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happystar_83 , 28 Aug 2010

New to site...I guess the first step is admitting I have a "problem?........."

I have had anxiety and depression most of my adolescence and adulthood. Diagnosed with Bi-polar at age 14. I'm one of "those" people who thinks that mental disorders are BS, maybe it's just me hiding my little secret. I was laid off about 3 years ago and that's when the picking started. It's mainly my scalp, pick then wait for the scab, it's kinda satisfying when I'm able to "successfully" take off the whole scab. I don't eat the scabs. I do it when I'm stressed, bored, anxious, tired, sometimes I feel like I have to pick so I can fall asleep.In fact I'm picking right now as I'm trying to concentrate. I've stopped for 3-6 months once, it felt great to not be picking and I could finally have a hair cut, my hair even felt healthier when I wasn't picking. It's embarrassing and humiliating and I don't even let my husband, who used to love to run his fingers through my hair in fear that he'll know I'm picking again. Just recently I started picking my skin over my body, mainly my legs and face. I've been all over the internet looking at different sites trying to find a solution. How do I stop? Are there any cures?....What is the treatment?....I keep hearing it's all "mental"....ya well I don't believe in that right? I got some work ahead of me. Thanks for any input.
5 Answers
August 28, 2010
Well it is sort of all mental. We all manifest our anxiety the same way, by abusing our skin. If you'll read the board you'll notice we all have very similar traits and situations. This is not just some type of physical problem we can solve with ointments or pills. The truth is that it DOES originate in our heads. NOT in our imaginations! Big difference. It's very REAL what we feel. The problems come because this is how we react to our anxiety and stress. And that's the key, we react. To not pick means being proactive and acting against our nature. It's a battle of wills, and that takes mental work....even though lots of us here are on meds. Wildflower seems to be having the most success out of all of us. I have to keep treating this like a bad habit, but I do realize it's a behavior I create and it's a response to stress, the problem is figuring out what the trigger to the stress is and fixing that....the "no picking zone" will come after that underlying problem that starts the stress is fixed. Even then,.... Same as you, I've been out of work for a few years and that definitely is when things got worse, for me physically, financially, and even my relationship with my husband. It's like a bad game of dominoes. One of the best things though was coming here just to know that however weird this habit/behavior seems to us, we can plainly see we are not alone, and there are lots of other pickers out there, all of who felt we were alone and suffered in silence. I did, I do, because it does feel lonely. This board helps a lot, even if it's to know you've got a safe place to vent and to be honest because here, no one will judge you. We're all in the same boat. No raised eyebrows or smurks....just nods of total understanding and empathy. Welcome to the board. I hope you find some useful information to apply.
August 28, 2010
This compulsion is a bitch, ain't it? I've been struggling with this problem all my life, and my face is covered with enlarged pores and scar tissue. Resolutions mean nothing. Before I know it, I'm back at it. I had a horrible 2 and a half year period after developing acne rosacea. I caused open areas all over my face and wouldn't leave the house for several weeks at a time. Over the past 4 or 5 months, I controlled the picking enough to see progress, but now I'm back where I was. I just can't ignore any bumps or rough patches, and I always have the same stupid rationalization that I'm just "smoothing" those areas, that it couldn't POSSIBLY be causing damage. And then the next morning, I'm horrified. I also have problems with depression, anxiety, attention deficit, and social anxiety. I've had tons of therapy and have tried every type of medication, none of which worked. I'm trying to get back to a meditation practice that I've done in the past. It does help somewhat with my stress level. I'd be interested in others' experiences/remedies also.
August 28, 2010
Just found this site and want to say thanks for making this information and blog available. I had no idea there was a word for this until today. Very educational. It also helps to hear from others who suffer from the same dilemma. Definitely feeling not so alone and helpless as before! Thanks! :)
August 31, 2010
Hi, I have the same problem as you, I pick my scalp constantly. I'm 14 and I have OCD. Almost all the feelings that you described having when you pick is exactly what I feel when I pick. I am seeing a hypnotherapist to try and get rid of this problem. That may be something that you might want to look into. It's supposed to help a lot. I have only been to one session so far, no change yet, but I hope there will be in the future. I wish you the best of luck :)
August 31, 2010
It's so hard. Glad to know I'm not alone. My family (those who know) don't understand. It's a release of sorts, although afterwards I feel terrible and humiliated. I'm not sure what would be a better response at this point in time. Not looking for attention. Can't stand the tension and uncertainty. I love my family, but I can't STOP. Hiding or covering it up is time consuming and nerve wracking. Any advice appreciated.

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