As I tap away on my laptop, I hear Franklin dreaming. He's on the floor behind my chair. He breathes heavily, whimpers a bit, and kicks the chair. I hope his dream is a happy one. Last night I had a dream about The Waltons––yes, the TV family. Some of the younger cast members showed me all over the set for the show. They also told me some cool secrets about how the show was made. I don't remember any of the secrets. Sorry. I realize you're itching to know.
A few years ago I saw Michael Learned (Mama) in a play at a dinner theater. Lord, deliver me from dinner theater.
Anydisorder, I'm not here to write about The Waltons, though it was my favorite TV show for many years. I still watch the occasional re-run.
I'm really here to tell you about my obsessive compulsive disorder. Sometimes I joke that correcting grammar scratches my OCD itch. I also like to have a place for everything and everything in its place.
But I don't care if someone moves the lavender vase on the living-room shelves half an inch to the right.
I think my desire to be organized comes from worry about losing things. I doubt if it's a true obsessive compulsive disorder. I don't wash my hands until they bleed. I don't dust the envelopes that come in the mail. I don't even care that a dead leaf has fallen from Franklin's fur and is on the rug at this moment.
No, I have a different kind of OCD. It falls in the same category as the type that compels some people to pull out their hair (Trichotillomania).
When I was about eight years old, I began to pull the skin off from around my nails. Any little dry bit of skin had to go. Anything that wasn't smooth and perfect? I picked until it was gone. I also bit my nails sometimes, but it was really the skin that bothered me.
|not my fingers|
Eventually my mother noticed and tried to make me feel ashamed for what I was doing. I was already ashamed. I didn't need her help. Sometimes other kids noticed. One even said to me, I do that, too.
The skin removal was an on-and-off thing for years. X also noticed and tried to embarrass me (I was already so embarrassed that he just made me more miserable). As I grew older and had more emotional strength, I countered his attacks by asking why he picked at his face and scalp all the time (so there, X).
Divorce didn't end my compulsion. I tried to stop myself by wearing cotton gloves around the house and wrapping my fingers in large bandages. Nothing helped.
Finally, I asked Google about my problem. Within a few minutes, I knew what was wrong. I also learned that it could have been much worse. Some people pull off so much of their skin that they have large sores.
Now that I could name the problem, I asked Google what I should do about it. Although some people need medication to help them stop excoriating, I decided to try a different solution: acrylic nails.
The nails worked like magic. I haven't pulled off my skin since I got them a few years ago.
About every six weeks, I have a "fill-in" done on my nails to keep the gel polish looking neat as the natural nails grow out. It costs about twenty dollars, and boy, is it worth it.
Infinities of love,
P.S. I write this post in case you have a similar problem and don't know what to do about it.