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Why-Do-I-Do-This , 11 Sep 2012

My Story

I am a 34 year old woman who has struggled with this disorder for nearly 25 years now. I feel this disorder may be triggered by both a biological predisposition, as well as a learned behavior. Growing up, my mother established a weekly ritual in which every Sunday, after my sisters and I had bathed before getting ready for bed, my mother would routinely exam each one of our bodies for ingrown hairs or areas of skin that appeared to be flawed in one way or another. It seemed to provide her with a sense of relief or relaxation after a seemingly chaotic weekend. Almost as if a time for her to unwind before returning to a new work week. I resided with her from birth until the age of 13, but then moved in with my father. However, I continued the behavior. It grew from sporadic periods of examining my skin for blemishes and ingrown hairs to me having put together a special "pick kit" which contains pins and needles, tweezers, and even a pair of hemostats. I now use these "tools" to assist me in the removal of what I perceive to be "flaws" that need to be removed. As I mentioned, this behavior has been going on for 25 years. My skin is severly scarred and I am mentally disturbed by my behavior. Despite all of the pain and shame I have created within myself, I continue to mindlessly do this to myself. I slip into a trance like state that allows me to temporarily escape from myself...from my mind...from my agonizing thoughts and worries. It is not enough for me to know that I am not the only one suffering from this illness. I want to stop completely...once and for all, but the compulsion takes over. It's almost like my body/mind is on auto-pilot and that I have no control. Can somebody...anybody...please help guide me so that I can conquer the beast?
1 Answer
September 12, 2012
Hi there! I too, have suffered from this issue for over 20 years. It has gone in waves - good months and truly devastating ones. One thing that I can totally recommend is to tell someone. Other than the people on this website, for years I never told anybody about my picking. Finally, last year, I told my doctor. Yes, it was embarrassing and I was nervous about it. But, I had a huge sense of relief after. Like you, I sincerely worried about my mental health and why I was consistently abusing myself this way. My doctor provided some advice, although I don't think that she completely understood how serious my picking is. Over the years, I have become a master in covering up my scars with make-up. But, I have also missed long periods of work - which required doctor's notes. Now that I have told her - I can be honest IF I need notes in the future. Hopefully not! Also, I strongly recommend yoga and meditation. Both items have changed my life and provide time for relaxation and reflection. I am on these boards almost every day and am willing to offer you support. We can get well! Be kind to yourself and remember that tomorrow is a new day! Take care. :)

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