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I just figured out my triggers!
Hi there, this is my first post, and I've been a chronic scalp picker since I was 13 and I'm 19 now. I always knew it was caused by anxiety, and I'm a very anxious person, but I never really noticed any specific triggers as I would be picking when I would just be sitting down watching TV and stuff, obviously not too anxious or stressed. So, I never really understood that completely. I've seen psychologists in the past for this before, and they would always be saying, "write down what triggers your picking!" and I would always feel dumb, because i had no real things that would set it off. I just did it. All the time. But tonight I was browsing the internet on ways to stop and everything, and it got me thinking, i finally figured them out. I realized that my picking would come in spurts. Normally spurts that would last months and months at a time, but there would be a few months in between where I would be pretty good. I realized it wasn't physical things that would be happening around me that would trigger the picking, it was the general scenario that's happening in my life. Sorry, but I'm going to type out all of my triggers. I have no one else to tell, and I feel really proud right now. Like, this is my first real step to finally stopping, because I actually have a much better understanding of it. Anyways. First Trigger (My first time ever picking): I was 13, sitting on my laptop, and just picked a bump of my head. I remember thinking, "Why did I just do that? Huh." The trigger: I had recently found out my older sister was cutting. I realize now it wasn't as serious as I made it out to be (Of course it was serious, but you know.) I was constantly so scared of waking up and finding out she had committed suicide. I didn't want to tell anyone I knew, because I didn't want to embaress my sister and I didn't really want to know any details, but I remember being insanely stressed out and was hardly able to sleep. Kind of alot for a confused 13 year old girl. Second Trigger: It's kind of dumb, but it was a couple months or so after that. I had gotten a spider bite on my face and was freaking out. I'm terrified of spiders and my face looked disgusting, so I was so scared to go to school the next day and get made fun of. After that I did it a little bit more frequently, but it wasn't nearly as severe as it is now. It was also much more controllable. Third trigger: About 6 months later or so I moved to a new town and had to meet all new people. I was insanely depressed and I have pretty bad social anxiety, so every day I'd be in a constant fear of assuming people were judging every little thing I did. It got pretty severe for a few months there, and it was starting to drive me insane. It did gradually die off, though. Fourth Trigger: This is when it started getting really ugly. My parents announced they were getting divorced, and it was just...an awful time of my life. I never wanted to show my true feelings on it, so I just always acted like I was happy and didn't care. inside I was a mess, not to mention, I was 15 at the time and having to deal with high school drama for the first time. I'm pretty sure at that point I was picking more often than not. Once again, died down for a couple months. Fifth Trigger: I was dating a boy long distance, and was insanely infatuated/in love with him. I was however very depressed due to the fact that I couldn't see him ever. At this time was when I admitted to my mom about my picking, and started seeing a psychologist. It didn't help too much, because I was scared to be completely honest with the shrink. Totally regretting that now, she was fantastic and probably would have helped me alot. Anyways, that went on for about a year until we eventually broke up, then... It was better for an entire year! Well, for the most part. would probably catch myself picking about once a month, but nothing major. However, I think I stopped picking because 80% of the time I was either drunk or stoned, and I had started smoking. I was however insanely happy and not at all anxious for that year. It was cool. But then... Sixth Trigger: I graduated and didn't go to college. I fell into a depressed slump of feeling like a failure and couldn't see any future in my life. I got over that when I decided start saving money to move to a new city and for school, and I also started working out. I got significantly better with the picking, would still do it occasionally, but most of my scars had healed. Seventh trigger: I tried to quit smoking. Awfulawfulawful. I succeeded in quitting smoking for that time, but for the cost of pratically bawling my eyes out every night in frustration because I couldn't go more than two minutes without picking my head apart. Needless to say, I'm smoking again.... Eighth Trigger: Huzzah! I moved out of my parents house! Life is great! Oh wait, I find out I may possibly have a cancerous tumor. Hello, insane amounts of picking. I lost about half of my thickness of hair after that, I now have bald patches all over the place, and it's just horrible. On the plus side, I don't have cancer. That was a definite bonus. Ninth and current: Living on my own and broke. Constantly freaking out about money to the point where I've thrown up from stress on multiple occasions. I'm happy, yes. But I'm very very stressed, and the picking is getting just as bad again... SO, that was very long. I am however insanely determined to quit this for good. I'm wearing gloves whenever I can, putting polysporin on the scabs every night before I go to bed so they heal faster, and getting my roommates who know about it to yell at me whenever they see me doing it. I'm so god damn tired of doing this, and I desperately want my full head of hair back. At the very least, to not lose anymore. Wish me luck, guys. I wish you the most luck as well! PS: disliking the fact that that turned into one giant paragraph, sorry.
October 26, 2011
Congratulations! How awesome it is for you to have shifted to a position of power with your picking! I have been having many insights myself since finding this website a few weeks ago! My journey is briefly outlined in the post eczema and dermatillomania. man oh man, skin is hard learning. controlling anxiety, shifting from powerlessness to powerfulness is profound! have you thought of meditating at all? I have just started doing intense yoga, not enough, but want to do more, from which i get a great seratonin hit, which is one of the things i think i am needing when i scratch and pick, i need to feel! feel something other than numb. Love to you! well done! oh! i found a website todaywhich might interest you... authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu you might have to copy and paste if you are interested. its about creating positive thoughts instead of negative ones. peace to you.