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monkeybusiness , 07 Sep 2008

Lost and Alone

I can't believe I'm not alone. I really thought that I was possibly the only one going through this, and even if I wasn't, I didn't think anyone would be brave enough to talk about it. I started picking when I was about 3 or 4. My mom would give me a bottle of Elmer's glue and let me sit in a corner. I would spread it all over my body, let it dry, and spend hours picking/peeling it off. It was the only way she could get me to calm down or leave her alone. My picking was pretty much limited to that until around the time I hit puberty. Then I started pulling out my eyelashes. I went through junior high and high school with no eyelashes. It was a horrible experience. It's not like people aren't going to notice you don't have eyelashes. Try explaining that one when you don't even understand it yourself. Fortunately, by the time I hit sophmore year, I had discovered false eyelashes. In an effort to stop pulling my eyelashes, I started pulling the hairs on my head. The main goal was to get the root and eat it. I did this for a couple of years, strategically hiding my bald spots with hairstyles. It wasn't until I was 20, and my sister was diagnosed with trichotillomania, that I knew there was actually a name and, more importantly, an explanation for what I did. It wasn't until my husband left and I lost my job that I really started picking. Before that, I would say I was more of a rectreational picker (for lack of a better term). Until today, I believed the picking was part of the trichotillomania. Over the last 3 years it has gotten so bad I feel like I'm completely out of control. I have sores all over my legs. I haven't worn shorts since 2004. But at least that was easy to hide. Now my main focus is picking on my arms. I have so many sores and scars it's impossible for people not to notice. Sometimes people think I have psoriasis, but most of the time they think I'm a meth addict. I was on Prozac for several years, but after awhile it didn't seem to help anymore. They even pushed me up to 80mg for awhile, but it wasn't effective. About 3 months ago I was able to see a new psychiatrist and he switched me to Luvox. It is supposed to be the best drug on the market for OCD, but I have yet to see any substantial results. I have been treated for chronic depression, OCD, trichotillomania, agoraphobia, PTSD, GAD, MDD, and I'm also a cutter. Most recently, I developed an addiction to prescription pain meds. Fortunately I got treatment and I've been clean for almost 4 months. Picking has taken over my life! Yesterday I was at the hospital with a friend who tried to commit suicide by overdosing on pills. She was in the hospital bed with a tube down her throat and needles in her arms, lucky to even be alive. I was rubbing her back and her arms trying to console her and I could feel bumps on them. My friend tried to kill herself, and nearly did, and all I could think about was PICKING!! What the #%^$ is wrong with me?!! I have problems developing or maintaining personal relationships. I mean, if I let anyone get close to me, eventually, I'll have to explain all of this to them. Any person in their right mind would run screaming in the other direction and never look back. I feel so lost and alone, and I don't know what to do.
2 Answers
October 06, 2008
I'm so sorry for your situation. I just found this website today and am also so relieved to see that there are others like me. It's helps, some. It wasn't until I read your story about the Elmer's glue that I remembered doing that myself when I was a kid! I would smear it all over the palms of my hands, let dry, and then peel it off. It felt so good. I guess maybe that's where the finger picking started? Not sure. But I do know the glue peeling never hurt, and this finger picking does, bad. We both need help with this problem, I hope we can find it soon. Good luck to you!
October 10, 2008
I'm really sorry as well, and I also remember how satisfying it was peeling glue off! I really think it is satisfying to feel in control, to feel you're tidying things up (even if pulling your skin off makes things worse). If it makes you feel less bad about yourself, I think it is totally understandable that when you were in a horribly stressful, distressing situation the only thing you could think about was picking. If picking comforts you then you probably felt that you needed it when you were also trying to hold it together for your friend. I've just decided to tell myself that this is what I do when I'm under a lot of stress, it's part of who I am, and I pretty much like who I am. I focus on getting my life back together and tell myself that when my head is in a better place, I won't need to pick. If I try and stop myself right now, that'll be an extra pressure and I'll feel more stressed. I hope this helps.

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