8 Things People Don't Realize You're Doing Because of Your Body-Focused Repetitive Behavior


Editor’s note: If you struggle with a body-focused repetitive behavior, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can find resources at The TLC Foundation for Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors and the Canadian BFRB Support Network.

One of the aspects of having a body-focused repetitive behavior (BFRB) is that we do things or behave in certain ways exclusively because of our disorders. Many of us have specific routines we do because we’re either engaging in picking, pulling or biting of our skin, hair and nails, or trying to hide the damage caused by it.

We asked our followers what are some things they do that people don’t realize they’re doing because of their BFRB. These are the responses we got from people with dermatillomania and trichotillomania.

1. People don’t realize how many times I’ve had to readjust my pulling habits because I developed repetitive behavior damage in my muscles and joints. Carpal tunnel and tennis elbow are my life. — Kala B.

2. In an effort to not get pimples on my face that I will undoubtedly pick, I change my pillowcase every night. I treat it like a sterile surgical tool; once the clean pillow case is on, it cannot be touched by anything but my head or it is unclean and unacceptable. My fiancé cannot even kiss me once I wash my face for the night. — Hannah L.

3. People don’t realize my habit of being late is not out of laziness but because I get stuck picking at my skin for so long that it takes me far more time to accomplish things. — Kelsey B.

4. People don’t realize that with dermatillomania I had to wear jeans all throughout high school, no matter what temperature or humidity outside, because my legs were so scarred from picked ingrown hairs that people thought I got attacked by chiggers or had chicken pox. — Dorie A.

5. People don’t realize I categorize my wardrobe by what outfits I can and can’t wear, depending on what area of my body is most marked up at the time. This may mean I don’t wear my favorite shirt for months, because I can’t seem to let that one area heal. — Amanda T.

6. People don’t realize how much cleaning up there is to do. Seriously, I feel like I’m always sweeping up hair from my desk and my floor, picking it off my clothes, etc. — Kimi S.

7. I am often running late or take forever to do something because I can’t stop picking. Sometimes I’ll make food then don’t eat it for over an hour because I can’t free my hands up to pick up the food and eat it. — Sharon C.

8. I have both trichotillomania and dermatillomania. When I have ingrown hairs, see them in public and I can’t pick them out, I have to mark the spot so I can remember it for later. I also have to pick pimples, blackheads and other skin-related things once I see them. And I think way too much. The number one thing I do because of my trichotillomania is shaving my head though. But I’m comfortable with that. — Elenor H.

If you or a loved one is affected by body-focused repetitive behaviors, you can find resources at The TLC Foundation for Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors and the Canadian BFRB Support Network.

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