Find out the severity of your symptoms with this free online test
Hi everyone. I've been "lurking" on the forum for a few weeks now but am finally joining and ready to tell my story. I'm 28 and have been picking for probably about 8 years now but it has gotten really bad in the past year. I was raised with a stable family and didn't suffer any trauma in my childhood, but have been anxious and depressed for as long as I can remember. I was diagnosed with depression when I was 13 or so but had felt "different" for years before that. My mom tells me that she remembers when I was very young (kindergarten or so) and would worry about people liking me and making friends. That has carried on throughout my life. I know that I should love myself and treat myself well, but I guess I have a real problem with that. Throughout high school I struggled with finding myself and trying to be "normal"...friends would tell me to just be happy and I could never explain why I couldn't do that. When I was 20 I was raped by three strangers. I went back to college after that summer with the intention of pretending it didn't happen. I drank and essentially wasted my entire sophomore year of school. The depression and anxiety got much worse. I left school after my sophomore year and went home. I started picking sometime after that. At first it was just popping a pimple here and there, but it progressively got worse. My mom or dad would catch me and say "quit picking!" to the point where it was a common thing to hear and I can still hear them saying it in my head. (Side note: my parents are very loving and supportive but I don't think they understood why I was doing it and that I couldn't control it...I only recently discovered that this is an actual disorder. I always thought it was just me.) I moved out of state by myself a few years ago and that's when things got really bad. I pick when I'm anxious, worried, mad, depressed, bored... Like I've been reading, I get a release when I pick and feel much better for a second, but then become very ashamed and disgusted with myself. I pick at what I perceive to be flaws on my face. I'll get what I call undergrounders (cystic blemishes) and poke and prod at them convincing myself that if I could just get the sick out it'd be much better, but it never is. Once I've made an actual wound on my face, I can't leave it alone. It'll crust over but then I have THAT to pick at and so it goes. I pick to the point of bleeding, where blood will actually run down my face in little streams. I feel sickened and embarrassed and horrified with myself but can't seem to stop. It has gotten to the point that if I go anywhere outside of home I must wear makeup to feel better and even then I am extremely self conscious. If I feel like my makeup isn't covering enough I won't look people in the eye. I'll keep my eyes on the ground for fear that if I make eye contact I'll be able to see the disgust and horror in their eyes. For a while picking at my face was just this strange thing I did...it was never gone but it was never all that terrible. Now it has negatively impacted my life in so many ways. I'm a paramedic and love what I do but refuse to work a shift (even the overnight part) without makeup on. I'm terrified that my patients will look at me and think I'm incompetent and can't help them because I can't even keep my face clear. Same with nurses and doctors. I'm an intelligent, funny, kind woman but inside I am hideous. I hate who I have become and what I do to myself. I'm ready to change because I can't see it getting better alone.