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Booksandspoons , 15 Sep 2013


Hi, I guess this will be an introduction/looking for someone to speak with kind of thing. My name is Chantelle and I am 17 years old, currently in my senior year of high school. I am starting to think I may have Dermatillomania. It makes sense, really. I have been picking at my skin for about 11 years now. I think it may have started when I was six and caught chicken pox. When I was younger, I would focus mostly on my legs and arms. I would never intentionally make wounds on my skin, but would take advantage of any injuries on my body. Mosquito bites were a favorite of mine. I would scratch at them until I created scabs and pick at those until I had something my parents would call an ulcer. Those scars are so bad, that they are still extremely visible. I stopped picking at my body around 11, when I started to get acne. Now, my face, chest and shoulders are my primary focus. I probably spend any where from 45 minutes to an hour a day staring in mirrors and picking, squeezing and popping spots on my face. The worst time is after school. I come home feeling stressed, nervous or anxious, drop my bag off in my room and head directly for the washroom. When I start to pick, I guess I zone out and while, the thoughts of "This is wrong./ You're going to ruin your face./Mom will notice./ You'll make it worse." run through my head, I don't stop. I feel relieved until I see my face and the self loathing starts again. In class, I find myself scratching at my shoulders or under my chin when my hands have nothing to do. It get especially bad when I am reading. Other times, I run my fingers over my face, feeling for bumps that I can add to mental catalog for popping later. It is a non-stop cycle. I feel I should try and reach out for help and that's why I'm here. I understand that I should reach out for help in real life. Talk to my parents or friends. See my school counselor or doctor. I don't think I can handle that at this point and time. Thinking about it makes me cry. I feel ashamed for doing what I do and I also feel like I'm just trying to find something wrong with myself, as a cry for attention. I mean, I function quite well. I go to school, hang out with friend and stay on top of my work. I also know self diagnosing is a terrible thing to do. I know that my parents know about my picking, but ignore it most of the time. I have tried speaking with my mom about about Dermatillomania and how I thought I could have it. Her response was to tell me that I wasn't that bad. I can see what she means. The marks on my face can be attributed to bad acne and I don't scratch at my legs like I used to. And because I am still a minor, I am afraid of going to my doctor or counselor. I guess, I am just looking for someone to talk to. Thank you for reading through this.
2 Answers
September 16, 2013
Sounds like me when I was in HS. My name is Kate. I'm 31 now. I don't pick nearly as much as I used to, but it's still a daily struggle. 1. Play with silly putty. I put some in my car, purse, and by the computer to play with instead of touch my face. 2. When you get home from school, do something that will make you feel good, maybe head out for a walk/run or knitting? Don't go into the bathroom! It's going to be fine! Everyday is a new one and skin has the ability to heal itself. Good luck!
September 19, 2013
Hi Chantelle, I'm 19 years old, a sophomore in college, and I am among the many people here who struggle with this problem. You mom might say "It's not that bad," but she's failing to see the other side of Dermatillomania: how it takes over your life, consumes your thoughts, makes you feel guilty and ashamed. I want to tell you that I made an appointment yesterday with the behavioral health services at my school, and I told my stepmom about the severity of my problem (she knew about it but was unaware of the suffering I've been going through since I started, 3 years ago). This is obviously really upsetting you, so I think that you should go to a doctor or counselor. I know that that is a big and difficult step to take, but it's better to get it off your chest and find someone to help you than to have to keep living like this. I for one am tired of trying to deal with this alone; my legs looked so bad all summer that I didn't want to go outside. I don't want that to be the case next summer, so I'm seeking help now. I'm telling you, your family will be more concerned than anything else and will support you in this process. I wish you the best, good luck!

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