt my ear drum. I’m afraid I’m going to lose my hearing. But the itch is so strong. I need some relief. I resist it and it perpetuates the sensation I can no longer wait and scratch. I feel like a dog with a tic.

The momentary relief is enough for me to continue scratching. My right ear now has an infection. I am using antifungal ear drops my doctor has given me. I am slowly healing. The degree of irritation has reduced but the sensation enters back every night. I sometimes feel I need to wear a restraint to stop myself. I developed low trust in myself because every night I make a promise I break the next day.

I tell myself let me just scratch my ears this one night until it almost bleeds, but this will be the last night. That “last night” has never come. But rest assured the ear drops have helped reduce the irritation.

I sometimes feel like Van Gogh. What if one ear was lost to my self-inflicted pain? The guilt of me scratching my ears is real. But the relief of scratching is also real. The vicious cycle continues and I’m waiting for this irritation to be gone with.

I’m 28-years-old, young and beautiful but I’m lost in my own tic and can’t wait to start fully living life.

If you or a loved one is affected by body-focused repetitive behaviors, you can find resources at The TLC Foundation for Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors.

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

Thinkstock photo via Keith Spaulding.

TOPICS
JOIN THE CONVERSATION

Related to Dermatillomania

Hiker woman walking outdoor at sunset

Carrying the Weight of Dermatillomania

There’s an invisible backpack on my shoulders. In it, I carry all my secrets, many stuffed so deep I’ve forgotten they even exist. They’re there, always holding me down, always pulling heavy on the warn straps. Many people can handle the weight of their troubles, but I cope differently. When I was 8, a traumatic [...]
A woman hoping for something with crossed fingers

Letting Go of Needing a Cure for My Dermatillomania

The word “cure” is complicated. Depending on what your intentions are, it can be used in many ways. For instance, if you’re a shyster, the word “cure” can become a tool used to lure people into buying a product or an idea. If you’re on the other end of that, say a person with a [...]
woman standing in a line with diverse bodies and skin tones

'Real Beauty' Campaigns Are Missing Scars

I saw a viral photoset today being boasted for challenging beauty standards. It’s a really nice photoset, showing women of various sizes, body types and skin tones laying amongst a bed of flower petals, almost completely nude. The photographer definitely did highlight a broader spectrum of what beauty and self-confidence mean, however, like pretty much [...]
Nervous woman picking her nails

Please Don't Tell Me to 'Just Stop' Picking My Skin

My fingers are my greatest victims. In the last 10 years, I don’t recall a single instance where the skin around my nails has not been marred in some way. I pick at my skin without even realizing it. Usually, I don’t notice until someone tells me to stop, and then I feel the shame [...]