Anxiety Manifest: My Skin Picking Problem

So anyone who's followed my blog for any length of time knows that I have an anxiety disorder. This has manifested in a few different ways in my life- I've come out about my jealousy issues, my ongoing eating disorder struggles and other difficulties with food, my fight against hoarding. I plan to write more extensively about my experiences with medication, having been medicated for depression most of my life and really only in the last 3 years realizing that my diagnosis was likely off. I like to be open about what I've discovered along the way in the hopes it helps others.

But there's one thing I've felt really uncomfortable sharing about, as a sometime professional pretty person-

I am a really, really chronic skin picker.

I've always been a cuticle biter, to the point where I have had infections and other major problems. In fact even while writing this I've had to stop myself multiple times from worrying at any little bits of dry skin. It's unconscious, but it's constant. It's why I keep my nails painted most of the time, because then at least I don't want to mess up my polish. No amount of gross tasting formulas have been able to stop me.

For most of my life I've been blessed with pretty clear skin, so my enjoyment of popping pimples and squeezing out blackheads happened on other people, usually tolerant partners who would let me groom them. I'm even one of those freaks who would watch those gross skin channels on Youtube for particularly bad blackheads. There was something soothing and satisfying about seeing the blockages cleared.

Now in my 30s I'm getting a lot more whiteheads and pimples, and it SUUUUUCKS. I have such a hard time leaving them alone! And as I don't actually know much about foundation or coverup, I end up slapping on a fair amount of makeup to hide the redness I leave behind with my anxious fussing, which then clogs my skin and makes more blemishes. I got a set of tools supposedly for helping clear up these things, but I don't know how to use them yet. So in the meantime I'm just using my nails and ending up with overly rosy cheeks and irritated skin.

I often feel as a fat woman that there's a lot of pressure to look on point whenever I leave the house. I rarely go out without my makeup done, and almost never in leggings and a shirt- not because I don't want to, but because I am deeply self conscious of looking like a "slob". Having any kind of facial blemish, then, makes me excessively anxious, because I associate acne with grease and grease with fatty foods and even though there's little logic to it, I begin to feel even more ashamed of my body and how other people perceive me. I pick at my skin obsessively, trying to get every little bump to flatten. I powder my skin like a French aristocrat to hide the redness. My quest to be a pretty fat person ends up being a lot of pressure to not let down the side. Which makes me more anxious. Which makes me pick more.

I'm still trying to figure out the best ways to manage my anxiety.  I don't want to peel my own skin off when I'm feeling stressed. A lot of anxiety meds have bad side effects though, things like brain zaps or losing my libido. It took me YEARS to get my libido even halfway recovered from years of SSRIs, and I'll be damned if I give it up now! So for now, I just try to breathe through it, eat decently well, and be mindful of what I'm doing. It's really difficult, though, and frankly I still feel a lot of anxiety being seen in a no-makeup selfie on the Internet. Do be kind, please!

I'm hoping that coming out about this issue I can not only help others feel less alone but be held accountable to being kind to my skin so I can break this harmful habit before I end up scarring myself! Do you have trouble with skin picking or nail biting? How do you manage it?

Categories: anxiety, body stuff, fake it til you make it, fat is fit, femme, makeup, personal

Be the first to comment

Post a comment