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I'm 23 and I've been picking for as long as I can remember. When I was young I would create enormous sores on my scalp--my poor mom thought I was allergic to chlorine from the pool--and pull out the hairs on my arms. I would literally scour my arms looking for loose ones that would come out with the root attached. I almost looked forward to mosquito season when I could pick my scabs and watch them bleed through my socks. When I hit my teens and got acne I went town. I clearly remember my very first zit. I gouged at it until it was a huge open sore that resembled a burn. The next day at school I claimed that I accidentally burned my face with a curling iron. I always picked, usually with dirty fingernails, and sometimes wouldn't wash my face afterwards even though I'd be guaranteed to have a face full of pimples the next day. I didn't care. I was too tired. I made friends with concealer. My arm hairs were still fair game, as was my scalp, and the ingrown hairs on my bikini line. I loved digging into to skin of my back and carving up little imperfections. I barely wore tank tops in high school. In college it continued, and worsened after I got off birth control and let my hormones adjust. I would pick anywhere--class, car, movie theatre--but I would really get into it watching tv alone or locked up in the bathroom. Well-lit bathrooms became my enemy. My skin always improved when I couldn't get a good look at my pores. During my senior year of college I developed chronic staph infections on my legs, one of which required antibiotics. At the doctor's order I managed to resist picking at those, but they still occasionally pop up. It's such a wake up call to realize I have this disorder. I've always considered myself very healthy and "normal" (whatever that is). Basically, I've never taken any psychiatric drugs and I'm very social/gregarious--have many friends, not reclusive at all. But my self esteem often leaves a lot to be desired, and my romantic relationships have always taken a turn for the worst after about 6-8 months. That's probably at the root of all this. It seems like the picking ebbs and flows based on my level of contentedness...but it always is a release. I don't know. I'm very desperate to quit and was very good today--at least was able to catch myself starting to pick. I'm wary to see a psychiatrist, mostly because I have no desire to take neurotoxic drugs, also because my health insurance doesn't cover my emotional health. I guess I'm not necessarily looking for suggestions on how to conquer my problem (although I welcome it if you have one), but just a place to tell my story and be reassured that I'm not the only one suffering. Thanks for reading.