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nervouswreck , 18 Dec 2012

An introduction to my addiction/nemisis

First time poster, long time picker. Thought I should introduce myself, and give you all a little background on my picking. I started picking in college when I was 18, after being out on my own for the first time, and feeling completely isolated. I remember feeling anxious, going to a mirror in my dorm (when my dorm mate wasn't around. I liked to keep it very private at the time.), and suddenly hours later something would distract me. I would tear my face from the mirror horrified and disgusted by the monster looking back at me. My naturally tan skin would be bright red, everywhere, with no area of mercy. The first few times it happened, I was completely in shock, and wasn't sure if I had been drugged or attacked or what, but had no genuine recollection of what I had done. Generally speaking, my "pick-sessions" would be anywhere from 15-90 minutes, but suddenly that time would just be gone, and I would be left with a mess of a face. Fast forward seven years. While I am conscious of my picking now, I still seem to be in a state of total relaxation while picking. I know what I am doing is counterproductive and unhealthy. I watch my hands/fingernails/tweezers do their jobs as they have been so well trained to do (I think 7 years is the longest I've consistently done anything in my life), but generally my mind is in a totally different state than my physical body, so rationalizing the command to "STOP!!" doesn't seem to help. When I pick all of my focus goes to whatever is ailing me- stress with relationships (the last one in particular), things happening at work, with my family etc. while my hands provide visual stimulus while they have a free for all on my face. I won't say that I ever had "acne," persay, but I do have oily skin that breaks out on a daily basis in small bumps or blackheads. If I didn't pick, they wouldn't even be noticeable. The problem is, as soon as I notice ANYTHING even feeling like it may at some point become a blemish, off to the mirror I go. I just want to stop this. In the past, the only way I have had to control my picking was when I was in relationships that I was deeply committed to, and never wanted those people to see the sickness in me, so I committed to stopping, and wanting to look pretty for them. I will also admit that in those times, I was very very happy, and did not feel the need to pick. I don't want my picking (or lack thereof=healthy skin) to be related to the presence of anyone else in my life but me. It's my problem, and I want to be the one that is worthwhile to fix it for... I just haven't found that path yet. After reading a lot of these posts, it seems like there's a self-conscious seed in most of us, and that is what lays right behind the picking. It could be self conscious because of your looks or the people surrounding you or your upbringing, but all of us have an insecurity in us. The problem is that it is a self forseeing prophesy. We are self conscious so we pick, the results of the picking make us self conscious. Am I wrong in seeing this as a downward spiral? I'd like to get your tips out there... Thank you all for posting. Never in my life did I think that this was something ANYONE had in common with me, let alone an entire community, and thank you for being a safe place for people to talk about this debilitating habit that we have where we can be honest with ourselves about something that is so scary. Thanks for listening, comments are more than welcome --Wrecked
2 Answers
December 24, 2012
I agree. I think that this is both a social anxiety and ocd thing. We are unconciously trying to control things and have undesired results. I wish I had the magic formula to fix it, but it seems to be an uphill battle. I have good days and bad days. This is something that pardon the pun, phsychologist have just scratched the surface on. They have a bad habit of defining what things are and aren't and not wanting to budge from that, even when new things come to light. The mind can be our best friend or our worst enemy. Thank you for posting.
December 29, 2012
Thanks gypsygirl! Things have changed for me slightly, and I am really hoping its not just temporary. I decided to go to extremes, and cover the mirrors in my house. This has lead to a lot of bad hair days, but also a lot of really good skin days. I have downsized my skin regiment significantly, and am only using hypoallergenic lotions now, so as to not aggravate my skin further. I still have a very long way to go, but I have also found a reward system that allows me to not pick AND feel good about it. I paint my nails, and every day that goes by when I do not pick, I am allowed to buy myself one new nail polish (this also helps because I don't want the nail polish to chip, so I am extra careful about never applying too much pressure to them). I'm hoping my methods can help someone, and that hopefully this is not just a temporary diversion.

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