This is my last catch-up post, and it feels like I can maybe start to breathe again. From now on, things should all mostly be from the present time as I am pretty caught up on the things I wanted to touch on from my hiatus. I just need to finish up the vocabulary section for my pet pages, and then I will feel a gigantic sense of relief. I made myself crazy over all of this, of course. Anyway, I saved this post for last because it’s both difficult and embarrassing.

Awhile back I had written a post about dermatillomania/excoriation. It’s a skin picking disorder, and I’ve been suffering from it since I was a teenager. I pick the skin around my cuticles and nails. The first time I wrote about this, I thought I had it conquered and that I had successfully stopped doing it; I think I lasted something like three months, and however long it was definitely set a record. I’m not going back to reread that post because I just don’t think that would be healthy for me to do. Anyway, it came back, and it got worse. This disorder makes everything harder because hands are used for everything, right? Holding a pen, brushing my hair, brushing my teeth, brushing the cats, opening boxes or bottles, getting dressed (like using buttons and pulling up jeans) – it all hurts. You name it, and it sucks. This affects everything. Even if I’m having a good enough back day, I don’t want to go out if my hands are covered in bandaids. It’s beyond embarrassing. I saw one therapist while we were in New Jersey. It’s not covered by insurance, and $175 a session is a lot. I had three or four sessions at this center, but I just felt like we made no progress at all. We talked about the same things every time. I can’t explain it. It’s like at every appointment she had to talk about her box of fidget toys for twenty minutes. I just felt like I wanted to do a deep dive into my past to figure out what was causing it, and we were still talking about basic stuff, such as my birthdate and sign. Sort of. So I was disappointed, to say the least. After we moved here and I went even more haywire on myself, I found a therapist that I could use a skype-type program with. Now she was very helpful. She’s the one who told me it was a disorder and that I shouldn’t beat myself up when I have a slip-up. Saying negative things to myself only fuels the cycle. She’s also the one who said I’m doing this because I have anxiety. Anxiety? She said I must get something out of it, and she also said that it releases endorphins. She also gave me two physical exercises to do and gave me a meditation app to download. She constantly recommended other things to try all the time, from lotions to candles to medical marijuana. She also said that skin heals so fast, to be gentle with myself (don’t be hard on myself), to not look at them as much, to occupy my brain otherwise, and to keep my nails super short because they can be sharp little knives otherwise. It was a night and day difference between the two therapists! I’m nowhere near cured, but I think I’m a little bit better. Before, my entire finger, from the top of the nail to where the finger meets the palm, would be covered in bandaids. Now it’s just the top part in bandaids when I go bananas. One of the things I also need to do is to recognize my triggers. I’ve realized that when Mark screams at me, I tear at my fingers. So I’ve made a mental note not to look at them after a fight. Last week they were all in the clear (no bandaids!!) and today I’m back up to four. Ugh. So I had them all looking good, and then I tore them apart. I was so incredibly mad at myself over it that night. When I woke up the next morning, I tried to figure out what the trigger was for it. And there it was: I had spent an annoying two hours texting with my asshole brother who basically called me an elitist because I want to hire a party planner for my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary party that we are required to throw them. The whole thing is stressful. Since I’m not local anymore and neither of us want to deal with our mother, I thought that would be better for everyone. He basically said he wasn’t doing anything or paying anything because he doesn’t want to do it at all. He then said other things that confused me. By the end of the conversation, I still didn’t know if he’s going to participate or not. If he’s not, I’m not. And, see? I’m getting all annoyed all over again. Haha. I’m hoping I can get a handle on this prior to our trip coming up, so please wish me luck. I’m no longer talking to this therapist (she was $125 a session) right now. Honestly, she annoyed me over something small, but a bridge was not burned. I think I have enough tools right now to go forward. If not, I’ll revisit talking to her again. This disorder is definitely a struggle and a battle, for sure.



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