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Hello all! I've never used any blogs or forums for expressing myself about my dermatillomania before, but I feel my problem is getting worse lately and I'm hoping writing about it can provide me with an outlet to stop, or at least support me getting control of it. I suppose I should start from the beginning. I'd say I was in middle school when I first started picking; I'm currently a sophomore in college now, so I've been at it for some time. It started with my forehead because my bangs covered it and caused terrible acne, then I went after the rest of my face as well as my shoulders. Also, I have extremely bad near-sightedness where I can't see anything 5 inches from my face without it going out of focus. So, before bed, I would take off my glasses, pick the hell out of anything I could see while a few inches from the mirror, then go to bed without being able to see the damage I'd inflicted on my skin. My mom was the first to inform me, to put it politely, that I had a problem. She saw my freshly picked shoulders one day and flipped out. She was worried about it, but figured I would stop eventually. When I didn't, she became frustrated and scared that there was something seriously wrong with me. She told me that it was no different than cutting myself and that I was destroying myself when I could simply just stop doing it. Of course, she had no idea what dermatillomania was at the time, but her method of attempting to "fix me" actually made it worse, as it caused me to pick not just for perfectionistic / OCD reasons, but also for the feeling of disappointing her. Don't worry, she's an awesome mom in every other way, she was just very upset and unprepared to deal with what I was doing to myself. Because I never saw my picking (literally) as a problem, it never occurred to me that it was bad. I think that's why it's been so hard for me to stop. My picking has gotten worse; it's spread now to a sort of V-shape area along my chest and the tops of my shoulders, not so much the actual arms anymore, but as far down my back as I can reach, as well as some moderate picking on my face still. I actually spent an hour or more picking tonight, and felt really ashamed afterwards. After discussing it with my boyfriend, I decided to seriously try to help myself quit without seeing a therapist or anything like that. I've noticed my main triggers for picking (as well as pulling / breaking split ends of my hair) is caused simply from boredom and usually mixed with stress. It isn't til about 10 minutes in that I even realize I'm picking, and by then I kind of keep going because at that point, it feels like I'm "cleaning my pores" of the dirt and such. Of course, I Know it's actually harming me, but I sort of ignore that fact because it feels...liberating? Good? Hard to describe, but it makes me want to keep going. Typically, I can stop a few minutes after I realize what I'm doing, but not tonight apparently. I'm considering trying various picking prevention / healing methods like vitamin E oil or honey masks to coat the affected areas, and see what happens. I'm also going to make skype check-ins with my boyfriend to report my progress to him because he really wants to help me quit. Also, if anyone knows of any other ways to deter picking, I'd love to hear them, because after 7+ years, I'm getting tired of it and just want it to stop.
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