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Naina , 05 Aug 2008

The Ritual of Picking

For me, skin picking has plagued me my whole life. My mom says as an infant I'd bite my lips till they bled, but I'd never cry when they were raw and cracked. When I was two, I was brought to the hospital because of infections in bug bites I had picked, and from there it escalated. my family has tried positive reinforcement, outright bribery, slapping, yelling, punishment, and embarrassment, all to no avail. Now, at 23, I am finally starting to seek treatment. What puzzles me is the ritual I developed involving picking. I use pins, tweezers, cotton pads to absorb blood, and those machines that remove pimples to pick all of my skin - from my face to my feet. I lay out the various tools and pick, and if I can't do that, I use my nails. I used to hide it at work, but now I can't and so, I am faced with the reality that things have come so far that I can no longer hide it. Does anyone else have similar rituals, and any advice on how to let go of the tools as a first step? The thought of throwing them out makes me want to get sick and pick all over again. Exhausted, Naina
8 Answers
August 08, 2008
I just walked out of my bathroom after having been in there for an hour picking at my face and chest for about the thousandth time in my life, and something compelled me to google the words "skin picking disorders" to see if I really was alone with this problem, and it brought up this website. I too am 23 years old with a lifetime of memories of picking my skin, and when I was really young, I pulled my hair out a lot as well. Reading your story was like reading my own journal, and the tears just started pouring. It feels so good to know I'm not alone with this problem, and I truly thank you for putting your personal story on here. I hope you find the help each of us on this site are seeking.
August 08, 2008

In reply to by Yeliah

Welcome to the journey to wellness! I think its hardest for us to realize we are not alone. If we have been unfortunate to have families who chose shame as a method of dealing with our picking, it is often terribly difficult to come out and say "I need help," - as if it wasn't hard enough already! I am glad that I could offer you some light in the darkness. You are not alone! As hard as it may seem to believe, you aren't. If you need anything - even just to talk - feel free to message me. I am so glad that this site has brought you hope. Naina
August 30, 2008

In reply to by Naina

Hi Naina, Has this site helped you? I'm so glad to see that there are other 'pickers' out there--I hate being one, but it's comforting to know that I'm not alone. I'm 38yo--I've had times when I haven't picked, but they're few and far between. Which methods have you used to stop yourself? I've seen postings that mention 'a trance-like' state--that's EXACTLY what happens to me. I pick while I smoke, drive, in the bathroom. I am so sick of this!
August 31, 2009

In reply to by sitsmokepick

I get where you guys are coming from. Except for me it is very concious when I pick, I pick till my feet bleed and I have blisters on my fingers from picking. I read it is also a form of self mutliation, I guess it is relaxing for me.
August 28, 2009

In reply to by Yeliah

im 23 also, and i just walked out of the bathroom then from picking my face for at least 30mins... needle, tweezers, tissues and bandaids... creams and antibacterial oil.... i want to stop. this is ruining my life
December 13, 2008
i have a ritual too. i am a whole-body picker, so at night when i lay down i usually spend a good 20 minutes or so to pick before bed. i pick before my shower in the morning, then after it too, and my husband always gets his face, back, lips, and chest picke by me', yeah, i know....then i pick whenever i think of it. i pick in public too, then feel overwhelming anxiety due to the fact everyone will see it on my face. thanks for sharing!
January 10, 2009
Come home from work: stare in the mirror with my hands behind my back promising not to touch. Step away and smile at all the hard work I have done this past week not picking at all :) Turn on the shower: as the water gets hot, squeeze just that one that's been bothering you alllll day. 20 min- one hour later: "FUCK!!!!! ahhhhh not again, sarah" get in the shower and attempt to reverse what i just did with 10 different face cleansers. I'd like this routine to stop once and for all. I've said that probably about 1 million times in the past 6 years of picking. I need someone to talk to.. :(
April 24, 2009

In reply to by sarahd

Oh my god, I know. Every day I swear will be the last day. Then I just want to look to see how well I've been doing. Then I run my hand over my shin-- look how nice! How much better!-- and then I catch something. A bump, a scar, an ingrown. Just the one, I tell myself. And then it's trance time, and half an hour later I'm stinging from knee to ankle and just completely disgusted with myself. It's horrible. I have good days and bad days, but it always, ALWAYS comes back, and I feel crazy and weak. This place makes me feel better, though. Hang in there. You are not alone. Not by a long shot.

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