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elliew8 , 14 Jun 2013

No More Picking!

Entry 1: Hey all, I'm new to the site and a bit overwhelmed at the amount of people suffering with this awful compulsion :( Just a bit about me, I'm 22 and I've picked since I was 13. It started with ingrown hairs in my armpits from waxing and once I started shaving and stopped, it moved onto my upper arms, boobs and belly button. Whether it's ingrown hairs or insignificant raised hair follicles, I will pick it nonetheless. I was always self-conscious of my picking but it never bothered me too much until I started getting acne. I have taken antibiotics and used benzoyl peroxide in the past and I'm on birth control pills now but even when my skin is at its clearest I still manage to find something to pick. I was posting my progress (or lack of it!) on but this site is more suitable because I've come to the realisation that my skin isn't the problem, it's picking. I know I picked up the habit from my dad, I remember watching him spend ages in front of the mirror picking his face/ neck/ chest/ arms and obviously somewhere along the way I've picked up the same bad habit. I guess I've never trusted my body's ability to heal itself and being a total perfectionist and a tad OCD hasn't helped matters! I'm fortunate enough to be able to talk to my family and boyfriend about my issues, but even though they are very supportive it's hard for them to truly understand my compulsion. Even my dad can't fully relate - he has never felt ashamed by picking and hasn't let it stop him from living his life, he just sees it as another bad habit like biting his nails and doesn't have the same emotional response to it. I suppose that's why I've joined the site, to feel like there are people who I can relate to and get some advice about things that have actually helped people stopped picking. I feel like I've reached a point in my life where I want to make the change. I've allowed picking to control every aspect of my life socially and professionally but the emotional toll it's taken has become unbearable. I know that I'm very lucky in every other area of life and have people who love me, a good job and a nice house but it's hard for me to enjoy it fully because I'm holding myself back. I am my own worst enemy and it has got to stop. I need to stop making excuses and deal with my issues. I have tried so many times to stop picking, I feel like it's a constant battle that I always eventually lose. Not anymore!...I have decided that cold turkey is definitely not the way to go for me, the fact I still breakout from time-to-time means there will be some spots that are going to require picking, but those aren't my focus. Normal people will pick a pimple that is ripe for the taking, normal people do not then start skimming their hands all over their skin finding other stuff to pick and spend hours looking in the mirror creating a bloody mess. That's what has got to stop, if I have a breakout I'll deal with it as necessary but I'm not going to do pre-medative (perceived) damage control and if I do pick a spot it will end with that particular spot. I will realistically fail a few times a long the way but until I make the conscious decision not to pick, it's not really failing, I'll think of them as just a few speed bumps along the way! So today is the first day of the rest of my life. I've made the decision and I'm working towards my goal. I'm currently using a technique of snapping a rubber band on my wrist every time I want to look in the mirror or touch my face. I'll be updating quite regularly and anyone is welcome to join me! If anyone has any other tips I'd really appreciate it :)
3 Answers
June 14, 2013
Hello there, I am new too here, did you notice someone even has released a documentary about this? I have not seen yet, just the trailer (youtube called "Scars of Shame"). To me, knowing I am not alone helps a LOT. I have found that changing my obsessions from having to get rid of all the ingrowns and bumps and blemishes to having to prevent them, instead, has also helped me. So I spend a lot of time exfoliating and using lotions and ointments and even antihistamines since I have allergies too (insect bites etc.) and get itchy hives from stress. Polysporin is my magic ointment. Seems a lot of others too (neosporin in USA). Calamine seems liked as well. Using these for healing times. To speed healing and minimize damage. I make it a part of my picking regime now. If I get to plan a "session" (that's what I call it), I make sure I am super clean first, I choose only a few prime spots and I am very meticulous and clean it right after then apply poly and leave the room as soon as possible. Sometimes I lose an hour just going to go #1. I will sit there in a complete trance, picking. Make sure whenever you do it, to clean the area and apply what ointment you like and take a deep breath, tell yourself you are beautiful and do something nice for yourself. Please don't feel bad anymore, you aren't alone and can see it isn't easy for anyone. Sorry for seeming to encourage the negative behavior, I am not. I just need to keep honest with myself now that I am nearly 36 and have been at it since I can remember. The rubber band thing only works if you are ready to stop picking. Sorry to say, that rubber band is not going to "save you". I think that is a trick invented by people who like to put a blanket over issues they don't understand. I don't mean to offend you, but them who actually "prescribe" it. If the rubber band were a part of a much deeper solution, involving a therapist (or other, caring, individual) and behavior modification therapy then maybe I'd believe it would work. *hugs*
June 17, 2013

In reply to by Chewbacca

Hey, thanks for the reply, it's such a comfort knowing that I'm not the only one going through this. I agree with those tips, I buy Neosporin online since it's not available in the UK and it does really help me. Keeping the area clean is a must for me - I feel like if I'm going to be bad I may as well do it right! So far the rubber band has helped me a lot, but I'm always sceptical too because they only ever seem like temporary measures and mask the underlying problems with a quick-fix. I feel like I've reached a point where I understand my issues now: I'm too impatient to let my skin take it's natural course, I'm a perfectionist and struggle when things like my skin aren't perfect, I'm a control freak so I feel like if I want something done right (like a pimple/ ingrown hair to heal) then I have to take matters into my own hands, I have slight cases of ADHD because my mind is in a constant state of hyperawareness as well as social anxiety where I find it harder than most people to interact socially and will miss events as a result, also in my case it's probably a genetic predisposition, although I refuse to believe that's an excuse to let myself pick. For me personally, I'm so ready to stop picking now, I've been using it as a comfort blanket for so long and I'm fed up with it, I complain about it all the time but don't take any steps to actually quit. I'm going to stick with the rubber band as it's helped me avoid any picking 'sessions' so far and whilst I'm not going to depend on it because I know there's a lot of emotional work to get through, I'm going to use it as a tool to overcome the habitual side of picking because I kind of have a routine of where, when and how I pick and if I break that cycle then I will hopefully be able to deal with the emotional side without the wash, rinse, repeat rutt that I'm in now...again, I really appreciate the advice, and I'll be looking out for the documentary! thank you :)
June 17, 2013

In reply to by elliew8

I think there are a whole bunch of us who completely understand and feel for you, I know I do. ((Hugs!)) I do hope you will keep returning with progress reports and all. I think it is great that band is working for you; seems to me like it is because you are ready and positive, too so please keep that part of the recipe :) .

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