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nelson_21 , 24 Jul 2010

Not ready to stop

I've been picking since I was 11 and I'm 21 now. There's really no place on my body that isn't off limits, if I can reach it, I pick. That means my face, arms, chest, legs and back. Luckily I don't scar easily so I while I have some visible marks from my picking I have escaped all this with minor permanent scarring. My upper arms are the most noticeable and when people ask I just say it's a rash, once I even convinced a doctor it was a rash and he was ready to prescribe medication for my made up ailment. My mom's really the only person who thinks I have a problem, but even then we've never really talked about it and I've never told anyone or seen any kind of counselor about it. I've also never thought it was that big a deal. I was a teenager, teenagers do that sort of thing, no big deal. Plus I wasn't doing permanent damage to myself. Just recently I've realized that it's not just the skin picking. I've bitten the insides of my lips up to the point where they're mainly just scars, I'll bite until I can't eat anything because it stings to have anything on my lips. I also bite my nails and the skin around them and always have, I pick at my cuticles and at hangnails to the point where they bleed and get infected. Also, and I hate to have to admit to something so embarrassing, but my lifelong habit of nose picking is getting ridiculous for my age (heck, it was ridiculous when I was a kid). The biggest thing though? I have a patch of skin on my chin that's numb from being picked at for so long. But even though I know this is a problem, I know I'm doing horrible things to my body and I know I need help, I can't bring myself to stop. I mean, I still feel like it's not that big a deal. It's not some major disease like cancer, and I'm not suicidal or cutting myself, so nothing serious, right? I need to tell somebody all this, I know that I need someone to get me going because I don't know how to convince myself that this is a big enough problem. What have other people done to get themselves started? What made you finally sit up and realize you needed to do something? Is it better to get someone else involved, get outside help - if I get someone else to tell me it's a problem will I finally convince myself?
4 Answers
July 24, 2010
As you get older, your body will scar more easily from the picking. What got me to stop was the fact that I think I may have lymphoma, which I've more or less in my mind attributed to the skin picking. The skin cells in my body had to keep cranking themselves out, putting a real strain on my body and I think that since there's more room to err in the process of cell division that it probably triggered what I'm suspecting is cancer (once I go in for the biopsy I'll update everyone in here). Times before I got close to stopping the picking, but didn't really have it in me to. It took something as schocking and devastating as this to wake myself up. It's only a temporary rush anyway, like a drug addiction, and I knew I had to transcend that. Temporary fixes like that have just lead to a lifetime of shame for me, paranoid that everone was just focusing in on my wounds, no matter how well concealed they were. Confronting that fear face-to-face was an end to reality avoidance for me, one of the hardest things to do (thinking back to how good the endorphin rush felt is something you just have to shrug off, knowing that ultimately you have made an important trade-off in the process) and has made me mentally stronger. I feel a sense of superiority in myself now than to how I used to be; to the person who kept making excuses to get away with picking "just this last time"- and certainly, I felt as though I wanted every time to be the last time. Only until I transcended it did I really make it "the last time". It may be too late for me to make friends with my body, but at least I have mental piece of mind knowing that I have tried.
July 26, 2010
I was going to say what the other person said. As you get older it will begin to scar. I'm only 21 also and I realized that they all go away eventually, I mean if they didn't than my skin would all be one big scar by now right? I've had customers ask if it was contagious. I've worked in the food industry all my life. I still find it embarrassing when my coworkers ask what's wrong with me, and I hate when people assume it's mosquito bites. But I too, have convinced myself that it's not that big of a deal, and if my husband doesn't care than why should i? But all my pictures come out ugly, all I can see are the scabs on my arms and on my face. I don't wear low-cut shirts cause you can see some on my chest. My mom and my friends don't realize why I won't go skinny dipping ever. If I had a miracle pill that would make this all go away I'd take it hands down.
July 26, 2010

In reply to by Converses09

we all wish there were a miracle pill. a magic bullet. a cure from some outside source. i wished that and believed that there was one out there, somewhere, for so long and have only come to terms with reality this year, decades later, that the cure comes from within mostly. outside support is helpful. tactics are helpful and probably necessary, but conquering the compulsion will only come if the will to want to is there, if a well put together plan is formulated, if a commitment to do so is made, and if vigilance is employed. we must take control. we are capable to do so if we are serious about it. we are intelligent. we have strength when we put our minds to something. it is possible. people overcome many sorts of hardships. information is power. learn about it and pull together tactics and determination. that's what it'll take.
July 27, 2010
Hi nelson_21! My name is Brenda and your posting interested me. I'd like to begin by commending you for reaching out for feedback regarding your skin picking. My thoughts: Your picking behavior is classified as whatever YOU consider it to be. Until YOU acknowledge your picking behavior as a problem, and are ready to stop, that is when progress can begin. Most people with CSP consider their picking behavior a real problem simply because it inteferes with their daily activities and causes emotional and physical pain. If you ask me, I think you owe it to yourself to begin the battle of trying to quit. You mentioned that you have a patch of skin on your chin that is numb from being picked at for so long. That in itself should be a red flag. We want to avoid that from ever happening again. Plus, picking can cause an infection. Staff infections are especially serious. I will admit, quitting picking and biting is a lot easier said than done - absolutely. However, with hardwork and a strong, persistant will, people have conquered this behavior, so that should encourage everyone who has CSP to atlease try to fight the temptations to be free of the urges. Also, the others who have responded to your posting are right when they say you are more likely to scar as you get older. That fact will hopefully motivate you to quit picking. Most importantly, until you acknowledge your picking/biting as something you are ready to give up, that is when you begin moving towards the right direction. If you are looking for someone to simply tell you, "you have a problem", I'll just say, I know you deserve better. No one should have to struggle with this. You'll be better off being free from picking at your skin. So let's consider this Day 1 in your road to recovery... Are you ready to stop???

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