Obsessive Skin Picking

Discussion in 'Self Harm & Substance Abuse' started by Fox in the Woods, Jul 11, 2009.

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  1. Fox in the Woods

    Fox in the Woods Active Member

    I guess some people might not call this self harm, but I do. I do it because I'm depressed and feel as though it is the only thing that will take away the pain. It makes me feel better about myself, although the satisfaction is short lived. It's not life threatening, unless I get an infection and die that way. I use to be a cutter, but I found it drew too much attention to myself, so I stopped.

    For many years I have suffered from depression, and in the past have resorted to cutting myself with what ever sharp object was lying around, eg. knives, razors, scissors (the usual suspects). Just this year though, I have started to obsessively pick at my hair and my skin and wherever I may have a pimple or a sore or even a bump on my skin.

    Right now I have a number of scars all over my face, all over my back and chest. I want to stop, but I don't know how to because I get so stressed all the time and there's nobody to help me with anything I'm going through. I was wondering if anybody else was suffering from the same thing and may know a way to help me stop. It's really embaressing and I have to wear heaps of make up all over my body to stop people from realizing what is happening. I've been to a psychologist before, but I didn't tell her about it. She doesn't help anyway.

    My mum is worried that it will leave scars all over my body, and I guess that if I keep on doing it, I will have scars from it. I don't know. I don't think anything can really help me to stop.
  2. christian_1990

    christian_1990 Well-Known Member

  3. thedeafmusician

    thedeafmusician Staff Alumni

    I haven't any enlightening words of wisdom for you. Wish I did... but I ain't gonna lie. Though, I do it as well... but you cant really see it easily because I tend to pick at my scalp, and I have insanely thick hair... so...

    About your psychologist... are you being honest with her? She might not be helping simply because you haven't given her the full story. I dont know. I dont know enough about you or your situation to really make any judgements... so I'll just leave it out there.

  4. Acy

    Acy Mama Bear - TLC, Common Sense Staff Member Safety & Support

    Heya, Fox...It's really good that you have recognized you are doing this to relieve anxiety and stress.

    To stop yourself, try to find another strategy to relieve your stress. Different people do that in different ways - exercise, cleaning house, writing, calling a friend on the phone, playing with their pets, reading, going for a walk, etc., etc. (I find organizing my junk cupboard can help me feel less stressed.)

    I would try to catch yourself when you start picking...as soon as you realize that you're doing it, remind yourself that it's a stress-relieving strategy for you, but that it's one that will eventually cause you more stress (infection, scars, scabs). It's not a kind thing to do to yourself, and you deserve better than that, I'm sure. Then, go do something else right away. (Sometimes just realizing "Oh...yeah, I'm picking/scratching/poking, I must be stressed" gives us a chance to stop it sooner.)

    Avoid scarring yourself, hun, and try to break the habit as soon as you can. You can do it!

    All the best, :hug:

  5. total eclipse

    total eclipse SF Friend Staff Alumni

    There are some medication that can help with this. ask you therapist about it let her know how bad it gets take care
  6. ThoseEmptyWalls

    ThoseEmptyWalls Well-Known Member

    Im a picker too. I never really looked at it as a way to self harm though.. Sometimes I pick at my skin with nail clippers. I found a easy way to mask why I was doing it though. Im prone to rashes and little bumps. I use the clippers to pick at the bumps.. I also pick at my hair, bite my nails until I rip the cuticle off, and sometimes I will scratch until I bleed (but I really do feel itchy..nerves I guess)..
  7. Elle.

    Elle. Well-Known Member

    Hey, I thinkk I'm really close to knowing how you feel.

    I have never really seen it as a form os si either, though you might call it that.

    I've, for as long as I can remember, been picking any pimples, bumbs or scratches open, and even scars and birthmarks. I've got tons of small but ugly white scarry spots on my back, arms(mostly right one) and some on my chest. Also starting to get some on my face.

    My mom says at least once a day that I should stop picking my skin to avoid scarring, but I mostly do it subcontiously..It's like a habit and an addiction of some kind, I really want to stop but I feel like wherever theres a bump or something like it, I just have to scratch it...

    I'm sorry I can't tell you some good news and a magical way of stopping yourself from picking, but all I can really do is say I'm here for you and I can relate to what you're saying..

    Sorry for the long post..I can't sleep


    SATANICAT Member

    Sounds kind of like trichotillomania (Hair pulling disorder). I used to have it. I got over it in several ways. First I just went cold turkey and stopped pulling for almost 4 days and almost completely forgot about doing it - I attepted going cold turkey several times before but failed. It awefully hard to do but you will be glad you did. Then I changed my diet to a healthier more mentally healthy diet by eating more fish, vegetables and fruits. This helped keep my mind clear, good eating habits work wonders! Even if you don't have easy access to these food try taking a multivitamin and fish oil pills on a daily basis. By eating the fish oils your bodys chemical transmitters will be more balanced and things like anxiety and stress will not affect you nearly as much. I think you just need to apply the same things to your skin picking; go cold turkey.
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