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JayLee , 07 Oct 2009

Im a severe case, i need to get help - not sure where to do??

I'm relieved to find on the net lots of people like me who suffer this too. Lately i've realised my habits have gotten out of control, i have lots of different ones... - I pick my pimples, blackheads etc till they bleed or bruise. - I pick my spit ends, break of the ends till it leaves a neater strand. - I pull out curly/wirey hairs out of my head. I have straight hair and it gets to me when they arnt all the same. They reasemble "pubic hairs" and i either feel for them or look in a mirror. I have lots of these little hairs and lots of my normal hair goes too. - I love to crack my knuckles all the time. - I pick my nails, when they have inperfections. I even pick nail polish off. - I used to pick my nose almost constantly as a child. - I pick my husbands skin (pimples, his hair, look for greys etc), he doesn't mind and thinks its nice to get my undivided attention. But it encourages the habit on myself. - I pick my cats, I search them for fleas, eggs and residue. I pick at their nails if they are spilt. They hate it, and sometimes i accidently hurt them :( I even check their beds to pick at that too). I get angry at them when they wont sit still, but i love them so much. - I pull hairs out of my "down there" area. - I pick my dry peeling skin If i've been sunburnt. Its really starting to affect my life, its started as just picking my nose. And most of it is on my own body, its with me all the time! Different to a substance in the fact you have to obtain it first. I hide a great deal of it. Like do it alone, tie my hair up so i cant do it at work, where make up to cover the bruises, flea treat the cats so they dont get any. But then other times i just dont care, i want to do it so much i dont care who's watching. And its become so much a part of my life that i dont realize im doing it. My husband taps me if im picking my hair in public, which is embarrasing. I can spend hours doing it, and daily and necessart tasks get forgotton about. My face is scarred, i cant wear my hair down, my cats are annoyed at me, i seem to get nothing done at home or work, i think about doing it all the time and its driving me insane. More and more im finding it hard to concentrate on anything, its destroying my life! Im not sure what attracts me to it, i feel a "high" from removing an inperfection. I feel relieved by doing something im so comfortable doing, like a security blanket. I like the noise of a hair being pulled out, or a snapping of a split end - like a "pop" noise. I feel like my thinking is clearer and slower when im doing it, gives me time to contemplate. I make myself believe what i was doing was important. But now ive realised that my pimples look worse if i pick them, nobody looks close enough at my head to see a small curly hair or a split end etc. I have a reasonably happy life now, a bad childhood (mother died at 7, downhill from there) but i used to almost constantly pick my nose at 3 or 4, so i did it before all the bad stuff. I worry lots about people, future etc. I try to stop, and i find myself doing it subconcioulsy - how do you stop? Would love to hear from people who are/have gone through this too? while i wrote this message i put my hand on my head at least 5 times to feel for curly hairs to pick out, before i realised what i was doing. I feel so weak and powerless to stop it.
3 Answers
October 13, 2009
So much of what you said could be me. I pick at sunburn, scabs, spots, nails (especially feet where I have the same scabs to pick at for over 3 years where i don't let them heal) and sitting here now I have just picked a scab on my hand (which is getting bigger by the day) and every time I look at it i hate myself. It is like a security blanket and even though I don't realise I'm doing it alot of the time (my husband also throws me looks when we are in public - which really anoyes me) it does relieve me and in a strange way I feel momentarally better. I've always picked my nose... just thought that everyone did. I also eat it and enything else I pick and I have often wondered if it harms me in any way? My feet look terrible (I keep them covered nearly all of the time) and people comment on the scars on my arms (of which there are many) ... I just say that I don't heal well. I cover them every morning with make-up but once picked (which normally happens) they look as bad as ever and it embarasses me. Sometimes I'm really good for what seems like ages (I've grown my nails and my feet have healed so that I can show them)... then something triggers me off again and I just don't care... it's like all the not picking just builds up and I have this mad picking frenzy where I just don't care what I am doing to myself and the results are sometimes frightenly damaging. Then I hate/get so frustrated at myself. After all, it is only me I can blame... nobody makes me do it... why can't I control myself? And you are right, it is like removing an imperfection... I look at the scabs and I don't want them there... I hate them so I pick them off which only makes them worse... and I know this! I am an intelligent 43 year old woman.. I have a bubbly personality (although I do suffer with depression and anxiety) and my life is ok... I don't understand why I do this to myself and more importantly I don't know how to help myself. The urges are just so strong and like I said before, sometimes I don't even realise that I'm doing it... so how can I stop myself? This site has been a real help if only to know that I am not alone. If anyone knows of any way to help stop/limit this crazy obsession or has done something that has helped them in any way, please let me know.
October 21, 2009
JayLee, I identify so much with what you're describing here. I too pick (i.e., annihilate) pimples and ingrown hairs, and am driven to distraction by those wiry hairs on my head, as well as by hairs in my pubic area that don't "feel right" in whatever way - like if there's one that's more coarse or thick than the rest. Such strange satisfaction in removing them. I've known for a long time that these things are much more than a bad habit - they're compulsive/addictive behaviors, without question. I've wanted to stop for nearly 20 years now, and sometimes I do for a while, but I always "relapse" under stress, pressure, worry, etc. You said it so well that skin picking and hair pulling are different from a drug or alcohol addiction because you have to go to the trouble to GET those substance before you can abuse them. But hair and skin are constants that we can't escape. It's heartbreaking. I think I push people away because of my skin-picking (which is worse than my hair-pulling). I'm in my 30s and have never lived with a romantic partner. I do legitimately like my solitude, but I know there's also an element of not wanting anyone close enough to me to see or witness my private craziness - because how could they still love me if they did? I'm unattractive even to myself when I have my "episodes". So anyhow... I'm starting to really digest the fact that this is an addiction, not a character flaw or lack of willpower, and that maybe there really is help, just like there is for any other addiction. Have been reading a book that seems like it could be helpful ( I wish there were groups or even live chat dedicated to compulsive skin-picking. I could totally see the benefit of being able to talk to someone who truly understands when the urge to pick hits - kind of like an alcoholic would do in AA. Sad that CSP is still so underground. I'm glad for this forum, though. I wish everyone all the best in their journeys to health and wholeness.
I'm Really Trying
March 27, 2017

I literally joined this website just so I could comment on your post. I do the flea thing and most of the other stuff you said, but the stuff with my cat upsets me most because I feel like I'm hurting them.

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