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EmberICD , 07 Jul 2012

Another picker, another theory

I'm a 29 year old female and new to this site. I just recently realized how serious of a problem I have, and how serious of a problem it is in general. I had no idea this was an actual disorder for many people, or underlining symptom to another possible disorder. I've been popping pimples since my mother first showed me how when I was about 6 or 7. I had bitten my nails from age 5 until about 3 years ago, now I just compulsively clean the dirt out of them and pick at the surrounding skin sometimes. My biggest problem is with my face. I actually lost my job last week for excessive tardiness. The primary cause for being late all the time was spending hours in the morning getting ready picking the dry skin off my face. Make- up would make the dry skin more noticeable to me and actually dried my skin out even more. So it's a daily cycle in which hours of time are wasted, leaving my skin red and blotchy. It always ends up worse looking but I would feel satisfied afterward. I would get angry at my fiance who tried to help me stay on time, and felt like he was being controlling. I had no control to stop until I felt satisfied or had to stop to leave and rush for work, and those days were so horribly unsatisfying that I'd be super irritable at work until I had a chance to finish or fix what I had left undone at home. After doing research, I thought about it and realized how bad it was affecting my life. About 2 years ago is when it got to the point where I would LOOK for pimples to pop or dry skin areas to peel. At that time I had lost my job before this last recent one and it became a very stressful time in my life. Stress makes my anxiety worse, and the more it increased, so did my skin picking. I now know HOW and WHY I began picking at my face to begin with. I was made aware of pimples at a young age, and was taught how to get it off my face at the same time. This gives children the immediate impression that it is something bad to have visually on one's face, and the way to solve it is to pick. As I got older, I was introduced to more of the negative outlook adolescent piers would have on pimples that was often accompanied by mean comments being made. Due to already popping my pimples at that point I never really got much of the bullying from others. All I had were red pop marks covered by make-up that reinforced my behavior as doing the right thing. My mother being a picker also had a big role, not just because of genetics but her own view being pushed onto me. This of course often happens with parents and their children. She would always let me know when I had a pimple or dry skin and would tell me I need to wash my face or use moisturizer. The way she said these things to me were just as effective as what she would say. Her facial expression and tone often indicated her embarrassment FOR me, and at that time it bothered her more than me. Over time before school, and then before work I would not leave the house with any visible peeling skin or pimples. It is now so out of hand that I look for them on my face, and spend hours picking at my face to the point where it ends up looking worse than it did before. When I thought about this, I realized that it's not so much my face not looking clear that bothered me, but the negative, insecure thoughts and feelings zits and dead skin gave my mother, which were deeply embedded in my subconscious. That would explain why I felt worse with a small pimple or two on my face, or dry skin peeling from my nose, chin or forehead, than I would with raw, red skin from peeling or scabs from popped zits. I do believe there are many reasons why we pick, and I encourage everyone to examine your childhood, and to really think about what it is about what your picking that satisfy's you. Remembering when you first began doing it is important. If I thought about why I pick red bumps sometimes on my legs that aren't actually acne, I wouldn't understand what I do now about my own personal reasons. Confronting the beginning has allowed me to realize that the red bumps I sometimes get from shaving remind me of zits, and that is why I find myself trying to squeeze and pop them. Those of us, well, most of us that are woman have it a little harder because we have to look in the mirror daily to apply make-up on a daily basis. Therein lies the real challenge.

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