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exl2398

dermatillomania/compulsive skin picking. possible trigger

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does anyone else suffer from this? I have been doing it at least 18 years. I am 31 now. I still remember the first time I did it. I was laying on the couch and rubbing my eye when I felt a bump on the curve of my nose by my eye socket. I picked at that for a good 20 minutes or so, and only stopped digging at it when it began to sting. it was ridiculous the size of the wound when I stopped and went into the bathroom to look. my fingers were bloody and I had blood under my nails. I did it from then on, stopping only for a couple of days, save the time I stopped nearly completely for a few months sometime in 2003-2004. it has recently spiraled out of control, big time. I do not know how to control it and have anywhere from 45-50 sores/wounds on my body right now, nearly half of which are on my right arm. before now, the only time I had done it in a place where it might be seen by someone was that first time I did it. but right now I have 13 visible, 11 of which are on my right forearm, two on the left forearm. the upper arm/bicep on the right also has a ridiculous amount of scabs on it, and my left has 5 on the upper part. there are 3 in the middle of my back, two on my lower back, 3-4 on my shoulders, 3 on my hips, 3 on my stomach, and six along my waist line (these are particularly painful when I wear jears or tight fitting pants, especially after I pick them, and right now they are stinging).

I talk about this often with my pdoc and tdoc, both of which think it may be self-injury. I do it because I cannot - absolutely cannot - stand to feel imperfection on my body. cannot fucking stand it. at. all. I realize this is irrational, but I cannot stand it. I get anxiety-ridden when I feel them, and when I try to ignore them. I sometimes wear a light colored shirt to discourage myself, but I eventually give up and put on a dark shirt so I can pick it all off. it hardly ever hurts to pick, and it soothes the hell out of me, as leaving them be drives me up a fucking wall. my tdoc suggested today that I put socks on my hand. I told him that would look ridiculously obvious and told him I would hold my hands together to see if that would work. it didn't, of course. it lasted all of a couple of hours. sometimes I do it without realizing it, and other times I sit there in full knowledge that I am doing it and just do it. I pick an average of 1.25 hours a day, sometimes more, rarely less. I can't help it and have no clue how to stop it. I have OCD, and am pretty sure this is OCD related, but I also think it might be BDD, as I talked to my tdoc today about how I look into the mirror and see myself as thinner than I really am (I weigh 292lbs, down from 338 in september). I have always thought this and find myself routinely surprised to see pictures of myself that have my whole body in them and how huge I look. I don't see myself this way, and told a guy that worked at my college, many moons ago, that I "carried my weight well," to which he responded that I did not.

so...any thoughts? does anyone else do this? how long have you been doing it?

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Not sure if it's the same exactly but I used to pick at the skin on either side of my fingernails until they were all full of sores. When I was really going through a time I'd do it until they were horrible and painful. I get my nails manicured now and that has greatly helped. Everytime I go to bite or pick I remember not to now.

I also find it hard to leave a zit, bump or any other sore alone. I try to find ways to forget when I feel the urge. I guess I've found ways to manage it.

I have been like this since I was a child btw.

Edited by Rae-Rae

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I'm not willing to admit or deny any skin picking.

However, I very much see my body healthier than it really is. I think I'm "normal" when actually I'm very overweight per my BMI, my actual weight, and gp.

db

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<< serious foot picker. Sometimes I pull off such deep strips it hurts for days. My feet always look feral.

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Ooh, yeah I do that to with my feet. Its the callouses. I try to buff them out so I don't feel the urge, my big toes especially. I've done that so bad it's been painful to walk on them. Ive learned to manage it.

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I can relate, i have been doing it since i was.13 i am 28 now and it became worse i am ashamed of my body aat the moment and find it very hard to show it off to my hubby and it makes me more depro wich make the picking even worse it sucks, i did go through a abusive relationship befor and had 2 kids from the bugger and got devorced at and remarried with a great guy and had a child from him but the picking got worse and i do get agro with fights sometimes wich is not right, my picking is now in my face my skulp my stomach and yes arms and leggs i have ttried to stop my mom has faught with me so has my family but nothing i do helps to stop it im getting very depro and feels ugly i have no idea what to do my heart is braking so please any advice will be apreciated

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I suffer from dermatillomania myself. It is a bitch. I know the feeling of having something on your skin and ABSOLUTELY HAVING TO PICK THE SHIT OUT OF IT. I feel your pain. I today went to the pdoc and told him about it so he raised my Celexa. Supposedly, Celexa is really good at treating OCD. So, let's see if it helps.

Good luck to you. Hope you find something that helps.

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I do this too. Recently I've started using clear nail varnish on my scabs...I paint some on, then when it's dry, it's very satisfying to pick it off...then I clean the scabs and repeat. It seems to work 50/50 to reduce my picking...I have reduced some on my forearms and legs which is good.

Plus it's hardly noticable on the skin, so I can use it on my hands, as I always seem to collect little scabs on my hands that I can't cover with bandages anyway as they just come off so quickly. It's just something that seems to have helped a little with me...if I'm in an agitated mood (and therefore more likely to pick) then I paint on extra on my arms, just for the soothing effect it has when I pick it off later. Just need to make sure your scabs are clean first, as the last thing you want to do is seal in bacteria.

In the past, I've had limited success with using fake nails, as they make it harder to pick. Still haven't come up with anything to help with the scalp picking, as can't use bandages or nail varnish there. I did read about someone who used a chapstick to coat the scabs, which softened them and reduced the itch and that helped them not to pick so much. Might give that a go after I manage to clear up most of the scabs on my body, as they bother me more than the scalp ones that no one can see.

Edit: just to add, I can't vouch for the safety of using nail varnish on open wounds, except that it has helped me and also didn't make the scabs worse, or cause any side effects that I'm aware of. I figure it's similar to super glue which can be used medically, so what the hell. I also kind of enjoyed the slight sting when applying the varnish to recently picked scabs...call me a masochist lol

Edited by Maybell

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a few of my scabs have healed, but I still have over 45 of them, and one is really bad on my stomach and is clearly infected...but I cannot bring myself to stop picking at it.

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When you guys talk about how many scabs you have, like, how big are they? Because I honestly wouldn't be able to count all of mine for how many there are, but at the same time they're all really little, like the size of a big pinhead or in the shape of my fingernails. Also does anyone know how sever the picking has to be to be considered CSP? Because I feel like that's what my problem is, but it's only a self-diagnosis, I haven't mentioned it to anybody yet, and I feel like my picking isn't that severe compared to others I've read about. Then again, I do have issues with validating my thoughts and feelings.

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I used to constantly pick at the skin around my nails, often until it bled. I bit my nails down to the stump too. Now I have a ritual to prevent this. Every single day I cut my nails as short and even as I possibly can without bleeding, then file them until they are completely smooth. Next I carefully remove all my cuticles with a cuticle remover. Finally I look for any pieces of skin on my fingers that I could possibly pick at, use nailclippers to smooth them out, and apply a bandage if there's any blood. Sometimes I even buff the surfaces of my nails. This has mostly prevented it, but I'll still occasionally pick or bite my fingers to the point of bleeding.

I used to pick at the bottoms of my feet terribly. I'd use anything I could find, needles, knives, nail clippers, razor blades. I'd cut off huge chunks of skin, and this might sound really disturbing, but I would save them and dry them out. I couldn't bring myself to get rid of the skin. This was when I was maybe 12-13, I don't have the urge to do this anymore.

I also used to get compulsive urges to stab myself with needles, especially in the legs. One time I used needles and nailclippers to make an even 2x5 rectangular array of circular wounds on my leg. I interfered with the healing for a long time, until eventually they just became scar tissue. Don't do this anymore either, the compulsions just went away. And of course I'm constantly picking at my face, popping every pimple I see, squeezing out all my clogged pores. I'm also super meticulous about grooming my eyebrows to the point of compulsion (I'm a guy)

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I also have dermatillomania. I didn't realize I had it until earlier this year. I've been picking my skin since I was about 12 or 13, and I am now 20. My face usually gets picked at the worse. Lately I have started tearing my arms, back, chest, and shoulders up too. Even as I sit here I keep stopping to pick at a bump on my face. I just got done with a picking session on my face in the bathroom. My face feels so gross right now. I have to wear tons of makeup if I leave the house. I'm tired of looking disgusting. No one in my life understands dermatillomania.

I've tried so many times to stop but I always end up failing. As soon as I start to clear up a little, I end up messing it all up because I get the urge to pick a one bump, which leads to picking all over. I used to take NAC but I ran out and just now got around to ordering some more. I'm not sure if it was helping, but I realized that during the time I was taking it my picking wasn't as severe as it is now. So hopefully that will come in soon, and maybe calm my picking down.

My greatest wish in life right now is to overcome dermatillomania. I can't imagine what it's like to walk out of the house without any makeup on and feel confident and beautiful. I dread putting on makeup every morning. Sometimes I start picking my face before I put my makeup on to avoid putting it on. Which makes no sense at all. I'm so tired of this achy feeling on my face and body, the annoying tingle I feel when I have a pimple, and constantly scanning my body for imperfections. It is causing me to be depressed. My life would be a thousand times better if I didn't pick at my skin. I hope someday I can stop.

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Dermatillomania, as I understand it, is generally classed as an anxiety-related disorder with the skin picking being a compulsive action.

Perhaps seeking some treatment beyond the NAC (ie CBT or DBT or other kind of therapy) might lessen your load?

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Count me as a picker without large scabs.

I used to pick at my feet a lot, to the point of blood, and pain for days. Not every time, that bad, but enough. I can still get it bad on my toes but not like I used to.

I didn't think much of this until the past year, but in elementary school I'd pick at the skin on my bum. I had light coloured PJs and blood would be visible on them, and I mostly remember that I did this sort of thing because of how concerned my mom got about it.

My nails are waaay too tough to bite. Never could get into it, hurts my teeth. Chew and pick at the skin around them though.

Acne and pores are my huuuge one now. I'm so sick of others not taking this as a serious issue for me. I know it can be pretty normal for people to like popping zits and all... but I get trapped in front of the mirror for hours. I hunt all over my face, focus on every pore. Shoulders, chest, and arms too. Pick scabs, pick things bloody, can't walk past a mirror at work without getting trapped. It's shitty. At least my pdoc takes me seriously.

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