Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Day 143- Dermatillomania: Staring the Beast in the Face

          I didn't realize I had anything ‘wrong’ with me until my abnormal psych professor described what seemed like my exact experience in front of the entire class. That’s when it dawned on me that I had OCD. I was about 17 at that time, and I had had the disorder for as long as I could remember. However, I wasn't even aware of it because... it was all I knew.

        Like most people, I had little awareness or education about obsessive compulsive disorders. I ignorantly thought OCD was only when people were extreme “germaphobes,” or when they have to check the door a million times before they leave the house, or arrange things a certain way- but when my prof described it in generic terms, as simply repeating irrational behavior without being able to stop yourself, even when you want to, I realized that I was in fact a ‘sufferer’ of such a condition.

          Once I came to this realization and began doing research in order to find out more about the disorder, and find out more about me, what I saw is that I found myself within everything: OCD, dermatillomania, body-dismorphic disorder, body-focused repetitive behavior, and more. It was all very interesting to read about,  but there seemed to be little research and few solutions provided. After a while, I just basically dropped it, for a very long time. Like many others at this stage (early 20's), I got more into drinking, nights out, etc... and it was easier to forget about it, hide it, cover it up.

        I only began to look at it again after I got married (kinda hard to hide in a marriage). It took me about two years before I was even able to talk about it with my husband. When I saw that he still accepted me and didn't judge me as the freak I judged myself as- I decided to give it some attention again because, it was actually a pretty big, disruptive deal in my life. The only thing is, I had no idea what to do. 
     The therapies I looked into included pharmaceutical and behavioural therapy, but back then, I was way too ashamed and embarrassed to go to the doctor. Years passed as I tried to 'just stop', but it never worked. I tried not talking about it, and then I tried online forums and reaching out to several people and talking a lot about it, thinking that, if I shared it it would go away. 

       So, life with ocd just went on. I just managed with it, and didn't manage with it. I became very isolated and down on myself for a while. Some times it would be an all encompassing depressive state, others I would manage to be ok for bits and spurts of time. Drinking and pot helped, but sometimes that would make it all seem worse. Eventually, I found Desteni, and since then, everything has changed.

        To jump ahead a bit, since I've been working with the Desteni tools, I have learned a lot about myself. Now that I have more of an understanding of myself, before I would consider committing to drugs or therapy,  I would first investigate myself and walk the process of OCD using the Desteni tools of self-forgiveness, self-commitment and self-corrective application. I would really give it my all, before I would be able to make the statement that "I have tried everything, the only thing that can help me is drugs and/or therapy". 

In the wikipedia articles, there was some research that people saw results with OCD drugs and therapy, with fewer results associated with attempts to treat dermatillomania. But the way I would tend to look at it, is that the treatments do not address the underlying  causes of the behavior in the first place, such as the thoughts, feelings, emotions, memories, ideas, perceptions  beliefs, habits, patterns, internal conversations etc... things which only ourselves can investigate, understand and change. 
          The treatments seem to mostly address stopping the symptoms; the irrational behavior itself, seeing the treatment as the solution as a reaction to the symptoms. But I would first like to investigate prevention, finding out what causes the internal experience in the first place, and then implementing practical solutions to change them, thus placing MYSELF as the solution. I have already proven to myself this is possible within and through walking my process in pretty much every area of my life so far, so I simply can't resort to 'last resorts' before I really give it my all, committing myself and applying myself fully, proving to myself if I actually can't do it. But I would never give up and assume such a thing, until I at least try.
To learn the basics of self-forgiveness, sign up for the free course at DIPLITE, try it for yourself, for free, and start to get to know yourself within a deeper understanding, in order to build a new self that you can count on.


  1. I would like to hear more about how you applied Desteni tools on OCD and the specific results thereof. Thanks for sharing.

    1. I'm definitely going to 'go there.' I'm still figuring out how I'm going to go about working through this point. It has been suggested that it is a personality, and thus can be treated as such. It has also been suggested to take it bit-by-bit as it comes up. So I'm going to experiment with different applications of the tools. Thanks for reading!

  2. This is fascinating Kim. I have created this exact same skin-picking obsession since I was 13. Multiple times a day, I would stand in front of the mirror in a "trance", and after about 10 minutes I would "wake up" and my face looked all swollen and red. Cool Support here, thank you Kim.

    1. That 'wake-up' is the shittiest wake-up ever, because then it's like, 'what have I done?' And that experience just compounds and intensifies the entire cycle, building up the energy again immediately after the release. Thanks for sharing your experience Katie, it always makes it less alienating when the walls can come down and sharing and communication takes place instead.