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BlackCraneKuro , 12 Jul 2016

It Hurts

Hello. I just joined this site today, even though I've visited and read posts before. I'm 26 years old and I have been picking my entire life. I can't stand to look at myself and I hate pictures or videos of me because my favorite target area is my face. When I was young I used to scrape the skin from my fingers in the shower. I finally found the reason several years ago. I pick at my acne, wounds, scabs, scalp, arms, legs, back and sometimes even chew on the sides of my fingers. But my worst area is my face. I see pictures of when I was younger and want to cry because of how beautiful I used to be. Then I got acne. My face feels like one big scar. Last year it got so bad I dug a massive hole into the side of my face just above my jaw line. It went all the way down to the muscle. Now I have a huge scar. I tried everything from counseling to medication to try and control the urges. They lessened but never stopped. I stopped taking the medication because it made me act like a zombie. I stopped going to therapy because it wasn't helping and I ran out of health insurance. Then I tried sheer willpower. It got a lot better for a long time. It never went away completely but I was able to pop zits or squeeze pores without causing a ton of damage. I had a clear face on Christmas for the first time in years. Then this year I started to relapse. It started small. But now the entire left side of my face is a mess of open wounds and it hurts. I just got a job after being unemployed for over a year. I haven't even started yet but now my face is wrecked and won't be healed by my first day of work. I'm terrified of my coworkers seeing me this way, especially since I'm going to work at a fast food joint. My boyfriend has gone back and forth between being supportive and understanding to being frustrated and impatient. It hurts him to see me fall back like this. He can't stand my picking. I want so badly to stop and be the beautiful person I know that I am. I need help.

9 Answers
July 14, 2016

Hi, BlackCrane,

Thank you for sharing your story. It seems you've had some rough few years in your life. It's nice that your boyfriend has been there for you even if he gets frustrated. So many pickers have never shared their problems with loved ones because of shame and guilt. I think you should give medication and therapy another try. I've taken antidepressants before, and I had to go through so many trying to find something that works. I have a full bottle of Prozac sitting on the table that I haven't started cuz I'm scared of side effects. Finding a good therapist is hard as well, but you can't give up. What about a dermatologist to help with acne? I found that when I have fewer breakouts, I pick much less. If pimples don't stare at me in my face I'm less likely to get urges to pick. Please don't give up and keep sharining your journey with us. You can beat this monster.

July 21, 2016

Thank you, I wasn't sure anyone would answer my post. I need to get health insurance before I can go back to therapy or get back on meds. I need to find some sort of skin care that will actually help, everything I've tried in the past has made it worse. My skin is so sensitive it's not even funny. If I wash my face everyday I get more breakouts than if I do nothing. Even makeup specifically for sensitive skin Iike clinique can still aggravate my acne. I started my job yesterday. Afterwards I felt stupid for freaking out about it even though the only reason people probably didn't say anything about my face was because of the makeup I had on. Mostly I panicked because I have social anxiety and this is my first job that involves constant contact with customers (cashier at kfc). My boyfriend does try, but mostly he just gets angry with me. He tells me to just stop, that I've stopped before so I can do it again. He says that since I'm able to choose when I do it that it isn't really a compulsion. He tells me that I do it because I like it, that I won't stop. He believes that there is always a reason or trigger when I pick, and demands to know why every time. So I fish my brain for a possible reason for that particular relapse to give him. The truth is that there isn't always a reason. I pick when I'm anxious, relaxed, sad, stressed, happy and excited. Sometimes it's as simple as touching my face and feeling a zit forming below the surface or some other imperfection. Then I can't leave that area alone until I've removed whatever it is. In the past I've spent literal days in front of a mirror. I wouldn't eat or sleep. I would come home from work and then pick until the next day when I had to go back to work. The main improvement now is that even if I pick I can stop to eat, sleep, and pick my boyfriend up from work. I try very hard not to pick while he's at home though. We've removed every mirror from the house, but I still find ways to do it. Any reflective surface is useable, even ones that don't show much like a dark cellphone screen or are too small like the knobs on my cupboard. He says if I can't stop that he'll leave. I don't want to lose him and this is my last chance to show him I want to change. But I don't know how to make him understand that the things he says make it worse. I haven't picked yet today. I'm worried about tomorrow a little because I have work which means makeup. When I clean off makeup I usually rip open a scab on accident and start picking at the open wound. Though yesterday I was able to stop after about an hour and a half without making anything deeper. I do want to stop, or I believe that I do. I just don't know what to do the next time I feel a zit or open a scab before it's ready, how do I keep from thinking about it or touching it?

July 21, 2016

I feel ya. My husband thinks that will power is enough too. I have anxiety and try to explain to him that that is something that people cannot control. When anxiety happens it can consume you for hours or days and you can't just stop bad thoughts. I think the more you try to explain to him what's really happening in your brain the better he'll be able to understand your mindset. You just have to be patient and keep trying. Try not to get angry or upset with him because he obviously wants to help but just doesn't understand your mental condition. Wearing make up helps me feel better but you're right, when it comes off you start noticing all those imperfections. What I do is get into the bathroom wash my face and try to get out of there as soon as possible and go to sleep. You can't pick your face when you're asleep, true? It also helps me to stay busy. If I'm running around all day and doing stuff I forget to think about picking. When you're stuck at home all day picking is constantly going to be on your mind. So try to get out there, hang out with your friends, go shopping, play with your pet or whatever it takes to keep your hands busy so they don't start thinking about that acne. I found that products are the most effective ones out there. The owner also reviews over the counter products so you can check out what she says about stuff you can buy at Walmart such as Oil of Olay brand. Hang in there and keep us updated on ur progress. :)

July 24, 2016

Thank you so much for the advice and resource. I haven't yet but I definitely plan on checking out that website. Today wasn't too bad, most of the wounds have healed over and the scabs have come off on their own except for a few I still haven't left alone yet. Taking off the makeup after work was still an issue, but it was less than yesterday. My main problem is sometimes I'm not even thinking about it when I find myself doing it, like when I'm driving or watching tv. While it's true I don't pick when I'm asleep, sometimes it starts while I'm in bed trying to fall asleep and before I know it I've spent the entire night laying there digging at my face. I've had a hard time communicating things with my boyfriend when we talk, I'm much better at verbalizing my thoughts when I write. I know he just wants to help. Today he told me that he read this and it gives me hope. It's not easy getting out of the house, we live on a tight budget so shopping isn't often an option. I don't have many friends that I actively talk too, mostly because I tend not to contact people. Partly because I don't want them to see my face. It's been so long since I've spoken to some of them that I'm afraid I'll be an intrusion. It's a little irrational since the last time I spoke with a couple of them they expressed a genuine desire to hear from me more often. I do miss them. I plan on remedying the situation soon, if only to stop making excuses and do something about it. Now that I have a job, even though it's only part time, money shouldn't be as strained and we might be able to get out more. Also, I should probably try meditation again, I used to do a little even if I wasn't very good at it. Maybe then I could control myself a little better whether I'm thinking about picking or not. I should get to bed, we need to get up early in the morning. I just felt the need to write here, it's much better than the alternative anyway. Thank you so much for the support and goodnight.

July 27, 2016

Well I've fucked everything up again. Work was going okay, except they only schedule me for two days a week. They told me to come in yesterday at five but when I got there they said I wasn't scheduled to work that day. So I decided to try to get fired so I can get on unemployment until I can find another job. So I skipped out on work today. Everything was fine until about six or seven. I started to worry about whether or not my plan would work. I reopened a couple of spots. I was supposed to look for a different job today, and other normal chores. The later it got the more I realized I wasn't going to get everything done that I was supposed too. This caused the episode to escalate. Soon I had done nothing all day and my panic was at an all time high. My boyfriend is furious. He had a good day at work and when he came home to me having done nothing but pick it ruined everything. This isn't the first time this has happened. Part of why it got so bad was because I knew how upset he would be. This time is the last straw for him. He's going to leave and I don't blame him. I would leave me to. He says I don't care about anyone or anything. I don't do anything to show otherwise. I push everyone away and when they leave... I can't keep doing this. I just keep hurting the people I'm supposed to care about over and over again until I'm alone. I deserve to be alone. I've started to think everyone would be better off if I disappeared. I wouldn't be able to disappoint or hurt them anymore. Why do I keep doing this?

July 29, 2016

Man, you have definitely weathered a lot (this week in particular). Like, I just want to take a moment to appreciate that you've had a lot of stressful and anxiety inducing situations to balance. A waaay overwhelming amount of stress for a person to handle. I feel like I have had similar feelings bubble up when things are rough and then it's really tough to be good to yourself. I do think it's important to contact someone immediately (whether family or even the friend you had mentioned earlier) since this is not something to handle alone - and you definitely don't deserve to handle this alone.

August 04, 2016

Thank you. It feels so good to hear from people who actually understand. Some good news to report. He hasn't left, but I know if I keep fucking up that he will. Still it's a little easier now with the knowledge I get one final chance to fix things. I wish I could talk to my friends or family about this but I'm not on speaking terms with my dad and my mom doesn't understand and it just hurts her to hear about it. I don't want to bother my friends with this since they have their own problems to deal with. The only person I can rely on right now is my boyfriend. I didn't pick for almost three or four days but today isn't going very well. Mostly healed up except for this one spot I can't leave alone. Need to stop so I can get some stuff done today. Wish me luck.

August 09, 2016

A lot of the time for me the overwhelmingly negative feelings that come over me after a picking episode is much worse than the actual damage done by my picking. So I think it's important to do whatever you can to not get down on yourself even if you do end up picking--watch a funny movie and imagine what it will be like when you finally are able to stop. That usually makes me feel a thousand times better. I understand that the main goal here is to not pick, but hating yourself whenever you can't resist the urge to pick is just as bad as the picking. Just close your eyes, take a very deep breath, and think the most positive, optimistic thoughts you're capable of thinking if things start to go wrong! Although, I hope things will just keep going right for you! Stay strong! We can all get through this someway, somehow!

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