I feel guilty that I'm not as young as I used to be, that my mental health took such a significant downturn for so many years, and now I'm here at what I hope is the precipice of my problems, but the wasted years just stare back at me like a gaping wound. It's time that I'll never get back . . . and I'm still not quite cured. I never will be- I realize that now. I am going to continue to live every day with these intense urges to rip, pick and scratch my skin, and eat the skin from around my fingers. I'm fine if I keep myself on a strict, metaphorical "string"- I call it that because I feel like from morning to night I'm following a string through that dark labyrinth, and if I veer away I'll be lost again, like that Greek myth . . . but I'm having a blonde moment and I don't remember what it's called. Anyways . . .

I have to live by a strict routine, diet and daily plan. I have to wear gloves, exercise to get rid of excess energy and avoid gluten and sugar. Which is all fine, I'm not complaining- my only wish at this point is that I knew someone who I could tell all this to . . . relatives ask why I cut out gluten, but I can't tell them about this. I can't tell anyone. I'm underweight already, so I bet they think I'm an anorexic making excuses. I vent on dermatillomania websites, which is great, but I do wish I could talk to someone in person sometimes. Meh . . . I can talk to my mother, but she doesn't fully understand either. I miss the days before this ruled my life. I am lucky though, despite significant damage I've done to myself, I don't have any really bad permanent scarring or infections, and I'm really grateful for that.

Now just to continue on, inflict no more damage to myself, and try to grow from this and pretend I don't have it around others.

Why do I clench my hands tightly? Oh, no reason.

Why was I absent from our girls day out? Well, it definitely wasn't because I ripped all the skin off my nose and was bleeding constantly!

Why was I pacing at Christmas? Oh you know, just fighting urges to pick at every pore on my body. Normal stuff . . .