trigger warning: blood, discussion of compulsions/self-destructive behavior, body-image issues and general graphic imagery. if these are things you don’t feel like you should be seeing right now, feel free to skip this post, and if you need to access mental health support in your area, there are crisis lines linked in my bio.
you know / you want to / a demon buried beneath your skin / so just one more time / just one more second / and it’ll be perfect / you said it’ll be perfect / so why isn’t it? / why won’t it go away / no matter how much i feed it / and suddenly / there’s nothing left of me / but bags under my eyes / and a ragged skeleton / as the water pools in my lungs / splatter paint / connect the dots / and just cover it up with concealer / just wipe the tears off your cheeks / because you can’t do it without me / you’ll never be able to do it without me / because this will make it perfect / and maybe it’ll hurt at first / a little bit / but when it heals over, you’ll be born anew / in the blood dripping off your fingers / i promise you.
I’ve talked about this before a bit on this site, but never really enough as I feel like I should have. It’s easier to talk about things like anxiety and depression–things that are easier to sugarcoat and make bite-sized. Things I don’t feel dirty talking about, or even acknowledging. And things that aren’t so difficult for me to talk about, because I’ve done it so many times before. Whereas talking about my compulsions is… honestly, it’s triggering for me to even write about. Most of the time, I just want to ignore them, no matter how big of a problem they’re posing to me. It’s the only way I know how to deal with them. My therapist and I have only talked about them once, when I picked at myself so much I started bleeding in the middle of one of our sessions, and even then, I just said it was a nervous habit and brushed the topic off as fast as possible. But despite how hard this is to put out into the world, I guess I just feel like… I don’t know, I’m a big girl now or whatever, and compulsive skin picking has been a problem for me for seven, going on eight years now. It’s high time I get comfortable with it. However long it takes.
It’s not the same as self-harm. I know they probably seem pretty similar to the outside observer, but they’re just not the same thing. Self-harm is a tsunami, destructive and giant and temporary. This is constant–to keep going with the water metaphor, it’s like just being in the ocean the whole time. I don’t always pick at myself when things are even bad. Sometimes, I’m just bored. Or tired. Sometimes I just do it out of habit. And sometimes I end up spending hours in this weird trance, telling myself that if I just keep going, just for one more minute, everything will finally be perfect. And beautiful. (It never is.) (Sometimes, I have fantasies about ripping off all my skin, and letting it scab over and start anew again. Or sometimes, it’s more specific parts of my body. My stomach is a recurring one. Sometimes I just feel so sick and nauseous in my own skin, it’s… it’s the only way I can feel in control again. Sometimes, it’s just a distraction.)
I don’t know how to stop. It’s not just a bad habit. It’s something I have to do. Like I’m just a puppet on a string, somehow being compelled to do this thing, no matter what I think. That’s the best way I know how to explain it. I’ve never been able to stop for prolonged periods of time before. I wish I could say something more optimistic–but that’s the truth. I don’t know.
So I guess I’m just writing this because… for all of you out there–who are going through something similar, what I can tell you is that you are not the only ones. I can’t say it’s going to get better right away. But I do know that we will work this out. Someday.
Lots of love,