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HeatherBeather , 28 Aug 2009

i think i might have dermatillomania ..

i think... recently ive been picking my ears like crazy i started on my left earlobe a few months ago . now ive basically picked apart my whole ear. its red swollen sometimes bleeding. my right ear isnt as bad but i pick at that one too. i know i should stop but i just cant its like it feels good in a way? like right now i know my ear is freshly picked and when i wake up it will be all hardend and i will pick at it again. i started thinking and i remember being very young and picking the skin off the bottoms of my feet with my moms crochet needles than stopping. than in grade school i used to run my fingers through my scalp find an area that seemed idk thicker? and just pick like crazy. that stopped. than the bottoms of my hands i would pick at. than later on for yearsss and i still kind of do it is my legs, not really so much pick but aggressively scratch. things like forks, combs or sometimes just my nails id scratch and scratch. that isnt as bad now but i used to have to hide my legs because of how awful they looked. so now really its just the ear thing. im not very educated on this subject but im pretty sure this is what i have. my question is do people who suffer from this switch areas like i do? i only thought it was just people faces. ive been researching it and i cant really find anything about ears. also how old do most people start? im like thrilled right now i thought i was the only person who did this weird stuff.
2 Answers
August 29, 2009
Yes, you are not alone. there have been many posts stating other areas of picking that relieve anxiety. I've read many posts that stated different years although many state youth or teen years. Also many report that other family members that do it too. i noticed that my mom ever since i can remember use to rub her face all the time and bite her nails.. now i do it. i don't know if i learned by imitation as a youngster or if i did it and then it became a habit and then the habit just any other became soothing and then i felt like i couldn't or didn't want to stop.
October 14, 2012
The beginning of what you wrote here is EXACTLY the trajectory that I took as a child. I remember being around 4 years old and really liking the feeling that came with peeling dry areas behind my ears and around my ear piercing (in Cuban culture little girls wear earrings from infancy). My mom and grandma found out and tried to explain that I was harming myself. They thought it was the weirdest thing in the world that I liked doing it. Around the same time I remember picking between my toes. I remember it got really bad there at one point and they enlisted the help of my godmother who studied psychology in college to try to assess the problem and convince me to stop. I stopped doing it in my toes because it started hurting too much, but I never stopped my ears. Over the years I've gone on and off ear picking sprees. I'll be fine for months, even years, but then I'll start picking at random dryness until I form small scabs, and I keep going and going so they never heal, they just expand. I like to see the dry scabs come off, I like the way it feels, I even like the texture of the scabs once they're off the skin. It's so weird! As a teenager I wasn't very good at hiding the scabs. I had lousy excuses for when people asked what was up with my ears. I usually said something about being allergic to cheap earrings. Right now I'm on the largest picking episode I've ever had. Started in the fall of 2010. I'm better at disguising the issue now. I hide behind cute flower earrings that take up most of my ear. Right now the scabs are freshly picked, but tomorrow morning, just like you, they'll be ready to be picked again. You can imagine the kinds of scars and discoloration that I have. But I can't stop. They only thing that seems to help is being so busy that I don't have time to remember I have to pick, or being constantly in front of others, all day. But that rarely happens. My dad is also a picker, in areas all over his body. He frequently bleeds all over the place. My mom thinks it's disgusting and doesn't understand how it could be pleasurable.

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