After I outed myself with my 1 Voice in a Million piece about my OCD-Skin Picking Disorder, I got a lot of feedback from family and friends. I didn’t expect the emotional reaction I received. It’s not like the scars and scabs suddenly appeared over the last couple of months. But I was grateful that my friends, especially my friends, reacted with loving comments.
The only thing I did expect out of the whole experience were the suggestions. Anytime anyone presents a problem there are always the well meaning people who have the answers. I know these people well because I’m one of them. I hate seeing my friends hurt or sad. I want to make everything better. What has bothered me though is the idea that my OCD is just a learned behavior that can be easily solved by 1) wearing gloves, 2) putting creams and medicine on my skin, 3) just not thinking about the itching or the need.
Maybe my OCD is a learned behavior but it is still an illness that isn’t easily resolved. After I posted my portfolio my psychiatrist suggested yet another medication to help with the itching. For some reason this is the answer. I’m just itching. He doesn’t even acknowledge my OCD, it was a former psychologist who diagnosed me. It frustrates me.
I finally told him about my need. My skin doesn’t itch. My skin talks to me. When I’m faced with a stressful situation there is a need in my finger tips, under my finger nails to seek out rough areas on my skin and then pull my skin off until it is smooth. Pulling a scab up slowly gives me a rush that starts at the sensitive area between finger nail and skin straight up through my fingers into my arms into my head. The feeling is similar to eating the best tasting food ever.
He didn’t say anything. He just looked at me.
Since OCD is based in anxiety the suggestion now is to go back into in Cognitive behavioral therapy. I don’t know if I’ll go. I took a pay cut to get a job with less responsibilities and less stress. The cost of one visit to the therapist is $40 for an hour with my insurance. There are very limited therapists available to me as well through my insurance. I can’t see a mental health care provider, I need the full on psychologist. Sometimes a PhD does matter, I’ve had horrible experiences with anyone other than a psychologist.
In the meantime, I’ll continue to try to share my story and find support. Things are getting a little better.