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kat , 24 Aug 2011

i'm not alone!!

hello everyone! i'm sorry to meet all of you because of a skin picking issue but i'm so relieved to have someone to talk to about my problem. first, i apologize if i'm posting in the wrong area or if i'm asking questions that have already been addressed elsewhere. i'm a 42 y.o. stay at home mom w/a 9 y.o. son and 3.5 y.o. twins so i don't have time to read through all the posts here, as much as i'd like to. well, that and my skin picking takes up a great deal of my time. i've picked at my skin for as long as i can remember. it started w/a brand new makeup mirror and suddenly being able to see every single flaw on my face. i'd spend hours picking until my face was red, puffy and bloody. during the pregnancy w/my son, now 9, i developed this insanely intense itch in my forearms. the docs treated it as topical even though i told them it was bone deep. only this summer did i finally find some relief when a dermatologist diagnosed me w/follicitis. i finally understood why it felt bone deep and nothing seemed to help but benadryl and ice packs. my forearms are scarred from the constant, uncontrollable scratching. also, right after my 9 y.o. son was born, white bumps came up all over my upper arms. some docs didn't know what it was, some assumed it was just hormonal and some said it was keratosis pilaris. so i began picking at my upper arms too. my skin had always been clear so these bumps on my upper arms and the itch and scars on my forearms were too much for me. the upper arms were easy to hide so i picked the hell out of them and felt the oddest sense of relief when i popped a good one out so i'd search down more to pop out and would feel disappointed when i didn't get another good pop. fast forward to now. i'm going through a great deal of stress and can't seem to deal properly. i'm considering filing for divorce since i'm now aware that my marriage isn't the kind of marriage most people have (emotional and financial abuse). i'm also dealing w/the fact that i was extremely abused as a child. i always dealt w/things w/my self-made philosophy - "shit happens. you deal with it, you learn from it and you move on" - but i hadn't dealt w/just "shit happens", i dealt w/trauma and i never really did deal w/it. in the meantime, i'm trying to hold it together for my 3 small children so i turned my anger, frustration and helplessness on myself. i began picking at my forearms relentlessly and i go into the "trance" i've recently read about. my arms hurt. they're covered in scars, healing wounds, scabs and open sores. not one area on my forearms isn't affected. let me note - the skin on my forearms has toughened due to the constant scratching i've done for over 9 years so the hairs have a hard time growing out so i pick them out w/very sharp tweezers. my derm tries to tell me my skin is fine, it's impossible for the hair to not come out but i see the bumps that will eventually become inflamed because the hair is ingrown. one day while picking at my arms, i wondered if this was a problem like people who pull their hair out so i typed "compulsive skin picking" in the search engine and discovered it's not only a problem but it also has a name. but knowing that didn't make it any better. in fact, it's only getting worse. i don't want to leave the house, i don't want anyone to come over and see them. but it's so hot in southeast georgia that i can't hide them. i lose hours picking at my skin. i can't even seem to spend time w/my kids because i'm so focused on my arms and i'm going crazy. my derm wanted me to take prozac because it's recently been discovered that it helps people who pick their skins because they believe they're infested w/bugs. he thought it would surely help me if it helped people w/that degree of mental issues. i didn't like the way it made me feel so i didn't take it. he also gave me doxepin to relieve the itch or perceived itch but it doesn't help and it makes me tired. can't be that tired w/3.5 y.o. twins home w/me. i don't know how to stop. my 9 y.o. begs me to stop. i cut my nails to the quick but still dug w/the tiny nails that remained. i threw my tweezers away but just went out and bought another, sharper pair. i absolutely LOATHE AND DESPISE feeling like a victim and i'm so angry that i can't stop this self-destructive behavior. it's not like it just affects me - my kids lose time w/me because i can't seem to stop screwing up my skin. i sit on my picnic table outside and am surprised the whole day has gone by and my arms are painful and dripping blood. i do take care of my kids - i feed them, change them, etc - but there's not much left of me w/this condition. i find it interesting that this can be grouped w/body dysmorphia (?) since i was extremely anorexic in my early 20s. i weighed about 75 lbs on a 5'2" frame but all i saw was fat in the mirror. i no longer deny myself food but it seems as if i've moved on to another obsession. i'm desperate to quit. but i don't know how. has anything worked for ya'll? i'm having a tough time trying to find answers between my derm, my therapist and my psychiatrist. if you've read through all of this - thank you!! i'm grateful for the opportunity to get it off my chest and hopefully, find answers in the process.
2 Answers
August 25, 2011
Welcome! Post/vent whenever you need to. Personally, it feels good to get it out there and off my chest when I post. It's an issue you can't really sit down and discuss with many people so having a place to talk about it really helps, makes us more aware, and makes us realize, as bad as we feel about ourselves and as bad as we want to just stay inside and hide from the world - there are many other people out there with the same problems, the same issues, struggling to even leave the house some days. So sorry to hear about your problems in your marriage. Please take a long time to consider your options and what is best for you and your children. I know with this, I sometimes feel so bad about myself - I crave being alone, which only makes it worse and gives me more oppurtunity to be self destructive. Be sure whatever you decide it is for the right reasons. It's a huge step. Looking forward to your posts. Together, we will find solutions, not a cure - but a way to minimize what we do and maybe even eventually stop it altogether. Alone, we are powerless - together - we can be a force to be reckoned with. You are not alone, and have just found a place where your voice can and will be heard.
August 25, 2011

In reply to by Realitysucks

thank you so much for the kind reply and welcome! i was really bummed some time after posting this because i received a call from my dermatologist's office to reschedule my appointment and it would have to be w/a PA. she said they didn't know when my derm doc was going to be back. i asked if he was ok to which she replied, "well, he's stable". i LOVE my derm doc. he sees me (in the movie "avator"'s meaning of "i see you") and was the first doc to tell me 90% of my skin condition was stress-related. i don't mind seeing PAs at all but my doc and i have been working together to help heal my soul AND my skin. i'm really worried about him. and i was anxious to tell him all i've learned about compulsive skin picking and hopefully form a plan to help me stop. i hope he's going to be ok. he's such a down-to-earth guy. he's in his 60s, loves scuba diving, has a tattoo of the scuba symbol on the inside of his forearm but more than that - he truly cares about his patients. he's too good of a person for the world to lose. :( you're so right - it does feel good to get it off my chest w/people who truly understand. thanks again!!

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