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28_Years_Later , 05 Jul 2016

Dealing with Shame

This is my first time posting here. It's actually my first time talking about this at all. I've never admitted to anyone that I have Dermatillomania.
I'm 28 years old, and for as long as I can remember I've picked my scabs. I never had acne, so when scabs weren't available I picked healthy skin instead. It used to be a once-a-day event, but over the years it's grown into a constant compulsion. I pick my face, my hairline, my scalp, neck, shoulders, arms, under my legs, my cuticles, back, anywhere I shave, and worst of all my chest.
I feel like I'm covered in scars and red marks. I can barely imagine what I would look like with smooth skin. And I'm so ashamed. I have to hide all the time. I can't wear low-cut shirts or cute dresses. I try not to get close to people. I don't want to meet anyone new. I won't even contact the person I love because the thought of being naked in front of him terrifies me. I feel so ugly, I don't want anyone to look at me. Especially not someone I care about.
I've tried everything. And I've gotten better with the habit. I use A+D ointment to heal scabs, calamine for redness and complexion, zinc oxide for healing and reducing scars, and I take NAC supplements which have helped me stop myself in the act. But there's nothing I can do do stop the shame I feel for being this way.
Has anyone else worked through this? What do you do to cope with yourself? How do you show your face (or chest) to the people that you love?

2 Answers
July 14, 2016

Hi, 28,

I totally understand how you feel. Shame and guilt are definitely the worst part of this disorder. Scabs and scars can be covered up with makeup and clothing for the people on the outside, but the way you feel about yourself cannot be erased because there is no running from how we truly feel in our heads.

I live with my husband, and we're really close, so he's aware of my day to day activities. When I pick, whether it be one small little red blackhead or 20 open sores from a bad breakout, I feel so ashamed to show my face to him and other people (my face is my usual picking spot). I just feel like he knows, and is studying my face, judging, feeling sorry for me. You know? I found it actually helpful to share my addiction with my husband. Have you thought about confiding in a friend or a loved one? I didn't tell him everything at once. Just little by little try to explain what my skin picking is really like. When I go a week or more without picking, I feel proud of myself and share my accomplishment with my husband. He genuinely seems happy for me then. It's nice to have someone who understands even a little bit. Hang in there and try to find a friend, even if it's a therapist.

September 07, 2016

27 and have been actively picking my acne and anything resembling acne since 13. Only recently, like in the last few years, has it gotten to a point that it'S a problem.

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