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Hi All,

Just feeling sorry for myself. I just learned a week or so ago that Dermatillomania is a disorder not a stupid bad habit and I confess I am really angry.

I have been compulsively picking my skin for at least 20 years. I don't remember when it started to be honest. My mother tried to help me to kick the "habit" MANY times as a child. She used scare tactics. She would tell me that if I picked my scabs I would get impetigo, sepsis, cancer, or AIDS. She told me often when I got acne that if I picked at my skin on my face I would get an infection that would travel to my brain and then I would die. So now, as an adult who is just now learning that this disorder is a real thing and related to chemical imbalance, I am SOOOOOO Angry.

I want to yell and scream at my mother for terrifying me so much. I am so angry that countless doctors missed it and never bothered to address the sores all over my legs, face, arms, and back.

I feel now like a victim and I am ashamed of that too. I hope that I can learn some self compassion soon so that I can overcome the disorder and cope with the ocd behaviors that I now have regarding disease.

Does anyone else feel like a victim or angry at their loved ones?

Nan

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Yes, unfortunately that happens. The "baby" is not always dropped off at the right house. Also, there is no screening test or classes that qualify people to become parents. Sometimes I see so many people who would like to have a baby and yet others mistreat the prescious jewel they have been given. For years, I was angry at my parents for all kinds of inadequecies. I was abused, beaten by teachers and they did not defend me. We were in a comunist country and wanted to get out so they didn't want to risk their chance of getting out. "Supposedly" they were doing that to save me. That is not how I saw it. The two people who should have defended me totally left me unprotected. You can't imagine how that scarred me. I am now 50 years old and I have just recently been able to process (you can forgive but you can't forget). What worked for me was logotherapy. You may want to speak with your T-doc and see if s/he knows how to do that or knows someone who does,

Logotherapy was 'invented' by another austrian psychiatrist named Viktor Frankl. He survived the nazi concentration camps but lost his entire family. Yet, he picked up the pieces and re-started the work he had done. Basically, you take the medication to make yourself better, also take care of your skin, and talk to someone who can guide you through the inmense anger. One day, you will stop banging your head against the wall. They have done you enough damage, don't let anyone get the best part of you, Fight to be free of fear. I am not going to lie and tell you that it will be easy, however, it can be done. At least now you know what is wrong and go about fixing. However, there is very little you can do to "undo"' what was done to you. Unfortunately, you were a victim, now claim your victory over all of them. Make a life of your own with people who love you and appreciate you as you are. Whoever does not want to accept you as you are, then that's just too bad. Do not feel guilty about your anger.

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I'm sorry that this has happened to you. Unfortunately few people know about Dermatillomania, so your mother wasn't keeping this knowledge from you on purpose, she just didn't know either. If it wasn't for the internet I wouldn't know about it, I don't think I've ever seen it mentioned in books or by doctors. I have this too and have had it since I was a kid, am in my thirties now. It gets worse when I'm anxious, I've never had a doctor mention it, and when I have brought it up they've either given me hydrocortisine cream (didn't help) or like one psychologist did, dismissed it as something that would resolve itself when I was "feeling better". I hope you are able to get the help you need now that you have information about what is wrong.

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As Maybell said, it's not very well researched. When I first found out about it, I was actually really relieved to know that it was actually a thing, and not just a stupid habit. It is sort of upsetting, though, that so few know about it.

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I can relate completely to lack of understanding on parents' part. I had a whole school semester that I just about failed due to not doing any of the work. (I was virtual schooled at the time) What they labeled simply as an issue with procrastination/laziness, I know now to be fed what at the time I didn't realize was bad anxiety. I would put it off because of anxiety, which in turn would cause more anxiety, and then they made me feel like a failure for not getting a handle on my procrastination, which of course helped even more...

What I don't understand is that my mother is on Prozac, so I would think the thought would have crossed her mind. My father believes that anxiety disorders are all in our heads and a choice, so that isn't as surprising... It wasn't until I met my now wife that I have a bit more clarity. I try not to be upset at them, but more and more I find myself doing it anyways. =/

I'm so sorry you had to go through that though, it's not fun being made to feel like you're to blame when there's a deeper issue to it. :(

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