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feelingdefeated , 28 Dec 2010

Feeling defeated

I have been picking my scalp since I was 15 years old. I have tried everything----naltrexone, hypnotherapy, etc. and at age 45, nothing has worked. Friends and family have noticed off and on over the years but because it is contained to one spot and the spot is not big, it is not noticeable and has not interfered with my professional life. I fear I may still be doing this when I am an old woman. It seems particularly aggravated by my strained marriage. I have been married for 15 years and though my husband is a good man, he has made it clear through both actions and words, that he doesn't really intend to work on the issues that I have repeatedly brought to his attention. This makes me feel powerless and frustrated, and consequently my picking has increased in frequency. I would very much appreciate any suggestions and am grateful for the chance to share my story.
2 Answers
December 29, 2010
This is my story: I've been a compulsive picker since the 5th grade, (I'm 23 now) and I didn't really understand or accept I had a problem until a few weeks ago. It's gotten extremely worse, there has been a lot of change in my life and I don't know how to handle it. I moved into my own apartment (alone), started a demanding career, etc. Every time I accomplish something, 5 new problems come up. Anyway, I pick any bump on my skin, mainly my arms, lips, legs. And I pull apart every split end I can find. I'm pretty good at hiding it, but my friends and family are starting to notice my hair is getting a bit thinner, even though it's pretty long. I could pick my imperfections all day if I wanted. But I keep it under control at work as much as I can, I usually take a few minutes in the bathroom to do it. When I'm alone at home, it's out of control. I think that if you can convince your husband to go to marriage counseling it might help the situation. Sometimes a 3rd party can put things in perspective, you could even give him control by letting him choose the doc. In any event, it might be a good idea for you to see a counselor for you, be selfish. I find it's a good way to get out my frustrations and put my relationships in perspective. About the picking, the first step (which I'm still working on) is trying to identify the picking behavior. When does it happen? What happens right before? How do you feel after? I have a little journal where I write down the times of day that I want to pick. I find that's helping me understand my problem. The next step I would do is figure out triggers, why it really happens, etc. Then I'll substitute the behavior out for something constructive. Maybe a toy I can have on me at all times to keep my hands busy, idk. I'm not there yet. I hope I helped...I wish you well on your journey. And I'm sure if you work on it, you won't be doing this forever. Acceptance is the first step in solving a problem. :-)
December 29, 2010

In reply to by MyOwnWorstEnemy

Thank you so much for your response and encouragement. All of your suggestions, including seeing a counselor, and keeping a journal describing pre-and post-picking triggers and feelings seems so smart. It is enormously helpful just to know that there are others out there who get it!

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