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Litterbox , 05 Apr 2009

New here...want to tell my story

Hi all. I am a 26 year old single mom/part-time worker/full-time student. I have been picking since I was about 5 years old. I pick scabs and acne. It seems that the sites rotate. My preferred spots are my face, lips, legs, back, and buttocks. I have not worn shorts since I was in 3rd grade. I will still wear short sleeve shirts at this point, but would NEVER walk out of the house without jeans on. I hate skirts, even long ones. All of the scabs I pick at are either from acne or some trauma (think cat scratches). I do not pick on other people. For some reason, to do that grosses me out, but I cannot stop myself when it's my body. I have panic disorder, extremely low self-esteem and major depression. I have tried practically every medication under the sun and nothing seems to slow me down. When I was younger my parents used to tape gloves to my hands, socks to my legs, or tie my hands to the bed frame with panty hose. I could still take the panty hose off my arms if I needed to use the bathroom in the middle of the night though. That also meant I could just remove them so I could pick too. The only thing I have found helpful at all, is if I wear acrylic nails. I cannot function with them on. As long as I can afford to get them done, my face heals, my legs heal, and the world is wonderful again. Unfortunately, money is tight and I can no longer afford the nails or my medications for my anxiety disorder. I don't have to explain to you all how terribly embarrassing this picking is. I won't talk about it with family or my therapists. They already know in advance that it is a taboo topic. Growing up with the picking was awful. Kids used to make fun of me and tell me I looked like I had been shot in the head several times. An on-call pediatrician that didn't know my family even called division of family services on my parents because he thought they were burning me with cigarettes. Neither of my parents have ever smoked, ever! Recently, I had a large sore in between my eyes that was very red. A woman asked me if I was Hindu! I politely told her no and blamed it on severe acne. Of course she felt awful, but I felt worse! I have often wondered if people think I'm a meth addict because of the sores I have all over my body. Several months ago my doctor told me what the actual words were for the picking disorder, "neurotic excoriation". When I looked them up I found people like here that had countless stories just like mine. I was thrilled to find that the demon that had ruled me all these years actually had a name, but terrified too. I cried alot, and it actually ended up being more traumatizing than good. So, months later, I am back. I think this time I may be ready to open Pandora's box and find out more about it. I am still scared and nervous about what I will find out. Even posting my story here is an extremely large step for me, a person who for 21 years has hidden this "secret". I say "secret" in that way, because I think that I am the only one who won't admit that everyone already knows there is something wrong. Thank you for reading my story.
1 Answer
April 05, 2009
I am 25yrs old, i am single, own my own home, love singing in my spare time in clubs and pubs, have a good job and lots of great friends and a loving family...why do i destroy my pretty face!? i have been squeezing, picking, peeling my face since i was about 18yrs old. I think i remember the start of it was when my relationship with my boyfriend began to break down. i'd been told i was "Miss Perfect" "Never puts a foot wrong" "Never makes mistakes" "Always right" and i felt this was one is perfect after all. Just because i work hard and try do the right things in life doesn't make me a bad person. I never brag or patronize others and simply take people as i find them and am always willing to learn and understand and help others. Myself and no one else deserves to be mistreated for other people's jealousy. I think subconsciously i began searching out these imperfections on my face, however small and undetectable to others and began the painful process of hacking away! like many of you have said, i get a feeling of satisfaction to "get rid" of whatever may be lurking under the skin. but i also know that the result will leave my face in a complete mess, where as if i'd have just left it alone, it would have been coverable with makeup and would have gone in a few days. What i leave myself with is a huge hole in my face, blood, bruising and scabs which eventually scar because even after the spot/puss has been squished, i can't seem to leave it there, it still feels like there's more to be had and i can stand there going at this one area for an hour. All the while i'm telling myself, right that's enough now you're going to make a mess, come away from the mirror, walk away, leave it....i carry on until it either hurts so bad or i actually wake up like a lot of you have said from the trance like state and listen to myself and walk away. I have noticed that i seem to stop the harming when i feel happy and content with myself and pre-occupied but it doesn't seem to last long. When me and my boyfriend split after i left him when i was about 22 i tried to move on and do more for myself. i love travelling and the sun and excitement of exploring a new place seems to occupy me enough to not feel the need to analyze my face. i bought my own place and decorated and everyone seemed to think i was doing ok. i knew it was just a front. it was what i wanted but i still really didn't feel the self worth. i have started going on the sunbeds to see if it helps my skin and scars fade. i used to put stickers on my mirrors to tell me to Do Not Pick..but nothing seemed to work if i felt the need to i would go ahead and do it anyway. I have since had another failed relationship with a guy who turned out to be a nasty piece of work who really brought my self esteem to a low but i found strength of character from somewhere and took him to court for assaulting me and he was found guilty and is being sentenced this month. i think all this has contributed to my lack of self esteem again which started from my teens and i have struggled with it ever since. no one seems to believe me when i say i lack confidence as i sing, they see me as a confident talented person, but it's not how i feel inside. i hope that if i get help with my confidence i may be able to stop the face wrecking because i think i deserve to. This website is brilliant. i didn't know whether i was being daft and if everyone else knows not to squeeze to the extent i do, so reading everyones comments on here has helped tremendously as i know it's not just me. today my dad couldn't even bring himself to look at me because i have ruined my face so bad ,and that really hurts. i just told him to shut up and that hurts too because he is only concerned and loves me and doesn't want me to do this to myself. i feel i should show my parents this site. They worry about me when they see the state i leave my face in. it doesn't help when they keep saying stop it, and, why do you do it?, leave your face alone etc etc...i find it hard to tell my parents how i feel inside because i feel i sound ungreatful for all that i have in my life, i know i appear succesful but it's difficult to cope with when you're made to feel like you're a show off. i abhore show offs! i would never behave like that. i come across quite quiet when talking to new people and it takes a while for people i work with to get to know me. I drink a lot sometimes just so it's easier to mingle and to come across fun. It certainly helps just writing about it on here. sorry if i've gone on and on...Maybe others think like me? good luck to us all who suffer from this pointless disorder, i hope we all sort ourselves out because life would be much happier if we believed in ourselves more and had more respect for our selves. i know it's easier said than done, i'm taking the steps to try stop and will continue to read people's stories on here and maybe there will be some stories of hope where people have stopped alltogether..i hope so, it would help us all to read that! You are welcome to contact me at x

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