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lyrics , 16 Apr 2012

Lips and gums and depression

Hello. I struggle with anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, and severe depression (possible bipolar disorder). I'm 16. This may be hard to read, or might trigger. I've been picking and scratching my skin all my life (and eating what I find - gross, I know, but I can't not). I've found that it "moves" around on my body as the years go by. It started on my hands, when I was a child. I would bite the skin around my fingers, and on my palms and knuckles. I would peel layers off my fingertips until my hands were raw. I started learning guitar, but I quit because it hurt so badly to press on the strings with my fingertips (I never developed the callouses that guitar players need). When I was about 10 it moved almost completely to my scalp. I picked and scratched to find dead skin to chew on. Soon I had scabs, which made me pick even more. I had about a dozen "hot spots" on my scalp where the sores couldn't heal. One particularly bad spot stayed there for years. I just couldn't stop long enough to let it heal. When I was 13 I mustered the courage to tell my mom about my behavior (this is also around the time my depression worsened and we began to seek help). I lifted myself almost completely out of my depression about 6 months ago. However, since the new year, I have reached an all-time low. I was almost hospitalized a few weeks ago because I was feeling suicidal (but not planning, and was too afraid to attempt, so I didn't go). I am still thinking about suicide daily. I just want to die. I won't kill myself, but I want to die. I am trying new medications and I am seeking help with the help of my family. I go to counseling weekly. I am in the process of applying for a residential treatment center (Mercy Ministries). My picking has moved from my scalp to my lips and gums. It's getting extremely bad. My gums have sores (between my back molars) and my lips are scabbed over. Every day I peel/rip the new skin and scab off my lips, and I cut the new flesh (it regenerates while I sleep) from my gums with my fingernails. Sometimes there is so much blood it drips. The pain is overwhelming since the lips and mouth are so sensitive, but I can't stop. I taste blood every day. I don't use toothpaste anymore when I brush my teeth because it stings and burns too much. It is hard enough rubbing bristles against open sores in my mouth. I have no appetite from my depression, and there are few things I can eat, made fewer because my lips and gums burn when I eat salty/spicy/tart things. Thank you for reading my rant. I needed to get it off my chest. Please pray for me, send good vibes, or what have you. Grace
2 Answers
April 16, 2012
Hello Grace. Thanks for sharing your story. I would like tro share a bit of mine, since it may help you. You remind me of myself when I was 16. (i´m 33 now) I was a huge picker. I picked my face and my nails. I pulled an entire toenail once and had to be hospitalized. My face was covered with sores. However, I managed to get better. I still pick but at least it doesn´t deprive me of living my life and doing my daily chores. For me, I noticed that the picking was deeply connected with low self-esteem issues. I was in circle that was dificult to break because I was really depressed, I picked, and then I got more depressed, and didn´t want to leave the house so no one could see my face. Not leaving the house, made me feel even worse, and isolated and so on. So, what helped me a lot, besides psychoanalysis, was trying to look and feel better about myself. I had a major skin-treatment and started doing my nails every week. I also got especific make up lessons on how to cover scars. I bought lot´s of healing lotions and if i picked, at least was able to hide it and leave the house anyway. I forced myself to go places and interact with people. I was always late but I never gave up going. Even if it took me a lot of time to hide the scars. This helped me begin this process of breaking the picking circle. Since I wasn´t home all the time, and when I was was on the phone and stuff, my picking hours were reduced. So I eventually stopped and stayed that way for some years... Now I´m picking again, after a gap of two year since my last seriuos episode. But it never went back to what it was in my teen years. So this is it. I hope it helps in some way. Sending you good vibes, Julia
April 16, 2012

In reply to by julialug

Thank you so much for your support. My picking does get a lot better when I am feeling good about myself and life in general. I do struggle with self-esteem and I'm trying to change that. Grace

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