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prettyinside , 20 Apr 2012

ready to be done

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 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.
4 Answers
April 22, 2012
i registered just because of what you wrote. i feel the EXACT same way and respond the EXACT same way. my picking has gotten out of control. i am embarressed and so self concious to go to work. i never look into anyones eyes, look down at the floor or pretend to be busy just so that I dont have to have a face to face conversation with anyone. i know how bad it is, just dont do it, your skin will get better - yet every day, sometimes for hours i have to pick. just throw out the mirror i say..but i is so exhausting to pile on the make up and still not feel like i look good after, probably making the acne worse which will just in turn cause me to pick more. i never want anyone to come over unannounced, i cant go or do anything without it being totally planned, and then its just easier not to go. i have now started missing holidays with the family and work simply because it is just so obvious. im so so so tired of living like this. im getting so depressed.
April 23, 2012

In reply to by Exhausted

Exhausted, it's so nice to hear that someone else behaves the same way. For the longest time I have been convinced that I'm the only one who understands the hurt and shame and who does everything they can to cover up the physical imperfections that they've created. It's heartbreaking to know though, that someone else is suffering the same pain. The way I cover things up and the way I am around people when I feel "uncovered" is so out of line with who I truly am. I know that there's a beautiful girl inside me who is outgoing, friendly and wants to experience the world with laughter and eyes wide open but I am my own worst enemy. I create these wounds and destroy my skin and then am so hurt and angry at myself but can't stop doing it. Unfortunately I can't afford treatment with an appropriate doctor right now but have done a few things to try to help myself. I went to Walmart and bought a few stress balls...those balls that you can squeeze when stressed. I have to train myself to use them but I hope it helps. I also bought some NAC from GNC with the hopes of it curbing my urges...we'll see how that goes. I've decided to put positive, uplifting messages on my mirrors in lipstick so that when I DO look I am reminded that there IS a strong, beautiful person inside. Most importantly, I found this website and forum. It's so comforting to find people who understand what I'm going through and who are willing to support each other in the fight to overcome. I feel like if we knew each other we could be a support in times of weakness and could be around each other, uncovered, and not have to feel like we can't make eye contact. I'm sending you an enormous hug and want you to know that while I may be weak too, I hope we can lean on each other for strength and support.
April 22, 2012
Prettyinside, you tugged at my heartstrings. My own experience is very similar, although I was doing this to myself before I was assaulted. I feel like if you and I could hold eachothers hands I would have a better chance at overcoming this impulse to pick! The stress of having to hide what I do only makes it harder to quit, ultimately. I will be thinking of you- your strength is really impressive. And the work you do is important and selfless!
April 22, 2012

In reply to by m.alex

m.alex thank you for your response! Maybe we can all lean on each other for support in overcoming this. I am very happy that I found this forum because it has opened my eyes to some amazing, strong people who are struggling with the same thing. It's helped me see that what I do is a symptom of the hurt inside and not something that makes me crazy. It's so nice to find support in people who do the same hurtful things...we understand each other and see far beyond the skin to who we truly are. THAT makes me hopeful.

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