OCD + Vitiligo = Phantom of the Opera?

There is something that has been worrying me for a while now and I recently had an epiphany-like change of attitude that I wanted to share!

Here’s the tale:

For several years I have had a weird eyebrow rubbing habit. If I am doing homework or something else where I am focused I just start going at it, rubbing and bending the eyebrow hairs until they either hurt or fall out. Now that I am finally getting treatment for my OCD I mentioned it to my therapist since I figured it was probably related. It’s odd because I’ve heard of trichotillomania and my thoughts while rubbing/times of rubbing/noticing textures etc. seem very similar, but I never actually pull the hair out. My therapist called it a variation of trichotillomania. Hooray for diagnosis(ish) which equals targeted treatment!

Alright now what’s vitiligo? I’ve been meaning to write a post about this for a while. Not because I like focusing on all the weird things wrong with me (I honestly barely think about vitiligo), but because it is affected by my OCD. Vitiligo is an auto-immune disorder where you gradually lose pigment in your skin. (Think Michael Jackson, except his progressed very quickly. Mine is super slow.) Sometimes white spots pop up randomly, but often they are caused by repeated irritation. So if you imagine washing your hands until they bled in junior high…my hands now have white spots on them.

awkward younger me to show an example of vitiligo (see hands and knees)

So where am I going with this? There is a very, very good chance that I will lose the pigment beneath and around my eyebrows unless I get this thing under control (and it’s probably still going to happen even if I can stop the habit, simply because that skin has already taken several years of abuse.) This used to terrify me. I speak honestly  when I say my vitiligo doesn’t bother me. You get used to the stares and questions from a young age (plus I’ve been able to regain a lot of pigment through light treatments)…except my face. For some reason the prospect of having spots on my face (visible ones…aside from the two small ones already) terrifies me. Maybe because our faces in a way define us. It’s what we see when we first meet someone, what we stare at while talking to someone.

What I have recently decided though is that since this has a good chance of happening, and since I have no say in whether it does or not, I might as well hurry up and prepare myself for acceptance. I’ve decided if I do lose this pigment on my face I’m not going to care and I’m totally going to rock it with super silly facial expressions. What I am hoping for though (if this is inevitable) is that the pigment loss continues from the spot on my left eyelid as it spreads to my left eyebrow, and maybe skips my right eyebrow (I rub the left eyebrow more anyway so this may be probable.) Why on earth is this the pattern I am hoping for?

phantom of the opera
property of The Phantom of the Opera

It’s a very simple answer, actually. I am completely, and I mean completely, obsessed with The Phantom of the Opera and have been since a toddler! If I have to have part of my face turn white, how rad would it be if I could look like the Phantom in his mask? Very, very rad.

Thinking positively sure makes the worries fly away! 🙂

~Morgan (and no, this is not a typo 😉 )

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