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Maddie761514 , 18 Jul 2012

This isn't normal; what's wrong with me?

I am 18, and I don't remember the first time I started picking. I finally Googled my problem after working past the shame and found this site. I usually pick at the skin on my feet, since that is usually where my skin dries out first, but I have always been known to pick at scabs and any form of blemish on my skin. I've picked so much through out my life that I'm covered in scars. Anytime I got a bug bite, I would scratch them till they bled and scabbed over, then peel off the scabs. I would sometimes peel so much that the bites would turn into these huge open wounds and my mother would get really worried. This happened a lot when I was little, but since then I have worked really hard to not pick at scabs anymore. I think for 7 or 8 years now, I have been peeling the skin off my feet and biting the sides of my fingernails and peeling the skin from there as well. I've had a pretty normal life, but it has been stressful, and lately, I've been very stressed and noticed an increase in my habits. Actually, for the past hour or so, I have been peeling off all the skin on the heel of my foot. When I run out of dead skin, I grab an exacto knife or a razor blade and dig in under the skin so I can peel thicker, bigger pieces off. I don't really have a satisfied feeling until I get those really thick chunks of skin. The little dry pieces used to be good, but now I feel nothing when I peel them and I'm scared my habit is getting more serious. My friend has GAD and depression, so I am very familiar with psychological remedies, but I'm scared of telling my parents or any of my friends. I'm afraid they will think I'm a freak. Even though I'm ashamed, I feel like my problem isn't really a problem and that I'm being dramatic. I just want someone that understands to talk to and maybe give me coping tips.
2 Answers
September 06, 2012
Hi! I know you posted this a while ago, but I really want to reply. Hurting yourself in ANY way is a serious problem, and you shouldn't let anybody - not even yourself - tell you that "you're being dramatic". Think of it this way: if you had a little daughter, and somebody grabbed an exacto knife and cut into the heel of her foot, wouldn't you flip out? Maybe call the cops? And nobody would tell you that you had overreacted. Maybe if you tell your parents or friends about your current problem, they won't understand, but you need to know in your heart that you're not just being dramatic. Maybe you should seek outside help from a pro, like a therapist.
September 07, 2012
I've been affected by dermatillomania for about 11 years now and I would imagine you ask yourself "how did it get this bad?" as I do. There are several factors that start this addiction and fuel it, but regardless of what keeps it going, you need to realize one important thing: it CAN be stopped. Remember, it doesn't control you, you actually control it. Subconsciously, there's that voice that tells you that the drive to pick is just too strong to stop. Also, when you start to pick and scratch, you pick to "finish the job" and even out your skin. The first step in controlling this is to be aware that you are doing it and be conscious of your skin. The second step is to simply turn away from picking. This solution may sound overly simplistic, but if you just make yourself aware when you start to pick and then stay calm and exercise control over it, you'll see that this addiction is mostly in your mind... and then your skin will start to heal!

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