I've been picking for my entire life. It started with my cuticles. Their the first things I remember picking off. I would do it until I was red, and sore. When my grandma found out, she kept telling me to stop. I was ashamed because, if Nana's telling me not to do it, it's wrong.
So, I went to picking off the dry skin on my lips. I've always had chapped lips, and they were the second perfect thing to pick on. Nana just thought I needed more Chapstick. I did that until about the third grade. I went back to my cuticles when I started to get little cuts and things from playing outside.
With those little cuts and bruises, came scabs. I started to peel the off, and wipe the blood away. I didn't even feel the pain until it was done and over with, and it was never very bad. I would go for months with three or four scabs on my shin, because I don't heal quickly. Even if I did, I wouldn't let them heal. I would just pick the scabs off again. I've never eaten them, though. Just never had the urge.
In maybe the . . . fifth grade, I quit picking my cuticles. People would ask me about them because I always had long nails, (Better to pick with, and my Nana has long nails. I wanted to be like her when I was little) and they drew attention. It was very embarrassing. I started putting my hands in my hair, and finding scabs on my scalp.
My scalp is the place I pick the most. I still pick it all the time. In the car, before I go to sleep, when I wake up, all the time. I think it's because no one can seen the awful scabs under my hair. I have normal, healthy hair, so no one notices when I have my hands up there, scratching and picking. My scalp was usually healthy, so sometimes, I would go to the kitchen, and put some salt in my hair just so I would have something to pick away. I would eat the salt, but never the flakes or scabs that I would find. I quit with the salt when Nana found out about it, but I kept on with the scalp picking.
After that, I found some bumps on my upper arms. Picked them off. Let them scab over, picked them off again. When I hit puberty, I got pimples on my face and chest. My face gets picked sometimes, but not near as much as my chest and my back. Sometimes, I would have to bleach little blood spots out of my nightshirts.
I still pick constantly, even though I've found out that it's not just me, it's a problem that I need to do something about. My Nana picks, but not near as much as I do. I think it's just a little habit for her, not a compulsion like it is for me. Needless to say, I picked up a lot of mannerisms from my Grandmother. She raised me, but she's not the healthiest person herself. She, and most of our family, including me, has battled depression for most of her life. She's sick now, and she hasn't been herself in a long time. I worry, and I have to deal with her mood swings, and overall hopeless attitude for about five years. I think I've always had a lot of anxiety, but I've never noticed it because I'm constantly picking to relive it. It's the way I cope.
I lost my father young, my mother has been in and out of Jail, my sister's been to rehab, my brother's been to rehab. I think I'm the only one in my immediate family, except for my father, who hasn't struggled with substance abuse. I have another addiction, though, and it's called Constant Skin Picking. I never tell anybody I have a compulsion, I just tell them I have a picking habit when they catch me in the act. When somebody asks me if I'm alright, I just tell them that 'I'm okay.' because, if I'm not okay, they'll bother me, they may change something that I"m not okay with. Like, they may tell our school counseller (Who's more of a baby sitter for crying high school kids) She may tell Nana, who may tell me that I have a problem.
For a long time, I couldn't have a problem. If I had a problem, I couldn't be okay. If I couldn't be okay, then something bad would happen.
I feel so much better now that I know I'm not alone. I've been picking so much lately, that I'm leaving scars. The thing that's really made me want to quit was that, if I didn't like looking at my own skin and what I've done to it, why would a man want to look at it? Sure, I'm pretty enough, but I've never been very popular with boys. Don't know why, I'm nice, but I know the picking problem is holding me back. Just to get it straight, I'm not trying to quit for boys, I'm trying to quit for myself.
I don't want to look in the mirror one day, and see an ugly, scarred person looking back at me.