I hope that writing this will be therapeutic as it will be the first time I admit this to anyone. I remember the moment I started picking at my scalp. I was 10 years old in 5th grade and I'm now 30. I have always wanted to quit but haven't been able to go more than a few days. I am a successful female with my own house. I have a great boyfriend. I'm very healthy, into eating right and exercising. And I have lots of thick hair. No bald spots yet and want to quit before I do more damage.
I remember exactly how I started. There was lice going around in school in 5th grade. A friend pointed out that I had white stuff on my hair and said I had lice. I didn't really have lice and I claimed it was dandruff so that I wouldn't be made fun of. If I scratched my head it would become flakey. Sometime soon after that I scratched my head and felt a flake or something in my hair. I pulled it out and liked the way it felt and started feeling around to see if there were more. There were no more so I started scratching to make flakes that I could pull out and thought if I scratched it all off it would go away. The scratching turned into picking and created scabs for me to pull off again and again. Now it's 20 years later. One time I thought to myself, "there must be at least one other person in the world who does this". It turns out there is a lot.
No one knows what I do. My mom always saw me playing with my scalp and told me to stop but I don't think she knows what I really do or how bad it is. I try not to do it in front of people but if I get the urge I have a spot on the side if my head so it looks like I am pushing my hair behind my ear. Or I have a spot near the base of my head near my neck so it looks like I'm just rubbing my neck. Maybe I'm not as discrete as I think I am. I pick mostly when I'm alone which is a lot because I work from home. I have about 6 sores currently going. I think I pick when I am stressed. I love my career but it's demanding. I have deadlines to adhere to which stresses me out and I'll catch myself picking instead of working. I drive a lot for work. I start picking as soon as I get in the car because it's a time that I am alone and a time that I think a lot. And sometimes I just do it because I like how it feels. I like how the scab feels on my scalp, how it feels to pull it off under my nails, how it feels between my fingers when I pull it out of my hair. If it's a really big one I like to break into smaller pieces. It sounds so gross.
The spots I pick have been there for serval years. I used to pick deeper and bloodier scabs in high school. Most are more like calluses now so I usually don't make myself bleed but sometimes it happens. There is one spot where there is little baby hairs that feel like stubble. They never get the chance to grow out and I'm afraid it will become a bald spot soon. My hair dresser noticed it once and asked if I pull my hair out. I said, "no" because that's not what I do. I made the excuse that my hair brush got stuck and it broke some hair off. I never went back to her out of embarrassment. I want to quit before my boyfriend and I move into together or get married because I fear he will catch onto my bad habit and be disgusted. I'm afraid to get bald spots. I'm afraid to get an infection and have to go to the hospital and tell them why. I'm afraid it will cause some other type of problem. Sometimes the back of my head will get sore and swell up a little.
Reading the posts on here get me motivated to quit but I always relapse. I really want this to be the time I quit for good.