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Discouraged Mommy , 12 Mar 2013

New and Feeling Alone

Hi all, I am 28 years old and have been a skin-picker for more at least a decade. My biggest problem started when I was in college and has escalated since then. I pick acne blemishes on my face. Right now, I have at least 30 picked spots covering my forehead, cheeks, and chin. Makeup doesn't hide them well and I work, so I still have to go out and face the world. Historically, I've missed friend's weddings, date nights, family gatherings, job interviews, days of school and work, doctor's appointments, and even grocery store trips due to the condition of my skin. I'm also a wife and mom. My biggest fear is that my son (currently just over a year old), will grow up with a mom he is ashamed of or, worse yet, grow up to be a skin picker himself. My husband tries to be supportive and encourage me, but his efforts don't change my feelings about myself or my behavior. I never see anyone with skin as bad as mine. I don't know how to stop picking, but it's literally ruining my life. Help!
2 Answers
March 12, 2013
Hi, thanks so much for sharing! I'm 19 years old in second year university and I've always picked at my skin, but never with any serious repercussions-- until a couple of days ago. I don't know what happened, but I now have these three (what I call) craters on my face, one on my cheek and two between my eyes. Because of my acne I normally wear a ton of foundation, but as you said, makeup doesn't work well, in fact the craters almost look worse. The craters have literally ruined my life: I've missed classes, I avoid friends, I don't volunteer. I spent a couple hours hiding under my covers today; I just feel depressed. Worst of all I feel stupid and shallow because I am letting my skin dictate my life. But it is an embarrassing thing! This isn't some crazy rash or a little outbreak of pimples, these are self-inflicted marks and they feel shameful--almost like cutting yourself. Picking really does feel like an addiction. I couldn't believe myself when I started picking at my face despite my brain screaming at my hand to stop. I am living through the negative outcomes of picking and yet I still do it! The frustration is killing me. I can't offer you any medical or psychological advice, but I can offer you some tips that might work. In the past, when I was conscious of increased picking, I started wearing gloves around the house. I never picked in public, so it's not like I had to walk around wearing gloves in summer. Gloves make picking harder, so they could help you at home. For me, the worst picking was in the morning or night when I would put on makeup or wash my face. When I felt an urge, I would take a breath and pull out something to fidget with. An elastic band works great. I don't know why, but just occupying your fingers while telling yourself you don't need to pick at a blemish helps fight the urge. Obviously I didn't consistently follow my own advice, as proven by the three humiliating craters on my face, but hopefully it give you something to think about. I don't know if anything I have said will be of any help, but at least know you are not alone! You will be able to fight this condition, so don't lose hope! I have an exam tomorrow so I will have to venture outside, but talking about this will hopefully help me come to terms with my appearance and boost my confidence even just a little. Sorry I couldn't be of more help, but thanks for posting so I could have someone to talk to, even if it is just on a forum :)
March 13, 2013
Hi there! I wanted to cry when I read your post. It reminded me SO much of my life also dealing with this picking issue. Like you, I have unfortunately missed many important events and have almost lost my job several times. It is good that you the support of your husband. That is a very important step to conquering this habit. I honestly thought that I was alone until I discovered this website a year or two ago. After that, I finally told my husband and doctor. it was a huge weight lifted off my shoulders because at least you have someone that can try to understand and help you get better. My suggestion is to try your best to practice yoga and meditation. It really makes a difference and allows you a moment ot reflect on your life and think about what's important. I think that many picker's ultimate goal is to get perfect skin, but we're actually just making it worse. While meditating, you'll realize that there is so much more to life than worrying about your skin. It's hard I know. I struggle dailly and try not to beat myself up too much if I have a bad picking session. Following that, i just try to start the healing over again and to be well and live a happy, healthy life. Best of luck to you. xxx

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