Frazzled and scabby!
Posted August 29th, 2012 by olivegreen
Hello everyone in this new little community I've just discovered. I wanted to add my own story here and would welcome any suggestions or criticisms from anyone! I am 31 years old and have probably picked obsessively since I was about 16. I can remember the day it started. I had a large pimple in my hair and it wouldn't go away. I was worried that it was something else, not just a simple zit, so I was constantly touching it. At the same time, I discovered that I had a thin film of powdery stuff in my scalp, which I think must be shampoo buildup or dead skin cells. I started scratching that stuff off and eating it. Over the years that progressed to picking at every bump, lump, scratch, or scab I could find. I particularly have itch spots on my scalp that I've probably had for 5 to 10 years. I'm not kidding--open wounds for that long. I'm afraid the hair in that area may never grow back. For most of the 15 years I've picked, no one knew (I think). My husband of 6 years has caught on and started telling me "stop it!" when he catches me, but of course that does nothing. He tells me it's disgusting and awful, and that makes me feel shameful, but doesn't stop me at all. I did try once wholeheartedly to quit. I had a goal--quit and get a cool travel mug for work. I got my mug, had an argument with my husband, and went right back to picking. I still have the mug, although I know I don't deserve it. I have tried bandaids, antibiotic creams, short nails, sitting on my hands, pinching myself, positive reinforcement (look! a scab that's healing! great job!) and then I just pick. It's even subconscious--I will catch myself picking and not know that I'd started. If it itches, I'm worse off. I haven't had severe poison ivy in a long time, and if I were to get a case, I'm afraid of the outcome. I can't tell you how many times I've picked or thought about it since I started writing this. I've never been seen by a therapist, taken any psychiatric medications, or had any diagnosis. I live a fairly normal life with a decent job, good husband, healthy 2 year old son, and loving family. I'm afraid that my picking may be getting picked up by my son, who alternates from telling me to leave his boo boos alone and picking away at them himself. I'm looking for guidance, encouragement, and a sense of belonging. I'm looking for a way to quit and I know it won't be easy.