The Buddy-System, Does it Work (part two)

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Continuing from my last blog, where I tried the ‘buddy system’ to prevent myself from falling into what I call an ‘OCD possession’. Read the blog HERE for context.

For me, on this occasion, the buddy-system worked: Instead of falling into the OCD action of picking my skin before going to meet a group of people, I reached out to my friend who is a life coach, and together we found the source of why I felt the compulsion in that moment. Once I was able to find the source (read the first blog to see what it was), and I did some forgiveness on having created the source for myself, I was able to walk out of my house without having to go through the ‘usual routine’. This is quite a drastic contrast compared to what I am used to in these situations, and I want to talk a bit about that.

The ‘usual routine’ would be to work myself up into a state where I feel the only solution, relief, or way out is to fall into the compulsion aspect of OCD. This would be the actual ‘acting out’ of the disorder. The way my OCD expresses itself in these situations is skin-picking. So instead of going through the very normal process of getting dressed, making sure I look presentable, and then walking out the front door, I would instead be unconsciously having repetitive thoughts, and feeling unable to think clearly, focus or re-direct myself. This causes an internal environment that is chaotic, tense and uncomfortable, filled with fear, anxiety and stress. This internal environment is one which I have simply never developed the skills to cope with.

In my life, OCD has developed ‘naturally’ since childhood as a coping mechanism, due to genetics, past experiences, and actions performed in unawareness on my part.

What happens is I will go up to the mirror and obsessively examine my skin. This takes my mind off of the intensity of the internal environment. In this mental state, any small imperfection seems to me to be a huge flaw that I think everyone will look at, and is the mistakenly perceived source of my unbearable internal discomfort.

Within this, I feel that instead of seeing me, everyone would see only flaws and blemishes. So, in a seemingly uncontrollable mental-state, I would go about removing all the perceived marks and spots.

The consequence of all this, which is the play-out that I experience on a daily basis, is that due to all the time it takes to go into OCD (which, once in the possession, can be a very long time and  beyond my control to stop), plus the time it takes to carefully apply makeup to try to be presentable, leaves no time to actually get ready and do all the normal things one would do to prepare to leave the house.

To be continued in the next blog…

 

There Is No Reset Button

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OCD is exhausting. Dermatillomania is damaging. Sometimes at night I fall into an OCD possession and after some time I am able to tell myself “just go to bed, Kim.” And I go to bed. I wake up the next day and it’s as if I am another person; someone who is not inflicted with uncontrollable compulsions. That’s not to say that the damage isn’t there. It’s there to varying degrees depending on how much self-control I was able to exert the night before. But I wake up mostly feeling lighter, not yet burdened with the day’s baggage. This morning, however, I woke up feeling as if nothing had changed from the night before. It was as if everything had just been placed on pause only to  resume again exactly as is was once the sun came up again.

 

I felt horribly dreadful and completely flattened because I didn’t get my ‘reset’ of a good night’s sleep. I don’t know why this happened, all I know is that I didn’t get my ‘get out of jail free card’. So I decided to do some self-forgiveness on it to see how I could turn this self-defeating situation into a self-empowering lesson for me to learn from. I sat down and opened my computer and began to write:

 

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to depend on the feeling of starting over with each new day, wherein in the morning I will feel fresh and new as if the previous day’s event hadn’t occurred, within this, forgetting the seriousness or gravity of the disorder I’m facing, by intentionally ignoring or ‘forgetting’ what I go through each and every day.

 

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to feel doom and gloom when I don’t wake up feeling refreshed, as if a reset button hadn’t been pressed, because I placed the responsibility on my physical body to absorb the previous day’s activities, and to heal the damage I had done, and within this:

 

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to place the responsibility upon my physical body to deal with the consequences of what I do due to the disorder I have, instead of taking the responsibility upon myself with the utmost seriousness and gravity, wherein I am able to do everything within my power to assist and support myself to manage this disorder.

 

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to do the bare minimum to manage this disorder, and to hide and cover up the fact that at most times, it is not under control, and to try to hide it from myself, suppress it and sweep it under the rug, thus creating a situation of denial within which I am only undermining myself by preventing myself from doing absolutely everything I can to assist and support myself to walk in this life with and through this disorder.

 

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to feel overwhelmed, diminished and powerless when I do not wake up feeling refreshed and ‘new’, but instead feel as if the previous day’s struggle and load were here with me immediately upon waking up, and within this:

 

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to not want to face the struggle and the weight I have created and carry due to the manifestation of this disorder and all the outflows and consequences it causes.

 

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to not know how to deal with and manage this disorder, and to within this ‘not-knowing’ fall into a default-mode program instead of actually standing up and facing it through exploration and investigation, and actively seeking and searching for a solution for and as myself.

 

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to fall into what is comfortable and feels ‘right’, instead of using a practical outlook wherein I would asses my behavior and look and the consequences and outflows, and then make a reality-based assessment of whether or not what I am doing is actually assisting and supporting me to live to my utmost potential. Within this:

 

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to act based on what feels ‘right’, even though it is blatantly obvious that it is destructive and damaging to myself in every way.

 

When and as I see I am ignoring the gravity and seriousness of my disorder by hiding from it and ignoring it, I stop, and I breathe. I bring myself back to self-movement by bringing the disorder Here, in front of me, in order to remind myself that I have a task to do and a process to walk that involves moment to moment application, and within looking at the disorder Here, in the present moment, I decide how to best proceed in such a way that I am dealing with, and NOT ignoring, that which I have created and must now undue and replace with the creation of myself as Life, equal and one Here.

 

I commit myself to realize and understand that this disorder is not greater than me, by walking with it and through it step by step until it’s done.

 

I commit myself to face myself within that which I have created as OCD/dermatillomania.

 

I commit myself to stop hiding from OCD and sweeping it under the rug and doing the bare minimum in order to live and survive.

 

I commit myself to do everything within my power to manage and overcome OCD/dermatillomania.

 

Anxiety Series – Dermatillomania: Anxiety Dimension Solution (part five)

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My life had become ruled by anxiety. I had even developed an anxiety disorder called dermatillomania. This blog is focused on ‘picking apart’ and dismantling this disorder, instead of doing so to my skin. I am doing this so that I can restructure and put myself back together in a way that I can accept, because I cannot to continue to accept this disorder in my life.

In my last blog series I walked the process of deconstructing anxiety reactions to see what exactly causes them and how one can firstly, direct oneself to walk through them in a way where one won’t feed into and perpetuate them; and secondly, avoid triggering them at all. I have proven to myself too many times already, that I can’t simply stop my compulsive skin picking and other OCD tendencies. I am now working on making the internal and external changes necessary to create the environment in which change will be possible.

For practicality, in my last blogs, I listed five examples of every-day situations that trigger anxiety in my own life. As a side note, in doing this, I actually got to know myself and who I am within the anxiety, and how I can handle its onset. The process I have walked in my last few blogs has been a very interesting, and I have been successfully practicing what I’ve taught myself for several weeks now (in terms of preventing or walking through the anxiety where it would have normally taken over). I’ve observed quite a significant change in my experience of anxiety, as well as the frequency of anxiety attacks. The biggest difference has been at my job, where my overall stress level had been reduced. I highly suggest checking out my other blogs in this anxiety series in order to apply the same process in your own life.

Here is where I left off in my last blog: “The best solution is to keep practicing being able to recognize the moment anxiety first starts, because that is where it can be stopped. The goal is to prevent the reactions from taking place at all. This requires a slowing down within self, and a self-awareness perhaps not previously developed. I will work on these aspects over the next weeks, by studying my examples of ‘anxiety-triggering situations’ I wrote about in my last blog. I will ‘study’ them by walking through them one by one, doing self-forgiveness on all the points so that I reveal to myself any hidden self-sabotage and to see what exactly is going on that leads me to create an anxiety reaction within myself.”

I have been going to the gym for the past year or so. What I noticed at first was minimal to no upper-body strength. After a year of working out with weights, swimming and boxing, I have noticed visible musculature and a slight but noticeable increase in strength. It has been awesome to see something develop from virtually nothing. The muscles were not there before, and now they are. It’s as simple as that: they are new, I created them. When they are tiny and not very strong, even the lightest weights make me tremble with effort after a couple of reps. But I know that if I simply continue to apply myself they will inevitably grow. I am mentioning this because it’s the same with developing self-awareness. I personally develop self-awareness through self-forgiveness, because it is very effective at peeling back the layers of the mind to reveal what is under the anxiety, what is causing it, what thoughts are creating it, and what reaction to those thoughts are fueling it. It is like seeing the ‘worst’ of yourself while in a gentle and supportive embrace.

Warning: I’m about to go into some self-forgiveness statements. They may seem repetitive and detailed… but I continue to apply it because, like the muscles, self-forgiveness has assisted me to develop self-awareness where once there was none. I am becoming able to, in the moment of reaction, identify where the reaction came from, why it came up, and how to walk myself out of it. I’m not always successful, and sometimes I’m too late, but like my muscles, I know that if I keep practicing and applying myself, I will become more effective and will eventually be able to let go of the anxiety point once and for all, because it will no longer be an issue in my life.

Here is the first example of where anxiety is often triggered in my life:

Example 1) Anxiety + Overwhelming-ness

            My first example is in relation to food preparation. It starts when I begin to think about organizing meals and food for the next day or couple of days, or as I begin cooking. It’s a simple task that I think I could actually enjoy, if I didn’t become bombarded with thoughts that become overwhelming.”

I will let you know in advance that in the below self-forgiveness, I revealed to myself that I held an old belief that a ‘good woman’ is defined by her ability to cook. I had no idea I held this belief, nor any idea of the pressure I placed on myself due to it. I also found out that I compare myself to all the women who have ever impressed me with their cooking abilities; women that had been cooking all their lives – an unfair comparison as I had only learned later in life, and I therefore lacked much practice and practical experience. I found this very interesting, and I can see how the anxiety blows my reactions to it out of proportion. I also found out a lot of simple, practical things I can change, like not taking on too much, organizing myself before I begin to cook, keeping a clean workspace, as well as making a plan ahead of time and sticking to it.

Read the self-forgiveness on the example below to see how I found this out, and what I plan to do to instead cook for the simple enjoyment of it, no pressure, no judgment, just my hands working with food in gratefulness of the sustenance being provided. After the self-forgiveness, read on to see how this is related to the perpetuation of dermatillomania.

Self-forgiveness:

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to become anxious when I start to cook.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing starting to prepare food to be a trigger point existent within and as me.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to become anxious.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing anxiety and anxiety attacks to exist within and as me.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to want to rush the process of cooking food to ‘get it over with’.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to, within this ‘rushed’ energy, begin to cook immediately and figure it out as I go, instead of taking a moment before I’ve started to plan how I will be proceeding.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to try and attempt to cook something when I haven’t left myself enough time, instead of seeing what I have frozen or if there is anything around that is quick to prepare.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to not consider cooking when I plan my time, viewing it as something I can quickly get over with in a rush, instead of seeing, realizing and understanding that food preparation takes time, and quite a lot of planning before-hand,

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to think, believe or perceive that organizing daily food preparation into my life is difficult and impossible, instead of seeing that every time I push myself to do it, I learn a little, and become more effective and organized over time.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to take out all the ingredients and try to start everything at once in the aim of saving time and going faster, without realizing that I create a messy and chaotic environment, reflecting my messy and chaotic mind when I follow through with this pattern of becoming rushed and then trying to do everything all at once and as fast as possible.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to spend more time thinking about the outcome of my labour than time spent planning it in the first place.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to create an expectation about what others will think when they taste the food I prepare, and to, within this, develop a desire for positive feedback, in order to obtain validation that I believe I require, because of the idea that ‘a good woman knows how to cook.’

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to base any part of my value and worth as a female upon my ability to cook food, or my lack thereof.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to think, believe or perceive that a ‘good woman’ can cook well, and to think about all the women I know who can cook well, and make things I cannot make,  thus placing pressure on myself to prove that I am a ‘good woman’ too, by trying and attempting to make amazing things when I don’t yet have the know-how, which is setting myself up for failure.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to set myself up for failure and then judge myself as having ‘failed as a woman’ when I inevitably make a mistake.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to distract myself away from the actual cooking by thinking about the potential positive and negative reactions to my food – thus preoccupying my mind and not focusing on what I’m doing, distracting myself with the thoughts instead of realizing that it only takes one wrong ingredient or one wrong move to ruin a meal.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to, within the desire to avoid a negative reaction, begin feeling upset and defeated when one part of the meal or another doesn’t turn out as I had imagined, creating pressure, blame and self –defeat when I’ve let something cook too long, or when I’ve made a mistake.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to build up anxious energy while I am cooking, wherein pressure is place on the reaction to my cooking, and I end up taking the reaction personally, whether good or bad, because I had built up energy which now needs to be released in a feeling (good) or emotional (bad) experience by which I would then define myself.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to define myself by my feelings and emotions.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to place pressure on to the reaction of others to my cooking, due to me having participating in thoughts, feelings, emotions and imaginations within and throughout the cooking process.

When and as I see that I am about to cook, I stop, and I breathe. I bring myself out of my mind and back into my physical body in the present moment, here, by giving myself a moment to organize, check for ingredients, plan the process and proceed one step at a time.

When and as I see that I am starting to go into a rushed and chaotic experience while cooking, I stop, and I breathe. I bring myself back to the pace of the physical, slow and steady, by taking a step back to look at my environment, ensuring I do not have too many items out or too many things going on at the same time, tidying where necessary, and assessing the most efficient way to proceed based on the requirements of what I have going on.

When and as I see that I am going into the ‘pleasing’ character while cooking, I stop, and I breathe. I bring myself into the lightness of the moment by taking off the pressure of cooking from the starting point of pleasing, and replacing it with the starting point of cooking for the mere fact that I enjoy cooking, experimenting with food, and learning from my mistakes.

When and as I see that I am searching for validation through cooking well, I stop, and I breathe.  I bring myself back to self-worth by reminding myself that my value is not in my ability to cook, but in the time and care that I invest in myself, creating my self-value, by, for example, cooking within and as self-enjoyment, open-minded learning, self-evolution within organization and pre-planning, thus creating myself as someone that can cook well because I have walked a process of trial and error, planning and organization, and practice over time.

I commit myself to learn to simply enjoy cooking, in all its aspects and everything it entails.

I commit myself to embrace myself within the mistakes I make, and to learn from them.

I commit myself to put in the time to plan and organize meals, to cook around discounts at the grocery store, and to cook for my health/body, allowing for pleasure as well.

I commit myself to cook for fun, because it’s a necessity, so I might as well have fun doing it!

This above example relates to dermatillomania, because the condition is not necessarily a complete focus on the skin. It is a symptom of an anxiety disorder. Anxiety is created throughout the day and carried around within the mind and body, It builds up and from time to time, reaches a tipping point where it needs to be released. Often when I get anxious it feels like a discomfort within me, and it becomes very uncomfortable like an itch that, when left unscratched, becomes the overwhelming focus and then an obsession and compulsion until the energy is released and dissipated. I rarely look at what throughout the day created the anxiety, things of varying degrees that I didn’t face in the moment, but instead suppressed.

Usually when I do take the time to investigate, I find self-defeating thoughts which make me feel bad, lonely, isolated, hopeless etc…  which are soothed either by the endorphins released by the pain of picking or the complete focus on the skin and it’s imperfections, rather than the thoughts that are creating the pain and discomfort.

All of these thoughts are connected to energies expressed as feelings and emotions, which we then believe is who we are, but it’s not true. We have the choice to turn any self-defeating situation into a moment of self-empowerment. The thoughts that pop into our heads are just robotic programs that we’ve programmed into and as ourselves over a lifetime of believing ourselves to be the energies (feeling and emotions) we are able to create in our minds. We simply need to invest the time and care into ourselves to re-program how we think and act and do. This is effective, I have already proven it to myself. Like going to the gym – it’s just a matter of time before the results become real, visible and measurable!

 

Anxiety Series

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Anxiety Series – Dermatillomania: How and Why We Build Up Anxiety (part one)

Anxiety Series – Deconstructing Anxiety, Dis-Arming Dermatillomania (part two)

Anxiety Series – Deconstructing Anxiety, Dis-Arming Dermatillomania (part three)

Anxiety Series – Walking Through Anxiety, Dis-Arming Dermatillomania (part four)

Anxiety Series – Dermatillomania: Anxiety Dimension Solution (part five)

Dermatillomania: The Gaps Within Conventional Treatment

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The approach I am using to self-treat the condition called dermatillomania is necessarily multi-dimensional. I have done research on the treatments available and I have seen that one type of therapy alone cannot be a cure, but can be a huge step forward towards treatment and cessation of this disorder. I am not making any kind of claim that I know better or know more, but what I know is me, and I am the reason, the cause, the source and the solution to myself. What I intend to do is look at the current existent research, and to ‘fill in the gaps’ in order to tailor the treatment to suit me the best way possible, and to document this in order that others may do the same for themselves.
Psychiatrists have done a lot of research and experimentation on the disorder which has some proven and very beneficial results. Take for example the following brief description of a treatment suggestion below:

 

Four Steps for Conquering Symptoms of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

 

Psychiatrist Jeffrey Schwartz, author of Brain Lock: Free Yourself from Obsessive-Compulsive Behavior, offers the following four steps for dealing with OCD:

 

  • RELABEL – Recognize that the intrusive obsessive thoughts and urges are the result of OCD. For example, train yourself to say, “I don’t think or feel that my hands are dirty. I’m having an obsession that my hands are dirty.” Or, “I don’t feel that I have the need to wash my hands. I’m having a compulsive urge to perform the compulsion of washing my hands.”
  • REATTRIBUTE – Realize that the intensity and intrusiveness of the thought or urge is caused by OCD; it is probably related to a biochemical imbalance in the brain. Tell yourself, “It’s not me—it’s my OCD,” to remind you that OCD thoughts and urges are not meaningful, but are false messages from the brain.
  • REFOCUS – Work around the OCD thoughts by focusing your attention on something else, at least for a few minutes. Do another behavior. Say to yourself, “I’m experiencing a symptom of OCD. I need to do another behavior.”
  • REVALUE – Do not take the OCD thought at face value. It is not significant in itself. Tell yourself, “That’s just my stupid obsession. It has no meaning. That’s just my brain. There’s no need to pay attention to it.” Remember: You can’t make the thought go away, but neither do you need to pay attention to it. You can learn to go on to the next behavior.

Source: Westwood Institute for Anxiety Disorder.

To see the entire article, click Here.

 

Although it’s true that the thoughts associated to dermatillomania are not ‘real’ per se, and are not ‘true’ in reality; they have been made ‘real’ and ‘true’ to us in our own minds, to such an extent that we would react emotionally, energetically and physically. I don’t want to give these thoughts validity or to justify them in anyway, but I do think they merit some investigation because although they are related to the disorder and ‘caused by the disorder’, it is important to note that, the disorder is not separate from self. I caused or contributed to this disorder within and as me. I repeated a pattern until it became who I am. I abdicated myself repeatedly to a feeling until it became like an addiction, until I became dependent upon it.

Note that the thoughts are not popping up out of nowhere, they are coming from me, they are relevant to me, and they are the result of my internal workings. I am not saying this in a victimizing way, this is not about self-victimization at all. This is about taking responsibility for the disorder because it is only in taking responsibility for self that self can change. This is why it is called taking self-responsibility. Taking self-responsibility is like saying “yes, I did this, and I can also un-do this.” This is how Self stands as the solution to self. I can find out where the thoughts come from through self-investigation, I can trace them back to their source, I can forgive them and I CAN delete them from within and as me through a self-commitment to do so within self-understanding and self-forgiveness; understanding exactly WHY I am the way I am so that I can forgive, let go and move on. In this way, I become the expert of myself, and no one else can be or do that for me, and I do so within and as self-love and self-acceptance

 

It is important to also remember that the disorder was caused within ignorance, and within this we are, in a way, innocent. There is a lot of guilt and shame associated with dermatillomania, because it’s weird and abnormal and demonstrates a lack of control and an indulgence (among many other reasons). When people see this they may then project their own self-judgment for their own lack of self-control and indulgence on to the derma sufferer, simply because theirs is hidden and ours is advertised. This is why it’s important never to take judgment seriously, because it’s never about you, it’s about the other person.

 

When I started picking my skin, I didn’t understand what I was doing or why I was doing it. All I knew is that it made me feel better, but I didn’t even know why I was feeling ‘wrong’ in the first place, or why picking made it feel better. I did it because I simply didn’t have the tools to cope or understand or to take self-responsibility in the moment, so I defaulted to my ‘programming’. In doing this, I intensified, solidified and crystallized this programming into my very physical body until it reached the stage of consequence that I am at today. If I had had the tools at the time, I could have prevented the whole thing. But I didn’t, so here I am in this current position, like many others. So in looking to the principle of forgiveness, I forgive myself, for I knew not what I was doing. If we don’t forgive we can’t move on change.

 

But forgiveness alone is ineffective, hence the mention at the beginning of this blog of the multi-dimensionality of self-treatment, which I am going to employ for myself. Forgiveness is a huge key because it assists and supports in the investigation process, it opens up thoughts and points in order to find their source. It creates a self-closeness including self-love and self-acceptance which are vital to self-healing.

 

Within my next blog, I will investigate the thoughts as reactions I had when trying to use the tip from my last blog:

 

Look into self when you start feeling like you’re going to pick. Try to define in words   what it is you see and what it is you are feeling.

 

Do self-forgiveness on that which you have clarified for yourself as your internal experience, in order to clear the mind for practical use.

 

Make a step-by-step plan for what you are going to do INSTEAD of picking.

 

Keep focused and the details of the plan and get specific, get VERY specific if you have to. You know how specific and detailed you get when picking? Channel that into plan-making instead.

 

LIVE the plan.”

 

So to recap for this blog:

 

I took an example of a treatment suggestion from Psychiatrist Jeffrey Schwartz, and I am adding to it a precursor, which is to, before dismissing the derma related thoughts within and through his suggestions, is to first investigate and understand the thoughts, find their source, forgive them, and then use his techniques. In this, we are taking full self-responsibility for the disorder, and standing as ourselves as the solution.

 

In my next blog I will demonstrate how to investigate, understand and find the source of thoughts, forgive them, and re-script a new way of being/thinking/doing while incorporating Mr. Schwartz’s suggestions.

Defining the Sensation That Causes Me to Compulsively Pick My Skin – What’s the Plan?

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Are we even aware of what it is we are thinking or feeling the moment we are so compelled that we start picking our own skin? I seem to think that in the past, before I knew this was a disorder and before I knew it wasn’t normal and that it is actually quite harmful, I don’t recall being aware of what was going on inside of me the moments before I would begin to pick. With the process of self-forgiveness I’ve been able to slow down a little bit, and actually have a look at the feelings I experience within myself the moments where I feel like it’s time to ‘pick or die’.

Of these internal emotional energetic experiences, one stands out in particular. It moves in and takes over quite regularly, and the last time it was intense was today, on my way home from work. It was an overwhelming sense and presence of fear. It was a dizzying uncertainty within which I felt a lack of control. Within this experience, as I was walking home, I knew that if I didn’t do something about it, I would end up getting home to an empty house, finding a mirror, finding some tweezers, and picking in an attempt to make this feeling go away, to ‘ground myself’, and make myself feel better.

The reason why I knew this is because this is the pattern I have become familiar with: I get the feeling, I ignore it and suppress it, and then I act out skin-picking compulsions in order to regain a sense of comfort, focus, and closeness with myself. Because I realized that in these moments, it’s hard to admit, but I don’t like myself very much. I don’t like what I’ve accepted and allowed myself to be and become; I feel alien and awkward, and like all my bad qualities are exaggerated. I feel like I’d rather disappear and not exist except for in the small safe bubble that is created when I pick.

However, I am now continuing to walk a process of no longer accepting or allowing old habits and patterns to control me. I am slowly scripting out new patterns and moving myself as my own self-directive principle, moment to moment, no matter what my internal experience and no matter how I’m feeling. This is the goal, and this is how I took a step today to achieve it:

First I did some self-forgiveness out loud, yes, right in the middle of the street as I was walking, because self-forgiveness can immediately ease the overwhelm experienced in these moments. It actually creates a beneficial closeness, self-acceptance and self-intimacy in these moments that is a cool transition from the detrimental closeness created by skin-picking (detrimental – like being in an abusive relationship of dependency).

Have you ever tried forgiving yourself? Try saying the words out loud and see how it feels, it can be intense… or it can be nothing, depending on our mind-state at the moment you are doing it. When you do it you have to mean it, and I meant it today because I was scared. I was walking into a suffocating trap (an empty apartment) and I knew I had to do something, so my self-forgiveness went something like this:

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to fear going home to an empty house.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to become overcome and overwhelmed by this feeling of absolute fear and dizzying uncertainty and I forgive myself for accepting and allowing overwhelming fear and dizzying uncertainty to exist within and as me.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to fear not giving myself a plan or a strategy to use to direct myself in these moments where I need it most, moments where I am in fear and uncertainty.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to not be there for myself to arm myself with preventative measures when I know I need them most.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to abandon myself and abdicate myself, my ‘Who I Am’ to this disorder, within the belief that subconscious submission to the disorder will somehow ‘work’ and make me feel better, instead of seeing, realizing and understanding that if I continue to submit, I will simply cycle and loop back into the same position, but worse because I will have hurt myself and caused visible damage, and I will have let myself down again.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to not trust myself that I will be able to control myself when I get home into an empty house.

I forgive myself for NOT accepting and allowing myself to think, believe or perceive that I will be able to direct myself when I get home to an empty house without first preparing myself with a plan or blueprint for how I will go about spending that time between getting home from work and going to bed.

I forgive myself for NOT accepting myself unconditionally, even when I am feeling like self-judgment and self-hate are who I am.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to judge myself

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to hate myself

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to ignore and not realize that if I push myself to go home and NOT pick, I will feel SO much self-empowerment and control, and I will create self-love, self-worth and self-intimacy, which are the things I have been depriving myself of through the use and act of skin-picking.

After speaking to myself in this way, the OCD/dermatillomania feeling subsided enough so that I was able to think more clearly. I gave myself a step-by-step plan for when I got home:

Put away my things, take a shower, put on comfy clothes, make tea, make a snack, watch a video, write a journal entry, prepare food and clothes for the next day, go to bed (each step can be broken down into mini-steps for me to focus on when the urge to pick becomes ‘loud’ and distracting).

So instead of accepting and allowing myself to subconsciously feed the fear and uncertainty I was feeling, I occupied my mind with the practical concept of making a plan that I could then live out. This is like using the mind as a practical tool, instead as a generator of overwhelming energetic reactions. This is empowering. When I would start to feel the bad feeling creeping in again, I would push and direct myself to think of the little details of my plan: what kind of tea would I make exactly; what would I prepare for a snack, what will I put on, how will I feel in those clothes. I even began to feel comforted thinking about the nice things I would be doing instead of picking my skin and re-generating the aweful feelings that come with and after a skin-picking session.

So did it work? I only picked a little bit before the shower, but I stopped myself, then I started, then I stopped myself again, turned off the lights, and got in the shower.

The main point or realization within this blog and within this experience I had today is that taking preventative measures can be HUGE when you see you are walking into a difficult situation. The self-awareness and self-discipline it takes to know when, how and why to do this, and then to move and shift your mind into this new way of thinking (instead of falling into the usual patterns), AND THEN moving yourself physically to live out the plan you’ve made for yourself, can be difficult and may not be achieved right away.

Then again- maybe it IS possible, one never really knows. I am certainly not there yet, but I am taking notes and I am practicing. For me it is a step by step labour of self-love, because taking preventative measures is actual self-love made real, tangible and visible.

The feeling I get when I see these things through is indescribable – thus far short lived- but I have seen glimpses, and it’s like breathing for the first time after enduring suffocation.

So to recap:

Look into self when you start feeling like you’re going to pick. Try to define in words   what it is you see and what it is you are feeling.

Do self-forgiveness on that which you have clarified for yourself as your internal experience, in order to clear the mind for practical use.

Make a step-by-step plan for what you are going to do INSTEAD of picking.

Keep focused and the details of the plan and get specific, get VERY specific if you have to. You know how specific and detailed you get when picking? Channel that into plan-making instead.

LIVE the plan.

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Skin-Picking and Arguing for Your Limitations

This one may be a toughie! Try to place yourself in a memory of a time where you became defensive about skin-picking, in a moment where someone was making a comment or trying to tell you how to stop. Bring the moment here, immerse yourself in it and remember how you felt and what went on in your mind, bring it all here while watching this video.

Video description:

Do you find yourself feeling defensive, irritated, even sometimes leading to aggressiveness when someone tries to support you or tell you what to do when it comes to stopping skin-picking. Sometimes even the best intentions can send us into a spiral of argumentation and just wanting to be left alone?

Why do we react in this way?

This video covers:

  • Why do we become defensive when others, including loved ones, try to support us through skin-picking?
  • The role is skin-picking playing that makes us ant to hang on to it so strongly, even compromising our relationships in the process.
  • Describing the different parts of self that exist in an almost schizophrenic relationship existent within us, and how we can tend to view this as a threat, belittling, disapproving or like a personal attack, and why, and what to do instead.
  • What it feels like to take down the armour.
  • The conflict we create in our lives when we defend skin-picking, and the personal consequences of doing so.
  • What happened to me when I took down that armour and experienced what lay behind it.
  • What lies beyond the limitations we are arguing for?