Within my last few blogs, I had been writing through the fact that I do not want to have OCD/dermatillomania/excoriation disorder, yet I make the choice every day, not to change. Anyone who suffers from derma/OCD or any other kind of addiction, obsession or compulsion might argue with me that the disorder is not a choice. It is a choice. It is a choice made over and over SO many times, that it is literally programed into and as us, to the point that it has become automatic, unconscious and seemingly unstoppable.
The fact that it is a choice can be proven by an interesting thing that I have observed within myself as well as in support groups: we stop ourselves when we ‘have’ to. If we have to go to work, we will stop and go to work. It’s not like someone outside of ourselves came in, bound our hands, got us dressed and pushed us out the door. It is us that stops ourselves when we deem we ‘have’ to, yet we keep falling back into it, over and over again.
This is not to say that it can be stopped altogether in one moment. Maybe it can, because anything Is possible, but as with most addiction or automatic programmed behavior, it takes a process to stop.
It is this choice that I have been writing through in my past few blogs. I do not want to have OCD/derma, I also don’t ever make the genuine decision to stop and change. This is summed up here:
“I find out that I don’t really WANT to change for real. It’s like, someone that does drugs like heroine, ‘wants’ to stop, but doesn’t really want to stop, because they love the drug so much, they’ll use any excuse to take it. On top of this, once you stop, you have to face everything you’ve done unto yourself. So, the desire to stop Is present because, we know that it’s ‘wrong’ and ‘not normal’ and harming ourselves, but at the same time, it feels so good. Herein, it feels good, but it is not good for us in reality. So what is that feeling but an energetic experience in the mind? “
These writings and realizations were exploring the ‘positive’ side of the OCD experience—positive in the respect that it is seemingly ‘giving’ us something (feeding the mind-reality at the expense of the physical real reality). There is more to this side and I will go into it in blogs to come, but for the moment, I am going to explore a bit of the negative side.
The negative side of OCD/dermatillomania/excoriation is that side which is unconscious, wherein, it’s like the hands are roaming and one is not even aware of the fact that there is scratching, picking, rubbing, etc… going on.
For me, it’s when I watch tv or read, or when I’m studying or really just any time I have a moment. It’s so automatic that I’m not even aware that I am doing it, and then I’ll realize at some point and I’ll stop. What I observed it that, I get really uncomfortable and the OCD is soothing and puts me at ease. When I stop myself, this uncomfortability overcomes me to the point that I can’t sit still or focus. So it’s less of a ‘gaining’ something as it is creating an uncomfortability and then escaping it with OCD/skin-picking.
I will explore this uncomfortability, which I experience as an irritation and anxiousness, and how I create it using the tool of self-forgiveness so that I can get to the bottom of it, and change.
(note: as I was reading this back, I was able to stop my hands from wandering. Please read the self-forgiveness portion out loud to yourself).
I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to create an uncomfortability within and as myself which I use to justify OCD/skin-picking.
I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to, when I am not completely focused and engaged, allow my mind to wander about with thoughts that I should check my skin, that I should touch it and rub it and feel to make sure it is even and smooth.
I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to become anxious and irritated at the thought that there may be any kind of roughness or soreness or unevenness or bumps on my skin,
and I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to think, believe or perceive that if there is, they need to be removed, evened-out, touched and/or rubbed in order to ‘make it better’ and ‘make it right’.
I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to think, believe and/or perceive that roughness, soreness, bumps, unevenness, or dryness on my skin is bad or wrong, instead of seeing, realizing and understanding that it is just my skin processing itself and maintaining itself as it does every day and will continue to do unconditionally till I die.
I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to think, believe and/or perceive that if there are any irregularities on my skin, it is indicative of disease or illness,
and I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to think/believe/perceive that if I remove the irregularities, then I have removed the possibility of sickness and/or disease, and that having smooth and even skin means I’m healthy and nothing is wrong.
I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to believe the insane logic that I can impose health upon myself by manipulating the way I look,
and I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to, in an attempt to alter the way my natural skin looks for the ‘better’, actually harming it and making it not only look way worse, but actually abusing it in the process.
I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to fear illness and disease.
I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to fear dying of an illness or disease.
I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to fear that my skin will show me the first signs of illness and disease, if I were to suffer from one.
I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to think, believe or perceive that if I can control my skin’s appearance then I can control my health.
I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to think/believe/perceive that my skin, in its natural state, is dirty, flawed and contaminated,
and within this, I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to think, believe or perceive that I can/need to/have to clean it and maintain it from the skewed perception that my mind knows what’s best and must impose itself upon my skin, instead of seeing, realizing and understanding that my skin is actually working, for the most part, within and as perfection, wherein, perfection is not in the appearance of the skin, but exists within the skins ability to process, care for and maintain itself, without any conscious effort on my part.
I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to impose my mind’s skewed version of reality onto my skin, which exists within actual reality, and which deals with actual reality in every moment, unlike myself as my mind, which distorts reality, and then hides from and escapes this distorted version of reality through self-abuse.
I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to distort reality by thinking/believing/perceiving that my skin is dirty, flawed and contaminated.
I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to become uncomfortable by the thoughts, ideas, perceptions and beliefs that my skin is dirty, flawed and contaminated, and I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to think, believe and perceive that I must immediately intervene in order to experience myself as clean and perfect.
I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to think, believe and perceive that in order to experience myself as clean and perfect, that I have to constantly clean and perfect myself.
I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to think/believe/perceive that if and when I am not experiencing myself as clean and perfect, that anyone that sees me will see and/or think that I am dirty, flawed and imperfect.
I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to judge myself as dirty, flawed and imperfect, instead of accepting myself as I am, as Who I Am at this point, and accepting my physical body and skin as it is, which is perfect, as it consistently does the job it is supposed to do, which is to maintain itself to the highest standard at all times, despite the abuse I impose upon it.
I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to judge myself as dirty, flawed and imperfect, without ever really asking myself or investigating what ‘clean’, ‘flawless’ and ‘perfect’ actually are, what they actually practically entail, or what they mean to me.
I commit myself to write myself out of the skewed version of reality I have created for myself, and the skewed version of myself I have created in my mind, until I make actual reality so undeniable to myself, that I will no longer be able to fool myself and manipulate myself with these mind-games that I use to justify and create and cause me to compulsively pick my skin.
I commit myself to teach myself how to treat my body with dignity and respect, and to leave it alone within the understanding that it does not require my intervention in any way whatsoever, unless I am sick or have a condition that needs to be tended to, in which case I will tend to it in the most practical and reasonable way possible, by supporting my body to function to its utmost capacity, as it is design to do so long as I give it what it needs, and nothing more.
I commit myself to learn to accept myself and my body and skin as what I am in each moment, without looking at myself through my mind’s eye, without distorting my self-perception, and without creating something more or less than what is actually here.
I commit myself to slow myself down and observe myself when I am participating in activities that do not require my full attention, so that I can identify and stop the thoughts as seemingly automatic flashes of images of my skin connected to irritation and anxiousness about what may be present on it.
When and as I see that I am following and participating in the thoughts as flashes of images of my skin with irregularities and imperfections, connected with the emotional experience of irritation, anxiety and fear, I stop and I breathe.
I bring myself back to self-acceptance by reminding myself that touching or ‘tending’ to those thoughts by following them through to physical action, will only actually create and manifest exactly that which is causing my to feel irritated, anxious and fearful, thus creating a vicious cycle of self-abuse and self-enslavement to addiction and obsessive compulsion.
I see, realize and understand that by stopping my participation within/as these thoughts as they occur, I can break the cycle and free myself from the disorder forevermore.
When and as I see that I am becoming uncomfortable and irritated and anxious at the thoughts of being dirty, flawed and imperfect, I stop, and I breathe.
I bring myself back to self-acceptance by reminding myself that if I don’t accept myself as I am now, I certainly won’t be able to accept the diminished version of myself that I create through my participation in the thoughts, feelings, emotions, ideas, perceptions, beliefs and judgments that I impose on to myself with and as my mind and then manifested within and through skin-picking, so I am better off if I simply stop, breathe, and make the decision to let it go.
To be continued….
To read more about the process of self-acceptance, check out this blog I wrote on beauty: Day 3- Beauty Is A Beast
And this one is about honouring the physical body, which I took a moment to realize once my relationship ended and I realized I had been compromising myself within ALL of my relationships: Day 31- Quitting Love- No Sense of Self