Thursday, August 13, 2015

Guest Post: Diane, Picking My Battles

I was truly lucky to meet Diane back in the summer of 2012. We crossed paths on Twitter while attending BlogHer that year. And then we met, briefly. And met again for about a minute. But somehow we connected in a way that established an instant friendship. How that happened in a handful of minutes - I'm not quite sure. I'm just going to say I'm truly glad it did and leave it at that. 

I'd like to introduce you to Diane and encourage you to take a few moments to see what she has to say. It's important, and I'm honored that she decided to share this here. 

dermatillomania, anxiety, emotion, skin picking, disorder, mental health, skin,

You look at me, and you don’t notice anything. 
You see me - an average woman with an average life. 
Two kids, and a happy marriage.

But look closer, would you?
Look at my arms - my legs. 
Do you see it yet?

Those light spots? Those dark scars I carry? The scabs from scrapes and insect bites that linger week after week. I did that. I did that to myself.

Did you hear me?
Let me say it again.
I did that.

You don’t necessarily see that in me. I’m not into self-harm. I can’t even begin to fathom the hurt it would take to do that. But this, running my fingers over my arms, over my legs to feel the rough edges of a cut. To scratch a mosquito bite until it bleeds, then pick at it again and again. It feels good, satisfying to pull off a scab in one piece.

And then I see it - the damaging marks that linger for months afterwards. I do hate that. I hate that my kids see this in me, that my husband is hurt by it.
And I try, so very hard. I put bandaids on, to cover the scabs. I do the best I can. 

But sometimes it's hard.  

I find myself seeking them out. Picking without realizing.

I’m trying to stop.

This is the first time EVER that I’ve mentioned it in a public place. 

I am going to talk to my therapist about it. My kids are on high alert to stop me when they see me picking. And I am so thankful to Andrea and her safe haven for letting me talk.

For the first time, I think this is a battle I can win.

When she’s not writing for her blog,, Diane is a stay-at-home mom based in New York City. In previous lives she was a newspaper reporter, a children’s book editor and a ghost writer. Now she opens string cheese and turns on Netflix for her kids. Diane also enjoys cooking meals that no one eats and cleaning up other people’s messes, because a girl has to have goals.

If you or someone you know is experiencing similar symptoms, please know that there are resources available to you to get help. These repeated behaviors are often referred to as either Dermatillomania, Skin Picking Disorder (SPD), or Excoriation Disorder. 

If you are unsure if this is the type of behavior you are exhibiting, you can head to the following site to take an assessment test online to see if your behaviors match those indicated: 

Dermatillomania can occur in conjunction with similar behaviors such as hair-pulling, which is something I know all too much about. You can find information on trichotillomania on

If you need more support or resources, please reach out and let someone know. Whether you contact me directly, Diane via her website, or a friend or family member, there is help available and we can direct you to it. 


  1. My 9 year old was diagnosed with anxiety triggered dermotillomania in 1st grade. It has been years of CBT therapy but she is getting through it.

    Many people suffer from 'socially acceptable" versions (picking the skin on your nails or the urge to pick at pimples and scabs) and a small percent of those have the more dramatic versions.. like all the other OCD type disorders.

    TLC has been a lifeline for us. They are a wonderful resource for all BRBs! (body-focused repetitive disorders)

  2. I have dermatillomania, too - I've blogged about it over in my corner of the internet. I have scabs on my upper arms and my face at the moment. For me, it's a really screwy way to deal with stress and anxiety (screwy because the scabs then stress me out and MAKE me anxious... oy!).

    Thank you for sharing. Many people don't realize this is a "thing." <3


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