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Heh, wow… this one hit unexpected close to home.
I just found your comic today, and I must say I like it! I know this one is from December, but I just wanted to say, you are very brave to publicly declare that you have a compulsive skin picking habit. I’ve had it since I was a kid, and it is so unbelievably painful and embarrassing for me. While I wouldn’t wish this compulsion on anyone else, it is comforting to know that I’m not alone. Thank you.
This isn’t /quite/ the same, but I figured I’d share: since I was little (around 7 or so) I’ve chewed my nails. Like crazy. Down to the quick, sometimes, and as I got older it got more and more embarrassing – but I still couldn’t stop, or explain it. I’m 22 now, and I’ve /finally/ gotten to the point where I feel like I’ve beaten it (I’ve kept very bright nail polish on, so I notice when my hands are near my face, haha)..
but I’m afraid to take the polish off, because I don’t know if I’ll chew or not.
Whoa! I thought I was the only person on the planet to give herself facial scabs on a weekly basis. (Only weekly because it takes about a week for them to heal.)
I dig the DAR comic. Very much.
I thought I was the only one. I’ve been doing it for more than ten years. Still haven’t managed to go more than a few hours.
I have trichotillomania. And I do the same thing. I try not to look in mirrors or I’ll want to pull. It’s been two months and twenty-one days since.
I have trich AND pick skin AND bite nails and cuticles… I found the best way to control nail and cuticle biting is to keep them trimmed. Another way to curb my nailbiting is to wear nail tips – then i won’t be as likely to bite because they aren’t real nails.
As far as the picking and trich, with me it’s more a sensation thing. My eyes will itch so I’ll pull, and my face will have bumps or blemishes which make me pick. I haven’t pulled or bitten in a while, but I still pick.
Oh and I just found DAR by googling… of all things… butt sex. I have been reading back and absolutely love it. Great work, Erika!
I found you via tumblr ( http://elizabethplaid.tumblr.com/ is me). Combing through your archives, I saw your previous comic on skin-picking. Add that onto the great comics about burping and farting and other fun stuff, I think you’re extra awesome. Like many of your other readers, I can identify with you. For all those stories of people who have overcome compulsive behavior and addiction… I have to say I feel more at-peace with things when I know others are still going through the experiences at the same time as me. Thank you for helping me feel less like I’m the only one. *hugs*
again, I really enjoyed comics on this topic. It makes me feel less like a total crazy. This is my third or fourth time reading through your archives, I enjoy how candid your comics are.
YES! Thank you! It’s not just me!
They do have drugs for this.
Oof, I sympathize. I used to chew my nails until they were perfect, although I tore one once, made it bleed, and was shocked and horrified at the mess and fear of infection, so since then I use clippers to trim them perfectly. It means I have to hassle with clippers instead of just my teeth, but they do look a lot better.
Still taking those hour-long showers where I scrub and scrub until my hair and skin don’t feel greasy any more, though. Don’t really know what to do about that.
Could vigorously scrubbing your face with soap, warm water, and a washrag help the urges any? Or showering, standing with your face directly in the shower spray, and scrubbing with a washrag or loofah or something?
Mirrors totally trigger me, too. I even carry around a compact and constantly, compulsively peer into it, picking. That is…Until I threw it away last night.
I feel simultaneously freed and bereft. O.o
I have the exact same problem with the face-picking. I always have huge scabs on my face. :[
The ONE thing I’ve found that helps is putting vaseline on the areas that are particularly problematic at the time. So if you’re at home doing something or sleeping, it’s really good. First, it softens the skin so there’s less to grab onto when you pick, and second (for me at least) it’s a lot harder to absentmindedly pick when it’s all greasy. Actually I use regular generic brand petroleum jelly, but yeah. It doesn’t necessarily work miracles, but it keeps the worst of the picking at bay.
so many of your comics feel like they were written about me! love it (but hate picking)
I pull my hair out compulsively. I’ve gotten somewhat better since I started dying my hair bright colours (it’s magenta and fire engine red right now). I notice more when I’m pulling hairs out and playing with them, since they’re so bright, plus I don’t want to pull them out because they’re PRETTY and SPECIAL. I’m thinking of getting a tattoo on my wrist, since I tend to scratch myself there.
You rock. That’s me too. I’m a picker.
Thanks for being the only person I’ve ever seen to write about this, and honesty and compassion.
thank you so much. This comic has made me feel so much better. I never thought anyone else had this problem. Im gonna
Oi… “girl” pushups? Come on now.
I love your comics, but there’s gotta be a better name for those. :)
Alder, That’s the name I’ve always known them as. I write my comics using the language I speak, not Politically Correct-ese :)
I do this too. For me it’s my scalp, thank goodness I like my hair long, because my scalp is a MESS.
I don’t do it because of stress though, as far as I can tell. It’s a habit, it’s like cracking my nails or drumming my fingers. I do it when I’m bored mostly, when I’m trying to fall asleep, when I’m frustrated, or when I just need to be soothed.
I have a friend that does it to her heels too. She actually saved all the skin and it’s going to be on display at a medical museum. Awesome and gross!
Oh my god I identify with this so much. I was so addicted to doing this to myself because it felt like I was physically expelling all the badstuff from myself. It felt so purifying.
But I’m slowly getting over it by doing my own facials every so often. First a skinpeeler then a moistorizing mask and afterwards I feel refreshed. A tiny, silly part of myself even feels like a princess. c’: I don’t know if it’ll work for everyone but I seriously hope you give it a try. Everyone needs to feel a little special sometimes.
damn finally someone that understands, i have this compulsion to crack my neck when im stressed… it has given me such neck and back problems but i cannot stop when i am really stressed or nervous.
Wow…I’m stuck doing this right now. Seven years on and I still haven’t been able to stop. I just can’t help picking at my arms and face and I seem to default to it when I’m stressed, depressed or just bored. In a way, it’s a relief to know that others do this sort of thing too and that it is hard to stop, rather than finding people who’ve ‘gotten over’ it.
And also, love all the comics. You really do come across as a real person.
I don’t think the stress-relieving habits we have are that bad as one might think.. I mean the point we do it is because it relieves stress, right?! So if you really feel ashamed for your habit, you shouldn’t try to stop but you should replace it with one that makes you feel more comfortable with having…
I’ve always scratched my skin since a kid and I’ve gotten more control over it, because I distract myself with something a little less irritating for my skin or for someone else.. Same reason I don’t pick my nose anymore or bite my nails as much as I used to…
Seriously, if you accept yourself it’s a lot easier to deal with other people ;) and no that doesn’t mean you’re arrogant or that you have to be perfect…
I just got linked to this comic by a friend, and I’m loving it! Also, it’s nice to know I’m not the only compulsive pimple picker out there!
I used to pick at my skin all the time, pretty my since I got my first pimple. I still pick, to a certain extent, but I limit myself to the ones that will burst anyway when I wash my face. The hardest part is when I’m bored and my hands are free, because I won’t just pick zits, I’ll go after clogged pores too, and make them worse in the process. To combat the urge to pick I draw, knit, sculpt, or play video games. The biggest help I’ve had so far was getting my skin in better condition to remove temptation. I can’t pick if I’ve got nothing TO pick. Over the years I have probably spent a small fortune on different face creams, soaps, and whatnot to control my outbreaks, but none of it really helped. I’ve got sensitive skin so some of the stuff actually made things worse. I was saved by a friend who gave me two tricks that actually work, much to my surprise.
First trick is: take a dollop of pure honey (no additional sugar or corn syrup, it has to be pure or it won’t work) place the honey in a small, microwave safe dish and warm it for 8-10 seconds. Once or twice a day, apply honey over face, starting with the worst areas. Leave it on for 10-15 minutes, then rinse off. Honey moisturizes and is antibacterial (which I found totally weird and refused to believe at first). I’ve pretty much stopped getting small zits or clogged pores, or whatever fancy name I’m supposed to use for my face looking like crap.
Second trick is: for really big, painful zits, you can crush an aspirin to powder, and mix in Visine until it forms a kind of liquid paste. Dab on to each zit, let dry, and brush off residue. The aspirin gets the infection that caused the pimple, and the Visine takes care of the swelling and redness.
If you happen to be allergic to Visine, aspirin, or honey, I have no clue how to help. Anyway, this helped me stop, I hope it helps some of you!
I pick my skin and my cuticle. It is especially bad in the winter because my skin is so dry and my cuticle gets pointy at places. I also scratch all over, too. I don’t have any advice.
I found your comic strip because of a google search I did on “will power” “stress induced” compulsive tics and anxiety. Interestingly enough, it was for a mild to moderate case of compulsive skin picking which I have struggled with for years. Initially, I found the first strip you did on the subject, and then couldn’t stop reading. Simply finding your comic was probably the best therapy I could have found. This is the only subject I have not been able to talk about with anyone, despite my extremely outgoing personality. I am an instant fan and I found support in an area I didn’t believe possible, however seemingly small. Thanx Erika.
I wonder– you say it feels like you have bugs on your skin… maybe it’s an allergic reaction? You’ve probably already checked it out, but the description reminds me of the crazy itching on my ribs when my allergies are acting up.
Erika, I love that you write about things most people keep private. It is utterly fantastic. First and foremost, because look at all the people you brought together, who’re all saying, “Yeeeep, I do it too, no shame”.
Especially on the topic of CSP/dermatillomania, which I’m sure varies by reasons for picking and the severity of the picking, but in spite of that, we all identify with one another. I just always considered it, for myself, a really dry scalp, which I often peel at until it is raw and red, sometimes bleeding. This usually happens when I’m writing essays (streesssedd!!) or when I’m surfing the net (in a trance). I rarely notice what I’m doing until I am covered in skin flakes.
It’s nice to know its not just a bad habit or poor hygiene. Thanks for bringing us together! :D
The thing that bothers me about my own problem is that I know I’m creating scars all over my back especially, but also my breasts and neck. And I don’t want to have those scars. :(
Oh gawl… I feel you. I can’t get near a mirror without picking. Only way I can restrain myself is if somebody else is around. Though that doesn’t really matter, cause I compulsively touch my face ALL DAY. It’s always nice to know that I’m not the only one who has the problem.