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Shpadoinkle , 16 Mar 2012

My Story

Hello, everyone. My name is Rachel and I've been picking for over 15 years now. I'm currently 23 years old. It started out as trichotillomania when I was five or six. I pulled out the hair at the front of my scalp because I liked the way it felt and I like to look at the roots of my hair. I also pulled out my eyelashes for the same reason. My mom noticed my bald patches and got after me about it. I quickly stopped. However, I began to pick at my scalp. This started around age 7 and continues to this day. I would get bloody, raw, sores on my scalp and lose hair around where I was picking. I remember my hair feeling crusty from the dried blood. I remember a boy was standing over my desk at one point. He saw the top of my scalp and I saw the look of pure sickness come over him. "Your.....your head is bleeding." He looked as though he was trying to keep from fainting or something. Of course, all the other kids came over to look and I quickly covered my head until the teacher told everyone to sit back down. I was so embarrassed. In middle school, I still picked at my scalp (and occasionally the insides of my ears) but I also became obsessed with body hair. I tweezed my eyebrows into little asymmetrical stumps with raw sores at the front of each from where I would dig the tweezers in. I would spend, literally, hours crouched in front of the mirror; twisting and burrowing the tweezers into my brows. I also did this for my pubic hair. I had started to get pubic hair around my genitals and I didn't like it at all. I thought it made me look dirty. So I tweezed that hair too. While I stopped tweezing my eyebrows by the time high school started, the pubic hair tweezing continued until college. Again, there were raw, bloody, open sores that left me embarrassed and ashamed. I had my first boyfriend but I was never comfortable being intimate with him for this very reason. I had "tools" I would use. Tweezers, scissors, sewing needles, and a pocket knife; all crusted with blood. I remember the excruciating pain that would come whenever I hit a nerve. Luckily, this ended in college when I lived in a dorm and, with very little privacy, couldn't indulge in my obsession. Unfortunately, I began to pick at my back. I had done it in high school some (enough to leave scabs) but it definitely worsened in college. I've been picking at my back for five years now. I do it constantly. It's constantly covered in scabs and angry, red sores. It's kept me from being intimate and from enjoying even simple things like wearing a tank top, a backless dress, or going to the pool or beach with friends. I do a lot of theater and am constantly having to undress in front of others. I'm always sure to keep my back to the wall. Every now and then, I'll have to throw out a shirt because of the blood stains. I have a boyfriend who is caring and very understanding. He thinks I'm beautiful no matter what. I'm comfortable being intimate with him, although I'm always hesitant to be sexed up from behind. Lately, though, thing are changing. Summer is coming and I will be damned if I have to spend another season sitting poolside with a t-shirt over my bathing suit. March 2012 is the month I'm going to get better. If I want a smooth, good-looking back, it's in my power to have it. If you want to know how I'm doing, I'm posting another topic called "How I'm Healing." I CAN do this and I know everyone else here can too.
4 Answers
March 17, 2012
I really appreciate this information from My Story. This story actually gives me some hope! I was always very focused on skin and any irregularities of the skin, but it has only been within the last year and a half that my skin picking has completely gotten out of hand. It is a terrible, terrible habit, but I honestly cannot imagine not being a skin picker anymore. I don't remember what life was like without all of these horrible, dark marks on my face, my neck and behind my ears, my uppers arms and my back. The first thing that I do every morning when I wake and every night before I go to bed, is survey my "hot spot" areas by feeling and touching to check on the healing process, and then I commence to ripping off whatever scab growth has occured! Then comes the bleeding and the feelings of extreme guilt when I look at my pathetic self in the mirror and ask, "...why in the hell did you just do that AGAIN!" I am 40 years old with a family that depends on me and I am so ashamed of myself. I have to pick and pick and pick some more. My family knows that I am not in the bathroom using the facilities, but instead I am concentrating on my image in the mirror and am picking with all of my might. I hide and I sneak and I treasure my time alone so that I can pick in peace! Then I commence to cover my face and neck with loads of make-up and enter the world and daily life as if all is well and I am honestly fooling people. I know that I am not. I have suffered from depression all of my life and over the past 5-6 years my anxiety level in general has also increased. I take medication and am also getting CBT at least every 2 weeks with an awesome therapist. I do some of the things that she says and I leave her office feeling like I am strong and I can do this. Then I go home and fall back into my old routines and somehow end up picking again. The pain doesn't stop me, the ugly horrible scars don't stop me, the bleeding doesn't stop me and neither do the loving requests from my husband and children for me to cut it out stop me. How will I ever get better? I have gloves to wear at nights, I have fidget toys as well but there is a part of me that does not want to stop. The feeling is so calming and satisfying. It quiets my mind and my soul! I can't believe that there are really other people out there like me! This is a living hell of sorts! Why am I like this??????????? Why am i so broken!
March 18, 2012
I really appreciate you sharing your story. I have similar painful memories of being called out by classmates in elementary school. I'll never forget how I had been picking at the remainder of a chicken pock on my forehead, needing the ugly scab to be gone. I had convinced myself that no one noticed, until a boy in my class said in front of everyone "Look at you with that big old pimple on your forehead". I was shocked, hurt, and so embarrassed. I've tried my whole life to hide this habit. I don't go without makeup, ever. I worry about hiding the new scabs/swollen areas, always afraid that the bleeding won't stop when I've given in before going out somewhere. I want to stop, but that feeling of relief when I pick just feels so good. It doesn't help that I believed that I'd stop breaking out at some point, and then be able to stop picking. I'll be 30 in 2 months, and I still get pimples, so the "just let me fix this one..." thinking doesn't work. I see/feel the irregularities and just get so angry at my skin for "failing me", for looking bad and making me stand out. That's why I have to "fix it". I know I'm not succeeding, but sometimes it does make the pimples heal faster. If I had no success rate, I think it would be easier to stop. Finding others who do this has been a huge help. I've always felt so weak, abnormal and alone. Thank you, Rachel for believing in yourself and us.
March 21, 2012
It's so great you have a boyfriend who isn't judgemental and who supports you. I think that is key to healing because no one makes you feel anxious about the scabs or scars. Being anxious just makes it worse, and that's what I'm dealing with right now. I pick at my arms in secret and then have to lie to my mom about it and that makes me stressed and it just makes it worse. I read your other post and I am wishing you tons of good luck and it seems to be working.
March 24, 2012
Rachel, I feel your pain. It's been 7 years. I am still struggling. i do the same thing with my eyebrows and pubic hair. March 2012 is the month. Everyday I try not to pluck. I start in the morning looking at my face, then I go to my eyebrows. When I pee, I look down there and start picking and plucking. I am trying so hard to stop. It's probably going to be one of the hardest things we'll ever have to do. :[ If you want to email and we can talk more -

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