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Skin picking, shame and medical profesionals


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            So, I went to the ER today to check out a three daylong headache and jaw pain and other assorted symptoms, none related to my MI DX's. The PA who saw me asked if I picked my skin, and I said yes and she nodded and took it and left it there. But the tech who took my blood asked all sorts of very intrusive questions and I answered them for the sake of education. I explained its related to OCD(simple answer I know its WAY more complicated then just saying its related), mine is from anxiety I told him.  Then he left with “well you know you can get infections from them”. I told him that I was aware but it is hard to change a 15 year old habit.

 

            I was already stressed out, and then was shamed in addition to stressed out.  I am working on the picking and all of the reasons why and working on harm reduction at the moment. I am feeling really ashamed of myself and know that I should not be.

 

So I ask my fellow colleagues what do you all do when you encounter situations like this.

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Rowlena, I think you handled it very well.  If one of my health care workers was that unprofessional and invasive I'd probably have started to cry right then and there.  You were strong enough in the moment to take that crap treatment and turn it around to try to enlighten the tech.  Be proud of that!  And more than that, be proud of the hard work you're doing to change a harmful coping mechanism. 

 

I'd be tempted to leave a complaint about that tech's behavior, honestly.  He's the one who should feel ashamed. 

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Wow, I am sorry you got cornered like that; I can see how that would be awkward and hard to respond to. Especially to an 'authority figure' ER staff type person.

 

I have trichotillomania, i.e. hair pulling, not skin picking, but I can emphasize with the shame of being 'outed' as it were. I have very thick hair so it isn't obvious to most people, but very obvious to a hairdresser - I 'treat' myself to a haircut maybe once a year. They ask. I told one the truth to only one, she proceeded to act like it was Charles Manson sitting in her chair. She was older, maybe 40 so I told her on impulse thinking that maybe she had seen it before, maybe I wasn't such a freak after all. Ha, no such luck.  

 

I personally think you did the best you could in that situation. I dunno how you could have handled it better. I kinda think it was irritating of her to point out the obvious about the infection risk. Like skin picking is something you do recreationally, blissfully unware of any negatives.

 

Try to not dwell on the situation, be extra kind to yourself, regardless of how much you pick. :)

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