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Dermatillomania




You’ve probably picked a scab, right? And most likely a few zits. Pretty much everyone has at some point. Even if you think that it’s “gross”, or believe that it will leave scars. Sometimes you just can’t help it. But do you think about it every waking moment? Do you occasionally dream about it? Do you have to sit on your hands when you’re around those friends who have bad acne because you’re afraid that you’ll grab their face and start picking?

That’s called Dermatillomania, I’ve actually had to end friendships because of it. I couldn’t look people in the eyes if they had enough zits, or scabby knees, or sometimes if they had large moles. Even those looked like something to pick.

It’s grown worse and worse. Bug bites are terrible. I want to dig out the puffy lump, but there isn’t puss or a scab to pick off. Once I pick the bite out though, there is a scab to keep picking off for a week or two. I’m almost sad that mosquito season is ending.

I’ve been fairly antisocial lately. The temptation is too much when I’m around people. My family pushes me away, but they aren’t creeped out by it. So I mostly stay home.

I’m getting a little concerned though. See, I took my dogs and cat in to get microchipped the other day. The vet was having a special, so it was pretty cheap. The dogs were ok. The chip went between their shoulder blades. I know they have the chips, but I can’t see or feel them. Buck, my cat though, he wiggled as the needle went in. The vet injected the chip anyway, without re-positioning the needle. It went on the outside of his shoulder blade.

I was in a state of panic by the time I reached home. Mom thought one of the animals had something seriously wrong. And to my mind, the misplaced chip was something seriously wrong. I can feel it. She doesn’t get it. The chip is only about the size of a half eaten tic-tac.

But at night, especially at night, when Buck is laying on my stomach and I am petting him, that chip is all I can feel. I try to keep my hands off of it. He’s a good-sized cat, so I should be able to avoid that tiny spot. I can’t avoid that tiny spot. I touch the chip constantly. With the loose skin over Buck’s shoulder blade, I can roll the chip between my fingers. Occasionally I give it a little squeeze as though it’s going to pop out like a zit.

There’s a knife on the table beside my bed tonight. I was using it to cut an apple earlier and forgot to take it downstairs. If I stretch just right, I should be able to reach it without disturbing Buck.

And then…once the chip is gone, he’ll have a lovely scab for me to pick.

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