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KASP , 09 May 2009

I can't take this any longer. Please help!

I'm desperate for help! I have been picking my face since I was 12 years old and I am now 20. I want so deeply to stop but I just can't. I have tried everything I can possibly think of and nothing has held me off longer than a month. It makes me sick to think that I do this to myself. There are milions of people around the word with worries much worse than mine, terrible tragedies they have no control over, and here I am, day in and day out causing my own misery. I have always believed (or rather convinced other people) that I was a strong and confident individual, but I can no longer say that this is true (I cant even fake it anymore). In fact, I have a hard time even leaving the house. In short, I have, gradually over the course of the past 8 years destroyed myself and my life. I have never communicated my problems with picking to anyone, not even my closest family members, whom know of my disgusting habit only by the results shown on my face. This is by far the most critical point I have yet to reach, and I am scared to death of what my life is sure to become if I fail to control this once and for all. I have considered many many times of seeking out help, through books or therapists, but I am so ashamed of myself, that I decided not to go through with seeing a specialist. I therapise myself enough, I figure theres isnt much left to say that I havn't told myself. I long ago believed that this was an adolescent stage I would obviously grow out of, but to my horror it has grown with me and become a more horrible concept than I ever could have imagined. As I matured, so did my picking habit. I have forced it from my mind for so long that, now, standing here for the first time truly facing it, I've realized the magnitude of my situation. I have slowly but surely created an addiction for myself. Coming from a family riddled with drug and alcohol addicts, I am no stranger to the danger of substance abuse and have always strayed from those things. And now, despite my efforts to avoid these more obvious dangers, I'm faced now with an addiction I could have never seen coming. I am a prisoner within my own mind. Every piece of my existance now revolves around this addiction of picking my face without mercy. I have slowly cut off contact with friends, as I pick more and more frequently I am never in a state I wish to socialize in. Once a national soccer player, I've quit. A student in high school not long ago, I barely graduated, as I missed such a large amount of school, and now I am a student in university, starting my education for a brand new career and what I hoped and prayed would be a new life for me, I'm on the brink of expulsion due to too many missed classes, guess why?!? Looking back on my teens, a time that should have been joyous and full of memories I'll always cherish, I am deeply saddened as I realize how much I have missed. Nights out, trips with friends, even graduation. I attended but when I think back on it, I think only of how miserable I remember being as I was forced to cake my face with makeup to cover what I truly looked like. I felt like a disgusting disfigured human being, amongst a hundred beautiful princesses, I find myself looking back with hatred. Hatred toward all of those girls with beautifully smooth, radiant, flawless skin. Skin is a concept that has never and will never enter the minds of those girls, and yet to me it is the most constant idea. I even dream about it now. Like many of you, it does give me a small amount of hope and peace, in knowing that there are other people who are experiencing the same thing I am. The exact same thing in fact. In reading all of your comments I was in tears. I have truly given up. I have a very serious problem, and it has becomed deeper and more complex than you can imagine. Most of the time I can't even keep up with myself, and yet your all here, and word for word, as if it's coming from my own thoughts, you have expressed everything I'm facing. Thank you all for that. Well. I don't have much else I can really say. Thank god I know, nothing short of a novel is what I've written here. The only thing left to say, or rather ask, is that if you read this and you can understand the pain I'm feeling (causing), please respond. I need all the help I can get.
5 Answers
May 10, 2009
I know exactly how you feel. I am 24 and have been picking my skin since high school. Recently, it has gotten better...meaning I haven't been picking my face, but I pick at the back of my arms, my back and my chest. My parents sent me away when I was 20 for treatment and it helped a little bit, but I still have the urge everyday. It feels so good to pick....better than drinking alcohol or doing any drug. After I pick, I isolate and am ashamed of my face. My anxiety skyrockets and I just want to pick more and more. I have scarred my face...and have to look at it everyday as a constant reminder. When I was at my worst, my face was covered with sores. I am trapped in my mind and nobody else understands. "There isn't anything on your face..what do you want to pick?" I see every blemish, every tiny blackhead, every bump, every imperfection I want to pick. You are not alone..please know that.
May 10, 2009

In reply to by Adleray

Thank you. Every bit of understanding helps me gain my sanity back little by little. The fact that I am a young adult acting with the maturity of a tween eats away at me. Inflicting pain and disfigurment on myself any time I'm faced with hardship or stress. I'm so filled with guilt at the thought of what I'm doing to myself and the people around me. I have an incredible boyfriend who has shown me nothing but support and unwavering commitment, and I still can't stop. Not even for his sake. He deserves so much better than I have given him. He has adopted this lifestyle I've created, a useless and depressing existance that consists of as little human contact as possible. In the ten months we've been dating we've gone out twice, and it hurts so badly to think that the lack of social life we now both have is entirely caused by my picking addiction. He swares he doesnt care, but I see the disappointment he trys to hide at the fact that he has nothing to show for the better part of a year aside from pay stubs. When I first met him I had such high expectations of our relationship and the motivation I was sure it would give me to finally stop picking, but to my horror not a month in I found myself faced with the most dreadful situation. I has plans to see him and my face was in terrible condition, and I knew there was no possible way I would be healed in time. I have given up buying and wearing makeup, as I thought that if I had no way to cover what I'd done than I'd have to stop. I'm sure I don't need to tell you that this didn't work. When I couldnt bring myself to cancel the day came and it was as bad as I feared it would be. He didn't once say anything but I found myself desperately trying to convince him that I suffer from severe excema and that I had a break out and that was the reason for the dry scaly scabs spotted all over my face. To my relief he reacted with sympathy and senerity and assured me that it was nothing to be embarassed about. I have to admit I had never felt comfortable like that before with my face the way it was, not even alone within myself. Unfortunately, his complete acceptance of my imperfections lulled me into a false sense of security and before I knew it I was picking regularily again and continuing the sharade of having excema. A couple months later I was reaching breaking point and finally cracked one evening when he asked me why I seemed so down and out. I told him everything. I cried as I explained that I had a problem with picking my face, and how I didn't and still don't know the reasons why I do it, but that I just couldn't stop, despite the mysery it causes me. He listened intently, and comforted me. He told me not to worry, that everyone has problems and that he would help me in any way he could. For the first time in years I truly felt hopeful that with his help and watchful eye I could gain control over this, and for a while I did. I never stopped completely but never inflicted devestation like I usually did. I felt normal, I would have a blemish here or there and maybe one small scab that I had popped or picked a little but it would heal quickly and leave no scar, For about a month I was truly happy with myself and the normalcy in which I was living my life, then it all changed for the worse. For reasons I can't even remember me and my boyfriend had a terrible fight and he left home to go out with his friends. I was so angry and hurt and and before I realized what I was doing I was infront of the mirror taking my pain out on my face. As I did so many times before, I started out small, telling myself I would just get this one that has been bothering me, but after that one I would seek out another and another after that. I fell into a far to familiar trance and when I finally came out of it, it had been SIX hours and there wasnt a spec of skin on my face that wasnt swollen, red, or even bleeding. Since then I have continued to pick my face despite my boyfriend pleading with me to stop. Slowly but surely my relationship with my boyfriend has become lifeless. He has all but given up on me, and I don't blame him. During my episodes, I am screaming for help internally. It's as if one person controls my hands and another my concious mind. I cannot stop my fingers from reaching my face and yet silently within I am begging and pleading with myself to refrain. When I accept defeat within myself, I begin to pray for help. I see my boyfriend sitting in the next room and I will him to come to my rescue, yet the few times he does now, I snap at him and refuse to accept his help, too ashamed, too hurt, done too much damage already, so whats the point in stopping. Although I believe I have always know this, I have only just recently, truly accepted the fact that I alone have to make the decision and commitment to stop. All the help in the world will not prove successsful if I do not take full responsibility upon myself. I am sick of the tricks and the methods. No more removing mirrors and bandaging my finger tips. No more. Do you believe that it's possible to truly stop? Do you have advice for me on ways to start recovering, both physically and emotionally? Thank you again for responding. It is inspiring to know that there are people like us out there who have beaten the odds, and done that which we have always believed impossible.
June 01, 2009

In reply to by KASP

Keep coming to this forum! You are at the right place. For the past 10 days I have written on here, replied to others that have posted and read others stories.... and today is my 10th day without picking! That is a miracle for me. I can't remember that last time I was able to go that long.
May 18, 2009
I use to have pretty skin. Now my face is scarred and so are my arms and legs. I use to pick at my arms and legs which started because of a meds that made me itch. Even after I quit the meds and no longer itched, I kept picking. I have quit at my arms and legs and started on my face several years ago. I never want to go anywhere because of the embarrassment. I went to a dermatologist once and he subscripted a gel that made the sores heal fast but not fast enough. I don't always need a reason to pick, I just do it. It's too embarrassing to seek help again but if I don't get help soon, I'm not sure what will become of me. My children worry about me and beg me to quit. I wish it were that easy. I don't know why I do it but once my sores heal, I start picking at the dry skin and than next thing I've picked too deep and the sores are back. This is the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to me and sometimes I want to give up and say heck with it all. I love life and I appreciate that I've worked hard all my life to keep myself looking younger than I am but now I'm at the point that I have so many scars that even looking younger doesn't make me look better. I consider myself a useless & ugly person. I just found out this weekend that this is a disorder and I am not alone. Thanks for a television series, "Law & Order" where a person on the show had a skin picking problem & he was diagnosed with Dermatillomania, I now know this is a legitimate problem. Nothing can be more embarrassing than the sores, therefore, I now know that seeking help cannot possibly be more embarrassing than going through the actual picking. I will seek help and won't give up until I find it. I've decided it's never too late and God help me, I'm determined to end this horrible and ugly habit. I have too because I just can't go on this way.
June 02, 2009
i know how you feel- i have been in the same situation for quite awhile. it makes me so upset that you feel this way too, i always thought i was the only one. i just turned 18 and graduated from high school. lately i have been so frustrated with my face- especially because I am on the drug accutane and it should be clearing up my face n 6 months. well, i am on my 6th month and still getting pmples, which i cant resist picking at. I cant stand looking at myself in the mirror- i have gorgeous friends- and feel embarrased to be around them. they all have perfect flawless skin and i am so jealous. i dont know why im so obsessed with this and why its such a big deal, but it is. If only i had good skin and could stop picking, I would be happy. I have had four amazing years of highschool, but the past year I started the picking was extremely difficult. I didn't let this stop me from going out, though. I tried to cover up my face the best that I could, act ok, and go out and have fun. I know this would be really hard for you to do, but I would have regretted every day if I had missed out on all the amazing times I had with my friends if I didn't go because of the way I looked. I have friends and family who love me no matter what, and I have decided to do my best to cover it up and go out anyways, and im so happy i have, and you would be too. You have got to make this stop. Take away every singlt mirror in your house- if you need one get a dry erase marker and every time you are tempted write i will not do this on your mirror. Realize that what really matters is your personality, and that people are missing out on a great person if you keep yourself from goiong out and living your life. You are young right now- this should be an amazing time of your life. You are a strong, beautiful person- you have to tell yourself this. And what you do can make a difference in the world. It sucks to realize, but ultimately you are the onlly person who can control your actions. You have to tell yourself no. You cant keep doing this to yourself- it has to end at some point. Just make it be today. Every time you are about to pick, just thiink how much worse you will look if you touch your face. Try not touching for a week, and I guarantee that you will feel like a different person. Everytim you think about picking, just get on this website instead. I think taking to people will really help. After you stop picking a while and your face heals, you will feel so much better. And if you are getting acne, buy clean and clear or neutrogena gel to put on your pimples to help them go away instead of picking at them. And when you go to the mirror, put that on instead of pikcing. Just know that theres many people who know how you feel. I am about to go to college and dont want to because I am scared of this problem, but I have to tell myself that this is ridiculous, college is supposed to be the time of your life! You are twenty years old, you have so much ahead of you. Make the best of your life. You never know how long you have left- keep yourself busy with other things. Focus on school, or doing things youve always wanted to do. Something that has helped me is being around other people all the time. Try to stay in touch with your close friends and have them help you not to pick. Please stay in touch!

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