My scab-picking struggle: sharing my story

It’s been years that I’ve suffered from scab-picking and yet there are still so many moments where I feel like the only one struggling. Whenever people talk about skin-picking, it’s normally in a jokey, flippant manner which reinforces the shame and stigma around the behavior. My story is anything but a joke.

I think it began when I was very young, during my elementary school years. More than once, I remember seeing a scab and feeling this urge come over me to just pick at the scab until it was gone. This started off as an occasional thing but slowly developed into something more frequent, to the point now where I can spend hours each day picking away at any area of my body with a scab.

At first I found some comfort in my habit; it gave me an activity to focus on when everyday life felt overwhelming or even just mundane. However, looking back now I can see how much it hampered my ability to make positive connections with those around me or do anything productive; basically wasting huge amounts of time while simultaneously allowing feelings of shame due to having no control over myself and feeling embarrassed by the physical results.

It’s been a long road trying to get back on track, but it has been so worth it so far! Through support from family and friends as well as professional help when needed for more severe episodes, I’m learning new skills which help distract me when temptation arises as well as developing mindfulness techniques which allow me to acknowledge negative urges without acting upon them. Being mindful of what triggers these episodes is key for me too as understanding why they occur gives me validation and helps remind that none of how why my condition happens is actually under my control or appears indicative of who I am as a person.

Know that you are not alone in this struggle! Reach out for help because no matter how horrible you may feel about yourself right now -you deserve to get better!