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codyjemma , 25 May 2014

Do I need help? Nobody taking me seriously...

I've recently come across the subject of dermotillamania and dermatophagia. I've been a skin picker for as long as I remember, in primary school it was mostly nail biting but at some point I started to pick the skin around my fingers. It's always been a talking point for people when they see my fingers often 'ugh what happened to your fingers!?' Only recently has it come to my attention that this is pretty much now out of my control, I have no conscious recollection of skin picking, it seems almost as natural as breathing. It's come to the point where it will distract me whilst driving, or I will delay doing something just so I can get a piece of skin. I also work with food in a busy pub and I'm constantly having to wash my hands because I've been biting them. For years I have been at the point of biting my skin so that it bleeds and becomes damaged. I can't remember the last time my fingers didn't feel sore, it hurts to even do up my trousers because the skin has to stretch and the wounds open up. I also get fixed on a pice of skin if it seems to be a 'good pick' as such. I also have a tendency to pick at my chest and back area. I know this started when I was about 13 years old and I was getting rid of blackheads/spots, it was worse back then , I would use tweezers or anything if I saw even a little spec in a pore. I've started to try and ignore it now and that area isn't as bad but the fingers are worse than ever! Aswell as this I also pick the skin on my toes/feet to the point where I often have no little toe nail left! This isn't as often but is still an occurrence. I've tried to talk to family/friends/boyfriend about it and they say 'you should just stop' but I can't, like I said it's the same as breathing now and I don't realise I'm doing it. Do you think they could be related or am I being over dramatic? Would I benefit from seeing a doctor?
2 Answers
July 09, 2014
Are the things you pick at mostly at all unhealing until you find the 'core' or 'seed'? If you pick the scab do you find some of the seeds attached to the scab? If this sounds like you, please read my post
July 17, 2014
You are not being over dramatic. I just recently found out this was an actual disorder but have had it for twenty years. No one in my life ever really realized what I was dealing with. Perhaps trying to explain it to them like OCD. These are also compulsively based. Seeing a doctor may help but find one who knows about the disorder so you don't have another person telling you to just stop. I have never seen a doctor though. If your boyfriend can begin to understand that it is compulsive, he may be able to help by helping to hold you accountable. Not expecting you to just stop but asking you if you picked today. Pulling your hand away if you are picking. Giving you encouragement to fight the urge. I know it always helped me when someone was on my side helping me be conscious of it. Good luck! I hope you can begin to overpower the urge and heal.

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