I am 23 years old and have been compulsively picking at my face for 4 years. I don't know why I started doing this, especially on my face where it is impossible to hide. Last week, I spent 12 hours straight in the mirror, picking at what was already an open wound between my eyes. Up until recently, I had myself convinced that there were ingrown hairs under the scar that were causing pain, that could only be relieved by digging them out. I have only recently been able to admit that even if this were the case, theres no way that the hairs could be causing more pain than a huge open wound. Anyway, I made the wound so large that even the extra-wide size bandaid doesnt cover it. By the time I was done in the bathroom, the counter was covered in blood, and the mirror with specks and splashes. The next day, my left eye was swollen all day. When a scab formed, I ripped it off, and it was a very thick scab which gave way to a very deep wound. I feel like I picked almost all the way to my skull. I was too embarassed to go to school for the rest of the week, so I know my grades will suffer. What used to take days or weeks to heal now takes months. The scar is so large and noticable that I can't cover it up with makeup. I feel like my boyfriend is embarassed of me, and when its really bad I don't even want him to see me. He is so wonderful and doesn't deserve this. I usually don't go out without sunglasses on. If I didn't have to walk my two dogs, I would probably stay inside all the time. I missed my nephew's first birthday last month because I was too embarassed to be seen. I also skipped thanksgiving last year.
What is currently setting me back is when I go to replace the bandaid. I can't help but spend at least 15 minutes picking, and I feel like it cancels out any healing that may have taken place. Covering it with a bandaid helps a lot, both because I can't see it and it doesnt sting to touch. I don't know what I would do without a bandaid! I'm just feeling very depressed and anxious, I feel I've gone way too far. Even after 4 days, it is still throbbing with pain and I don't see that it's healed at all. I know the scar will be very severe and probably permanent. I wish I could stay out of sight and preferably unconscious for the next month, or however long it will take to heal. Most importantly, I want to have strategies which I can employ the next time I want to pick. I try to tell myself that no one notices it as much as i do. It has gotten so nuch worse, the last few times it healed I only got to experience it for a few days before I ripped it open again, and now I dont even wait until it has healed. Any advice on avoidance strategies, self-soothing, alternatives, after-care, etc would be greatly appreciated. Most of all, I'm just gpad that there is a forum like this, so I know I'm not the only or worst one out there.