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red1234 , 21 Dec 2013

breaking out of this cycle

So this is my first ever time reading and writing on an online forum about skin picking and first ever time creating a pseudonym! I'm doing this because I can see how the skin picking is part of a self destructive cycle which is my lifestyle. I have tried a few different things to stop my skin picking, which I guess started when I was 13 (I am now 19). It began when I was I was really nervous about starting school after the summer holidays I just started automatically scratching my scalp and creating scabs which I would pick too. Then it sort of settled down and came back again with a vengeance when I experienced very severe depression, where it progressed to a catatonic level. I had no concept of time, I would forget to eat or drink and would just sit in my room scratching my back. I have some real scars to show for it. I came out of that depression and was ok for about a year then experienced acute psychosis, maybe marijuana induced, but mostly due to earlier trauma of my dad deciding he wanted nothing to do with my life (this was when I was 13). I understand the psychosis I went through a lot better now and am in a relatively stable part of my life, I am at university and have some great friends but this skin picking just won't stop. Since my psychotic episode when I was maybe 16 I have skin picked constantly. At first I would hide it from my family but then I opened up to my mum, see she would see my habit and think it was a subconscious thing I did and all I needed was being told to stop, what she didn't know was that I actively did it and enjoyed doing it, it relieved stress, as I'm sure a lot of you can relate to. So then my mum and I searched for what help there was out there. We found an NHS funded clinic in London which specifically deals with skin picking and the psychological aspect of it. I have had a number of therapists/psychiatrists in the past for my depression but have found none of them helpful. I went up to London once a week for my skin picking therapy sessions, it was a CBT method. It was useful in the sense that I was able to actually tell another person aspects of skin picking that I even tried to hide from myself, like that I enjoyed it, that it was a form of self harm and that I used it as a way of protecting myself from sexual experiences and the rejection, pain that can come along with it (I have had my fair share of not very self respecting early sexual experiences). I found that by having a horribly red spotty bikini line it gave me a reason to hermit myself and shut off from this part of life, but of course at the same time I felt sorry for myself and wished I could date, have a relationship etc. However the therapy course didn't help me stop. I still pick and what angers me the most is that it is me who is doing this damage so it is me who can stop! Now I really want to stop. I am shaking up my life, changing these habits, and one of these ways is by writing here. I would recommend to all skin pickers out there to wear gloves when you go to bed, and when you are on the computer or reading, for me these are the times when my hand wanders to my face and I can't stop picking. Also I find that my finger tips play a very strong role in my picking, the sensation of feeling the dry skin on my face and peeling it away is part of the enjoyment, so by wearing gloves my finger tips cannot feel my face and this actually dampens the urge to pick. I am about to start a 3 day challenge (30 day seems like eternity!!)
2 Answers
December 27, 2013
do you want to do a three day challenge together? i just made so much progress with my picking and had nearly clear skin and then... surprise surprise... i ruined it by picking. i just want a clear face and to be able to walk around without makeup and not feel like people are staring. i'm sure you know how i feel as does everyone on this site. i feel like it would help if i had someone to be accountable to, so let me know if you want to!
December 31, 2013

In reply to by cantstopwanthelp

Hi there! I tried to stop like this (with the 3 day challenge) but I think that maybe the pressure of thinking about not picking at all somehow builds me up to pick and then I just destroy my face in an outburst. I don't know if you feel the same way. I definitely understand you and want what you want! I'm up for supporting each other through this and I'm really happy you replied. I don't think the challenges are helpful for me though. I find glove wearing in the house definitely gives my skin a break. I'm going to try hypnotherapy soon to try and sort out the psychological reasons why I pick. Because like drug addiction, you can stop the habit but it's hard to get rid of the need to fill a hole that lead you to start in the first place, if you get what I mean. I think it's important to think about this, I hope that maybe that is a way to cure skin picking. Have you ever tried anything along this line, like therapy or hynotherapy?

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