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Tired_Angel , 23 Jul 2020

My thumbs are killing me

I have searched online just about everywhere and can't seem to find a solution or reasoning behind my picking, or anyone else who picks at the same place. I don't think it's from stress or anxiety or depression because none of those compel me to pick to calm down. Even though I do suffer from depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia. What happens to make me start is pain.

I mostly pick on my right thumb pad. Right in the center or under the nail. I can go days without the urge until it just starts to hurt. Throbbing, dull to sharp pain. And the only relief I get is to take a push pin and just...dig out the skin from under my thumbnail. I have decent sized dents from this but it makes it feel so much better? Like I can finally relax after getting a big chunk out. The pain goes away.

The same is on the pad of my thumb. It just hurts out of nowhere. I usually take a pin and push it under the center of the pad and rip it open to so much relief. It keeps hurting until I pick off or rip off the whole center. Of course it hurts to pick it but it's like a good hurt? Definitely better than the pain that makes me pick in the first place. If the pad hurts too much I feel the pain under ny nail too, which repeats the cycle. I barely have a print left on my thumb and the pink and smooth patch is obvious and embarrassing. But I can't stop. I just need to make the inital pain go away by inflicting the good pain and picking away the problem. It happens around friends and family and I try and secretly pick at it to relieve things.

I searched and found this site after picking, and it's hard to type on my phone because my thumb wound is still open. I just want to pull at the center with pins or my nails to get the good pain and get the bad skin off and away. I'm scared to bring it up to my therapist because it's embarrassing. I'm hoping to find comfort and tips in some peers. I'm sorry for the novel post.

2 Answers
July 27, 2020

I definitely understand how it feels when you have something that you just have to pick at. I usually pick at the skin on my face, and I'm never satisfied until I pop a pimple or get the stuff out of a blackhead. One thing that has helped me a lot is putting band aids on my fingers. I put them on so that they're really tight, and for me it reduces the urge to pick. Another thing that is helpful is just taking care of yourself as much as you can in general, getting enough sleep and exercise are really important. Remember to be kind to yourself too!! Don't beat yourself up every time you pick. Good luck!!! ;)

July 28, 2020

That never-ending cycle can be so frustrating! I have found that using a lidocaine/antiseptic spray helps so much. (I have used this one, but I think anything similar would work…). It numbs the pain, therefore taking away that pain trigger, and it helps it heal with the antiseptic. I think since your picking spot is on your thumb, I'd spray it, then put a band aid on it, and then maybe even gloves over that. Keeps you from picking and it's numbed, so it doesn't drive you crazy.

The other thing that I really like is mindfulness meditation, I especially like the ones about equanimity, or accepting and letting go. It helps me to not give in as much to the urges, because it acknowledges the thing (like a picking urge for example), and then sort of helps you to let it be there without having to act on it and respond. I feel I can more easily let it be, and then eventually the urge just passes on it's own. When I think about 'resisting, resisting', trying to ignore it and using will power, it just makes the urge gain momentum and get bigger and bigger until it's so overwhelming that I'm obsessed about it until I do something to relieve it. So, the meditation is sort of like 'practicing' to 'acknowledge and let go' or use 'equanimity' in the moments when I have an urge. Hope this helps! Good luck!

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