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Gaia , 02 May 2011

New here and to old to be picking.

Hi everyone, I'm 47 years old and a picker from way pack. Seems I've always picked my face from the age of 12 when picked off a scab on my face and noticed there was a "plug" attached to it. Anybody know what I mean? That was the first time I realized that there was stuff IN my face that had to come OUT. Some times I'm pretty neurotic about getting stuff out of my face, it feels like something foreign is in my skin and it has to come out under any circumstances. I, like many of you, have used straight pins, tweezers, safety pins, extractors, masks, blackhead removers, scrubs, over the counter peels, facials, etc. I have dug huge craters in my face, I'm very fair so it takes a long time to go away. I have also been a scab picker from earlier than 12. So I pick to get something out of my skin, then a scab forms and I pick the scab off, it forms again, I pick it off, etc, etc, etc. I won't bore you with years between 12 and 47 except to say I struggle with major depression and anxiety and have been on SSIs for years and they have not helped. I am now 47, and I'm still doing it. Right now I'm trying to let my face heal, but after a long stretch with depression and anxiety, I've started picking my arms and back as well. I don't know how that happened, I don't remember what was even there for me to have started picking. My arms are the worst with quarter inch scabs and red spots up and down my arms. It is getting warm, but I am still wearing long sleeves, and I won't go anywhere because I don't want any one to see. I even cancelled my apptment with my dermo this morning because I didn't want him to see and ask me questions. I have to go to a luncheon with my Mom on Saturday, I have to go find myself something long sleeved, if my Mom sees this she will have something to say about it. Did I mention I'm 47? If I could stay in my whole until it was all cleared up I would be good, but it won't clear up because I'm still picking. I saw a bump on my ear. BAD. So I started picking and sqeezing that, now it is all reddish/purple and swollen. I have to hide it with my hair so no one sees it. I'm embarrassed. I'm sad, I'm mad at myself. Thanks for letting me vent. It's taken 47 years to finally tell a therapist that I have a problem. So glad to be here.
3 Answers
May 04, 2011
I know what you mean about things being inside your skin, especially the plug thing. There's almost a sense of satisfaction attached to it. That's why I do it, I just want to get everything out. I also avoid short sleeves/singlets etc because my back, shoulders and arms are so bad. I wear long sleeves or jackets over my t-shirts all year round. I'm also very paranoid about breakouts and used to use 6 products twice a day in the shower to make everything go away, but of course my skin couldn't handle being dried out that much so it got even worse, ergo my picking did. I am very sure I have some form of bi-polar or depression but I don't have the cash right now for doctor's appointments, counselling and other things, and everyone tells me it's just hormones. Everything started at 12 for me, too. Unlucky number perhaps?
May 04, 2011
GAIA- this is a great place to vent! I have finally found a community of people that make me feel like I am not alone in this disorder. Why we do it? Why many of us cant' stop? This is a perfect place to discuss it all. I think before change can happen it takes understanding that skin picking IS truly a mental health issue that needs REAL HELP--I have found a lot of loved ones close to us pickers, and even psych professionals, tend to downplay or not acknowledge the impact it has on a person. What do they say at AA- ? You have to admit there's a problem first, right? Well, you know now that you have a legitmate issue that many other 'normal' people also deal with--even the stuff that seems 'gross and weird', chances are there are plenty of other pickers that do the same thing. Whatever our picking patterns are, we all know how much pain and distress is causes us emotionally, as well as the physical damage that is visible--we all share that. ____Don't be embarassed to go to the derm. I can imagine they see a lot of pretty worse things than picked skin. I told my derm doc straight up front "I am a skin picker and this is a big issue for me, I take such and such medications to try to help and as well as therapy. What else can I do?" - Now, I am never scared to go cuz I dont fell as ashamed. He is nice about the issue and takes my appts quickly- he even told me like a pep-talk "we are gonna clear this up- now go home and cut those fingernails of yours off, they are like deadly weapons in this." He was right :) _______And dont feel bad about the clothing thing-you are telling my story! Until recently I spent YEARS in full length jeans in over 100 degree every day Texas summers-- all to hide the spots on my legs. As it turned out, getting some sun on them helped them improve._________DONT GIVE UP!!!
May 04, 2011

In reply to by startexas

Thanks so much for writing back. You are right about the dermatologist, I should have gone. I guess also embarrassed that at my age this is happening. This is something young people do right? No? That's what I think I suppose and why I'm embarrassed to tell the doctor. I've told my Psychiatrist and she upped my Paxil to a level that is supposed to help OCD problems, but I don't think it is working. I make myself so nervous about what to wear, and who will see, and how can I get out of going somewhere that I having an anxiety attack that lasts days! What do you do to help yourself? I have cut my nails. Thanks again for responding.

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