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dolphinschick , 28 Jul 2010

I'm a newbie and here's my story. Could I have dermatillomania? HELP!

So I am a 22 year old female and I found this site while searching about scab picking. I have an ongoing scab right now that I have picked for about a month. My boyfriend keeps trying to get me to stop but I just can't help it. He then told me to go online and see if this compulsion is real, and here I am. I have done this for as long as I can remember. As sick as it sounds, I do like the taste of blood and scabs. I don't do it just for the taste, I do it mainly for what I call "correct healing." I will pick just sections of the scab that is darker or thicker/thinner than the rest. I feel that if everything isn't even that the scar will look worse. I have been diagnosed with OCD and I am taking anti-anxiety medication. Is this dermatillomania or something else. I don't create the scabs, just pick ones that happen with various scrapes and scratches. I didn't think that this was a real thing and that I was weird for doing it. I find comfort in the fact that I am not alone. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
1 Answer
July 28, 2010
Hi! I'm not sure if I'm sorry or glad to inform you that you do have CSP (compulsive skin picking, the same thing as dermatillomania). I'm glad to tell you this because, at least now you know what it is, and that you're not alone. But at the same time, I'm sorry to inform you, because I know how miserable it is. I have had this problem since I was about 4. I'm 18 now. When I first started, I did the same thing as you: I picked my scabs. I never understood why I did it. I guess in some ways it felt good, and in others, like you, I think it was an OCD issue. I wanted my skin to be even and smooth. So any bump, I would scratch off, and then when the scab came, it would make my skin uneven too, so then I would have to pick that. I would pick at the same scab for so long, and the injury would get so deep, and now my legs and arms are COVERED in discolored scars. Luckily, when I started the 8th grade, I started a new school and for some reason, I just stopped without even trying. So my legs and arms have had a long time to heal, but the scars will always be there. But then a few years later, during my sophomore year, the CSP came back. But now it's on my face, I pick at my acne, and it's so embarassing. I can't stand the thought of my face ending up looking like my arms and legs. Because I can wear jeans and long sleeves to cover those up, but you can't cover your face. I have tried medicine and thearapy. While you are welcome to try these, I have never found them to do any good. The medicine even made me suicidal once. What helps me manage my CSP is two things. First, I think of someone besides myself who is being affected. Because I have found that because CSP is so self destructive, I have little respect for myself and therefore, stopping for myself is not much of a reason. I tell myself, "well, you're already messed up anyways, why not just keep picking" things like that. The #1 person that comes to mind of people who are affected by my picking is my mom. It makes me cry just to think about it. Ever since I started when I was 4, she has constantly taken me to many different doctors, and therapists. She's spent long hours on the computer trying to find any cure, and now, at night when I'm at the highest risk of picking, she stays up in her office, which is right next to my bathroom, which is where I pick, to watch me until I get in bed to make sure I don't pick. And often times she'll be up with me until 1 or 2 am, even if she has to work the next morning. And all along she has loved me and never held it against me. So when I'm picking and she's not there, I try to think of her to make me stop, because I know how much it breaks her heart to see my scarred face. The other tip I have is to make goals. For instance, if I have a pool party coming up, and in the water, I can't cover up my face with makeup or long bangs, so anything on my face is very noticeable, so when I start picking, I'm like, if you keep this up, you're going to be so embarrassed at the pool party. So maybe for you, when you start to pick, be like, I know I want to do this, but if I do, I'll have to wear jeans to cover it up when I go to the park with my boyfriend tomorrow, or just something like that.

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