Online Test

Find out the severity of your symptoms with this free online test

sarah78 , 06 Oct 2008

Finally, others.

Thank you so much for this website. While everyone likes to feel special sometimes, I am so relieved to find that I'm not alone in this problem. I'm 30 years old and have been picking at my fingers (nail area) for at least 15 years. As I type this I can see the sores on my fingers from recent picking. Sometimes I am aware of what I'm doing, but just unable to stop, other times I catch myself doing it completely unaware. It's horribly embarrasing. Even more so now that I have a job that requires me to meet with customers. It's so painful, when I'm picking and after. My nails look terrible. Some family & friends have noticed the problem and it's usually the same response "Why do you do that?! Stop!!" I wish. I try to hide it as much as possible, but it's hard since your hands are usually out in the open. The only remedy I have found are artificial (acrylic) nails. For some reason these make me stop completely. I just don't care for the look of acrylic nails, and it gets quite expensive. I have an appointment with my regular doctor coming up in a couple of months (yearly exam) and am considering talking to him about the problem, but knowing me I'll change my mind out of embarrasment. It's just so hard to talk about it, and explain why I keep doing this to myself, because I don't even know. Anyway, thanks for having this site, and thanks for listening. Here's hoping to a solution soon.
2 Answers
October 09, 2008
Please try not to be embarrassed with your Dr. He/she sees us at our very most (healthy or unhealthy- physical, emotional, mental, etc.) personal and intimate, yet he/she has to maintain a professional demeaner and (fortunately) must keep our dark little secrets-well, just that- secret! They have our best interest at heart (well, we pay them well enough) and have seen so many things that would curl our hair! Truly this can't be such a big deal to a Dr. that should cause you to avoid seeking help -especially now that you know there may be something to help! -and even more especially now that you know you aren't the only one with this demon (my preferred term)! My entire body is badly scarred! (by my own hands ~or brain~ none-the-less) By my demon! I am embarrassed whether at home, out, or whatever! It is hard to hide! But, one of the worst/YET/best times was when I went to a new Dr. regarding a sinus infection. I wore shorts. The Dr. looked at my legs, inquired what the scars/sores were caused by. She then asked my age. 32. (over 10 years ago!) When my answer was that it was self-inflicted she asked why I hadn't sought out help in the last 20-30 years! She was truly amazed I had never seen anyone professionally for this. When she said the words: "Psycho-analysis" I thought for sure I was crazy and the men in white coats would be taking me away there & ten. No such LUCK?!? I left that office with a prescription for my sinus infection, and, a Dr. appointment for a Psycho-analysis. Wow. I lived. I got some help. That was the first step to my recovery (if/when it will happen) but I have a lot of crap wrong with me. At least I know I am working in the right direction. I have help for my depression, my ADD, my insomnia, & my rage. I am still working on finding the right treatment for my OCD (which includes skin picking & biting the skin around my fingernails, among many other things) and my alcoholism. Bottom line- you must take control of your demon, and dam*ed be any to pass judgement on you, but I doubt your Dr. will. If anything, you will find a new ally to help guide you to the road to recovery. Where can you go wrong there?
October 10, 2008
I'm also amazed this site exists and that my condition has a name and is recognised. I have a favourite spot on my head that I pick, and have done since I was 14 - I think it started out as a small cyst and I started picking it because I was worried it was dangerous and that I'd have to go to hospital. I pick at it when I'm stressed. I manage to leave it alone for a couple of days at a time, hoping that if I leave it it'll heal over, and then something comes along and stresses me out and there I go again. I've had other favourite spots since I was a child, on my knees, my fingernails, I've got a couple on my face but they're on their way out. My problem is nowhere near as severe as some of the others I've read about on this forum, and I know exactly why I'm stressed out at the moment. I've just finished a part-time course I've been doing, which started at the same time as when a much-loved colleague died of cancer. When she died my whole support structure at work folded and I was bullied by other colleagues and made to hate myself. I ended up having counselling which helped immensely, but it's taken ages to start to calm down again. When I'm concentrating on something that stresses me out, or when I'm upset by someone, that's when I find myself picking. I like to think I'm tidying my skin up by removing the raggedy bits, but of course I'm making it worse. It's probably a way of feeling I'm in control of things, that everything's a mess but I'm making it tidy. My husband also has this condition, also as mildly as I do. He says things like, 'when your course is over and you're not as stressed out, maybe you can try and stop'. When I say 'I started picking my head again today' he says 'that's understandable' because he knows if I'm upset. I think that because I'm lucky enough to have someone who understands my condition, and says 'it's OK because I know why you did it today - you were under unreasonable pressure' you feel less ashamed. It's not so much something to keep hidden. For me, dealing with the stress itself and not focusing on the picking has helped a lot. I do yoga, swim and run and try to take time to do things that make me feel good about myself. I've found that occasionally using a sunbed really helps eczema, acne and scabs to heal and gives you more of a healthy glow so you feel better when you look in the mirror. I've dealt with the bullying, had counselling about my colleague's death, and my course has just finished so maybe my head will start to heal until the next big trauma comes along. Maybe we should be swapping stress-relieving tips rather than focusing on our 'hideousness'. I hope this is helpful.

Start your journey with SkinPick

Take control of your life and find freedom from skin picking through professional therapy and evidence-based behavioral techniques.

Start Now