submitted by anonymous
I see it.
That pimple, or blackhead, or whatever flaw is on my skin.
(And come to find out, some of them aren’t actually there. I imagine them.)
It is dirty.
Why would I leave dirt in my skin?
The impurity comes out.
But the blood is bad.
It is infected.
I must get out the bad blood.
What is this? More dirt underneath?
I squeeze more.
I pick more.
I make my way around my skin.
One hour later,
I notice blood dripping down my face and under my fingernails.
I have ripped off a lot of skin.
But I was only getting the dirt out.
All of the bad blood?
I grab the rubbing alcohol.
I feel gross.
Look at what I have done. How did I not know an hour passed? Sometimes two. Sometimes three.
I put it on the cotton,
And then onto the openings in my skin to stop infection. It burns. It burns deep. Because I dig deep.
Remember when you scraped your knee as a child, and your parents forced peroxide? And it burned?
Tears well up in my eyes.
I can’t believe I have done this again.
I grab a piece of ice, and rub it all over to stop the swelling and burning. I wash my face.
I pat it dry gently, because there is no skin. It burns.
I put on baby lotion so my skin will not dry and crack, which is very painful.
And I go lie down, hoping it will be the last time.
Some nights, I cannot sleep, for it hurts to lay my face on the pillow. And every morning, I wake up, look at my scabbed over face, completely disgusted with myself,
and usually peel them all off by the end of the day.
The day I spend at home,
because I cannot face the world, with this face. I am ugly now. I am ugly now. I have made myself ugly. To make myself clean.
I am not harming myself.
If I cannot control myself.
If I try to make it not hurt.
If I am ashamed, embarrassed, and disgusted.
I have an impulse control disorder called Dermatillomania.
I do not self harm.
Obviously I haven’t been on this blog in months..
and I don’t have an excuse or anything.
Dermatillomania is a constant struggle. It’s a never-ending cycle. Even when I don’t mention it or don’t update this blog or don’t take pictures or whatever, its still happening. I have over one hundred…
Welcome back! It’d be great if you can continue writing on your Tumblr, as much as you can. I take a break often as well, mostly because I do this secretly and don’t want my friends or family to know.
Anyway, I like hearing personal stories, and what almost prompted the visit to the doctor.
I’ve gone to the doctor or hospital multiple times before I knew I had derma. Once I thought I had a skin infection, another time I thought I had a growth under my skin.
Now that I think of it, I’ve had skin infections a few times that required going to the doctor and taking anti-biotics. Usually it was because of a cut or sore was getting too red, and inflamed and painful.
Anyway, glad to have you back.
Here on Tumblr, I see lots of people trying the no pick challenges, or counting how many days they are pick free. But I just don’t think these are very useful, especially for long-term help with skin picking.
Firstly, I don’t think I’ve gone one day without picking in the last 20 years or so. I mean, I can’t remember not picking. I know I must pick every day, no matter what. I’d probably end up lying to myself about whether I picked that day or not. And I don’t want to lie to myself anymore.
So the idea of trying to stop yourself (cold turkey) sounds impossible. I think it’s a set-up for failure, which will just make people disappointed and picky.
What might work better? Having a virtual group therapy session via Google+ hangouts or Tinychat. Or perhaps using tracking sheets to monitor how many times you pick during the day and what you were feeling/doing.
I do like the 30 day challenge, however, since it’s just about writing and examining your feelings about derma.
Having a no-pick day is great for 24 hours, but the real issue is every day. Every minute. Every second of the day. It’s a constant monitoring of what you’re doing and feeling. So yes, it’s a good victory, but stopping picking long-term is the real goal.
If you do these no pick challenges, have an action plan. A plan for using fidget toys, exercise, meditation or other ways to reduce your level of anxiety. These habits, combined with not picking, will help you reach your no-pick goals.
A great exercise to do is to think about your picking and figure out where you do most of your picking. What is your trouble spot? Where do you go to pick?
For me, I discovered that it was the bathroom. And there were several reasons. One, I was alone. I can close the door, have some privacy and pick without having to hide it from anyone.
Secondly, I had more skin surface exposed. My legs are a favorite spot of mine, so having them exposed was dangerous. As a result of discovering this in therapy, I also realized that it was best to wear pants while I was at home. Wearing shorts or underwear just gave me more exposed skin to pick. I can shut down a lot of picking just by not having more access to bare skin.
Thirdly, I was zoning out. The bathroom was a sanctuary to some degree. I could go do my business, and zone out. When I zoned out, I would absently scan my legs, thighs or scalp so I could pick. Scanning my body is just a gateway drug to picking, so I want to avoid scanning. Reading or playing with my phone passed the time, but also made me zone out more. I had to be more mindful of why I was in the bathroom.
My therapist said I should really think about decreasing the amount of time I spend in there. Even if it meant writing notes to myself and leaving them where I could see them. Things like “In and Out” or “Don’t Linger” would help me remember to not spend too much time. I tried that a bit and it helped, but it didn’t last long.
I also tried just keeping my hands occupied. My therapist said clenching my fists or doing deep breathing would keep me busy too.
These techniques worked, but primarily what I learned is that I need to be careful in the bathroom. And I think it’s helped me to this day. I try not to linger much. I am mindful of the time I spend in there.
Ok, I’ve created a page just for fidget toys here. Just head on over and take a look. If you’ve got more toys or tips, please let me know and I can modify it.
I will add pictures, and more links in the future.
Hope you find it useful.
During my days in therapy for skin picking, one thing that kept coming back to me was this sense that I was fighting against myself. I felt like I had a split personality. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
One side of me was a picker. The other side was telling me to stop picking and that picking is bad. This battle occurs almost constantly in my head. It probably even occurs even when I’m not actively thinking about anything. It’s just a part of being a skin picker.
But one thing that I felt I always did was giving myself permission to pick. When I was in therapy and trying to keep track of when and why I picked, one of the top reasons was that I let myself do it.
Skin picking is a compulsion, so many times there’s no way to stop yourself. People who don’t pick may never understand. It’s like being a drug user. You are addicted to picking. You are addicted to drugs. Picking is thus, like a drug.
I choose to raise my arm, reach for my scalp and start scratching and picking. I give myself permission to squeeze that zit. Or scan my body for perceived imperfections in my skin. I do it because of habit. Because I’ve done it for years. I do it because my brain tells me to.
Think about it: there’s absolutely no reason why you need to pick your skin. There’s no reason why you have to scratch. Your brain is telling you that you have to do this. But another side of your brain knows that picking is just ridiculous. Picking is unnecessary.
It’s not just unnecessary, but picking is actually detrimental to your health. Your brain is telling you to do the opposite of what’s good for your health. Your skin will heal itself. Cuts and scars slowly seal themselves back up without any intervention from you. You don’t even have to think about healing your body—it is so efficient that it’s happening all the time.
There’s no way to accelerate your healing. But if you want to stop any healing, picking is the way to do it.
So in some ways you have to learn to not trust yourself. Don’t listen to your inner voice that tells you you’re imperfect and that you need to pick. Listen to the other side of your brain. The part of you that knows that skin picking is terrible. That skin picking is basically stopping your healing and progress. Skin picking is killing you slowly.
In short, don’t give yourself permission to pick. Really think about it the next time to grab a mirror, or tweezers, or absent pick on your arms or scalp. Wake yourself up from this discordant cloud and listen to the tiny voice in your head that is telling you to stop picking.
I use silly putty when I feel like picking! Stress balls work for me. I occupy myself with drawing sometimes if I’m up for it, or even just writing stuff online.
Silly putty is a great idea. I’ve used types of silly putty in the past. Mostly, the putty would get too dirty to be very relaxing, at least for me. I am currently creating a page on my Tumblr that will keep a list of fidget toys that I recommend, so will definitely add silly putty, or stress balls.
I think writing and drawing are also excellent ways to keep your hands busy. Sometimes when I sit and write on my computer I absently pick at myself, but usually I keep my hands busy enough to avoid it.
Thanks for replying with these tips. It’s always good to get a reminder of ways to keep yourself occupied.