Since I’m torn between a diary and a blog, maybe I’ll do both and dedicate my blog to fighting my anxiety.
I have anxiety, and I turn to picking at my face to calm me down. According to the CAPS therapist at my college, it’s a coping mechanism. Squeezing out a blackhead is a release that gives me instant satisfaction and a sense of control.
But my question is, does my bad habit stem from anxiety, or does it cause my anxiety? Because I fixate on the tiniest, non-existent imperfections and leave my poor skin inflamed, bruised, and covered with gaping open wounds. I take a step back to survey the damage, and the waves of helplessness and guilt crash. In my frenzy of frustration and restlessness, I desperately squeeze at the next microscopic bump, grasping to gain control again.
Soon I’ve completely destroyed my face. When I finally come to my senses, I’m left feeling way more guilty and hopeless than before the picking sesh. According to my Googling, I guess this condition is called Dermatillomania, and it’s a form of self-harm, like cutting.
What happened today: I was bored and overwhelmed, mindlessly answering endless emails and support tickets. In the morning, I washed my face with charcoal, which supposedly draws out impurities like dirt, oil, and blackheads. Unfortunately, it also sticks to and dramatically emphasizes the gunk in my skin.
I do specifically remember successfully squeezing out this HUGE oil plug that’s been causing a bump in my skin. Of course, now the whole area is bruised and there’s an open wound that’ll probably scar, but it did provide that instant reward and temporary satisfaction the therapist talked about.
I’m feeling even more anxious and helpless than I was before I began picking. I need to remember that picking does NOT help heal my skin heal. In fact, my skin would have eventually pushed it out anyway. In the meantime, I’ve put some healing manuka honey on the open wounds.