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liveunbridled , 02 Sep 2012

What do I tell people when they ask?

I never realized this was such a big issue until it spread past my arms and is now on my legs and the upper part of back back by my neck. My sores aren't just scabs, they have become big sores large enough to look like I am missing part of my skin in that area. They almost look like cigarette burns or something. Well, since my husband maade me realize what an issue this reallyis, I have been doing research and trying to learn ways to stop. It is interesting to me how it can be linked to anxiety. I have been on Zoloft and Klonipen for almost 5 years, and since I have been more anxious lateley and stressed, I can see how my arms and legs look so much worse. My biggest question is, now that I know about this and now that I am trying to deal and heal, what in the world do I say to people when they ask "Oh my God, what is wrong with your arms?!" That embarrasses me and I don't know how to respond. Has anyone dealt with this? How did you handle it, what do you say??? It stresses me out more and makes me more anxious and then I tend to start picking worse.
2 Answers
September 03, 2012
Hi! I am new to this site. Lately I have come to the realization of how serious of an issue this is that I have been coping with. I have been picking at my self since I was 5 yrs old. I live where there are mosquitos, seems like year round. When I am bitten I scratch until it forms a sore. Then for weeks after that I consistently pick at the sore. I find relief from stress in picking them. If something isn't going like it should I stress & pick. I pick the scab off & find instant relief at that moment & then if I'm not satisfied I will find another sore to pick. It starts late spring & ends winter. So for 6 to 7 months a year I am picking. Luckily for me I am able to heal somewhat between the 4 to 5 months that there are no mosquitos. I have moved away where there were no mosquitos & almost healed completely. But eventually was forced to move back because of financial issues. All this past summer & years before I have missed out on a lot of summer activities with friends & family. Mainly to save myself from the stares & the questions of what is wrong with me which in itself is heartbreaking. Also when I was 27 I had the Shingles. I was dealing with & taking care of a family member who kept me stressed. So I believe the picking has a lot to do with my nervous system as well. Now that summer is over I look forward to the winter to start my somewhat healing process. I will still pick if bitten by anything such as an ant but it won't be as bad & my scars will start to heal. Over the past month I've thought & thought about what could possibly be wrong with me & if others shared this same habit, disorder or whatever one decides to call it. Last night I decided to see if there were sites available discussing this issue. This is my first comment on this site. And the first site that I've visited. Your situation is very familiar to me. I have been with my better half for four yrs now. We are engaged & have a daughter who is 2. And two other children from separate relationships. I fear that my daughter will have the same issue throughout her life. My older son who is 14 also picks but not as bad as me. My fiancé has been a great support to me it telling me positive things like telling me that I am beautiful to him & that others opinions do not matter. At first I resented his comments bc I felt inside that I was not beautiful on the outside because of my picking. I wear long sleeve shirts to work even in the summer to hide & cover my sores & scars being that i am a server in the restaurant industry. I mostly wear pants & tshirts when we go out in public to avoid the stares. You can still see from my elbows to my hands the sores & scabs. I sometimes apply base (makeup) to them. Which isn't healthy at all but saves me some of the embarrassment. Well today I decided to be brave. I put on a sleeveless nice sort of dress shirt & shorts. We went to pick up our little girl this morning from his Mom & his Aunt was there. His Mom already knew of my condition but his Aunt didn't. We walk up on her back porch ( Im walking behind him so not to be fully seen) & am eventually left feeling almost naked & exposed. The first thing that she asks is what's wrong with you? She is a nurse & would be expected to ask such a question from my point of view. But there was still the embarrassment & feeling of insecurity that happens every time. For the first time in my life I looked someone besides my fiancée in their eyes & I said, "I believe that I have a skin picking disorder related to stress & anxiety. She didn't offer pity she offered understanding & it meant so much to me. I understand that not many people that i face will have the same understanding that she did, but its time now for me to live life to the fullest & not let this control what life I have left to live. This is my main flaw, my main insecurity & the main thing holding me back from life in so many ways. But I've decided to take control of no longer hiding from the truth. The truth being that I am not perfect & there are others that are like me so I'm not alone. I will still live with stares & it will still hurt. But when I'm confronted about the stares, I will tell them the same. I have a skin disorder & I believe that it is caused from stress & anxiety. For me therapy isn't an option & honestly believe that it wouldn't help me. What I believe is that I have to start being more positive about things instead of always expecting the worse. We are all different & something different from what I chose may be more helpful for you. I just wanted to share with you my experience & I hope that it in some ways it can help you in seeing things from my perspective on not letting it control my social life. Best wishes to you in fighting this struggle.
September 04, 2012
I use to pick from anxiety. its taken me 2 years to finally get myself to a point where I use other things as a form of relief. I use to tell people the sores were mozzie bites, Maybe if you were to say that and say you have an allergic reaction to the mosquito bite, My suggestion would be to see your doctor and see if they can give you something to help heal your skin, and looking into other things that can help relieve your anxiety. I, Myself find exersize to be very helpful with anxiety relief, a simple walk around the block, or 30 mins at the gym. There could be other things you could do. it just depends what works for you. Theres no shame in telling someone its something that its not, to avoid having to explain something about your personal life. Its not going to harm them in any way, and if its going to help you get better I dont see why not. I hope this helped. :) Good luck :)

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