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Diva Who Picks , 22 Aug 2009

Can you will yourself to stop?

Hi, I'm a 23 year old Indian girl (living in America), and I have the same problems as many of you. 1) I pick my scalp. I pick the scabs. The bigger, the better. I try to leave them intact. Sometimes I will shake all of the flakes onto a black surface. It is disgusting, but I do it. I had psoriasis and I used medicated shampoo that got rid of it within a couple of weeks. Then I had acrylic/gel nails for a year that stopped this problem all together (just incase any of you want to try it, it worked for me. But I lost my job so I can't afford the nails or the shampoo right now). Now I scratch the scalp of my boyfriend as well as my own. He doesn't realize it's a habit because I do it when I'm twisting his dredlocks or just doing it in a soothing way. He's also black and has a naturally dry scalp, so he doesn't realize I'm doing it as an addiction, he thinks I'm just scratching his head, like many girls do to their boyfriends. 2) I pick my lips. I peel them, over and over again, because I just want them to be smooth and they are always cracked and peeling. No chap stick helps. 3) I rub certain spots on my body, like my neck or chest. I rub with my index finger, hard, until I get a little ball of dirt, or lotion, or whatever it is off of my skin. It doesn't matter if I just got out of the shower, how hard I scrubbed, even if I use a loofah and exfoliating salts, it never stops me from being able to rub those little balls of whatever off of my skin. I'm aware that many of you are scalp and lip pickers. But does anyone rub at their body too? I've seen my sister doing it before, but never heard of anyone else doing this. I also would like to hear from the lip-pickers. Do you guys do it to make your lips smooth, or for some other reason? Do you think any lip balms or chap sticks will help? And my main question: Do you guys think it's possible to simply WILL yourself to stop, or use at-home methods to stop, or do you think that outside help is necissary? Do you think you MUST seek professional help or medication, or do you believe it's possible to use a method to stop on your own? Please let me know what you think, because I can't afford to seek help. I don't have insurance, or the time to invest in attending classes. I could do some at-home stuff, but I really just want to tell myself to stop and then stop! Is it possible?
3 Answers
August 25, 2009
Hello. I am brand new to this forum as I just found it. It is amazing to read some people's stories and see some of the similarities to my own struggles. My picking is definitely different from yours but I wanted to address your question about willing yourself to stop. My habit was picking all of the skin off the bottom of my feet. I would use knives and scissors and fingernails and pick and pull until they would bleed. It was painful to walk on them and I would often have to wear 3 pairs of socks to give me enough cushion to even tolerate walking on my bloody feet. I had other OCD symptoms as well, but this one was affecting my marriage and my wife really encouraged me to seek help. I did go see a psychiatrist who did indeed diagnose me with OCD and gave me a prescription for pills. But I absolutely did not want to take any medication and I never did. Another friend of mine recommended a book to me called Brain Lock ( that shows that their methods are just as effective as medication. I did employ their methods and was able to stop picking my feet. I have now had healthy feet for about 2 years. I still have other non-obtrusive OCD compulsions and I still do pick my skin in general. I relate so much to others who have said that they cannot tolerate any bumps or anything on their skin and need it to be "flat" - that is me to a T - and I still do that. And I pick the skin inside my ears until they bleed sometimes. But, I think if I continued to employ the Brain Lock methods to these compulsions I believe I could conquer them as well. Maybe one day I will.
August 03, 2014
I know this is old,but,I have the same problem of rubbing my skin and making balls of dirt and some of the traits you have.But recently I found out it was a psychological issue.You and me are reeling under severe chronic stress and because we didnt get an outlet to channel in the inner frustrations - bottled up stressful reactions which didnt get an outlet for flight or fight response is manifesting itself in the form of the said behavior. It is actually an unconscious activity(which means you have no control over it consciously) and unless you get to the root of the issue hampering your happiness,it will prevail.Deep within unhappiness,frustrations,bottled up emotions are simmering and because you chose to ignore them and march forward and get distracted with temporary means of short sighted happiness,your sub conscious is telling you implicitly clean up the junk in your system.Funny and strange, how sometimes chronic stress manifests itself.
August 21, 2014
As far as willing yourself to stop, I was able to stop picking my hands and feet a couple years ago by following what I call the 21 Day Plan. Someone on here said that you can break a habit by going 21 days without doing whatever you're addicted to. I failed a couple times, yeah. But once I got past the first day, I knew I could do it another day. And once I got paddy two days, I knew I could do it again, and so on, and sure enough, the urge to pick lessened each day. I haven't picked my hands or feet since.

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