The world is telling me that I need to come clean about this. I've seen two other bloggers admit similar issues in the last week, so I think it's my turn.
I have a bit of a compulsion. I'm not sure if it would classify as OCD or not, but it doesn't really negatively impact my life so I doubt it.
I'm a picker. Ever since I had zits, I've always picked my face. But since it's my face and I see it all the time and it's so obvious to others, I don't usually let anything get too bad. I'll often have a scab or two, but it's rarely extremely noticeable. And I don't have any scars.
But that's not the issue.
I keep thinking I just started the "new" behavior, but I guess it's probably been about 5 years now since it was definitely a worry before our wedding. Now I pick my upper arms. I guess I have dermatitis pilaris and I don't think that I had it before or I bet I would have started picking at it earlier.
When I get home from work, especially when I'm stressed, I go into the bathroom and look at my arm in the mirror. First one arm, then the other. When I'm brushing my teeth in the morning, I see the same few spots highlighted by the light from the window. When I'm sitting at a red light, I look down at my arms. Sometimes I even do it in class!
I feel physically calm when I am picking my arms and feel a tiny burst of joy, seriously, whenever I actually get something to "pop." These moments are few and far in between though. Usually I squeeze and nothing comes out and I'm left with a raised white spot (best case) or I break the skin and it bleeds (worst case). The skin is pretty thin and my nails are pretty sharp, so it bleeds often although I try to prevent it.
I also have extremely fair skin so basically my arms have red spots all over them which looks like a rash. And I definitely have little white scars on my arms although I don't think they look too terrible. So basically if I'm not actively picking, my arms will heal and look somewhat normal.
I am completely embarrassed by my arms. I'm very self-conscious in general and this doesn't help. So I do try to keep them covered as much as possible, but when it's warm, that's just not possible.
I really want to stop. I've tried to stop. I've tried limiting myself to "one" spot per arm per day. I've tried completely stopping. I've tried keeping my arms covered.
The longest I've gone is probably 3 days.
I don't really want to seek professional help, but I'm practically at that place. But still, I feel like I should be able to figure out a way to stop on my own.
So honestly, that's my big secret.
I feel completely vulnerable admitting it (even though it's visible to the world). It feels like such a weakness. But I think admitting might be the first step to stopping?
(FYI...I did get lactate lotion to help fix the underlying condition which my doctor suggested, but it's not considered safe for breastmilk, so I'm not using it. Occasionally I hydrate either with lotion or my left over stretch mark oil since dryness is a factor in the dermatitis pilaris, but nothing seems to help although it improves somewhat in the sun. As much as I'd like to fix the actual reason for the bumps, I think I really need to control myself.)