Other Dermatillomania

Chris-duck

MyPTSD Pro
Hey,

So I pick the f*ck out my skin. I self harmed for years, I tend to not now, but I just pick my skin without even noticing really. But it's still leaving me with scars and wounds and stuff so it's eh, inconvenient.

So come, tell me how you guys stopped/if you guys do/whatever.

I'm well versed in the how to not self harm stuff, and I don't tend to do actual self harm these days, but how do I stop doing a thing I don't even notice I do until I've hurt myself?

Ta guys
 

Teasel

MyPTSD Pro
I picked the skin around my nails, primarily around my finger nails.

I bought one of those small clippers - for neatly clipping any rogue bits of skin around the finger nails.

When I don't notice any bits catching / sticking up I'm a gazillion times less likely to pick.

Having said that I'm quite sure I'm a feck of a lot less stressed than I used to be too and that this has had far the greater impact on my picking so much less.

So seeing as you're highly stressed atm I'd look into things that help your body feel calmed, and then do a lot of them.

Hope you figure out what helps you x
 

Freemartin

Sponsor
A scalp-picker here.
No idea how to stop.
A semi-crazy idea how to notice doing it more quickly:
I’m reading this brilliant book on meditation. It says there that the process of starting to think thoughts and noticing you’re thinking (i.e. getting distracted and coming back from distractions) is unconscios. It’s not in the realm of intentional stuff. So you can’t really control how quickly you notice you’ve started mind-wandering. But although the process of noticing is beyond direct conscious control, it learns. So, if you thank of praise it every time you come back from distractions, it gets more efficient and fast. So, you learn to notice you’re distracted quicker.

I wonder if something similar could work when you notice you’ve picked. Usually, whenever I become conscious of picking, I scold myself for doing it. But really what it does is it gives the noticing part of my brain negative feedback for noticing. So, instead of making picking less probable in the future by punishing it, the scolding actually makes the noticing mechanism less likely to react the next time.

So, no saying ”bad me for picking” but ”thanks for noticing, brain!”.

Does this make any sense?
 

piratelady

MyPTSD Pro
I do it to too. I noticed I do it more if the skin isn’t smooth. So like the heels of my feet are dry and rough, last night I was sitting cross legged and happened to touch them and noticed and started picking. I eventually got out the file thing and just made my heels more smooth again so I wouldn’t be compelled to do it. The same is true for any other part of my body. If there is a flaw in how my skin feels I’ll pick. So with winter coming I’m going to try more lotion and exfoliating and see where that gets me.
 

AngelkeeperJ

Sponsor
I’m a scalp picker too. Am down to 2 sores after having 8+ earlier this year. I keep my nails super short and started wearing my hair up in a bun which picking messes up. Those two things have helped the most.

Oh, yeah, I took pictures so I could see how they look and realized that as white as I am and as blonde/gray, the scabs are quite noticeable. That helped too.
Thanks for this thread!
 

fern

Confident
I pick at the skin on my lips. Like other people said, it happens more when the skin is rough/chapped because then it's easier to fixate on skin that's not smooth. Putting on a lot of chapstick helps, so I imagine putting on a lot of lotion might be useful to some people who pick their skin. I notice I pick more when I'm alone and when I'm stressed out.
It used to be a lot worse and I sometimes wouldnt feel able to stop until I drew blood. But I feel like I am a lot more mindful now earlier on and able to intervene.
What @Freemartin said about mindfulness and praise showing effectiveness (versus self criticism) is really interesting to me and a useful piece information. I'll try to remember that going forward.

My mom picks, too, at the hangnails around her fingers, until they are bloody, even when I would try to intervene. My brother picks at the skin on his feet.
 

Friday

Moderator
I'm well versed in the how to not self harm stuff, and I don't tend to do actual self harm these days, but how do I stop doing a thing I don't even notice I do until I've hurt myself?


More cowbell!!! (Saturday Night Live)

AKA change your routine just enough that you notice. Everything else is normal except for this one glaring thing that stands out. Whether that’s putting tinkly belly dancer bracelets on your wrists so that the sound grabs your attention, or wearing the thinnest of kid-skin, satin, or knit gloves (nitrile is just too sweaty to wear 24/7) so that you’d have to take them off before.

Also? If you’ve got a rosary or sandalwood bead necklace, rolling he beads between your finger tips provides the same kind of self-soothing über-calm any kind of intermittant pressure on fingertips does (picking, smoking, drawing), because of all the nerve endings & fine motor control.

Fine motor is almoooooost as stress relieving as large motor.... So in addition to the self harm stuff, be sure to take into account the regaltory aspects picking is giving you, with fine motor use & sensory input. Not that a direct substitution (more fine motor and sensory) is required, subbing one coping mechanism for another usually involves tweaking things a bit / adding more and different to make up for the loss of the easy one.
 

TruthSeeker

MyPTSD Pro
A scalp-picker here.
No idea how to stop.
A semi-crazy idea how to notice doing it more quickly:
I’m reading this brilliant book on meditation. It says there that the process of starting to think thoughts and noticing you’re thinking (i.e. getting distracted and coming back from distractions) is unconscios. It’s not in the realm of intentional stuff. So you can’t really control how quickly you notice you’ve started mind-wandering. But although the process of noticing is beyond direct conscious control, it learns. So, if you thank of praise it every time you come back from distractions, it gets more efficient and fast. So, you learn to notice you’re distracted quicker.

I wonder if something similar could work when you notice you’ve picked. Usually, whenever I become conscious of picking, I scold myself for doing it. But really what it does is it gives the noticing part of my brain negative feedback for noticing. So, instead of making picking less probable in the future by punishing it, the scolding actually makes the noticing mechanism less likely to react the next time.

So, no saying ”bad me for picking” but ”thanks for noticing, brain!”.

Does this make any sense?

When I'm trying to change a behavior, I say in my head, "Good job" when I'm doing right -that's the teacher part in me I guess. So when you stay alert, and you know where your hands are and you have no picked areas....., and you don't let your mind wander.......verbally reward yourself......making verbal rewarding.... like "way to go" something positive you hear............that is, if you are really sold on the idea of quitting.
 

Chris-duck

MyPTSD Pro
So seeing as you're highly stressed atm I'd look into things that help your body feel calmed, and then do a lot of them
Yeah, I think this is probably a big part of it, like I've done it forever, but it's only recently (since I was preteen) that it's actually making wounds.
So, no saying ”bad me for picking” but ”thanks for noticing, brain!”
and you don't let your mind wander.......verbally reward yourself......making verbal rewarding.... like "way to go" something positive you hear............that is, if you are really sold on the idea of quitting.
Yah, I'm really bad at praise (from myself or other people), like it never seems genuine, so it doesn't mean much and just feels kinda patronising, I get that's a problem in itself, but I tried it, it pretty much got very hard eye rolls from my brain. I'm sure it works for other people, but not sure it works for me tbh.
So with winter coming I’m going to try more lotion and exfoliating and see where that gets me
Yeah, it's mostly my hands just now cos they're always dry as hell and calloused from nursing/general life stuff. I think it is mostly stress and stuff right now, cos I moisturise hands constantly and my whole body after I shower, like if my skin was how it was a coupel months back I'd just moisturise and exfoliate it to hell. But now my brain is like "no, f*ck it up."
Also? If you’ve got a rosary or sandalwood bead necklace, rolling he beads between your finger tips provides the same kind of self-soothing über-calm any kind of intermittant pressure on fingertips does (picking, smoking, drawing), because of all the nerve endings & fine motor control.

Fine motor is almoooooost as stress relieving as large motor.... So in addition to the self harm stuff, be sure to take into account the regaltory aspects picking is giving you, with fine motor use & sensory input. Not that a direct substitution (more fine motor and sensory) is required, subbing one coping mechanism for another usually involves tweaking things a bit / adding more and different to make up for the loss of the easy one
Thanks, I'll try replacing it with a bunch of fidgety things.

I think, for me, it wouldn't be in issue for me if it was at my normal levels, cos that doesn't actually really f*ck shit up much, but right now it's going too far for me to be okay about it cos it's constant and leaving scars and things. Ugh I dunno. My brain is an actual riot just now. Sorry.
 

Innordinate

MyPTSD Pro
like it never seems genuine, so it doesn't mean much and just feels kinda patronising, I get that's a problem in itself, but I tried it, it pretty much got very hard eye rolls from my brain.
how long did u try for?
my brain does the same thing so i dont try for long
mostly i think its lame and stupid and lies but i think the point is to just keep forcing yourself to do it and eventually, like a couple months or something, it actually changes those connections in yer brain and u start thinking their less patronizing.


i didnt realize finger/hand picking was a thing.
i do that constantly. Rip the skin and cuticles around my nails. My fingers are never not scabby or bleeding. That it had a name and was unhealthy- never knew.
Probably not going to stop. It's annoying sometimes cuz they sting for a bit if i have to use sanitizer or wash dishes or my hair but meh.
As far as self harm issues go...... its not on the list.

It's bugging u now because it's making wounds? ripping off calluses ?

if yer not even noticing you do its probably not something u would do if u made it inconvenient to do

what if u put bandaids over them instead? or callus remover stuff instead?
or cut yer nails super short so u cant actually pick?
 

Chris-duck

MyPTSD Pro
Hey Inny
how long did u try for?
For this? Not long.. For other stuff, for months at a time.
As far as self harm issues go...... its not on the list
I don't count it as self harm, but I also basically don't self harm these days
It's bugging u now because it's making wounds? ripping off calluses ?
Because it creates noticeable wounds that other people notice.
what if u put bandaids over them instead? or callus remover stuff instead?
or cut yer nails super short so u cant actually pick?
Nails are already short cos nursing, can't wear plasters (bandaids) cos again, nursing.
 
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