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sthepworth , 04 May 2011

Mom picker with kid pickers- PLEASE REPLY

Wow. I truly can't believe there's a place like this out there! Who would've known? Well, I'm a 37 year old mother who is a sever picker/eater (scalp,body,face) of 5 kids, 1 of whom picks/eats excessively (face,body), 2 who pick/eat mildly(face mostly), and 1 who's a nose picker/eater for 5+ yrs (he's 10). I even catch my husband doing some mild nose picking/eating. This is such a SHAMING disease! Here's a gross question: Does everyone who picks, eats? And WHY DO I DO THAT?!! How HORRIFYING is that?!! Did I do this to my kids? Did they see me doing it and think it was okay to do? I try to hide it, but it's so obsessive in my life I know I do it out in the open as well, I just can't seem to stop myself. I try to be sly about it, but I know it's obvious- especially to other pickers who know the tricks. I haven't been able to sleep the last 3 nights, because just as I fall asleep I start to pick and I can't stop! It lasts for HOURS and HOURS!! What kind of therapy have people been through and how effective do you feel it was? Should I bring this up with my Family Doctor first, or just make an appointment with a Psychologist (I'm already on anti-depressants)? Any and all help/encouragement is so greatly needed and appreciated!
5 Answers
May 04, 2011
I am glad I found this site today! I can totally relate! I am a 38 year old mom with this same problem. I have felt so helpless. My husband is so fed up with this. We have been together 13 years and my picking really escalated soon after we met. It's almost like I am trying to sabatage our relationship but he keeps sticking it out with me, hoping I will get better. I had always picked/eaten scabs occasionally but always have been a nose picker/eater and terrible nail and cuticle biter (I can't believe I just confessed all that here. I am an adult - I don't understand how I can let myself do it. I am a super clean freak and know how gross it is!) I used to have problems sleeping when this first started but now mostly do it when I am alone during the day. I'm a stay at home mom and don't need to go out everyday so lots of time at home. Anyway, I would get better when I had to go to the doctor when I was pregnant with our 3 kids or were in my 3 brothers weddings and had to go sleeveless in public. But then I would go back to it over time. About 3 years ago I did start going to therapy due to my husband pushing me to do it. It was so painful to talk about it but it did feel better to get it out. We did cognitive behavorial therapy and I did get a bit better.They said I had OCD tendencies. I never tried any medications since I was still nursing but would still like to try something for anxiety. Also went to a dermatologist and found out I have keratitis pilaris (which are little white bumps). These are what really make my arms super bad since I can't leave the bumps alone. I don't wear short sleeves or shorts, not even at home. Anyway I stopped going to therapy because my therapist was leaving and I didn't want to start all over again talking to someone different. I am now ready to try to stop again. I think about this everyday but get caught up in life and almost forget what I am doing to myself. Summer is coming and I was hoping to be better so I can go swimming with my kids. They have said things about my "boo-boos" that just make me so sad that I am not doing more to make this stop. I want to be a better mom and wife. I am hoping getting this all out there and talking with others with the same problems will help me. This is a step into getting past this. Hopefully it will help me find the strength and encouragement to stop. BTW I have also wondered if I am passing this on to my kids. My 3 year old daughter has been picking scabs and nose picking/eating. My 6 year old son always has his finger in his nose while he sucks his thumb and my 8 year old son is always picking his nose. I can see OCD problems in my brothers and my dad, so I am wondering if it is a genetic thing or a taught/learned behavior. Sorry this is such a long reply. Just feels good to get it all out!
May 05, 2011

In reply to by shelly21

I am SO GLAD you replied! Your history sounds EXACTLY like mine. My husband has never said anything,( but I secretly wonder if he has the same problem on a very small scale). I talked to my 14 yo daughter about finding this site today. It's the first time I ever admitted this to ANYONE and the first time I really faced her with the fact that I notice her doing it. We decided to start off, we would ONLY pick for 1 hour and ONLY by ourself (seperately) in a bathroom. We decided if we start to see each other do it, we would say "So, Mom, what do you think?" or "So Mary, what do you think?" which should help us notice what we're doing without bringing it to anyone else's attention. It's kind of like our own secret. We also decided, while we are at home, we would wear little band-aids or water-proof medical tape wrapped around the ends of our fingers (which will keep us from noticing the FEEL of different things on our skin, etc). When the other kids ask, we're just telling them we're doing some research and and experiment on how a person 'feels' with their fingers. So far, so good- but it sure does present a problem with typing. Of course, this is only our first day, so I'll let you know how it goes! Once again, it's nice to know someone who knows EXACTLY what you're going through. Hope to keep in touch! Good luck and God bless!
May 17, 2011

In reply to by sthepworth

I have always felt a strong compulsion to peel things, and I think I pick/peel my skin because that is the most easily available thing for me to peel.From childhood until a few years ago, it used to be my lips, then a few years ago I discovered the soles of my feet, and left my lips alone since then. There is a definite correlation between the amount of picking I do and the amount of stress or boredom I am feeling. I am a mom of two young children now and I find that I always pick while putting my two-year old to bed, watching TV, or things that leave my hands free and my mind mostly unoccupied. I try to keep myself as active and my hands as busy as I can most of the time, and that works to limit the damage I do to myself. Lately I noticed that my two year old has also started peeling things, I think he has definitely inherited whatever picking trait this is...he will sit there and methodically peel the paper covering from all the coloring crayons, the thin metallic wrappings from those little chocolate eggs, he seeks these out and cries if we take them away. I find it cute to see a two-year old involved in ths same behavior, it's easy to laugh and say "that's my son!" but in retrospect I shudder to think of him destroying his own skin later on. I did suspect ADHD in myself for many years and finally took myself to a specialist last year and was diagnosed with it. I am on medication but from what I can tell, side effects include a possible increase in OCD tendencies (I understand that OCD tendencies are commonly linked to ADHD, although I wasn't diagnosed with OCD straight out). I really wish that there was some gadget out there to help people like us peel at something else, satisfy the need to do this, and leave our skin alone. To be honest I never gave much thought or concern to this compulsion. Not to make light of it, but besides the "shame" factor, I know of so many other people with much worse stress-relieving habits, and aside from having funny-looking skin on my feet, this has not destroyed my life. Nonetheless, I am so relieved that this website exists, and to see there are others who understand what it's like to have this compulsion as well.
May 10, 2011
hello there ladies. im a man and father of two in england. ive picked and eaten many times and often wonder why i do it. i do have a theory about a few things and regarding nose picking and eating. its a childhood thing which is habbitual and has its uses. when a child is born and starts to discover the world around him he/she will forage and scavenge for food. for instance if you want a child to eat then put it on the floor and they will pick it up and put it in there mouths, its not dirty its just the child improving its immunity from its immediate envoronment. the same goes for nose picking and perhapse skin picking and eating. the bacteria in the nose is eaten and in the same way we digest penicilin which is antibiotic we digest the bacteria in our nose which will improve our immunity. the bacteria in the air is caught in the nose and killed we eat the dead bacteria and our immunity benifits same as a flu jab. as for your comments "am i resopnsible for my childs similar habbit" well yes you are and your parents are responsible for yours and there parents theirs. you can also accept responsibility for all there good points such as good improved immunity and hair colour beauty and intelligence. but its not always nurture its often nature. i look at my son some times and as a child i hated mash potatoes to the point i would retch now i like them and have done for years but my son retches at mash potatoes proving its nature not nurture as ive never taught him to disslike. are you responsible brobably, could it of been avoided? absolutely not. even if you had given up your children from birth they would be 99% the same as they are with you as there parent. there is a problem with picking the nose and that is we often do it without knowing then we put our hands on our skin which can cause spots and scabbing and the circle continues. the way humans have evolved is they take strong genes from each parent and use them. for instance 2 parents 1 tall and 1 short. they have 6 children (hyperthetical) all will be taller than the shortest parent (there are exceptions) but for now my fellow parents take care of yours and take care of yourself. the world gets better every day and that includes you and yours. John
May 12, 2011
I wanted to share a little of my story with my son, hoping to share that I've been there and know how difficult it can be to deal with this. I am a 30+ mother of a 9 yr. old boy who has been picking his scalp for about 6 months. I have been researching this disorder almost that long. I have been pretty anxious about him doing this. My husband and I have our own issues. My husband used to pick at his feet for years and scald them to help stop the itching until he finally took my advice to visit the foot doctor and miraculously stopped doing it after he'd used an anti-fungus cream. He has also told me that he often picks at tiny bumps and scabs on his head, and I had never even noticed-and we've been married for a while now. He also said he did it a lot when he was little. But he does have what I would term an Obssessive Compulsive Personality. He has had major problems with Compulsive shopping and buying. So much so that we are deeply into debt (which has been a major stress factor). His dad wouldn't allow him to go to counseling when he was younger his mom tells me, and thus the cycle continues. My husband is very compulsive-meticulously clean (flips out if the kids accidentally brush up against the car because he thinks they will get dirt on their clothes, things like that). He is also compulsive in things like he HAS to get EVERYTHING done in order to be able to relax and spend time with us which rarely happens because there is always more to do. He's a workaholic to pay for his compulsive spending problems, which have actually gotten a bit better lately since I think he's started to realize just how bad the problem is. But he can also be very affectionate and definitely loves his children. He just has a lot of undealt with baggage. Anyway, for me, I struggled big-time with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder from the time I was about 13-21. I also did not get therapy when I was younger either, and I didn't even know what I had until I started reading about it. I don't think I even ever told me family although they knew something was wrong with me, just not what. I have had a huge long process of learning about it through reading, journaling, self-discovery and awareness to help overcome it without meds. I struggle quite a bit with social anxiety. When I am with others, I can get along quite nicely, but I have major difficulties with things like calling people on the phone, initiating invitations to do things, etc. and am usually nervous before I go to any social event. I think I'm very afraid of rejection. Anyway, I wanted to give the background because I think it helps a little in understanding what's really going on. Oh, and ironically, my husband and I both got our degrees in Marriage, Family, and Human Development. I am also a stay at home mom and have three other kids. So now my nine year old is scalp picking. I have had such a hard time with it. I tend to be a perfectionist, and I feel very much as if he has developed this disorder because of our failings as parents. Sometimes I get very down about it (although I work real hard on not letting him know that.) I am trying to be strong for him and to love him unconditionally. I'm trying to not care what others think. He has been through many major stressors in his life. But I have done the very best that I know how with some of the difficult circumstances I have had to deal with myself. I am a little at loss of what to do. I feel like I've researched almost every possible solution. I have been trying to focus on his strengths and on the good moments and not just see him as skin picking. He has a great sense of humor and a very tender heart (at times) at least towards me and the baby. (He has a major temper with his other siblings quite frequently). He's always been a little unusual. For intance, he gets VERY distracted and I often have to give him about 10 reminders to do one task. Sometimes when he was younger it seemed like he was in his own world, like he was so "in his brain" that he wasn't always aware of what he was doing. He's very smart and even tested into an advanced school program. He still has night wetting. I have tried inositol with him-just one to two 500 mg. pills a day. His behavior was very interesting. He seemed to do better with the scratching. The bleeding/scratching was actually less, although he seemed to be more hyperactive than normal. I took him off for a while to see the difference. I think I am going to start it again and see if the scratching lessens and if I noticed increased hyperactivity again. Maybe it was just what particularly was happening that day. I don't know. I've tried to find out from him if this is an automatic thing, or if he does it on purpose. I think it's some of both. This all started after he asked me one day what dandruff is and I told him. He says he wishes I had never told him about dandruff. How could I know it would lead to this? I have caught him doing it quite often when I know he doesn't know he's doing it. I know it's automatic sometimes and related to anxiety because he'll do it sometimes when he is talking to others (and feeling a little anxious, I think he definitely is somewhat socially anxious like myself, which is what my husband does when he is talking on the phone and feeling a bit uncomfortable, he compulsively rubs his head as if soothing his anxieties). Anyway, sometimes he does do it on purpose, like he said the other day, that he likes to see what he can get off and what it looks like, by way of scabs, etc. Anyway, this whole thing has made it harder to not be even more socially anxious for all of us because sometimes I feel if people notice they will judge us. Anyway, it feels good to be able to share this all with someone. I often just feel so alone in this. And I sure wish there were a lot more compulsive skin picking success stories out there, or that those who have had success at overcoming it would be generous enough or not-too-busy enough to share what they did.

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