**In the preview, my post had no paragraphs even though I typed them, but I hope they show up here, otherwise it looks like an unappealing wall of text. :(**
I stumbled upon this whilst I was about to Google another one of my horrible habits - compulsive helping ;) Instead, I found this, read everything here, and felt a sense of relief and shock. Who knew my bad habit had a name?
So, I'm sixteen years old. I've been picking for as long as I remember, probably since I was about 11 after I quit biting my nails. My family has OCD tendencies, for instance my sister used to pick at her face when she was my age, too, and she got diagnosed. My other sister is a chronic nail biter and so is my mum.
I KNOW it's because of my extreme perfectionist tendencies that I pick, and my 1cm long and sharp fingernails that I religiously grow aren't helping me. I'm picking right now with my left hand when I'm thinking of sentences to type for God's sake. Argh.
My areas are freaking everywhere and I primarily use my left hand using my thumb and middle finger. Using my right hand doesn't really work for me somehow. I pick my scalp, my face, under my chin, in my ears, behind my ears, my chest, everywhere around my breasts, behind my neck, my shoulders, my upper arms... It goes all the way down my spine to my tailbone. Just recently I've found spots on the back of my thighs and I've started picking them, too.
I can't wear V neck tops a lot and strap(less) dresses/singlets/bikinies etc are completely out of the question. I pick until I bleed and then some, so a lot of my clothes get blood spots on them from my back and/or shoulders. This causes a lot of tension between my mum and I because the blood is difficult to remove and it ruins a lot of my nice clothes.
I do have a disgusting habit with putting the contents of 'spots' on the bathroom mirror when I get them out, almost as trophies. It really is disgusting, but I can't stand just flicking them off. They're also on my bedroom mirror and the sun visor mirror in the car. Maybe its related to my sentimental hoarding of things...?
I have easily spent two hours in front of the mirror picking everything out of my skin. My nose, my forehead, the side of my face by my ears, my chin and my cheeks get the most attention with my talons. I always feel awful when I'm done because my face so horrible and blotchy.
Time for a probable cause of this, I think...
I was born with a cleft palate, you see, and I was teased intensely from when I was about 8 years old. My nose is pretty crooked and my entire mouth has had hardware such as braces in it since I was 9. My dad is as much of a perfectionist as I am with things, and that resulted in him making very hurtful and damaging comments about both me as a person and my appearance that have stuck with me whenever I used to stay with him.
I am very sure the teasing and my dad's input got the ball rolling, because my picking escalates when I think about either occurrence these days.
I'm someone who craves acceptance, and I'm incredibly shy when I leave the house and when I take pictures of myself. I have to look perfect or I don't feel worthy. I had a huge fringe across half of my face until last year because of my nose, and now I don't have that anymore, I substitute that with pretending to scratch my nose when I walk past people on the street so they can't see it. Recently I resorted to 'editing' my nose in photos to make it look thinner and more attractive because of people calling me ugly.
My acne started up when I was 12. I remember having my passport photo taken 2 weeks after it appeared and being very obsessed with getting rid of whatever was blocking up my pores. It was yet another flaw in my appearance I desperately wanted to get rid of, and it was quickly spreading to other parts of my body.
Somewhere along the line I started on my head. This results in pretty bad dandruff that nothing seems to work on (mostly on top of my head in the front along my hairline) and scabs all over my head in general. It stings whenever I put hair colour in and I hate brushing my hair because all the skin I've scraped off sits on top. It comes off all over my clothes when I'm out and I have clumps of hair from my rigorous scraping (I don't pull it out consciously though) on both sides of my bed along with things like scabs and stuff from when I lay in bed at night picking for two hours average (I end up finally sleeping at 3am most nights). Same with out by the lounge computer; I could sit there for hours whilst reading or watching TV and cover the floor with discarded bits of skin and hair.
This thing is infuriating. I am such a tidy person, I can't stand the fallout (pun sort of intended) from it. It's so gross. Mum always snaps at me all the time that it's gross and I should stop, but SECONDS LATER I have my arm down the back of my t-shirt or on my face/head again, picking with what I can only describe as a dogged determination to rid myself of the contaminants lodged in my skin.
I already hate my face enough as it is and somehow in my efforts to improve it, I end up making it worse than it was before. Sometimes not even make-up can fix it when I have scabs that show up from a mile away underneath my caked on foundation.
I even pick my skin when I'm out with people, although I try and hide it by picking around my ears behind a curtain of hair or raking my fingers through it to try and find a spot. I bring foundation with me everywhere to cover up any spots I pick at and I panic when I don't have it with me.
Even more annoying was the fact my picking was more than halved after my skin cleared up completely when I was on strong antibiotics for about a week not so long ago. Now that I'm off them, my skin has returned to what I call 'normal' again.
If it's worth mentioning, occasionally I have bouts of pulling out body hair (legs, arms etc) with tweezers for around an hour, too.