Using Scheduling to Stop the Urges

An earlier video where I share an in depth understanding and explanation of excoriation and how we live it out in our lives, living in such a way that perpetuates the disorder without even knowing we are doing so!

Important points in the video:

  • How fighting this disorder involves ALL areas of life, and not just compartmentalizing the disorder as something separate from self.
  • How all of our actions have cumulative effects.
  • Using the tool of writing along with physical actions to build will-power.
  • Mapping out your day one hour at a time as a method of support to reduce stress and urges.
  • Sloppy living and the consequences thereof.

My Story (final)

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In my last blog, I discussed how I used some writing tools to support myself to ‘get my life together’, and how I had hoped that all of the work that I was doing would somehow diminish the OCD- I held the belief that OCD was a coping mechanism- that it helps me cope with the stresses, anxiety, fear and anger that I experience in my life-but what happened when I began to take responsibility myself, and started to manage and direct all of these aspect of my life that were once ‘out of control’?

What happened was the exact opposite of what I was expecting: Everything felt worse! My internal experience related to OCD had become more intense and even more obvious. I now had nothing left to blame it on, and nothing else to hide it within. Now I am staring it straight in the face. I do not have OCD; OCD has me.

Before I finished my degree, school was a big justification for picking. I would have big term papers and assignments due, and I would place a huge amount of importance on doing well on each assignment. It was very difficult.

I was always like “well, I have this huge assignment due, I can’t handle the pressure, I just need to take the edge off, I’ll stop when school is done,” and I would pick. The only problem was that the picking would get in the way of the assignments. I wouldn’t be able to focus, I would sneak off to the bathroom or I would zone out, I would use OCD to procrastinate and I would eventually have to rush and try to do finish the assignment by the deadline. This was creating stress and anxiety, and I was always handing in work that was less-than what I was capable of, creating anger and guilt towards myself, because I knew I could do better, but I consistently chose OCD. I would really set my mind on getting through school and doing well, but I was always left feeling like I had no control over my efforts, and nothing was ever working out.

I thought once school was over, the anxiety and stress would diminish, and so would the desire to indulge in my compulsive behavior. However, school is now over, and I now feel the same way I did about those huge assignments, only it’s projected on to any little tasks I have placed importance on.

For example, writing a blog, or going to yoga (interesting that it’s now focused on things I enjoy doing, whereas before these were things I had no reaction to). What I have seen and shown myself is that I can turn any situation, into something that causes me to feel stressed out and anxious about within myself, and then use OCD to feel better. The whole time, I thought I just couldn’t get it together, and that because I was such a fuck up, I needed OCD to cope. However now what I see more clearly, is that if I weren’t ‘a fuckup’ creating a chaotic life that I have no control over, then I would have no excuse to pick my skin.
And this is the biggest realization I have had so far: I subconsciously sabotage myself in order to create things like anxiety and chaos in my life, in order to justify skin-picking. I turn normal daily tasks into overwhelming burdens (getting to work on time, getting out of the house, taking a shower, getting dressed, etc…) by overly mind-processing every little thing and not just actually, physically moving myself to start the task, and see it through.This irrational, cyclical logic is indicative of the subconscious mind manipulation tactics that keeps my addiction going.

Once I started getting my life together and actually being able to get through the day in a more reasonable manner, I saw that I don’t use skin-picking to cope with life…I WANT to pick my skin. I WANT to keep the addiction going. Yes, it ruins everything and has complete control over me, but there’s something about it that gives me something that I don’t want to give up. It feeds my addictions to stress, anxiety, worry, escape, victimization, comfort, hiding, and so much more, and I don’t genuinely want to stop.

So, all in all, this is how my obsessive compulsive disorder came to stare me in the face, and how I have nowhere left to run, and why I am now taking it on in my blogs. I will in my next blog, use the tool of self forgiveness to look a little more deeply at what it is that OCD gives me, that I would give up actually living and expressing myself for real, in order to keep the addiction going.

Self-forgiveness:

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to fear writing about my process with OCD.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to feel ashamed about who I am within ocd and thus, with sharing my process with ocd.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to judge myself for having created and manifested OCD within me, and I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to judge dermatillomania as the worst kind of ocd/addiction.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to judge myself for picking my skin and:

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to think/believe/perceive there is no other way to cope with life and feel normal than to continue this way, as I have obviously seen and proven that this is NOT any kind of solution to my internal experience, and the only path left is to face myself within dermatillomania.

I commit myself to walk the process of understanding, revealing and exposing myself to myself in terms of who I am and who I have become within/as dermatillomania.

I commit myself to stop judging myself for having ocd/dermatillomania, or for it having me.

I commit myself to stand and breathe through the fear of stopping dermatillomania, and I commit myself to assist and support myself through writing self-forgiveness, self-commitments and self-corrective application as I do so.

When and as I feel the fear/shame/embarrassment arise within me connected to thoughts of writing about myself/my experience/my mind in relation to dermatillomania/ocd/etc… I stop, and I breathe. I bring myself back to breath, and to standing up within myself  by reminding myself only I can judge myself, diminish myself, and humiliate myself in my mind and I will not accept and allow myself to stop myself from writing myself out, no matter what my mind throws at me. I see, realize and understand that addiction will use any means necessary to continue, and I will not accept/allow myself to be less than addiction. I humbly stand equal to it and one with it so that I can change as it to a living application that supports and honours myself as life in every moment.

When and as I see that I am judging myself for picking my skin/writing about picking my skin, I stop, and I breathe. I bring myself back to self-acceptance by reminding myself that I am not perfect, this is a process, and any form of self-judgment only compounds the impacts of the disorder, and will not only lengthen the process I’ll have to walk, but will also make it harder. I remind myself to walk this process within and as complete self-acceptance, within the understanding that only with unconditional self-acceptance can I bring about real self-change.

My Story (part three)

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Within my previous blogs, I have been writing through my history and current experience with OCD. I use the terms OCD and dermatillomania interchangeably because the OCD is like the pattern, and the Dermatillomania is the actual specific behavior. Many people, I’m sure, have OCD to some degree, and express it differently. When it is described as a repeated irrational behavior that one cannot stop, even if the desire to stop is present, then OCD can describe a lot of different afflictions. Examples are: trichotillomania, bulimia, anorexia, germophobia, over-eating, cutting, and so on.

In my previous blogs I mentioned that I had struggled with OCD for a long time. I really wanted to stop. I saw the effects it had in my life; on my social life, in school, in relationships, and of course, mainly with my self-relationship. After trying many things, I began to try a different approach. I began writing, putting my mind onto paper, forgiving myself, and scripting a change to support me to correct myself and to stop.  The ‘stopping’ and correcting is something I began to apply more wholistically, wherein, the OCD was not the focus. ‘I’  was the focus. Who I am is the focus. What kind of life am I creating for myself, and why? How am I then reacting to that life? Who or what is it within and as me that is doing the creating, who/what has the power? And if its ME, then why do I feel so dis-empowered, and WHY am I hurting myself?

When I started writing out my mind and my reality, putting it onto paper in front of me,  and I began see myself a little more clearly, I started to take a step back and just look at my life- the life I had created. I began to take aspects I was unsatisfied with, one at a time, and working through them.

Step by step I have been slowly learning how to show myself where I need to apply practical solutions in my life, showing myself which steps I would need to take to get there and to ‘get it together’. I’m slowly beginning to get my life in order, and beginning to look at things that cause me to feel and actually BE dis-empowered in my life. I’m teaching myself how to pick something, and go for it, turning an aspect of my life from dis-empowering, to empowering. For example, I stopped drinking and smoking pot, I got my driver’s license, I got my degree, I began to work some major things out within myself in terms of my relationship, I began sorting out my financial life, I got healthcare, and a decent job, to name a few- all things I previously felt I had no control over… things which ran my life and which now work FOR me instead of against me.

Putting it on paper and seeing it in black and white in front of me made it less overwhelming, smaller, and more do-able. It put things into perspective and helped me to see the steps I needed to take.

However, it’s been hard to appreciate and be grateful to myself for what I have been able to accomplish thus far, because there is always this knowing, and this feeling of ‘lack of control’ because I have this disorder that shows me that I don’t even have control over my own physical body. Who I Am – as that part of me which wants what’s best for myself, is less-than and less-valued in my mind, than the absolutely destructive addiction I have developed to picking my skin.

I thought, or I should say, I hoped, that as I worked these things out, my OCD would subside on it’s own. I also thought maybe the chaos and lack of control  I experienced in my life was causing the OCD, and that if I ‘got everything together’, the OCD would go away. As this proved to not be the case, I slowly began to see a pattern.

I’ll continue with my biggest realization within OCD, and in my next blog, I’m starting some self-forgiveness as well.

 

 

My Story (part two)

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          In my previous blog I shared a bit about my history with ocd/dermatillomania- how I realized I had it, how it affected my life, and how everything began to change. Within this blog, I will be continuing with my current experience
          If I think about my own experience, I would say I experience anxiety much of the time. It is/was hard to determine this, because when it’s your own experience and you have nothing to compare it to, it’s hard to determine what it is to feel ‘normal’ and ‘ok’, if that even exists at the moment.  When I feel anxious and uncomfortable within myself, I pick at my skin, and for a short time, I feel better. However, I have had some similar effects with writing, which is obviously a more substantial solution, as it assists me to build my self-acceptance, self-discipline and self-correction. This allows for more of a facing of self, and a real release (real-ease), instead of a build up of energy and then a self-destructive release/high/numbing experience, such as that which I manifest within skin-picking.
          Within my process of writing, self-forgiveness and self-corrective application, I have managed to get parts of my life back, and of myself back, wherein, the OCD no longer runs my life in every moment like it used to. It has been a necessary process for me so far, to even be able to write about this.
          What I have discovered in my writing so far, is that OCD is like an extreme escape and withdrawal from the world, to not have to face and cope with situations and events that seem to me to be too overwhelming, wherein, instead of teaching myself and learning how to face/cope with the world and my life, I had instead perfected my ability to escape, suppress, neglect and hide. The thing is, these habits- escaping, neglecting, avoiding, hiding- actually create a world of chaos. These mechanisms literally manifest the exact thing that drives me to pick at my skin, almost in a way, allowing myself to justify and continue the addiction.
       And it is like an addiction, in my case. On the Wikipedia entry on dermatillomania, skin picking is described as more similar to substance abuse rather than an anxiety disorder. For me, I can relate to this and I observe it within myself in many ways. When I watch television shows about substance addiction, I can relate my exact experience, and feel as though I am watching myself and the struggles and self-compromise I have created in my life with this disorder.

My Story, Part One

The following blog is the first one I ever published publicly, in January of 2013. Writing myself out has been such a huge support for me, and it all started with sharing my story and experiences. Eventually my writing became more constructive, kind of a de-programming and re-programming of my mind. You will see how I did this by reading my blogs over time!

Here it is:

‘Dermatillomania: Staring the Beast in the Face’

          I didn’t realize I had anything ‘wrong’ with me until my abnormal psych professor described what seemed like my exact experience in front of the entire class. That’s when it dawned on me that I had OCD. I was about 17 at that time, and I had had the disorder for as long as I could remember. However, I wasn’t even aware of it because… it was all I knew.

        Like most people, I had little awareness or education about obsessive compulsive disorders. I ignorantly thought OCD was only when people were extreme “germaphobes,” or when they have to check the door a million times before they leave the house, or arrange things a certain way- but when my prof described it in generic terms, as simply repeating irrational behavior without being able to stop yourself, even when you want to, I realized that I was in fact a ‘sufferer’ of such a condition.

          Once I came to this realization and began doing research in order to find out more about the disorder, and find out more about me, what I saw is that I found myself within everything: OCD, dermatillomania, body-dismorphic disorder, body-focused repetitive behavior, and more. It was all very interesting to read about,  but there seemed to be little research and few solutions provided. After a while, I just basically dropped it, for a very long time. Like many others at this stage (early 20’s), I got more into drinking, nights out, etc… and it was easier to forget about it, hide it, cover it up.

        I only began to look at it again after I got married (kinda hard to hide in a marriage). It took me about two years before I was even able to talk about it with my husband. When I saw that he still accepted me and didn’t judge me as the freak I judged myself as- I decided to give it some attention again because, it was actually a pretty big, disruptive deal in my life. The only thing is, I had no idea what to do. 
    
     The therapies I looked into included pharmaceutical and behavioural therapy, but back then, I was way too ashamed and embarrassed to go to the doctor. Years passed as I tried to ‘just stop’, but it never worked. I tried not talking about it, and then I tried online forums and reaching out to several people and talking a lot about it, thinking that, if I shared it it would go away. 

       So, life with ocd just went on. I just managed with it, and didn’t manage with it. I became very isolated and down on myself for a while. Some times it would be an all encompassing depressive state, others I would manage to be ok for bits and spurts of time. Drinking and pot helped, but sometimes that would make it all seem worse. Eventually, I found Desteni, and since then, everything has changed.

        To jump ahead a bit, since I’ve been working with writing as a tool rather than simply an outlet to rant and rave (lol!), I have learned a lot about myself. Now that I have more of an understanding of myself, before I would consider committing to drugs or therapy,  I would first investigate myself and walk the process of OCD using the writing and practical application tools of self-forgiveness, self-commitment and self-corrective application. I would really give it my all, before I would be able to make the statement that “I have tried everything, the only thing that can help me is drugs and/or therapy”. 

           In the wikipedia articles, there was some research that people saw results with OCD drugs and therapy, with fewer results associated with attempts to treat dermatillomania. But the way I would tend to look at it, is that the treatments do not address the underlying  causes of the behavior in the first place, such as the thoughts, feelings, emotions, memories, ideas, perceptions  beliefs, habits, patterns, internal conversations etc… things which only ourselves can investigate, understand and change.

 
          The treatments seem to mostly address stopping the symptoms; the irrational behavior itself, seeing the treatment as the solution as a reaction to the symptoms. But I would first like to investigate prevention, finding out what causes the internal experience in the first place, and then implementing practical solutions to change them, thus placing MYSELF as the solution. I have already proven to myself this is possible within and through walking my process in pretty much every area of my life so far, so I simply can’t resort to ‘last resorts’ before I really give it my all, committing myself and applying myself fully, proving to myself if I actually can’t do it. But I would never give up and assume such a thing, until I at least try.

My Life of OCD and CSP

This is the first video I made about living with dermatillomania, when I decided to go public with the disorder back in February 2013. I was petrified, but have no regrets. Going public is not for everybody, but if you can do it, I suggest you do so that we can break down the stigma of mental disorder, reach out and support each other, and normalize the discussion about what it means to live with OCD.