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Ellna , 02 Oct 2009

I also pick and eat...

Hello... I'm a 24 year old woman, and I've been picking for as long as I can remember... Ever since I was a little kid. I always picked at scabs or dry skin, and would eat it after picking. I have also always picked my nose. I always knew it was gross, but I just had an urge to do it. I noticed around age 12 or so that I did it out of stress, but it quickly became subconcious. I had horrible acne up until I was 19... Including on my back and shoulders. I would pick them to the point the scabs were big, open craters. A small, little pimple would became twice or three times the size because I couldn't stop. I finally got on acne medication which helped clear my face and back, and I have been clear ever since. However, any time I have a bug bite, scratch, or any other little thing I pick at it until it becomes bigger, and I eat the scabs afterward. I have never self-mutilated myself. The scabs I pick are those little scratches and things that happen from time to time, but they stay around for a long time. I have two scabs on the top of my head where I accidently burned myself with a flat iron... Two very small spots. I have been picked at them for over a year, and they are still there. It disturbs me that I do this. I also have a lesion on the inside of my left nostril, and it gets very crusty and bloody and I pick that scab as well, which I know is horrdendous. I think I like the way it feels when I pick or peel the scab off... The smell of the blood and the taste and texture of the scab itself. For the past few years, I have researched this lightly, and I finally decided to start talking about it. I'm so very very thankful to have stumbled across this site... I feel like I am finally not alone in this, and maybe I can get advice from people who won't scoff at me, or put me down. I don't have medical insurance so I haven't been able to seek medical help to get professional help. I have never been to a psychologist or anything of that nature... I'm afraid they will want to put me on some kind of med. I generally have a good life! I have a loving family, great friends, a wonderful boyfriend, a decent job and I'm doing well. I just am worried on how this habit will affect my health, and how it will affect me in the future. Thank you so very much in advance for all the responses and posts in the forum. Taking this step in coming out and talking about this is already helping me a great deal. :)
18 Answers
October 02, 2009
Ellna thanks for sharing:). I also have had my scalp accidently burned with a curling iron. The skin was a weird like rippled scab and it felt so cool that strangely enough I did not want it to go away. I know everything have done related to picking/scratching/eating is wrong. I can relate to the euphoric feeling of pulling a scab off...I didn't really realize it until last night how good it felt to get my "fix". you can post on my thread "pick...pick...pick......pick...pick" or read what other have put on there. Thank you so much for sharing i know it was a hard step but have done it:)!!!
October 02, 2009

In reply to by Becca

Thanks Becca, I appreciate your reply. :) I think talking about it, even reading about other people's experiences in this is sort of comforting - I know now I'm really not as alone as I thought I was. The feeling of the burn scab was very much a texture thing. Now it's just crusty and rough, but I think it was also the fact tha no one can really see it. I found that because I'm so embarrassed about my picking... If anyone sees my scabs and says anything, I make up some story about how I got it. I recently got a hair cut, and the hairdresser asked about the scabs on my head. She made a pained face, like I was hurting, like it was really that bad... And it made me a tad paranoid and sick to my stomach at her reaction. I made up some story about hitting my head and they were still fresh wounds or something... I can't remember. I have a few bug bites on my shins that I picked at, and now look awful. One is so big I can't believe it was a bug bite. My boyfriend asked what happened and I told him it was a spider bite. I haven't been able to talk to my family or my boyfriend about it... I just don't think I'm quite that strong yet. I don't even know if I have some emotional disorder that's causing me to do this, or what's really wrong yet. Perhaps once I am able to do that I will talk to my loved ones. Again, thanks a lot for this site!
December 17, 2009

In reply to by Becca

I didn't tell my husband about why I had such terrible "acne" on my back for a number of years, and I wish I never had, because now if he sees me reach back even when I might only be scratching an itch, he will chide me not to do it. He will remind me that he is the one who has to look at it, which just makes me feel guilty (I can't see my back, which is where I scratch it up). I feel like it's my body, my own personal space, and if I want to scratch it apart, that's my business....but I can see how to him, it is sexually unattractive....perhaps it is more of a passive-aggressive thing than I realize. But for me, I feel like I am "helping" things by pikcing the scabs, getting them off and in my mind they will then be able to heal up and I'll have beautiful clear porcelain skin. Common sense should tell me this isn't going to happen, but for some reason I feel justified, like I'm just keeping myself "clean." I never eat anything I scratch off....I want to get rid of these "imperfections".....
November 07, 2009
you're the first person i've found who confesses to having also eaten the picked skin. i can so relate to this. i do it in a sort of subconscious way, it's only now that i've started to think about wanting to stop. i eat the skin from my fingers and i also eat my fingernails and the hard skin on the bottom of my feet... feels good to get this out in the open. be well.
December 14, 2009
Hi, I am a 17 year old girl and just recently told my parents that I pick at my skin. I did tell my psychiatrist [who I see for other reasons] but all she did was increase my medicine dose. I don't think this is going to help, because I don't pick when I am stressed or upset, which many people think. I pick whenever there is nothing to do, when I'm busy, as I'm getting ready to go to bed, when I'm in the shower, when I am at school, whenever. I also eat the scabs and extra skin, obsessively. Sometimes that is the only reason why I pick, just to eat the skin. I am so scared about this, because I do it consciously. I know what I am doing, but I can't stop. I have numerous infections and scabs and scars all over my body. I probably started doing this when I was 10 or 11 and can never stop thinking about it. Even now I can hardly keep my hands on the keyboard. It would really really help to have some support from people who really UNDERSTAND. I am glad I found people who just...get it, you know? :]
March 03, 2010

In reply to by rebecca.lyn

rebecca, im 19 and going through the same thing. and from several years of experience, youre right, the drugs dont help. i went to another doctor who even told me that ocd is more resistant to drug treatments. we have to train ourselves to stop from the inside, the drugs dont take away the compulsion. its so hard but i am glad to have found this group of other people who understand.
December 17, 2009
What I've been trying to do is forgive myself for things that I regret in the past and forgive myself for picking rather then getting angry or upset about it. Just standing in front to the mirror and convincing yourself that you are beautiful I've found to be very helpful. You can read about what I have been going through on my "December Rehab" in this forum, and though I don't think I've written it there, I do feel that this problem makes me feel like a dirty person. Sometimes it is hard to step back and realize we are all just animals and we don't have to be perfect. We can either fight who we are or accept it. As I have been working through this month, I've noticed that the days that I accept myself are the days that I am closer to being able to love and respect myself. I hope this helps :) - Look into your eyes and appologize. -
December 20, 2009
Hi, I am 14, I am biting the skin beside my nails away, rip away the damage tissue on my lips, eat it. I do this since I was in primary school. I dont know why I do it though:I have a wonderful family, great friends and no problems whatsoever in school. I dont do it either because I have stress or like the smell of blood or something like that. I just do it because it somehow feels wrong if I dont do it, but this is not really a reason. I only tried to do something about it when my dad, he also did this, told me to stop, but it didnt really work.
December 22, 2009
Hi Ellna, I'm the same age as you, and didn't really realise the amount I eat what I pick. That sounds gross just typing that. It's mostly just flaked off scabs or dry skin that I eat. I mean I guess I realised that I did it, just not the extent of it. Something I guess is weird now that I think about it is that I smell everything.. if I even just scratch some skin that might be oily or something bleeding, I can't help but smell it. That surely must be pretty odd. I'm trying to think of ways to stop doing these weird things (as well as picking). Awareness is probably the main thing. Hope you're having some success!
February 07, 2010
Hello, I have been picking since I was around 4 my parents tell me, right after/around the time I got chicken poxs for the first time(Ive had it 2 times) Im 19 now... I have scars everywhere and it really bothers me, I wear pants all year and cover my arms as much as possible around strangers...I dont even like having sex with the light on because of it or some postions cause I worry what my hubbys gonna think when he see these gross sores everywhere...I also like many of you pick/eat my scabs but I did'nt really notcied anyone say if they "drink"/ lick there blood, cause I do .... I only recently (like today) actually started to look into why I do this, other than the release it gives me, also I find myself doing it when Im not even paying attention .. But worst of all I took a scab off my 14 month old daughter today and couldnt belive it! I was horried after I relized what I had done, I really need help and really dont know where to being but its good to just let it out and let everyone read, Even just quickly reading how to stop yourself from picking the one site says to just think about the nasty scar(s) they leave and I've done that for serveral years with no effect. I also read how it a slight mental disorder which would make sense, I was depressed and anixety 4 years ago or so but its calmed down a little now.... I find I pick when Im board or the scab looks good.. dosent matter how red the infections is or how much it hurts when you rip it off I still do it anyways and now Im worried my daughter might do this, I try so hard not to let her see but she's smarter than most babies her age ... Im worried and dont know what to do... I feel like Im in a deep dark cave somethings cause everyone else I look at has nice skin, I've only met 1 other lady that picked like I did.
February 07, 2010
thank you for posting this! i thought i was the only one going through something like this, and like you, i am glad i cam upon this site. i too eat after i pick. if you need anything, idk if you can send a message on here. but im here for you!
March 03, 2010

In reply to by shelovesyoulots_37

i feel the same way! im 19 have been picking and eating since i was a little kid. i started going to a therapist to deal with my skin picking and i couldnt even tell him that i eat the scabs after because it repulses me so much. i am so relieved to find that so many other people suffer from the same thing as me. it helps to feel just a little less crazy.
February 27, 2010
I am a 41 year old picker and eater. I am not going to disgust you with the details, but this compulsion is very extreme with me.I am trying to get treatment for myself for this and other issues I have. For me, the dermatillomania is but one symptom of far greater issues. Hopefully if I can put the other issues to some sort of rest, I will be able to lay off picking my flesh.
March 02, 2010
I greatly appreciate everyone's replies. I haven't been on in quite a long time. I admit to still picking... Those scabs on my head are STILL there and at this point I'm scared of the damage I've done. They are years old!! I pick at them, and the scab gets caught in the hair. Sometimes I pull a few hairs out, and I didn't realize there was a sort of bald spot appearing around the area. It's not BALD, but I'm missing more hair there then I should. You can't really see it, but it's there. I also noticed a white hair growing on the wound. :( Lately, things in my life have gone downhill. I lost my job. Have no income. I'm desperately searching for work. My boyfriend and my family are helping me every way they can. I haven't felt depression/anxiety like this is many years. I have been more aggressive when I pick at my scabs. I only have the two on my head, and the lesion in my nostril. Both of which are really gross. But I pick at them even if other people are there. I just hide it, like I'm scratching my head or playing with my hair or something. I KNOW I'm doing this. I am very conscious of it now, more than I have ever been. I'm hanging in there, doing what I can. Trying to divert my negative feelings elsewhere so that I won't ruin my scalp any further. I hope you are all doing better. I'm glad you can relate to me, because I can relate to you all. -Ellna
March 02, 2010

In reply to by Ellna

i can sooooo relate to what you're going through. i have had the same symptoms concurrently for almost as long! fortunately they've healed up and it is mostly my face/arms/legs/butt that i have had problems with since but things are looking up for me. what i found helpful to heal the lesion in my nose was applying and reapplying vaseline onto it. the same for the ones on my scalp, actually. when i would go to pick again and felt that substance i would be deterred and eventually the picking attempts to those places subsided and eventually they healed. i wish you all the best with getting those lesions healed up and with all the stress you're dealing with. ((hug))
August 22, 2011
im only 12 and ive been doing the same thing since i was 6. i also have lesions on the inside of my nose and scars all over my arms and legs from picking at scabs and things. ive always been very insecure and have many depression-linked diseases like athazagoraphobia andathychiphobia and even atypical depression. all three of those diseases are linked to stress, a hurtful past, and the fear of being a disapointment, rejection, and self-loathing. i think these problems are also linked to my skin picking and eating condition. i do pretty much the exact same things as you talked about. i often pick my nose and eat it until it bleeds noticeably. i pick at all scabs. i have been biting my nails for as long as i can remember, which led to loose pieces of skin forming around them-which i also ate. ive tried to stop for my own sake but most of the time i dont even realize what im doing. i just randomly start scratching, which leads to picking, which leads to eating. im afraid if i keep it up ill just continue doing this for the rest of my life!
August 06, 2012
Wow, its sad to say but I'm happy I'm not the only one suffering from this picking and eating thing as well. I have been doing it fora long time. So long I don't remember when I didn't. I am so tired of having raw fingers. Plus it looks horrible on top of that. It is really embarrasing for me but it is easier for me knowing there are a lot more out there that have this issue. What can be done?? Anything or is it just a bad habit?

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