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IWILLSTOP

I Need All Your Help, Pretty Please

I have been a picker for years but it's been the last 4 months that I've been at my lowest. I have become antisocial and just hate myself. I picked every pore numerous times yesterday and today my skin is the worst it's ever been. I need to stop for the sake of myself, my bf and my family. I'm a totally different person these days. Although I picked this morning, starting right this moment I will not pick for the rest of the day. I'm starting with that. I just need some accountability so I thought writing on here may help. This website has been a real help bc I know I'm not alone.

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I can relate! I used to constantly pick at my skin last year and it only made things WORSE. All you gain by picking is the transfer of bacteria from your fingers to your skin; that and the fact that you irritate your skin, causing further inflammation and redness.

Kudos to you for trying to stop. I hope you succeed! cheer.gif

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I sympathise this is a great forum to find and hopefully you will get through this. First of all you must come to realisation that picking never helps, it will only aggravate your acne and cause your skin to be inflamed. If its been going on for this long though perhaps consult your nearest medical professional for advice on how to break the cycle, whilst simultaneously asking about skin treatments- antibiotics, topical treatments etc. That will at the very least calm your skin down if not stop your acne completely.

The psychological effects are more difficult. I would suggest being honest with your friends and family about how you feel regarding your skin. This is easier said than done, it took me years to be finally confident to just talk about how acne effects me. But if you can be brave and take the plunge it will be much easier for you future social interactions. The biggest risk is that you become withdrawn from future projects such as a job, relationships etc where it all becomes too much too manage; be brave and try to confront those issues that are difficult. We're all here if you need to talk.

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I can completely relate. I am a picker, and I frustrate myself so much sometimes. I get cystic acne, and the golden rule with that type is DO NOT PICK AT IT! It is so hard. In fact seeing your post made me realize that I was picking at my recent stress-related breakouts eusa_naughty.gif . Not only do I pick at my acne but I am also a cuticle picker (very ashamed to say mellow.png) but I have suceeded in not picking at them for a couple of weeks (no big cuts right now). So if I can do that we can stop picking at out acne breaouts too!

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I agree with what ledzep posted.

That first step is indeed to recognise that no good comes from picking. That doesn't break the habit of course, but it's important to start being aware of that because it's so easy to fall into the habit and not realise that it's actually becoming a problem and perhaps even the reason acne persists. 'Accountability' is a good way to put it, actually.

Personally, I'm now in a position where I think I need to talk to people about my habit of skin picking. I cleared my acne through other means but also partly through trying not to pick so much. The strange thing is, the more my skin improved, the more attention I pay to it now and the more I pick. I don't really have acne to pick at now so my skin has become the target. It's kind of worrying me actually because it's on my mind all the time and I feel like I'm chained to the mirror, making a mess of what otherwise would be a clear complexion. Starting to wonder if it will be best to talk about it with my parents. I don't know if they'll have a clue what I'm going on about but I don't really have anyone else to talk to so I guess that's my only choice. I'm thinking about putting it in a letter so that I put all my points over, then we'd have a basis for a discussion.

And again, like ledzep said, do try and make sure it doesn't get to the point where it takes over. Believe me, it's tough when that happens. The mess I used to make of my acne eventually cost me my friendships, my job, and just about every relationship I could have formed or experience I could have had. Total waste and totally pointless because it feels like it actually takes more effort and mental energy to keep the habit going than it does to just let go and essentially do nothing. So, you're right to be concerned about it if you feel like the way it makes you feel and act could have a negative influence on your relationships, friendships and so on.

In terms of practical steps, just go one day at a time and try not to put pressure on yourself. If you do happen to pick along the way, try not to see it as a failure. Just pick yourself up and be spurred on by trying to get back to where you were. I've found that I'm more prone to picking if I'm anxious or feeling down, or even bored. So if there are any potential triggers, it's worth putting a bit of thought into that so that you can start to preempt those and perhaps reduce the likelihood of picking. That should make it easier all round.

Good luck! :)

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It's really nice to get replies. Thank you!! I actually have "come out" to my family and my boyfriend about my problem and it's been nice to be able to talk to them and have them support me, but no matter what I do, whether it be talking to family, talking to a therapist, taking lights out of my bathroom... I find a mirror somewhere to use. I live with my boyfriend but have gotten so bad with my picking and depression that my mom got me to move back home. I have never had great skin, but it was never a huuuuge problem for me. Thts what also makes it hard. I keep comparing myself to what I used to be and how I used to look.

Now I literally can't keep my mind off my skin and can't let any spot just be. If I could just have a clean slate aka no scabs no red marks, and then all of the sudden had some pimples pop up, I would leave them! But I have dug myself too far into this hole now (no pun intended), that I dont want to leave these pimples as bumps along with the crappy texture of the rest of my skin-- it seems I think I'd be better off with them being flat, but looking at the surrounding skin shows that "flat" doesn't necessarily mean better.

It's just that I feel like I've exhausted all my options -- talked to everyone I could, wrote in a journal, but at the end of the day it's up to me to physically stop. But I just can't! And I have no life anymore because of it.

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You have a BF? That's good. Be lucky you're in a relationship, as I'm sure most of us on this website wish they could have a relationship with someone. I'm one of them.

And I'm a picker also. Bad habit. But I'm slowly breaking it.

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Kody - yea I feel SO fortunate to have him in my life. We started dating 2 years ago... back in my confident days!! My skin has gotten real bad these past few months, so I don't think I woulda snagged him had it been like this when we met!!! Although he is the sweetest guy and is so understanding. He has seen me with various bandaids on my face due to soars I created, and he lies at home being lame with me when I'm depressed about my skin (and what I've done to it), while I have a clay mask dotted on all my spots just so I can hide the redness and not be tempted (a tactic I started with tonight and is a pretty helpful one!) I am constantly asking myself WHY IS HE WITH ME! It's been off and on 2 months that I have been super depressed and really bad with my picking. He's young and does NOT have to deal with this!! I try not to sound too needy with him but sometimes I feel so bad and have to ask him "why are you still with me!?" Kind of a rhetorical question because I am really not fishing for compliments. Anyway, I don't know what I'd do without him.

I started seeing a therapist because of this issue, but I can never pinpoint if the anxiety causes the picking or if the picking causes the anxiety. I have had a very fortunate upbringing. I was very shy and self-conscious though, then I gained more confidence in about grade 10/11 but then come mid grade 12 and first year university it all went downhill and I was diagnosed with "social anxiety". I can't remember skin picking being a huge part of my life back then though. Once starting meds and such I became A LOT better and my life took off. After a few years I decided to try going off the SSRI's and the birth control pill (because of fear of the risks and what it was doing to my body) and was feeling great for the first month, eating so healthy, drinking fresh green juices and working out but then, what feels like out of nowhere, I crashed again. Picking like mad, breaking plans, avoiding everything, being so self conscious. My family convinced me to go back on both the SSRIs and the pill. Although I do see some connection to the past and to what I'm dealing with now, this time it's ALL ABOUT MY SKIN. I wake up and I want to check what it looks like. I find myself going into bathrooms without even thinking about it! Almost every thought of mine surrounds this issue.

So, my plan after picking this morning was, yes... you guessed it, no more picking for the rest of the day... and then I picked. BUT, I took some lights out of my bathroom and when I went to wash up for bed tonight I did just that and got straight into bed and decided to write this post on my VERY TINY STEP towards stopping this nightmare of a habit. I also have refrained from "checking on" my spots for the evening. So, I'm hoping that I will not even touch my face lightly before I fall asleep. I have to keep telling myself that it's ALL UP TO ME at the end of the day. As many people as I have to lean on, they cannot physically stop me from annihilating my skin. I have to stop being so preoccupied with my skin. This is not the person I want to be, and I don't have to be like this. I mean, I can't tell what my acne would be like if I didn't fuss with my skin so much, but I think I would maybe feel a bit better knowing that it wasn't self-inflicted at least. I have a big event coming up in a couple weeks. I wonder if I stop picking at my skin starting now if I will see improvements by then. I just want to be my confident self again and be a FUN girlfriend/sister/daughter.

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Just woke up. Usually this would be the time I would touch my face to check if things have gone down or come up. But I have refrained from doing so. I'm kinda scared to look in the mirror. Man, this is gonna be a long day.

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Next step - faced my mom and sister with completely no makeup on and what I believe is the worst my face has ever looked in my history of picking. I am just sick of putting makeup on straight when I wake up in the morning even if I'm staying home all day. I don't fully cover it up but I do somewhat so the redness is not that intense. My boyfriend hasn't seen me this bad yet and he's coming over later. I told him that I showed my mom and sister and he said that I can show him and I don't need to worry. But I don't know if I can do it. I also don't think any of it is coverable either though.

Here's to day 1 of completely no picking. One step closer to my skin improving (have 2 weeks until a big event that my family is putting on -- over 700 people coming!!!!)

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I am constantly asking myself WHY IS HE WITH ME! It's been off and on 2 months that I have been super depressed and really bad with my picking. He's young and does NOT have to deal with this!! I try not to sound too needy with him but sometimes I feel so bad and have to ask him "why are you still with me!?" Kind of a rhetorical question because I am really not fishing for compliments. Anyway, I don't know what I'd do without him.

There's a girl I chat with on Facebook and not so long ago, she started a new relationship. I don't know her too well but I know she struggles with depression and often shuts herself away if her mood is low. I do the same, although my skin and how I react to it is at the root of that. For that reason, I've never even attempted to meet people because I know I wouldn't be able to maintain the friendship or relationship until I get myself sorted and get to a point where I'm happy being me. As the saying goes, other people can't love us until we love ourselves.

Anyway, a few weeks into her new relationship, she posted something on Facebook about how this guy was too good for her. He replied saying she was wrong, she replied saying she was right, he replied saying she was wrong, she replied saying she was right, and so on... This went on and on, back and forth for almost three-hundred comments between them. Maybe he's as stupid as she is insecure because he aught to have just left it alone instead of encouraging it. The thing that struck me about it all was that it was almost like she was trying to hit the self-destruct button and like the way she was acting and the things she was saying were essentially going to end up being a self-fulfilling prophecy. Sure enough, I was right and he ended the relationship yesterday because he just didn't want to deal with all that negative stuff she kept feeding.

I guess the point is that people are able to take the rough with the smooth where their partner is concerned, and get through the bad periods in order to get to the good ones, but they're not really going to be willing to help if their partner keeps putting obstacles in the way and heaping constant hate and negativity upon themselves and the relationship.

I guess that's the key difference here and that's why your partner has stuck with you through it. He thinks you're worth it and you nor anyone else can really disagree with that. Besides, the fact that you're taking steps and getting help, actively making the effort to change things and move forward is the positive sign which lets your partner know that there is light at the end of the tunnel and that you can get through it together. Right? In that respect, I reckon you're on the right track and should keep doing what you're doing to curb the picking and so on. smile.png

My family convinced me to go back on both the SSRIs and the pill. Although I do see some connection to the past and to what I'm dealing with now, this time it's ALL ABOUT MY SKIN. I wake up and I want to check what it looks like. I find myself going into bathrooms without even thinking about it! Almost every thought of mine surrounds this issue.

Do you find the SSRI's help with how you see yourself and how you react to your skin with picking? Or is that to help with the social anxiety? I suppose they link together and trigger each other, that's why these things become such vicious cycles...

I've wondered about asking my doctor for something as I'm struggling, post-therapy. The therapy was good for me but it's provided on the local free health service and the resources are limited so it only lasts a couple of months. In recent weeks, I've found myself slipping again and falling into old habits. Although I try and keep up with cognitive exercises and keep the therapy stuff going myself, it's hard doing it on my own without feedback and without having any friends around to support me and I was wondering if it might be worth considering the medication route, if by chance it happens to swing my moods and behaviours in a more positive direction and I then start to focus less on my skin and perhaps even start to feel able to go out and meet people. Do you experience any side-effects or any negatives as a result of taking them? Apologies for hijacking the post, this is purely for my own curiosity, hope you don't mind.

Just woke up. Usually this would be the time I would touch my face to check if things have gone down or come up. But I have refrained from doing so. I'm kinda scared to look in the mirror. Man, this is gonna be a long day.

My advice would be to take it a day at a time. Or even an hour at a time if need be. I can think of countless times over the years when I've woken up feeling good about myself and my skin, only to have destroyed it by the end of the day and then be left wishing I could go back just a few hours. That's very much a case of not realising how good things were until they're gone, but that's often the way... If not looking in the mirror will help, then don't look. If not looking in the mirror is going to be difficult, keep yourself busy and entertained, keep your spirits up and be kind to yourself. smile.png

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Hey Paul,

Sorry I am new to this so I don't know how to do the "quote" thing. But I really appreciate your thorough reply :) It's a totally different experience talking to someone that knows what I am going through. In terms of the SSRI's, back when I first started taking them in 2006, I noticed a HUGE improvement. Granted, I did have to up my dosage close to a year in because it wasn't as effective anymore. But, all in all I was a happy go lucky, confident girl for the most part. I still had my moments (mainly when I was drunk), but I think my sister even told my mom once that she wished she was more like me in terms of personality... easy going and such. So yes, it helped.

Being back on them hasn't kicked in yet... but I started back on a lower dosage than I was on last time. So I just increased it a few days ago. It takes a few weeks to "kick in", so I'm hoping that's the case. I also have an appointment to get another assessment for which kind I should be on, because perhaps the one I was on before isn't effective anymore for me or is not the right one for dealing with my current state. Another hard thing for me is that I go to school for holistic nutrition (I am currently on a break to deal with all this stuff... and it's taken a lot longer than i've anticipated) but that was the main reason I went off all my pharmaceuticals. There are so many natural things out there that can get to the root of the problem rather than just masking it. But I tried that, and right now it's not working for me. So I'd rather get myself back on my feet right now. I think the way I got off of them was hugely detrimental to me. I did not wean myself off properly. I hope, in the future, to be able to be off them again - operative word being FUTURE.

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I popped one thing on my neck just a few minutes ago. I had to use the washroom... the one downstairs with the lights still in tact... and I felt the bugger, looked in the mirror, thought to myself "should I or shouldn't I... I shouldn't..." and then just couldn't resist trying to squeeze something out of it. I did. But it really could have gone either way. And now it's still swollen anyways and probably a lot more red. I did touch my spots on my face while looking in the mirror but I refrained from picking those. I guess that's a good thing.

(I'm posting constantly because I find that it's helping me out just writing about it)

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Thanks for the information, appreciate that.

I had previously looked into any natural alternatives there may be and one of the things which seemed to show up a lot was 5HTP. I bought some but then I read that it wasn't a good idea to take it alongside B complex vitamins, which I've been taking for many months to help my skin, so I left the 5HTP alone. I don't know, there's so much information out there and so much of it seems contradictory, it' hard to figure out what to do for the best sometimes. :rolleyes:

Glad to hear that you refrained from picking any further. smile.png

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can this day just end so i can officially say i didn't pick my face all day??? but the problem is i'm gonna wake up hoping to see improvement, but the reality is I most likely won't see any. Ugh... I would love to get all dolled up and go out on Friday night like I used to do, but this face is just not cuttin it right now.

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Well you can't expect improvements in one day. Or even weeks for that matter. It will take time, but you WILL see a decrease in irritation and redness. When I used to constantly try to extract even the smallest bump on my skin I would only end up screwing things up even more. The next day it would be red and inflamed and filled with pus. I still have acne and extremely oily skin which clogs my pores and constantly forms disgusting blackheads. Now though, I don't try to force anything out.

Be strong. You can do it! biggrin.png

can this day just end so i can officially say i didn't pick my face all day??? but the problem is i'm gonna wake up hoping to see improvement, but the reality is I most likely won't see any. Ugh... I would love to get all dolled up and go out on Friday night like I used to do, but this face is just not cuttin it right now.

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First CBT appointment today!! Let's see what will come of it...

skin still looking bad, btw... I did touch 2 spots that I felt weren't "finished off"... and, lo and behold, they weren't. So it's bitter sweet bc I got the rest out, but that means i PICKED!

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