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Cheer , 02 Aug 2013

The positive side of dermatillomania

I've had dermatillomania since I was 6 years old (I'm now 34). After years of psychodynamic therapy and other self care, I'm finally able to face my dermatillomania by seeing a CBT psychologist who specialises in the problem. I mainly pick my fingers and toes and sometimes other parts of my body. I used to cut my fingers with nail clippers but I was able to stop that a few years ago. Now I'm trying to stop picking altogether. The use of strategies has helped me to cut down quite a lot. I know it may take a long time to stop altogether but that's ok. I'm really happy that my fingers are mostly healed! I've realised that my dermatillomania is a part of who I am and I accept that. I've realised that the dermatillomania and associated thought obsessions have helped me to achieve things that I'm really proud of. I'm an artist and I have been making art work for the past 10 years. I have picked the whole time as well but I have also used my hands to make beautiful things. The things that I make are very labour intensive and the energy of the dermatillomania has been the fuel for me to go further with making things than other people would be able to or want to do. Once I get it in my head that I want to make something then I will just keep on doing it until it's finished. I've realised that I see details that most other people don't see. Not just on my fingers where I pick but also in the world around me and I have put this ability to see into the art that I make. This ability has also helped me to be successful in my job as a researcher. I reckon as pickers you probably see these details too. The "manic" energy and need for things to be "right" has helped me get through 2 x uni degree and research projects that have taken years to finish but will be very beneficial to people in the long run. I've been in a group and solo shows with my art work. I've realised recently that perhaps I can harness this dermatillomania energy and push it out of myself and use in in other more positive ways. I can continue to "build" and fuel my passions rather than turning it in on myself and destroying and picking things down. What are the positive sides of skin picking that you've thought of or experienced?
3 Answers
August 05, 2013
You're unique. I have yet to find anything even remotely positive about this.
August 05, 2013
I actually agree with you a little! My compulsive planning and need for perfection let me graduate college at age 20 and secure a job with the government. I feel like I succeed at many things I attempt because I am determined to be perfect. However, this is a downfall too because I pick at my skin because in my mind, the more I pick, the faster it will heal. Like ripping the dry scab off with produce moist new skin underneath, although it is not true. This lifestyle of trying to be perfect is such a miracle and a curse! There are days where I am on Cloud 9 and so proud of myself, but it seems like there are more low days. I need to focus all of my energy out of my face and into something more constructive. I do agree with you, but would not count this as a blessing. I love your positive outlook!
face picker
August 26, 2013
I can relate. I too have that excessive manic energy that allows me to accomplish numerous amounts of things more than others. I am very good at research which I love to do and Im an excellent multi-tasker. The key thing that you said is to use your energy in your favor instead of against you like our disorder makes us do. Energy converted and refined. Congratulations on your accomplishments.

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