I Am Not Alone

I have googled skin picking and am amazed to find that I am not the only one who does this.

I had a troubled childhood, I was alone in hospital for days on end between the ages of 1 and 3 while I was treated for Scoliosis. My parents didn't visit beccause we lived in a really remote location and they had no transport. This left me with a feeling that I never really belonged or fitted in. My dad has a fierce temper and although he was never physically abusive I was subjected to his verbal tirades from an early age. I hardly had any friends, I find it hard to form functional relationships. I didn't get on with my sister who is older and always seemed to resent me.

3 days before my 12th birthday I saw my best friend hit and killed by a car driven by a drunk driver. Back then no one was offered counselling and I was told to just forget about it. I couldn't forget about it and I started hair pulling which made me feel better, until my head was covered in bald patches. My parents were horrified and threatened me with awful things if I carried on, I managed to stop hair pulling but started to pick at my acne instead. I picked my face to pieces for years, covering up the damage with heavy make up. I also pick at my back, neck, scalp and lips until they bleed, and then I pull the scabs off over and over again and it sometimes takes months to heal. I pick my face less now than I used to but my back and scalp are a real mess.

I pick all the time, I do it at home alone, in front of friends, family and also at work ( I work in a huge open plan office). I am ashamed of my skin picking and am horrified by what other people must think of me when they see me doing it, although no one ever says anything, which kind of makes it worse. I feel so angry with myself that I can't just stop, but finding out that I'm not mad but have a recognised condition helps.

I suffer from anxiety and depression. I isolate myself and have few friends. I haven't had a relationship for 8 years because as well as the mental and physical scars I also got herpes from my last partner and don't feel like I am worthy of a relationship because of all my problems. I don't wear clothes that show my back as it is covered in scars and I feel dirty.

I want to stop but have no idea how to. I'm nearly 40 so have been doing this to myself for 28 years. I need support and help, finding this site has given me a glimmer of hope.

Can anyone help me? Should I approach my doctor? Will they understand and not laugh or think I'm mad?

metaldog metaldog
36-40, F
1 Response Feb 20, 2010

hi there! Listen I for one is glad you found this website. I recently found it too and since I realized that it is a real life condition it changed my whole perspective on things. Please go read my story then you will understand :). I pick at myself because it is sometimes a pacifier. I am a bit of a daydreamer and somehow I started to pick at myself when I am alone and it's just me and my thoughts. I also do it because of tension and anxiety and I do get depressed at times too and then the picking is worse. Since I realized that it is an actual condition I have stopped most of the picking. I made a conscious decision to stop, because I realized (with the help of an awesome book on relationships) that I need to start taking care of myself. You can do this too! I am sure of it.<br />
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I think you are really brave for sharing your story. It can't be easy to open up and put it on a website. I don't think there is anything wrong with you. You do have the power to change ok?<br />
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If you don't feel like you can do it on your own then there is nothing wrong with seeking help. No one will think you are crazy. This is a recognized condition and any doctor should have the discretion to refer you to the correct specialist.<br />
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Please don't run away from helping yourself... you past can't be changed but you absolutely have the power to take care of yourself and get rid of all the destructive things in your life that create tension and depression. The very cruel truth is that no one can love you unless you love yourself first!<br />
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Give yourself another chance! There is so many good things in life to live for. You don't have to suffer like this. My heart goes out to you!!