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HeadCase , 11 Mar 2018

I can finally talk about this.

Hi there everyone, my name is Monica and I’m 27. I have a extremely severe skin picking problem. I pick and eat scabs, sebum from white/blackheads and skin. I also compulsively bite my finger and toenails (I do not eat these but I do chew on them) I also pick my nose and eat the boogers.

I’ve done all of these things for as long as I can remember. Most of my picking unfortunately happens on my face due to acne breakouts. I’ll pick a bump until it becomes a sore then I’ll pick the scabs. So as you can imagine my face is almost always covered in open wounds and terrible scarring, leaving me never wanting to go out in public.

My family doesn’t completely understand and usually gets very angry when they see what I’ve done to myself. I would like to stop but I can’t ever see myself actually quitting unless I were to chop both my hands off or something else equally insane. Although I am lucky enough to have a wife who loves me and understands the problems I have. But even she makes comments at times. And I can’t blame her.

This really isn’t about reaching out for help as much as it is finally sitting down and writing this out and getting feedback from those who are like me. Especially seeing as I thought I was the only person in the world who had this issue for many years.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this any and all comments and feedback are welcome.

3 Answers
March 12, 2018

Why are you unable to see yourself quitting this habit in the future? Have you attempted to quit in the past? How do you rationalize the picking? Do the compulsions completely control you or do you have some ability to hold back?

March 17, 2018

Hello Serene! I can’t see myself quitting because I have no control over the compulsions. I have tried many many times over the years to quit but none has worked for any length of time. I would say around 65% of the time I’m barely aware that I am picking, I even pick in my sleep. My pillowcases in the morning usually look like someone was murdered on them and my fingers/nails are caked in dry blood. I don’t really rationalize the picking at all, I just know is that it’s something I absolutely have to do. I would say I have 0 control over it now, I may have had some in the past but it has progressed into something almost subconscious. If I could control it, even the tiniest bit, I would at least not pick at my face. I avoid going out in public at all costs because of the stares and then overwhelming fear of picking my nose subconsciously in public. Thank you for commenting. It really does feel good to talk about this. I’ve never had the nerve to speak up about it in person.

March 18, 2018

Do you possibly scratch at dry scabs during your sleep? They might be itchy and cause a need to scratch. Maybe applying a highly emollient moisturizer before bed would soothe the skin and desensitize some of the feeling?
I haven't ventured out into much of the subconscious least not yet. I usually have a choice before I pick...a pause where I'm battling with the urge.
Have you ever tried medication?
What do you suspect caused your picking to increase over the years?

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