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Hwy61Meg , 10 Jun 2012

40, depressed, and ashamed...

Hi. I'm kind of surprised there's a group for this issue... I'm 40, alone, depressed, and I've had acne since I was 14. I've always picked it obsessively. The picking gets worse when I'm depressed, which is most of the time these days. I can't leave a bump alone, and I'll pick it and try to pop it until it turns into a scabby sore. My face looks like I have cigarette burns on it. I do the same thing to any bump I find anywhere on my chest, arms or back (where I can reach, anyway). I sometimes spend an hour in front of the bathroom mirror obsessively looking for blackheads or anything I think I can squeeze. If it feels like there's a bump under the skin I'll try to squeeze it. I tell myself it's because I know the pimples will heal faster if I pop them, but most of the time they don't pop, and I still pick and pick until my skin is injured really badly. I'm so embarrassed and ashamed. I was supposed to grow out of having bad skin, but I never did. I don't know if my skin would clear up if I could stop touching it, because I've never been able to stop touching it. It hurts, and it makes me feel so bad. I'm tired of feeling like an insecure teenager... but there has to be more to my problem than just the pimples. Why can't I stop picking? Even if the sores heal, I can't resist picking at the dry skin that forms over the scab. If I can feel anything except smooth skin, I have to pick. I've tried to make a commitment to stop before, and the only thing that seems to make a difference is if I try some new medication routine... because it gives me a burst of motivation. But if the medication doesn't work really fast, I end up giving up and picking again. It's humiliating, and I feel like I can't control my life. I don't know what else to do. I can't afford insurance, so I can't even see a doctor for either my acne or my depression. I feel so alone.
8 Answers
June 10, 2012
Hi there, i just want to let you that you are not alone and i totally understand how you feel. I will be 39 this year and am sat here covered in marks on my face as we speak!!! I get so angry at myself for doing this but its just so damn powerful. The shame and embarrassment are crippling and i spend much of my time indoors hiding from the world. Sometimes i feel like giving up and ending it all and the amount of therapy and medication i have had all seem to be temporary fixes and nothing long term. Well maybe the therapy is helping but its a long slow road and its very desperate at times. Knowing that there are others out there around my age and feeling the same as me is comforting although sad and reading your post is giving me the strength to carry on and hope for a better life. I feel beaten down by this and other problems right now and honestly feel as though i have bled all resources dry. I feel stripped and left with nowhere to turn other than to a spiritual solution which is what i am doing daily but must admit i do find it hard to trust that some Universal Power will help me but hey....what have i got to lose!!! I don't have all the answers hun or i wouldn't be sat here looking the way i do but i do now believe that if there is a God then only It can help as i have tried absolutely everything else and gotten nowhere. I will keep you in my prayers and thoughts and hope you find some peace and self-acceptance soon. Godbless xxx
June 12, 2012
Hi there! It is great to read postings from others around my age. Both or your experiences resemble my very own. At 41, I too thought that I would have "grown out of this". It's now been going on for approximately 20 years. Sad, but true. It goes in waves when I can handle it and then have a complete relapse and destroy my face. In the past, I have missed weeks of work, special events and otherwise because I need to hide and recover. It has been devastating to the point of being hospitalized and I have seriously considered ending my life. My family, friends and husband have seen my terrible scarring and open wounds, but are too timid (or kind!) to say something about it. Finally, this year I talked to my doctor. Nothing further has been done as I was physically in good shape when I saw her, but it was a huge relief to tell her. In the past, I got notes from her (for missing work), but never told her the actual issue that I had mutilated my face and couldn't see anyone like that. It is SO embarrassing and has affected my life in a negative way. But, I want to conquer this and hope that one day my skin will be clear and I will have confidence again. Similar to you, I have tried dozens of products and make-up. The only products that have helped are Proactiv items. Additionally, I try to eat a healthy diet, practice yoga/meditation and stick to skin friendly make-up. Wishing you both the very best of luck in battling this. Let's support and encourage each other! :)
June 12, 2012
Hi All, just wanted to chime in to say that I'm also 39--just months from 40--and yes I too have been struggling with this for some twenty years. I do find that reading this site every day is helpful--as well as posting or speaking to friends about how the fight to stop is going. Elsewhere I've posted that oatmeal powder, the kind for baths, makes a nice mask for weeping sores while drying them out---and that I struggle a lot with ingrown hairs along the bikini line but find that Brazilian waxes have been helping keep that in check to a degree. Anyway, I think the 40s are a great time to kick old habits so I hope you keep posting here as you're able!
July 26, 2012
Hi Hwy61Meg, You could have signed my name at the end of this post. I feel exactly the same way. It really means a lot to read I'm not alone in this. I am trying to go for a full 24 hours without picking (I've never been able to go more than a day) It's actually physically bothering me, like a craving, I can't stop thinking about it. I pick with my hands (not tweezers or tools), I'm not sure if you do the same. I've read occupying your hands is a good way to get your mind off things. I was really cold today and found that rubbing my arms (to warm up) helped calm me down, and kept me from running to the bathroom or absent-mindedly picking (strange but true). Not sure if it'll be of help to you, but thought I'd pass it along. P.S. Know that you're definitely not alone, and that you're actually helping people (like me). Stay strong.
August 05, 2012
I have read these posts and let me say it is like i am reading about myself. I have had the same mark since june and it healed after a month but left a scar so now i have tried picking the scar leaving a red ugly mess. My question is how do you go to work and face everyone? I cant tell you how many times i have called in or went in and made up an excuse to leave because i felt to ugly. This has been going on for 3 years now. I am 40 years old and cant seem to stop. I do the neosporin and band aid at night but cant do this during the day. I am to the point i never want to go anywhere. My skin is pretty good other then this one spot. I wantwant to go without makeup as putting makeup on just makes it look worse. To top it all off everyone i work with has perfect skin. How do you all get these things to heal
August 16, 2012
I was scrolling down the list of heartbreaking stories and I came across this post. This is where I think I fit. . I am 39.5 years old, in a 13yr relationship with the man of my dreams ,Im generally attractive have a figure most women would dream of and I also have a face that looks like I have serious drug problem!!. Today was the day that I finally admitted there is a major problem and I was going too loose everything and something has to be done. As I walked my daily picking routine around our house I realised that we have 11 mirrors . What the!!! . Only two of us live the the bloody house! Eleven mirrors, unbelievable. I have more mirrors than art. I have 2 mirrors in every room. What the! I only noticed this today. So off I go looking for the solution. This was the first website I came across. I had to first get past the fact there was even a forum for this issue. I am really not the only one. At first I felt comforted about this, there are a lot of people with this issue, then a little scared at the seriousness of it all. I had to ask myself often do I pick?...well, I pick from the moment I wake up. I am not working at the moment so as soon as the jug is on the picking begins. And then to top the sexyness off I go and have a smoke, cover my fingers in nicotine and then have another good hack. WHAT THE!! How...........well.............gross. Iv have just had enough of this I just cant keep doing this to my face, body and my partner. Well I have to start somewhere so latex gloves it is. My partner suggested it. I am on my own alot at home so all good I can do that.. Down come 10 mirrors Oh my Lord! I cant believe the amount I have.. bathroom is a permanent jobby so on there I have put on a picture of my favouite star.(Not a blemish ) and have painted my nails, because for some reason I dont pick as much when they are painted. Well wish me luck. I offically have Not picked since 4pm today. Thanks for your story.
August 17, 2012
I want to say that you wont believe this but Im sure you all will. I just found ANOTHER damn I lied I dont have 11, I have 12!!!! havent picked for 23hours!!!!!
August 17, 2012
Hi, I just wanted to respond to all of you at once! I am so sorry we all have to deal with this. Someone asked how to heal the sores, how to deal with going to work... it's very hard, I know. I'm having a "good" couple of months, but prior to this things had gotten really ugly a few times. I wanted to hide in shame. I even did call in sick a couple of times during the worst of it. I think the best thing you can do, which worked for me, is figure out when you'll be off work for a couple of days straight (if you're lucky enough to have that time). Even one 24 hour period is better than nothing. But you have to make a deal with yourself that you will not pick during that time off. Just for those two days or whatever. Hide out, sleep, make the time pass, but don't pick. It's pure willpower, but it's easier to do if you have such a short term goal. Try putting vitamin E oil on your sores after washing with a mild cleanser. Moisturize. The vitamin E helps the redness and keeps the sore soft so it can heal a little better without becoming all scabby and dry looking. (It'll still do that a little bit, but not as bad). The trick is to SEE that the sores are looking better. Then when you have to go to work you know you're not at your absolute worst and that you're trying to heal... it means a lot to see some progress, sort of like dieting. It's just those first couple of days that are the hardest. And remember, if you ever want to see the people who have to go to work looking a lot worse off than you do, do a Google image search on "cystic acne." I know some of us may actually have this condition, but the most extreme cases are out there to view, and those poor people have to function in the world just like we do. If they can do it, we can! Recently I've taken my attention off my face and have been picking at bumps on my upper arms... the sores are just starting to heal. Before that I had some bumps on my chest. I just want to thank you all for your kind words of support. We are not alone!

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