Hi. I started picking when I was in high school. It wasn't noticeable to me then, but I would spend an hour in front of my mother's magnified mirror every morning looking at all the made up blemishes on my face leaving scabs and sores behind. It took months, but I was finally able to stop.
A couple of years later, working a part time job and trying to get through high school, my critical gaze fell on my arms. I had problems with little bumps on my arms caused by dry skin collecting around hair follicles. I envied peoples smooth arms and just wanted to squeeze the bumps away, of course those only developed into more noticeable scabs, but the picking was still under control.
It wasn't until I graduated high school, a year earlier than my peers, and entered college, that I developed a big problem. My parents started the process of a divorce, I had just been moved to an entirely new city without the support of my friends, and the stress of college began to get to me. I began picking worse and worse, and then, I finally became aware of it. When I realized what I was doing to myself the self-loathing only increased, beginning a cycle of picking, which led to self hatred, which led to more picking, and on, and on. I would spend hours everyday picking and squeezing at my arms, and then cover them up in an attempt to forget about them. They began to get infected, swelling, turning red and pusy.
In attempts to stop I'd tell myself not to pick my arms. Instead my fingers would find bumps on my legs, butt, and face, at which point I'd despair and return to my arms. I didn't know it then, but I was depressed, feeling the worst emotionally that I'd ever felt in my life.
I think the worst part was that I had become so good at acting, at hiding my feelings over the years that no one had any idea of what was going on. I would cry and pick for hours at a time, but when it came time to venture outside my room I would be all smiles. I began to feel like a fraud. When men hit on me, instead of boosting my self esteem it only made me feel worse because I knew that if they really knew what I looked like underneath my clothes they wouldn't talk to me.
Going back home for the summer was helpful. I talked to my parents and am now getting therapy. I'm trying to be more honest with myself and to others about my emotions, but it's hard when everyone, including your parents, would prefer the lie over the truth.
I haven't stopped picking, but I'm getting better. My upper arms and inner thighs still look like a wreck, but my legs and lower arms have almost healed meaning I can wear shorts and longer t-shirts. I guess I'm just a work in progress. There's no real point to this post besides getting emotions off my chest and words of encouragement are always welcome. Anyway, thanks for reading.