(Closed) I can't stop picking!!!

posted 6 years ago in Wellness
Post # 3
1360 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2014

You have to be conscious, and I mean seriously conscious, enlist your friends for help. I used to scratch, and I mean scratch until I bled on the backside of my calves and on the inner part of my elbows and armpits and when I was stressed it got worse. I asked them and every time they caught me doing it they would smack me on the hand, like a little kid, but hard hahaha I also started to only wear leggings around the house and pants outside as well as long sleeve shirts to make it harder to scratch and to make me aware when I started to because I had to pull on clothing. 

Post # 5
678 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

Hmmm maybe find something else to keep your hands busy?? I have a bad habit of scratching myself when I’m talking on the phone. I break out in hives and everything- I think I’m allergic to phone conversations. So I just got a little stress ball to dig my fingers into when I am on the phone.

I also used to have some velcro to play with in the car for when I was sitting in traffic (not so much an issue anymore where I live now). Or else I would just keep picking my nose or leg. I know, ewwww. 

Post # 7
11747 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

try to keep a stress ball in your hand! It’s a compulsive thing, so if you can’t stop you need to replace it.  I chew pen caps so bad, but I have noticed that since I started holding onto a stress ball, I don’t get the urge to chew on pens!

Post # 9
577 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

I am also a compulsive skin picker, and I have many the scar to prove it. It’s aggravated by the fact that I have keratosis pilaris so there is ALWAYS something for me to pick at.

My best pieces of advice, and I pick like crazy still so you can take it with a grain of salt are:

-Find some way to make it so that you have to make a conscious effort to access that area. My one of worst picking zones when I am home is my feet. If I wear socks, I have to actively think about picking in order to do it, so my feet remain far less maimed.

-Make stopping picking a project. I did a behavioral modification project in my senior year of college as a psychology student. Start by paying conscious attention to your picking behaviors for a few days to get an idea of your baseline. Determine ahead of time what “counts.” (I had to decide whether or not biting my lips or the insides of my cheek counted, for instance.) Once you’ve done this, set a goal for yourself, say to pick 10 or less times in a day. If you accomplish your goal for the day, allow yourself a nice reinforcer at the end of the day. (Glass of wine, scoop of ice cream, anything you REALLY, REALLY like and would be willing to work for.) If you do not accomplish your goal, you don’t get the reinforcer (or ideally anything else similarly reinforcing). If you need to and are able to, make a friend or spouse accountable for this reinforcer so you REALLY can’t break down and have it anyway if you fail to stay under your daily picking quota. As you have more and more successful days, slowly lower this quota. Ideally, if you REALLY stick with it, you can lower your behavior down to zero. (By the way, I used a cheap knitting counter from the store that I could keep discretely in my pocket to count the number of times I goofed up each day.)

Post # 10
301 posts
Helper bee

It’s OCD. You might want to consult a therapist. I have been working with one to stop the picking and hair pulling but I’ve been doing it for over 20 years so it’s very hard.

Post # 11
6741 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: June 2014

Can you buy something that you can pick at instead?  Like some kind of gooey stuff that you can pick apart and then put back together?  Like play doh or something?

Post # 13
993 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

I do this too… but to my face… I’ve realized that I do it in front of the mirror when I’m upset with my mother (we have a terrible relationship) and I’ve made it a habit over many years.  What I’ve done to stop is:

-massage my face with oil in front of the mirror instead of picking at it (afterwards it feels too nice to pick at)

-put notes on my mirror that say “stop!!!!”

-tell people that I’ve committed to stopping picking so if I start doing it unconsciously I’m reminded, as well I feel more accountable.

-I also pick when I’m studying and I have nothing to do with my hands, so I need to be super conscious of that.  I’ve started reading on my computer instead of out of books.  

I don’t think I’m much help, but I feel your pain in this and I hope it gets better!

Post # 14
985 posts
Busy bee

@hyperJulie:  Me too! Ah, it’s always comforting to find someone else.

Yeah, google dermatillomania and compulsive skin picking and you’ll findloads of ideas. I’ve found that natural, homemade moisturisers help me the most and (if you can find it) sudocrem helps scars/spots/pickings fade very quickly. All I can suggest really is that you find a better way of dealing with stress (SO HARD, I know) maybe talking a bit more though, even on here. And also applying creams like sudocrem every time you feel like picking. 

Oh! And to stop them getting infected try a medicated wash like phisohex which balances the ph levels in your skin and helps things calm down. These are more after you’ve picked, I guess, but still help to calm your skin. 

Good luck! x

Post # 15
985 posts
Busy bee

@bella128: I agree!

The studying idea is really good – I pick loads more when my hands aren’t distracted. And the notes are super helpful too.

Post # 16
301 posts
Helper bee

I do best when i go to sleep with a shirt on. That is when I am at my worst, but skin out of sight, out of mind. Does covering up your shoulders help at all?

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