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mobiliser , 26 Nov 2015

Epilating my legs helps

I am a bit gutted, I wrote out my whole story but it got lost in the last sentence :(

Wanted to give back a bit after feeling supported by this site for some years.

Maybe tomorrow I will start it again but I have just found out purely by chance, after a high period of anxiety and destructive levels of CSP, that a large glass of wine and epilating my legs helps.

This seems to take my hands and mind of the need to tear, pinch, scratch, squeeze the rest of my body up and therefore reduces harm. It also satisfies that need to go into a trance and the slight sense of satisfaction I get when stuff has been pulled out of my skin - but it is socially acceptable!

1 Answer
May 01, 2016

I am f, 44 years old and have had CSP for as long as I can remember.
This is a long post so if you don’t get any further, I just want to thank the community for sharing your own stories and helping me realise that I am not alone although it feels like it.
My first clear memory of CSP is age 7 and from that memory I can tell that it didn't start then, but before. Throughout childhood it was limited to picking at my scalp and as I had a difficult childhood and was bullied at school / scared at home I guess it started as a coping mechanism for anxiety. I carried on at about the same levels until adolescence when I started picking at my face thanks to teenage hormones / spots / feeling greasy. Over the years it's been more or less manageable I suppose and became part of my life that I was always going to keep to myself and expect i just about managed that even throughout various relationships - sometimes I'd have marks on my back but no-one ever commented. Some time around 2007 I found something on the internet by Dr Grossbart and realised I was not a freak.
4 years ago I went back to college after having, been made redundant one week back from maternity leave. When I started Uni a few years ago my CSP got worse around assignment time, reaching a peak on my penultimate assignment back in February of this year, where I sat in a trance, in a mental block unable to write for 6 weeks and picked away at my skin just about everywhere. This left me just a few days to write the whole thing and I could have failed. Some weeks earlier, around Christmas I disclosed my CSP for the first time in my life to my mother & husband, and then in February to 3 friends, two of whom were Uni friends. We have spent the last 4 yrs together training to be therapists and no-one had a clue. I also told my lecturer who had guessed as my final case study on Mental Health included a particularly knowledgeable piece about a ‘client with BFRB’.
Why am I writing now? Perhaps because for the first time in my life things have reached a new low – I have no idea why. It seems worse since I told people even though I know they don’t judge. I told my therapist who skipped right over the subject, and learnt there and then what NEVER to do with one of my own clients. So, I don’t trust it to take to therapy, I am a psychotherapist haha! I haven’t told a GP because quite frankly I probably know much more about this than they do. I just cannot understand why now, why this time in my life when I am happier than I have been and under less pressure that I was. But this ruinous habit has taken over my life recently, impacting upon my family who see less of me. I don’t sleep at night and reckon I am typing this just partly to keep my hands otherwise occupied.
Every coping thing that I used to find helped isn’t doing so now. If I felt the urge to pick, usually if there is the tiniest hint of feeling my skin / scalp was greasy, I’d be in the shower and wash my hair. I would spend an hour epilating my legs, arms, because there was something satisfying about ripping out the hairs instead of injuring my skin. However, this is a double-edged sword as after epilation comes the ingrown hairs which I’d always have to gouge out and end up bleeding.
I hate this bloody OCD. Or, its what I refer to as my ‘CD’ because there isn’t really the ‘O’ that I can put my finger on anyway.
I have thrown away all the face treatments that strip the skin of gunk and oil, after years of believing this would help – instead I have made my own antibacterial face oil which I put on before bed after washing face with something with no harsh ingredients in. I use a fragrance free, non-comodogenic sunscreen of factor 50 in the day as due to my darker skin and the picking I have hyper-pigmentation which gets worse with sun exposure. I am trying to concentrate on my hobby, which is immersive and helps a bit, and as a side project I am attempting to devise a skin care routine and homemade products especially suited to those with derma. I guess this last paragraph is the only things that are helping me. Since I gave up smoking 18 months ago I notice my CSP has got a lot worse. I used Acceptance and Commitment Therapy to give up smoking and some part of me knows that I could probably use it to help CSP. Something is stopping me so I guess I want to be saddled with this thing even though I can’t stand it, it must be protecting me from some other anxiety.

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