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kmj , 02 Jun 2010

New to Forum-also NOT new to skin picking!

I posted a reply to mdmadre when I thought I was posting to the forum (sorry mdmadre). This my first web communication venture besides private e-mail. You can read my response to mdmadre. I am a 25 year veteran with scars to show for it, although if you met me on the street you would never know. I suffer with depression and what I call OCD (actually CSP). I realize that my skin picking is tied up in my mental health issues that likely stem from genes as well as my childhood environment. I am currently in therapy and on meds. I have been taking meds for many years. My therapy does not focus on the picking. I believe it is helping with factors related to it. Addressing the picking specifically is something I have never done-at least not with help. I've tried some advice and self mandated tricks (getting ready for bed in the dark) to no avail. Nothing lasts long. My only true reprieve was my last bout of severe depression when i had no desire for anything. I picked some, but not much. I did not feel compelled to do so like I do now. However, severe depression and the risk of suicide is not a treatment option that I would like to repeat. Today, I picked for about four hours. I ended with red welts everywhere. I have oily skin so I am amazed I do not have more scars. I have some larger scars on my neck (near my hairline) and my back where I had staph infection. My wounds had to be cut, drained and packed. I felt so sick the first time it happened and did not have insurance. The doctor fixed me up in his office. He knew i could not afford to go anywhere else. He was an older gentleman. I will never forget, however, how non-judgmental he was about it. Either he had seen it before in his many years of practice or he was truly a compassionate person. Staph hasn't happened in a long time. I think I am more careful. I use a sterilized needle instead of my fingers for larger acne. I will let my husband know when i "need surgery" (ie the needle). Scary. I can't believe I'm telling you all this! Whoever reads it I guess. Anyway, I've been doing this for too long. If I don't take it seriously, I will never stop. How long can my skin hold out? The older I get, the more ashamed I am. Even my daughters see me do it. I have hurt their feelings by picking and not paying attention to them. To me, that is the worst result. Now that I have a teen, with acne, I hope this won't happen to her. She has always pulled at her eyebrows (not to the point of pulling the hair out) and she seems to leave her acne to itself so far (with mild exceptions). I just hope that it will not happen to her. Maybe their disdain for my habit will help them. Wow. Thanks for listening!
4 Answers
June 02, 2010
i replied as well to your other post. i'd be interested to understand why your therapist wouldn't also address your self harming behaviours, as serious as they can be considering your skin is your body's defense against the world of infections. i'm intrigued why health professionals have historically turned a blind eye to this kind of thing. were i you, i'd take advantage of the opportunity you have to begin addressing the skin picking directly with your therapist and doctor prescribing your medications. it was a scare of lesions i'd created not healing well that frightened me into serious behaviour modification which has helped me pick a whole lot less than i have in decades. i'd been noticing my skin doesn't heal quickly anymore with age and the sores grew large. i needed to do something and pulled together a plan and i've been pretty good at keeping my skin largely intact. i hope you find what you need to get your skin healthy. i think my kids' distain for my habit helped them refrain from following in my footsteps as you hope yours will. my son had bad acne but he didn't pick and accutane helped him. my daughter has lovely skin and manages the odd zit well without doing self damage. *whew*.
June 03, 2010

In reply to by wildflower

kmj Thank you for your reply. I was afraid people would not reply that this was somehow not real. I am amazed at how many people are on this site! I had no idea. I felt like I was the only one in the world with this problem. Reading two replies has already been amazing. My therapist is well aware of OCD but I think she just does not understand what this is. I havn't given her enough info and I'm likely the only person she knows that does this. I plan to talk about it this week and send her to this sight. I feel that she will want to know more to help me. With what I have shared with her so far about everything else, I think it will actually make sense to her. It will be easier to share with her b/c of this site! I will let you know how she responds. Thank you so much. Your reply means a lot.
June 02, 2010
Hi kjm. Yes, I too find that my mental health is reflected in my picking habits. I have found though that this site has really helped......when Im on my own and I am so in that 'place' I have logged on here and found it distracting enough for me to avoid. And when I feel awful after a session, I have logged on and felt a kind of 'hope' and gained some new inspirations. It may only be temporary, but its a way out for a least some of the time for me. I hope you can get something from here too, and I m sure as I have found, the other members are wonderful.
June 03, 2010

In reply to by stickgal

kmj Thanks for your reply. I managed to put all my effort into cleaning today and I have so far avoided the mirror. Although I have aggravated a few areas. Normally this sets me off. I also felt worse after yesterday than ever. I know my urge will come back but reading your reply and the fact that someone did reply (so I know this is real) helps in and of itself. Thank you. I have this really weird feeling. I want to cry. I guess its because I don't feel so alone. I can't see you but I am amazed to "meet" someone like me. I have NEVER known anyone else who does this. I rarely tell people. You are wonderful for just responding! I feel like I can't thank you enough!

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