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funktional , 14 Oct 2010

coming out!

Okay, I'm a 24 year-old female who decided today to finally do some research on why I can't seem to stop picking at my upper arms. When I realized I was a dermatillomaniac, and a pretty severe one, I felt compelled to tell someone, ANYONE about what I've discovered about myself today. It's almost exciting to know that I've got some I can set out to fix it! I think it began as a kid with mosquito bites...I'm pretty allergic to them, and I would scratch them until they bled and scabbed. But even after they stopped itching, I would keep scratching off the scabs over and over. I remember being made fun of in middle school for picking at my scalp in class. I was always a big nail biter and cuticle picker. The last person I dated worked really hard to break me of that habit, and now I have beautiful, long, manicured nails. So I know I can break myself of this disfiguring habit one step at a time. But I realize now that I pick and compulsively do so many things relating to skin, hair, nails, etc, that I kinda don't know where to start, and I know I can't go cold turkey. Triggers for me are so wide...stress and boredom are the biggies. And if I have a scab where I can see or feel it, have pimples, blemishes, or bug bites of any kind, I pick and scratch at them. Sometimes it feels like I'm relieving some sort of frustration and sometimes I don't even know I'm doing it, but I've caught myself doing this in public situations, and it's gotta stop. The biggest thing on my mind right now is figuring how to get help and who to tell about this. I feel like I should tell my current boyfriend. He knows I recently started seeing a therapist, and there's no way he doesn't wonder why I constantly have red marks and scabs all over my upper arms, back, and legs. But I'm wondering if any of you out there have any advice as to how to tell people, and if you'd be willing to share your experiences in telling others about your condition. I'm scared, but I think if I reach out to those around me, that they will support me and that will help me overcome my compulsion. Anyway, I'm really glad I found this's a great resource, and it's nice to know that other people go through similar things :)
2 Answers
October 14, 2010
Hi! I was in your exact shoes just a short while ago. My biggest triggers are also boredom and stress and my unconcious (alone and in public!) picking is the worst. I started picking "smarter" when I started dating my now husband, trying not to get anything to bleed or scab, but still get rid of anything unwanted. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't. I was extremely scared of telling my husband about my "condition" and thought he'd be disgusted with me, but when I finally got the courage to tell him, he just shrugged and said "oh", as if I just forgot to buy milk. It wasn't a big deal to him at all and he would remind me subtly when I'm picking unconciously to help me get rid of the habit. It helps when someone points out what you're doing unconciously. My husband is very supportive of me and is never judging. When I mess up my face he just pretents he doesn't see it or say that I'll do better next time. If you think your boyfriend will be around for a while and you trust him completely, you can tell him and ask him to help you (not scolding like a child, but gently reminding you to leave your scalp alone in front of the TV...) And stay active on the forum! This has helped me tremendously!
October 14, 2010

In reply to by bottervliegie

Thanks for your response...I'll definitely be sticking around. I'm seeing my boyfriend on Sunday (we're long distance), and my goal is to try to leave my arms and back alone until then. Gotta start with small victories... :)

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