ABOUT THIS SITE
“I know what you mean about not being sure whether to write the picking book or not. I feel the same way about that book I wrote for my master’s degree. I feel like it was more therapeutic for me, rather than something I want to make public. But as you said, if it helps someone else, you do want to share it in some way.”
~ email from the 1990s. My how our world has changed!
This book had its humble beginnings in the spring of 1991 when I participated in a small group of women committed to improving their lives. It was the Terry Cole Whitaker Workshop, “Love and Power in a World Without Limits.” hosted by my good friend, Chris. During this six week course we discussed everything from personal empowerment, to setting goals, and removing the blocks in our lives. It was the first time I ever admitted in public that I picked at my face. As terrified as I was to admit such a disgusting habit, amazingly another girl, “Tammy.” in the class piped up, that she, too, picked and would support me in my efforts to beat the habit.
Flash forward six years later, I had accomplished so many of the goals I had set out during that intense period of my life. I had transformed myself into a vegetarian, bought my first house, became a landlord, got the dream job, yet I still picked at my face. I had short periods of time when my complexion seemed to get better, only to backslide into the same old problems. Tammy was in the same predicament. She had met many of her goals, but still picked at her cuticles.
It was in 1997 that “Tammy” and I finally made the pact to find out what really lay behind our compulsion to pick away at ourselves and support each other in the process. I had separated from my husband and saw a brief relief from my symptoms, only to see my face get worse within a short period of time. I went on a serious hunt for information. I scoured libraries and bookstores, to find no printed information. I jumped on the internet and started to see connections under Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Web sites and Acne Web sites, yet still no one seemed to address exactly what I was searching for. This is when the vision came. I would write the book. I would compile every piece of information I had collected into one comprehensive source for anyone suffering from the same affliction as me.
After this new vision was set, I began to see little by little mentions of what I finally came to know as “Neurotic Excoriations” and “Acne Excoriee des jeunes filles.” Some of the other names I have run scross since are: Psychogenic Excorations, Dermatillomania, Compulsive Skin Picking (CSP), Psychodermatosis, and Self Injurious Skin Picking (SISP).
Although versions of the disease have been in the medical books for some time, no one really talks about it and how it can be controlled. And when I first started writing this book, when I typed Acne excorieé into the search engines – there were no responses. Now at least there are over 600 hits as my last search. Thankfully, more and more information is becoming available.
I wrote most of the book at that time and then let it drop until just recently. I had gone through some major life changes and after a few more years under the bridge, my face picking habit had decreased to a manageable level. I rarely picked anymore due to the fact that I was just plain happier and didn’t need to obsess on my skin any more. And I just wasn’t breaking out like I used to.
Then for fun, I had joined an all girls rock and roll group. It was really just an after hours diversion and an excuse for some girl friends to get together and have cocktails. Imagine my surprise when the subject of tweezing came up… One girl talked about her obsession with tweezing eyebrow hairs and another spoke of her obsession with the little hairs that appear on your chin as you age. I could totally relate to the discussion. There was also insinuation that things other than hairs sometimes get picked at obsessively as well. I knew it was time for me to “pick” up the project again and share what I had learned.
Looking back, I can’t tell you how many nights I found myself looking in the mirror and feeling that it would never reflect a clear complexion. Towards the beginning of writing this book, I often found my hands reaching up to my face to feel, scratch, or squeeze. But through the process of uncovering this information, I began the road to recovery and relief. If this book helps just one person suffering out there, I know that it was worth it.
I now consider myself 99% cured. I have written a book called Kiss Addiction Goodbye, with the help of my recovering alcoholic husband. I recount my picking addiction story in this book and share many insights on how to become pick-free yourself. Please consider supporting my endeavors.