Oh, Where To Begin

I guess I'll start with this. I have had dermatillomania since I was fourteen years old, and I'm twenty now. My favorite place to pick is all over my shoulders, and for most of my picking I have been able to keep it contained on my right shoulder. But ever since I started college the picking has progressed completely out of my control making it so the entirety of my arms are covered in scabs basically all the time. Every night I try to clean thoroughly with rubbing alcohol (which I really like the burn of, since it feels like my bumps are getting eradicated, even if that is not the case), and aloe vera, and then try as best as I can to keep my skin hydrated, and although all those methods do seem to help significantly, I just cannot keep up the healing with the picking. I keep picking open new scabs before they even heal, and I do it across every single inch of my body that I can get my fingernails to reach. My favorite tool to use on stubborn picks is a thumbtack.
I've tried going to therapist my junior year of college, but that did nothing. Although I very much liked the woman I was talking to, she had no idea what dermatillomania was, and even pulled out a dictionary to look up the definition while I was sitting there. But its not to any fault of her, but she can't exactly help me if she doesn't know what the problem is! Haha!
At any rate, I stumbled across the site because my picking has been exceptionally worse lately than it ever has been in a long time, and I've noticed that one of my scabs has turned into an infection on my forearm. And of course I began to get extremely nervous because this infection seems unusually bad. So, I've been hosing it down with rubbing alcohol as much as I can. All the while I continually pick at my neck and chest. When I can easily pick at something with one hand, that's when I know that its time to cut my nails down to nubs!

So, I guess my real reason for joining onto this site is because I'd really like to establish a community. Or even just talk to one person who understands what its like to have this problem. I have a very loving boyfriend who helps me out as much as he can, but he doesn't really understands what this is like, and I have no idea as to how I can help him understand. Then, hopefully after I meet some people perhaps we can aide each other in the healing process and eventually overcome this! I'm sick of seeing endless scabs and scars, and of feeling embarrassed to wear tank tops without the security of a sweatshirt or cardigan.
This is by no means my whole story, but I felt that it was an appropriate introduction! I'll most likely add more when its not 4 in the morning and I have more energy and attention to detail =]
IvyEyes IvyEyes
18-21, F
4 Responses Jun 17, 2012

I've picked my face since I was 14 and im now 32...my comes and goes but when its bad i get people ask me what an earth has happened to my face :(. And when I don't pick people will say to me wow your skin looks great hasn't i t cleared up! so depressing...I've had cognitive therapy which did help a bit. Luckily here in london/UK Nhs is free! I would love to make this more well known as feel its a shame so many people are suffering in silence like I have..this site is helping me even be more aware of it and my own problem. Goodluck

wow this was the first story i have read through this website... and im also glad to know that i am not alone. i pick at my legs, and just like you not able to wear tank tops, i cannot wear shorts. this was alot worse when i was older, and i grew out of it for a couple of years. i found a solution that worked temporarily. I got some acrylic nails and told the nail tech to mak sure she made the ends very THICK..this looks a little funny but the acrylic is like cement. and the thickness of it makes it almost virtually impossible to pick the scabs that havent healed yet atleast because there are no bumps to lift. u ant get your nail underneath because your nails are so thick.... now, you do need alot of willpower aswell not to pick up those tweezers.. but this did help for a few years for me. i am now starting again so i sought out this group page and im so glad to know im not FREAK:) i amdire everyone to opening up to this illness.,

Good for you for being strong about this! I know that it would make me feel a lot better seeing that I was not alone. Thanks and best of luck to you, too! <3

I totally know what you mean! My situation is slightly different, but I feel like tank tops, low cut shirts, dresses, and swimsuits are off limits because of this problem. I had it all through high school and am still struggling with it! You are not alone

Thank you for the support! Lately I've had the mindset of "Screw it!" and I have been wearing things to expose my scabs and scars. So many people have derma, but have no idea that it is actually a real condition that requires therapy and help to overcome. So, I feel that if I expose my scars, perhaps someone will think, "Oh, I have the same scars", thus hopefully making them see that they are not alone.
This might just be me being optimistic, but I just want everyone to know that you are not alone and this can be overcome!
Best of luck to you &lt;3