Within my last blog I have been looking at the use of makeup to cover up the damage done by compulsive skin picking (CSP). I’m looking at the application of makeup within which we would cover up the results, outflows or physical consequences of the disorder, in order to walk through our daily lives without having to deal with the reactions that those in our lives and worlds may have towards the blemishes, cuts, scars and sores caused by the disorder.
Within this, it is very obvious to me that covering up the results/outflow/physical consequences of the disorder is in no way any kind of treatment of the disorder, in fact, it mostly serves to further suppress the manifestation of dermatillomania/excoriation obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and CSP, by allowing ourselves to not have to face ourselves within it, and not have to face the consequences.
There is certainly a layer of avoidance of others and the reactions of others that I will address later, but what is more relevant is that facing others is most prominently a reflection of how we feel about ourselves.
In covering up the consequences of the disorder it becomes like a secret, wherein, if no one knows about it, it seems like less of a problem, and we can then continue to deny it, hide it, suppress it and continue on with our daily lives. However, within this we fail to see, realize and understand that all day long we are busy creating internal experiences.
In our daily lives and within the relationships we’ve developed with everything in our worlds, and within the reactions, ideas, perceptions and beliefs we continue to participate in on a daily basis, we are constantly and continuously creating the internal environment that causes the skin-picking in the first place.
There is no escaping this. There is only either facing it, or suppression. Obviously, and as I’ve mentioned, suppression will never work. No matter how good the concealer is, no matter how potent the medication, no matter how positive the attitude, the disorder will always manage to rear its ugly head, because we haven’t dealt with the root. I’m not saying to not test these things out for yourself, what I am saying is do everything you can to support yourself, but don’t ignore the roots.
I want to look at this within the structure of problem/solution/reward in order to illustrate the common sense in summoning the will power and strength and all the other qualities we will need to face this, because this is not a task for the light of heart.We need to strengthen ourselves in new ways, and this is totally do-able!
Thankfully, all the qualities needed to face this disorder are qualities that can be built within anyone, and this can be done through the process of self-forgiveness, self-commitment, and self-corrective application- by starting small, taking it step by step, and slowly building the resolve, the patience, and eventually the self-will, self-movement and self-direction that one would need to manage this all-consuming disorder, and crate a higher quality of life. It is not only possible, but it is possible for anyone.
Continuing with the structure of problem/solution/reward: The problem is the disorder itself, OCD/derma/excoriation itself, the internal experience as well as whatever physical expression it happens to manifest itself as within each one’s life. It diminishes the quality of life and the quality of each moment, wherein, moments of actual self-expression, enjoyment, and moments where one is actually moving oneself to create a life worth living, are so few and far between, that life becomes more like something to be endured.
The internal manifestation is like a constant struggle and a complete and utter submission to the absolute possession of this disorder. The anxiety, discomfort, fear, anger, irritability, frustration, despair, turmoil and exhaustion that manifests as a result of being completely consumed, enslaved and controlled by this disorder will dominate one’s life, with the only escape being just that: escape. Escaping through distraction, or through polarity, wherein one becomes almost bi-polar, doing really really well for a small amount of time, and then experiencing the great fall, back into the toxicity of skin-picking.
Or: escape through medication in some instances (e.g. n if you take medication and change nothing else, or do not accompany it with therapy/self-understanding etc…) or substance abuse, or through completely submitting to the disorder, really becoming consumed and possessed by it, and experiencing that brief moment of relief, and then covering the results up with makeup and ‘pretending’ like it never happened.
This escape is not real, because whether consciously or subconsciously, we all know it’s still there, and it will be back, and we will go back there, back to the disorder and the temporary release it allows. What is interesting within this is that it reveals the fact that the disorder is both the cause of, and release/relief from the symptoms- the perfect vicious cycle. At any rate, this is not living, and this is the problem.
The solution would be to face the disorder, to stop denying and suppressing it, and to become aware of it completely in terms of how it is affecting us and playing out in our lives. And to stand up from within it, to become One with it, and equal to it, and to change as it. We cannot change ourselves if we deny the fact that we exist within and as a disorder. We cannot change ourselves if we treat the disorder as a separate entity from ourselves, to be treated separately, and we cannot change ourselves in a substantial way if we don’t walk through the steps we have taken over time to create and manifest this disorder within ourselves.
The process of self-forgiveness is a solution to this disorder that has been missed. It stands as the power that SELF has within self. It is a tool that can be used to trace back the steps of how we have created ourselves in the first place, by bringing history into the present moment, by self-honestly looking at what’s really going on within ourselves and how we are dealing, or NOT dealing with our lives and worlds, and the internal reactions to it all. It also supports to see self clearly, let go, and change.
We have created ourselves as we are today, by repeating the same cycles and relationships that we imprinted upon ourselves as children. This has been shown to me time and time again as I trace back current issues in my world, and it always leads back to myself having planted the seed in childhood. Seeds which took root and grew. Seeds which I was not aware that I was nurturing my whole life through how I was living, thinking, reacting and assessing.
So, it’s to now look at where and how the seed was planted, and how and why it was nurtured throughout the years, until, for example with skin-picking, it finally grew into something seemingly more great, and more powerful than me . It may be a ‘big’, ‘grown up’, adult’ problem at this stage, but the patterns and habits that it consists of have merely matured and grown with me, and can be dismantled into what is sometimes a very child-like mentality that I still live out on a daily basis. This is how we bring history into the present moment.
This entire process has been done by ourselves, to ourselves, and therefore can only be undone by ourselves. Others play a role, yes. But when we take responsibility for ourselves WITH others, how we react to them, and take it all within us, we give ourselves ALL the power.
This is why it is a process to now undo it, instead of it happening all in one moment. And this is why it is called SELF-forgiveness. We forGIVE ourselves back to ourselves, release the past and plant new seeds.
The benefit of this is to be able to actually Live for Real. To express ourselves and Who We Really Are, and finding out what we in fact Can Be.
We can actually Live, instead of constantly wearing a mask, such as a mask of makeup, covering up what we are hiding from , or what we think we are hiding from , but which has actually at this point been consuming us the entire time.
And within standing up within ourselves, we can also stand up within the world, and stand for what we will and will not accept and allow. Where we can actually breathe, and create and develop relationships of support, and be strong enough to stop the current abusive relationships we create within our lives and worlds.
We can make changes that benefit us, and start to work towards creating a Life where we are honoured as Life, equally to everyone else, not more, and not less.
We can take our decision-making ability BACK, and start making decisions that take into consideration the entirety of ourselves and not just the action of skin-picking and the damage it does.
So, to bring the topic back to makeup, and the application of cover-up, concealer and foundation in order to create the image of ‘normalcy’, if that even exists, I had to go through the entire process and understanding in order to now discuss how and why I developed the way in which I have found that makeup can also act as a practical support.
For me, my process with makeup has been to first prove to myself that I accept myself no matter how I look.
This began when I shaved my head, and faced the word and myself without hair.
What I showed myself was that I was still in fact able to accept myself. I saw that I could accept myself even when others in my world could not accept me because I now had no hair.
For me, it revealed just as much about them as it did about myself, and I saw that other people’s judgment of me had absolutely nothing to do with Who I Am as a human being.
At the same time, I walked the process of makeup. I had been applying makeup daily for years, especially when I would leave the house. If I wasn’t wearing makeup, I was usually doing so because I wanted to give my face a break, and it was a point of allowing my skin to breathe. Without makeup I would find myself avoiding people or cringing within myself when people would see me and my blemishes. Through the process of self-forgiveness, I learned to forgive myself, accept myself and breathe through these cringing and withdrawing reactions, until one day, I remember, I was able to sit and talk with my husband, without any makeup, with the sun shining on my face, and I had no reactions, only self-acceptance as: this is who I am right now, this is how I look, this is what I’ve done, and I accept me.
Since then. I have worn makeup again, but when I wear makeup now, I do so from a point of stability. I have NOT transcended the point of dermatillomania and CSP. I still have marks and blemishes and scars and all that, and I know I WILL be judged by it. This judgment, especially at my work place, can have consequences for me that are unnecessary.
I saw how people reacted when I shaved my head and I actually lost a relationship because of it. So, I do not want to compromise myself by needlessly exposing myself in every moment. I understand that I have to play a certain ‘acceptable’ role in public life in the society I exist within, especially at work. So I wear makeup, and I wear concealer if I need to do so in order to play the role that will be most supportive for me.
However, when I apply makeup, I do so within absolute awareness of what I have done and Who I Am behind the makeup. I accept myself and my flaws and the fact that I am working through a disorder, and I can say this with complete confidence because my application has recently been tested when I forgot my makeup in a friend’s car, and went for three days without it. I went work without a trace of makeup (and I had blemishes and all), and I experienced no reactions within me whatsoever.
In fact, when she came over with it in a bag, I had no idea what she was giving me, because I had completely forgotten that I didn’t have it. This showed me that my change was real, that I had in fact walked the point through and was stable within who I am without makeup.
This way, I know makeup is not a crutch, but rather a practical support, not to hide behind, but to play the role I need to play in this society where disorders are judged and there can be consequences because of it.
In my next blog, I will begin to walk some points within self-forgiveness, as I walk myself towards become the solution to OCD for and as myself.