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Malia , 13 Jun 2009

I'm new (here, not to 'dermatillomania'...)

Anyways... like a lot of people here, I didn't know that others were as consumed with 'skin picking' as I am until I found this website. It's kinda a relief to know so many people know how I feel, but also really scary because I didn't ever think of this as that big of a deal. I don't really know when I started... I used to chew my fingernails and the skin around them off and "eat" that, and always picked my nose also (sometimes until it bled.. ah!). Now my main problem is chewing my cheeks. I do this every single day, and when I have a test or something due it is always worse so I'm pretty sure it's from stress. I went to my dentist last week and he asked me what it was from and i was just like... uhhh I do that when I'm nervous?? haha. I also pick every zit out-from my back, chest, arms, hairline, face, and sometimes even my ears... even though I have pretty clear "looking" skin, I always notice every little bumpy and squeeze, poke, and pick at it until it's gone, or looks red and nasty. I used to pluck the hair from my legs with tweezers and that caused ingrown hairs, which also got taken care of ha ha. I obsessively tweeze my bikini line, sometimes spending up to an hour or more at a time on it, and do the same when ingrown hairs come in my armpits. So pretty much, I have most the 'symptoms' or dermatillomania and never even knew it existed! well- now that i know that a bunch of other people do the same stuff, and that it is considered dangerous, i want to get serious about stopping!
2 Answers
June 13, 2009
Hi Malia .. and welcome. The thing I found about reading others entries is how much it mirrors my life - some things I forgot that I used to do (the ingrown hair things ... oh yeah). I almost feel as if my fingertips have some special radar on them ... they constantly run over the surface of my skin and find out any blemish ... it feels Enormous (however when I look at in the mirror I cannot even see it. In fact I have removed the mirror from my bathroom and have a small one in my bedroom cupboard door so I can apply makeup. They say that once you recognise you have a problem that's the first step. Next you have to decide if you really want to stop (I posted a comment in someone elses .. I'm new here forum) ... because there are going to be some hard decisions ... if you normally picked when stressed you're going to have to tell yourself at your next stressful period .. whoa wait I can't do that cos I'm stopping this. You're not going to get it right immediately ... and don't be hard on yourself if you resist and resist and resist and then give in - we've all been there. Just reset the clock and start from zero again. Keep on trying. Find out your triggers (is it stress, boredom, conflict with friends/family, is it a learned response to a traumatic situation when you were younger etc). Once you've worked through the "root" issues (which is hard, painful and involves some tears - well certainly in my case) then you still got to deal with the habit of it. It's a coping mechanism so now you have to unlearn it and find healthier, more constructive ways to deal with whatever the situation is that triggers it. Read through the forums, see what tips / suggestions the others have as well. Know that you're not alone - and not crazy or psychotic - just human. And keep on trying. Don't just address the symptoms though (and put on gloves for example) try to find out the underlying cause and then break the habit (by putting on gloves or plasters or whatever works for you).
June 14, 2009

In reply to by sweetpea36

yeah, i totally agree with what you are saying--that you have to work through those underlying problem, really idenitfy the triggers, and figure out how you are actually going to change the habit of it. Picking is like a two part system for me--there are underlying issues of anxiety, depression, hurt, low self esteem, etc, but then there is, as you said, "the habit of it." Its like to make any progress with the habit, i do have to do the deeper work, and then consciously apply myself to the task of making new habits. Also, that trying does move you forward, even when it seems like its not doing anything. Have you ever tried to learn something, or do something physical, where you just keep trying to do it, or understand it, and then it kind of "clicks" where you get it? You can't simply try, and then say "that didn't work." You have to have faith that you can and will get control of this at some point. I am mostly free of picking now, and Ive been trying to figure out how and when I stopped exactly. Truly it was a process of trying and trying to break and change the habit, plus a process of really looking at myself, how I think, how I feel, and how I keep on picking. it does get easier, and every little progress you make, even if you relapse does eventually begin to "click." You have to figure out what works for you and really commit to it.

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