Online Test

Find out the severity of your symptoms with this free online test

Graydays , 24 Aug 2013

Admitting the problem is the first step...

I have been looking at this site for about 2 years and every time I almost post my story, then hesitate and don't do it. Admitting that you have a problem is a very hard first step, but I am at the point in my life that I have to do this. So, here we go (with slight hesitation still): I have been picking for over 20 years. I do not know when it first started. I honestly never even knew it was a disorder until about 4 years ago when I searched it on the internet for the first time. I was very shocked when I got results back from the search! I vaguely remember having issues in high school, but DEFINITELY not as bad as I have it now. I wore shorts and short sleeves and/or tank tops in junior high and high school. I played sports so I know I did (there are pictures to prove it so I know I didn't have the problem like I do now, not even close). Now, I do not. Always pants when I play sports no matter the temperature. I have so many scars on my legs and arms that it is embarrassing. I get asked about the scars on my arms and I shrug my shoulders and don't answer the question. Right now, 99% of my issue is on my lower legs, below the knee. I sometimes get sores on my arms, usually no more than 5-10 though. On my legs, I can't say that. I probably have about 50 currently (about 35 on my left legs and 15 on my right). I really do not understand why I pick. I know stress is a factor but let's face it, stress is not going away. It's a part of life. I don't know what to expect or get out of this site/forum. It has always been comforting that there are others out there with the same issue, but at the same time it makes me very sad and somewhat depressed. I wouldn't wish this disorder on my worst enemy. No one understands, no one so I guess I am just hoping for some support and some ideas on how to stop. I have open sores most of the time. Not scabs. I am scared to try product on open sores for a few reasons and I guess I just need someone out there that has tried different things on OPEN sores that has at least helped. I am not looking for a miracle or this to be cured in a day or a week or even a month (although that would be nice wouldn't it?) but just ideas. So, has anyone had any luck with open sores? Ointments, or medicine, or...anything? I have never met anyone in my area with this issue either. Well, that I know of anyway. I mean, it's not like we run around telling people about it, right? Like I said, I don't know what I am expecting from posting this. I guess I just feel like I'm sending this out into the world, and hoping for a miracle. Good luck to everyone and their own struggles with this disorder. :o) Maybe together we can figure all of this out.
11 Answers
August 26, 2013
I always knew that my picking was some sort of issue. I would spend about 45 minutes before showering, picking at my face, when I was in high school/college. I had other OCD-type behaviors then too, so I associated it with that. As I took more control of things in my life, the picking decreased considerably, but never fully went away. I've had times when I rarely ever picked, and times - like recently - when it becomes compulsive. And once I start, I keep going. Makes me think of the Pringles adverts: "Once you pop, you can't stop." :p Recently, I began to notice that I would sometimes go through a long, trance-like session of picking, then immediately cleanse and put some kind of healing salve/ointment on the areas. It reminded me of stories I'd seen/heard of which showed the cutting routines of certain people. This realization kind of freaked me out, and I began to feel a lot more self-conscious about it. I never thought to look it up. I knew I wasn't the only one out there who picked at my skin, but I never imagined the scope of this particular issue. While I am glad I am not the only one, it makes me feel even more sad for all of us - that we pick at ourselves. Makes me reflect - as I so often do - on our current society and its distorted mirrors that reflect back to us warped images of who we are, causing us to think we are imperfect in myriad ways. Well, I am working on loving myself more. I wish you all the best and am sending some big-time loving vibes out there to all of you. I already feel better, having reached out and made contact. I know that this is only a step, but admitting the problem IS the first step. I am going to try very hard to not pick anymore today. I am going to try to do the same tomorrow. One day at a time, right? <3
August 31, 2013

In reply to by sagewind78

Thanks for commenting. I wonder how many hours I have wasted on picking. I mean 10 minutes before you take a shower, 20 minutes in the car before you go into a store, and that's being generous. I used to tell myself "ok, I am just going to pick this one sore and I'm done". Then before I knew it, I did all of them. There was a sense of satisfaction that I "got them all", and then of course, remorse. So frustrating. I want to be able to stop, just don't know how to...yet. I think looking at this site and being able to post and comment, and have others comment on mine, is going to be helpful. It is nice to know there are others out there like me, but like you said, makes me feel sad as well. I wish you all the best as well. I know that we can conquer this and I am happy that I am not alone in this battle (even though in a way I wish I was so no one else had to deal with this). Thank you again for commenting. It is nice to "talk" to someone about it. And ABSOLUTELY, one day at a time. That is my motto. :o)
September 05, 2013

In reply to by Graydays

OMG!! I just found this forum yesterday and am greatly relieved! I have been picking my left leg for over a year now. I'm so ashamed of myself and want to stop so bad. Every day I plan on stopping only to do it again. So instead of one day at a time, it's sometimes an hour at a time. Good luck to all of you and I'm hoping to get help thru this forum and maybe help others. :)'s
September 08, 2013

In reply to by rodeo

I like that. One hour at a time. That is so true for what we struggle with! I hope that since you've struggled with this for a year that you can stop quicker than the ones that have been struggling with this for 20+ (or whatever the number is). I wish there were sites out there like this when I first started to struggle with this. I wish you good luck and thanks for the comment. :o)
September 01, 2013
I hope we can figure this out. I have had so much anxiety recently. Picking has been the most detrimental blockage of me succeeding. When I would see an area I had picked I would not even go into class. I am so ashamed of all this. But not so much ashamed after being able to talk about it on here. I am 25 and have beautiful eyes and soul but my picking messes that up because I can't be me with my face torn up. I just found this forum last night finally after liking for help online for the past year. I'm so glad y'all understand. We can beat this together and become the most beautiful succeeding for ourselves. And for our families and friends. They deserve to see the real us again
September 08, 2013

In reply to by DeterminedToChange

I hope we can too. We just have to be as determined to stop as we are to pick. Just have to figure out a way to make that happen. I think we are on the right path though. I mean, to be able to talk to people that have the same struggles is helpful- to me anyway. My picking definitely holds me back. There are certain things I won't do because of it (being around water is one of them because if I am around water people expect you to go swimming. Who swims in pants...) I would love to be able to live life and not hold back because of this. I do it in a lot of other aspects in life, just not this one. I hope one day that will change. I don't expect it to happen right away and I know it won't be easy but I still have hope that it will happen for me...and hopefully for a lot of others on this site too. You are right, our family and friends deserve to see the real us again...but I deserve to see the real me again too. :o)
September 06, 2013
I am very new to this website as I just found it today and knew I had to join. I think I have you all beat as far as length of time picking: try 60+ yrs. My mother said I did it as a very young child so maybe its genetic. Or I was stressed early in life. Who knows, I don't think I will ever really know the why of it. I have multiple scabs on my arm and hand as we speak and just picked them (again) before finding this website. I even went so far as to have my daughter, who is not a doctor but works in a doctors office, bring home surgical items to cut the scar off that was bugging me the most so a thin line would be there and not pickable. No luck there. She forgot the suture materials and we tried to pull it together and tape it. Not so good. Now I'm back to picking that one plus 3 more on my hand. One started out very tiny and is now bigger than a quarter. My picking seems to bother other people more than it does me actually, although I know it leaves unsightly scars and can lead to infections. I am going to continue with this website and all the things mentioned to help oneself and take one day at a time. I am already on anti-depressants and work out a little so I need to try other avenues. Life is tough, stress is everywhere. I know I never learned to handle it appropriately so I have to start at some point. Better late than never, although it is pretty late for me. Thank you all for being here and having the courage to come forward.
September 08, 2013

In reply to by skinsorough0606

Thanks for sharing and for commenting. Does your daughter ever talk to you about the picking? My kid knows about my problem but we don't talk about it a lot. Sometimes it comes up in conversation but it's not really discussed in length about. I have told my son that I hope it's not something he ever has to deal with. He doesn't really say anything when I say that. I have scars all up and down my arms. People ask me if I have some kind of skin disease but I just avoid the question. It's to embarrassing to answer. I hope by reading stuff on this website and interacting with people that go through what I do I will be able to stop. I don't know if stopping is an achievable goal but I want to at least get it somewhat under control. There is always time to fix something so it's not to late for you. You've made the step by being on this site and interacting so that is awesome! It took me 2 years to make that step after finding this website so kudos to you! :o) We will get through this, I truly believe that. It is not a solo journey though. You gotta do it with others and I hope this is the beginning of that journey for me. Good luck to you and remember, it's never to late!
September 06, 2013
When you have an open sore you should treat it as any other wound. I would recommend the whole Neosporin and a Band-Aid method, which has helped me in the past. The problem is that when it starts to heal, picking at the scab is going to be almost inevitable. I actually DO "run around telling the world about it". I find that the more open I am to my compulsion the more people understand. Actually, most of the time I talk about it I hear about them doing it or someone they know who picks too. I have been through YEARS of therapy and finally have my picking under control. I don't think there should ever be an expectation of stopping totally. Treat it like an addiction - most of the time it starts in a similar way. If I pick once I lose hours doing it - if I work HARD to avoid starting, then I can usually refrain that day. I have a few websites and articles out on the web if you are interested - check them out. Start here:
September 08, 2013

In reply to by KatV

Thank you for your comment and for the website. I will definitely check it out! As for your advice on open wounds, I have done the Neosporin and Band aid thing. Here is my problem with band-aids; you can get underneath them. So, I apply the ointment and band-aid on my sores, then a few hours later, I don't take the band-aid off but instead, I reach under the band-aid and pick the scab. I figure I already have a band-aid there with medicine so it isn't "as bad", right? Neosporin definitely helps but apparently band-aids don't stand a chance for a determined person like me. I have tried wraps with Vaseline and that works good. The wraps are line an ace bandage but they are self adhesive (so they stick to themselves so when they are on you, they are like a giant sleeve kind of). I put Vaseline on the sores and then wrap my entire legs (well, both legs actually). This actually helps a lot but my issue is that after a few hours (which I can get through not picking) they start getting itchy. Like really itchy and that is what makes me take the wraps off and itch until I break them all open again. I think if I can get rid of the itch feeling (not sure if they really itch or if it is in my head that they itch, to be honest), I can beat this or at least have a good start to beating it. I have read that using peroxide is bad for open sores (or sores in general) but it seems that it helps. I sometimes use that, then apply Vaseline, then wrap them. Problem is right now my legs are so bad I can't use the peroxide because it is just to painful. I mean horribly painful because i have been scratching them so much lately that they are basically rubbed raw so to speak. 3 years ago I stopped picking for about a month. My sores were almost completely healed but...I lapsed and scratched them all open again and they have been that way ever since. I get a couple healed and then I add 4 more. I just want to stop. I know this will be a struggle for the rest of my life but it's the one part of my life that I would like to be able to have some control over. I am a determined person and it's very frustrating that I can't get a handle on this. Again, thank you for the response and the information and the website. I appreciate you taking the time to comment!

Start your journey with SkinPick

Take control of your life and find freedom from skin picking through professional therapy and evidence-based behavioral techniques.

Start Now