The Secrets Within How We View Our Skin (part two)

This blog is continued from: The Secrets Within How We View Our Skin.

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I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to connect the word ‘skin’ to the word ‘shameful’.

 

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to define the word ‘skin’ within the word ‘shameful’.

 

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to separate myself from the word ‘skin’ and from the word ‘shameful’ by defining the word ‘skin’ within the word ‘shameful’ in separation of myself.

 

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to connect my skin to the word ‘shameful’ because when I think of or see my skin I feel ashamed of what I have done to it because I know that what I am doing is hurting me, yet I do it anyways because it feeds the energies in my mind which allows me to remain the same, stuck in the same cycles which keeps me in the addiction that is called dermatillomania and OCD, wherein I sacrifice myself as my physical body, that of me which is real, for the sake of a psychological ‘need’, which is not real in our shared reality, but only in my mind.

 

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to feel ashamed of the choices I constantly make day in and day out, to submit to the urges, and to not do everything in my power to stop, but to instead put it off, do it later, allow it ‘just once’ more, making excuses, justifications and validating the behavior repeatedly.

 

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to feel ashamed of myself because I developed a disorder due to ignorance and a lack of information and a lack of proper tools to deal with how to direct myself in relation to how my mind processes experience and my reactions towards it.

 

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to think, believe or perceive that it is my skin that I am ashamed of, when my skin simply exists as it is, without judgment, whereas I as the mind attach emotional energetic reactions and judgments to myself and everything around me thus feeding the disorder and deteriorating myself and the qualities I need to develop to be able to overcome it.

 

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

 

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing shame to replace action/practical application of the tools I am learning, and I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to use shame to get me down and make me feel bad about myself which I can then use as a justification and excuse to not change and not take care of myself.

 

I commit myself to replace shame with action, with all the small actions as steps I am taking to stabilize myself and my life.

 

I commit myself to continue and to increase pushing myself towards developing the discipline, self-will, self-motivation, steadfastness and perseverance that I will require to overcome this disorder as well as to realize myself as Life Here.

 

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to connect the word ‘skin’ to the word ‘stretched’.

 

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to define the word ‘skin’ within the word ‘stretched’.

 

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to separate myself from the word ‘skin’ and from the word ‘stretched’ by defining the word ‘skin’ within the word ‘stretched’ in separation of myself.

 

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to see my skin as stretched because it does not ‘bounce back’ from the damage I do the way it used to and thus I view it as old and dried out and stretched and I imagine a picture of sore and stretched out skin.

 

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to pick and squeeze and scratch my skin until it feels all stretched out, and then to react to it in fear of wrinkles, aging, marks and scars, as if my skin itself were causing the fear and as if I were the victim in the scenario.

 

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to not take responsibility for my actions within not looking at the fact that stopping picking my skin would prevent the premature aging of my skin, and instead simply remaining the same yet adding the dimension of fear to fuel my disorder, wherein I remain in a constant fear reaction that is re-charged every time I participate in another picking session.

 

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to exist within the constant fear of aging and losing my youth and perceived ‘beauty’ or ‘attractiveness’ due to the damage I have done to my skin, and within this, I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to have a heightened reaction to my skin aging due to the heightened value and importance I have place on having ‘perfect skin’ and youth and beauty when I am in fact destroying the potential for any of this through accepting and allowing dermatillomania.

 

Also within this, I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to fear the very real point of ‘too late-ness’, wherein my skin will slow down and stop regenerating, and I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to fear living full of regrets due to having destroyed something that I have placed so much value and importance upon.

 

I commit myself to preserve my skin and assist and support it to be the healthiest it can possibly be, not from a starting point of fear of loss/attractiveness/beauty, but from the starting point of self-acceptance, self-love and self-care.

I will continue within my next blog.

Tracing the Source Patterns of Skin-Picking (part three)

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I have written these these self-commitment statements to support myself to change how I learn. Learning has been a hostile and laborious process for me throughout school, which seeped over into my working life.

I have been using the process of writing to de-program this perception I have held regarding learning and the learning process, and am re-scripting through words the way in which I would prefer myself to experience this process.This is related to skin-picking because I am dismantling trigger points that cause me to go into the disorder. One of these trigger points is being confronted/presented with a new concept I do not immediately understand.

I am looking into why this triggers skin-picking within me, and have discovered so far that the learning process overwhelms me. I need to look into this further to figure out why and how this is, how I created this in the first place, and how I have morphed it over time into something completely different that the initial experience/memories.

I am using my own self-realizations which I derive from writing self-forgiveness and self-corrective application statements in these blogs: Tracing the Source Patterns of Skin-Picking and Tracing the Source Patterns of Skin Picking (part two).

The following is based on this self-forgiveness, although more points opened up as I was writing, and I included them in the current self-corrective applications.

“I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to want/need/desire to understand everything immediately, in other words and furthermore:

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to think/believe/perceive that concepts are only understandable if I can understand them right away/immediately and without effort. Within this:

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to ‘shut down’ within myself when and as I am confronted/presented with a concept that I do not yet understand, due to the belief that I will never understand accompanied by frustration, confusion and self-judgment.”

When and as I see that I am ‘shutting down’ within myself as a form of self-defeat when/as I am confronted/presented with a new concept which I do not initially understand, I stop, and I breathe. I direct myself to take a step back and stop my participation within/as these reactions in order that I may clear my mind and starting point, and to look at the concept with ‘fresh eyes’, meaning, from a changed starting point; moving from “I just don’t get it”, to “how does this actually work/how can this make sense” – understanding that, within asking myself questions and looking at the concept for answers, I am essentially teaching myself the concept.

 

When and as I react within fear and self-judgment due to being confronted/presented with a new concept that I do not initially understand, and one which I can’t figure out on my own, I direct myself to utilize any resources available to me, such as documents, the internet, or individuals in my environment. I remind myself to remain present and to open my ears and my eyes to see and hear what is being explained to me, so that I don’t distract myself with thoughts/worries/beliefs/emotions that I might get it wrong or that I am being judged for not immediately knowing/understanding the concept. I see/realize/understand that this is my very own self-judgment that I am projecting on to others/my environment, causing me to feel like ‘shutting down’, when I can simply change my perception to create a learning environment that is open, accepting, supportive and enjoyable.

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Tracing the Source Patterns of Skin-Picking (pt 2)

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I am going to share an excerpt from my last chat with an old mentor of mine, within which I asked for insight on how I can assist and support myself within walking through and out of the point of OCD. The following structure was provided:

“Memories, for instance could be a series of memories that started at a point and then mutated through the imagination into an other-worldly memory and eventually into a memory that facilitate a feeling or a presence, which then transfers into for instance an action like skin-picking. Here you can for instance, walk it backwards – when a point of OCD occur, then you look at the feeling, dissect it, then you look at the pattern of the feeling, then look at the memories related to it, which are the circumstantial activation points. A Memory will be a reflection within your environment that cause a repeating pattern. Then look at how you have, through repeated views of the memories as thoughts, as thinking about it, as feeling about it – mutated it. Then, search for the original memory, the event, which started it all and then compare the original memory with the memory as it now exist to realise how you have changed it to support the particular repeating paranoia.”


I utilized these points to write this blog: Tracing the Source Patterns of OCD. It is from this blog that I am continuing to investigate how past memories have come back to haunt me – so to speak- because I have used them to create an alternate or other-worldly reality/experience of myself that is not actually completely aligned with the reality that I actually live as myself. The following excerpt comes from my previous blog, which I suggest be read for context. These are the words I will be working with to begin my self-forgiveness:

“I was not able to, at that age, consider that there is a learning process. I did not realize that I was being actively taught something, and I thought that I was already supposed to know these things that the other students knew. I didn’t realize that it was ok that I didn’t know the language yet, or that I was not the only one in the position of not knowing. I reacted to the situation in a state of fear and confusion, and instead of remaining in the present moment and enjoying the learning process and simply listening to the new words, I searched into the past as if I had forgotten to do something or missed something along the way, and I remained utterly confused and frozen with incomprehension as I searched fruitlessly for this knowledge I was apparently supposed to have. Obviously I did not have this knowledge yet, and my search for it was in vain”

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to want/need/desire to understand everything immediately, in other words and furthermore:

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to think/believe/perceive that concepts are only understandable if I can understand them right away/immediately and without effort. Within this,

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to ‘shut down’ within myself when and as I am confronted/presented with a concept that I do not yet understand, due to the belief that I will never understand and there is something wrong with me, accompanied by frustration,confusion and self-judgment.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to look inwards, to direct my attention internally, desperately and frantically searching for knowledge and information pre-existent within myself as a means to comprehend or understand a concept that I am not familiar with, instead of seeing, realizing and understanding that the answer is not in my mind, my programming or my understanding, at least not yet, it is in the physical and thus it takes physical time and patience for the process of learning and integration through common sense and a step-by-step process of practice and understanding, much like what I am doing here as self-understanding.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to react to confusion within/as fear and avoidance, within/as self-defeat expressed as “I just don’t get it”.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing the thought “I just don’t get it” to exist within and as me as a form of giving up and shutting down, and then dis-associate to void the negative feeling inside myself.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to connect the energetic experience of fear and panic to the thought “I just don’t get it”, and then dis-associate so as not to experience them ,thus suppressing them inside of me, where they grow and evolve and come out later on in my thoughts, self-beliefs and then actions such as skin-picking.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to make the decision within and as myself, that when I don’t ‘get’ something, I will never get it, and within this, I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to judge myself as inferior to the knowledge and information, and inferior to those who do get it faster than/before myself.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to judge myself as less-than and inferior during the learning process, which causes me to fear and avoid the learning process.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to fear and avoid the learning process due to my own accepted and allowed self-judgment regarding who and how I am within learning.

To be continued…

Tracing the Source Patterns of OCD – A Long one but a Good one

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I had stopped writing and within that time a point had been mentioned that OCD reactions within myself are caused by becoming overwhelmed by patterns that are triggered by memories which are triggered by my environment. The difficulty here is that these memories may have occurred very early on in life, and it may be close to impossible to recollect the particular memories in any other way than the emotional energetic experience they create. The reasoning behind this would be that experiences in early life occur before language is understood, therefore there is no way to describe and comprehend the experience, not even within oneself.

 

Memories that affect us in the present moment can have happened too long ago to recall, wherein one did not have the necessary means to communicate about the experience, or even be able to give it a name. However, when the experience that is triggered by the memory occurs again in the present, it can now be named. The experience can thus be captured in words, words within which acceptances and allowances and associations can be forgiven, released and/or changed. In other words, who self is within these words can be changed. The way one lives the words can change, quite simply, yet at the same time, with much effort as consistent application in every moment. This may seem daunting or exhausting, except the fact of the matter is that we each and every one of us already do apply ourselves in such a way. The only difference is that we have done so in unawareness, in falling into patterns and habits that have become so habitual that they have become automatic.

 

I have already proven to myself that such automation can be changed. Using the tools of self-forgiveness, self-honesty, self-commitment, and self-corrective application, new habits and patterns can be developed, and become the new ‘normal’.

 

Within OCD, for me, I become overwhelmed by the patterns. I create an entire energetic experience connected to the patterns which looks to be released, and which I find a release for within obsessive compulsive behaviours. This happens daily.

 

What I’m going to do is identify the patterns that overwhelm me my taking a look at my day to see where the overwhelmingness begins, and describe with words the energy that was created. These arevwords I can relate to and I use them to figure out the patterns that cause them. They are: dizzying uncertainty, intense isolation and self-damning depression.

 

Looking at the day:

 

This morning I had agreed to assist with some children wherein I was only required to be present in the early morning. Everything was stable as I had a very predictable and clear set of tasks, such as: make breakfast, eat with the kids, help them get dressed, put away my bedding and pack my belongings, and drive home. The overwhelmingness began as I was driving home. I am living I a new city and do not yet have a routine. The prospect of having a day wide open with no routine is something I would long for while at work or while doing my studies. However, in this situation, it was only an overwhelming prospect for me. The trigger is thus then being in a position where I have to take steps to accomplish all the things I want to get done over time.

 

As a child I would have used the time doing whatever I wanted: watching television, playing with friends, playing with my toys, drawing etc… doing whatever pleased me. Now things are different, Now I have responsibilities and I have to structure my ‘time off’ in order to be able to create a balance between getting things done and putting time aside for enjoyment. So, I would consider then , that the shift occurred when I began to have responsibilities in my life, or things that I was supposed to do and I didn’t know how to do them, or how to organize myself to be able to begin them, or discipline myself to see them through.

 

I’m recalling chaos, confusion, and dizzying uncertainty. I’m recalling a memory of nursery school where I was first learning French. The teacher was reading a book and asking students to name in French the images she was pointing to, such as ‘caterpillar’. I recall the students calling out ‘chenille’, and I was struck and dumbfounded by the fact that these students knew these words I had never heard before. I felt as though I could not participate in the activity, and that other students were pleasing the teacher and I could not. I didn’t understand where or how I was supposed to have known these words, or where or how the other children had learned them. I didn’t understand that some of the students were just learning the language for the first time, while others may have already been exposed to it in their homes or in other programs. I felt I was at a disadvantage, I felt embarrassed and like I wanted to disappear because my perception was that all the other students knew and understood something that I did not. I was not able to, at that age, consider that there is a learning process. I did not realize that I was being actively taught something, and I thought that I was already supposed to know these things that the other students knew. I didn’t realize that it was ok that I didn’t know the language yet, or that I was not the only one in the position of not knowing. I reacted to the situation in a state of fear and confusion, and instead of remaining in the present moment and enjoying the learning process and simply listening to the new words, I searched into the past as if I had forgotten to do something or missed something along the way, and I remained utterly confused and frozen with incomprehension as I searched fruitlessly for this knowledge I was apparently supposed to have. Obviously I did not have this knowledge yet, and my search for it was in vain.

 

I can relate this experience to my present experience, wherein, when I was presented with an open day in a new living situation. no schedule, new city… I did not have any past experience to tell me exactly what to do in the moment because everything was so new; I did not ‘automatically know’ the best way to set myself up.

I also did not immediately consider that my perceptions of this was not exactly true- I have moved homes many times and have had to start over/star my life from scrath many times as well. I have had to find a new job, and I have set up utilities all over again, and I have directed myself through scheduling a \open day’. The only difference now is that I’m in a new city and country that I am not yet familiar with the people and surroundings.

What happened in my current situation was that I immediately went into the reaction of confusion, fear and uncertainty, within the belief that understanding, adapting and learning are unattainable, not because it is in fact un-do-able in reality, but because I had created this pattern which produces a dizzying confusion when the knowledge is not already there in my brain. Within this energetic experience it is very difficult to think straight or make a directive decision. I fall into the pattern of helplessness within the belief that ‘I don’t know what to do or how to do this’, which is a belief and a pattern and not my living reality. because I do in fact know how to take the first step, and from that step, how to take the next by assessing, learning and yes, sometimes making mistakes and having to do another take.

 

Looking at this pattern now, I can see that it could have begun way earlier than this pre-school experience. Being the younger child, I would have grown up with a sibling that would seemingly have known may many things that I did not yet know how to do, such as speaking and walking. Even simply being a child, new to the world, one would be presented daily with other beings that know things and are doing things that are well beyond the child’s ability to grasp. Until the child realizes what learning is, and grasps the idea that repetition over time equals new skills and understanding. Learning, as I recall it as a child, was not something that was consciously done, I would simply engage with something and I would explore and experiment and it would be fun and fascinating and I would eventually learn about it through this play and exploration. But this recalling foreign words and memorizing them was not something I would have ever thought to do on my own, nor was it a process I understood.

 

Previously, I had written a blog series called ‘Fully Committing to My Studies’ within which I touched on ‘Becoming an Effective Student’ and ‘Learning How to Learn’. Within this series, I realized that I did not have a working understanding of ‘school learning’. I would simply be pushed along this process of memorizing and reading and never considered or contemplated the actual process of breaking down the learning tasks or information into steps and walking through each step to completion.

 

This pattern is connected to other patterns that together create energies within me, such as dizzying confusion, self-damning depression, intense isolation and extreme frustration. These energies are obviously very uncomfortable and unpleasant to say the least, and instead of investigating them and changing the patterns that cause them, I had accepted them as Who and How I Am, and lived with them until they literally drove me ‘crazy’ in that I developed OCD to cope, and OCD is a mental disorder and we tend to call people with mental disorders ‘crazy’(although it can be argued that everyone has some form of mental disorder or another).

 

The other patterns that are connected to this pattern of dizzying confusion when confronted with a task or set of tasks is actually fighting the learning process. This stems from the experience that I am being forced to go through a process that I do not understand, that makes me feel lost and confused, and one that, as a child, I felt I did not have any say in why or how I should do it, but felt as though the entire thing was forced upon me. Within this I felt trapped, and reacted within constantly looking for escape. Instead of throwing a tantrum as many children do, and instead of trying to communicate to others what I was experiencing, I would internalize the reactions and go into fear. I would submit to this fear by seeking to escape and dis-associate (‘checking-out of reality and withdrawing into myself) rather than trying to learn or understand my situation because it seemed impossible and totally un-relateable to my experience.

This escape I found within myself within imagination and fantasy, my internal world which was the only place I experienced safety and self-expression that I was not able to experience in the real world. This eventually contributed to the intense isolation I would create by giving myself only two options: either submit to the will of others, or be alone. I would, over time, experience intense isolation to the extent that I could escape within myself even while in the presence of another. This would appear as ‘aloofness’ and ‘airiness’, which can create all sorts of reactions in others because it would appear as though one does not care, when in reality, one is so deeply within one’s own mind as an alternate reality of escape that one is almost not at all present. I would be screamed at by teachers and people becomnig frustrated with me, and the intensity of their emotions became quite traumatic for me as I was in an already confusing situation and feeling quite vulnerable. It becomes difficult to retain details and converse or become fully engaged with another in this state because one is actually isolated behind thick walls, even while in the presence of another. I was soon labelled as being ‘slow’ and having a learning disorder. I felt ashamed and like I was a burden on the world, but at the same time, I was glad that the expectations were being lifted from me, as my potential value as a ‘productive member of society that would excel and succeed in this world’ slowly diminished. It felt as though the world was giving up on me, and slowly, over time, I began to give up on myself. The only place where I remembered myself, my value, my enjoyment, was deep within myself in absolute isolation, dissociated from the outside world.

 

I recently read about this dissociative state (in fact, the day after I wrote this), in the book called The Tao of Equus, where the author relates the trauma of prey animals to that of human trauma victims. The following excerpt is from the work of Peter A. Levine, Ph.D.: “Physiologists call this state the ’immobility’ or ’freezing’ response. It is one of the three primary responses available to reptiles or mammals when faced with an overwhelming threat. The other two, fight or flight, are much more familiar to us.” Levine continues to explain that this dissociation “protects us from escalating arousal” and then that “[t]raumatic symptoms are not caused by the ‘triggering’ event itself. They stem from the frozen residue of energy that has not been resolved or discharged.” Levine continues with the actual experience of this state: “In its mildest f forms, it manifests as a kind of spaciness. At the other end of the spectrum, it can develop into so-called multiple personality disorder”.

 

I can relate to the aforementioned ‘freeze response’ and have blogged about my experiences with this in the manifestation of ‘aloofness’ within myself. Within this frozen state, or ‘aloofness’, active participation is limited, decision making is difficult, and self-movement is next to impossible. Mostly, I recall being moved only by outside forces in my environment, such as the fear of reprimand. The “frozen residue of energy” Levine describes is relatable to me as the internalization of the emotional energetic experiences which are not dealt with, but rather remain stagnant and fester within self. Whereas some children would well up with the energy and then lose control as an explosion in the form of what we call a ‘temper tantrum’ where the child will display an emotional outburst, others like myself, would internalize the entire experience, and dwell with it. The term ‘dwell’ is interesting because the energy is literally dwelling within the physical body, along with and as the beingness of the child (or adult, or being). For me, I see that both the energetic experience I would seek to escape, as well as the escape itself, existed within me. As I had previously described the escape mechanisms I used where that of introversion, wherein I would ‘escape’ into my mind and create alternate realities and other worlds where I would experience myself completely differently. Within this understanding, there are in fact multiple personalities dwelling within the body. What is also interesting here is that I have written about OCD as a personality, as an entity existent within and as me, which takes over and possesses me at times, sometimes completely. This relates to Levine’s description of the experience of the dissociative state as a ”spaciness” at the lesser extreme, and then “multiple personality disorder” at the other. There are, of course, many degrees of these experiences in the middle. Although I cannot recall any particular traumatic event in my life, I do recall experiencing fear reactions which, over time became a dominant experience and at times a form of ‘petrification’, which would cause me to ‘over-react’ in fear to situations which others might find only slightly unpleasant.

 

In a related part of the book, author Linda Kohanov describes the following effects of a particular tactic used to ’break’ disobedient horses: “the act of forcing a prey animal to lie down by tying up one of his front legs , dragging him to the ground, and sitting on him in this vulnerable position until he submits causes such an intense fear reaction that the animal’s entire nervous system short-circuits. The result [is] a sudden change in personality. The horse acts like a zombie, which to people who prefer a machine-like mount, appears to be a miraculous cure for chronic disobedience.” The author continues on to explain that this technique is used for even mildly disobedient horses that work for commercial trail riding stables where the horses are forced to repeat monotonous behaviours such as riding the same trail day after day.

 

This description reminds me of the ‘breaking’ of children in order to force them to sit and listen in class for hours on end, absorbing and repeating information day after day. In my own experience, being brought to the front of the class and criticized for my poor performance placed me in a vulnerable position where I eventually submitted. It felt like the teacher yelled at me for an eternity. Previously, this had occurred to me in kindergarten, where the teacher called the class’ attention to my work and briefly asked for a consensus that it was not good. The experience was not enjoyable, but it ended so quickly that I was able to bounce back and move on. The first experience I described, where the teacher kept me in the experience for longer, had a different effect. I recall feeling myself shrinking within myself, feeling very confused, fearful and humiliated, until I finally ‘broke’, wherein I began to cry, and something within me submitted, and from that point I constantly feared the event ever happening again. I carried the experience with me within the belief that it was ‘deserved’ because the teacher knows best . It helped to confirm pre-existent beliefs about myself as ‘not good enough’ in comparison to my class-mates. Over time, I utilized this experience as part of my self-definition of Who I Am in this world and this reality, wherein it still comes up and limits me in some ways to this very day.

 

The “zombie”-like state achieved in breaking horses, as described by author Linda Kohanov, can also be prevalent in the human species. Within the education system, this zombie-like behavior would be preferred, where spirited young children that ‘misbehave’ are seen as disruptive to the education process. Children are broken with punishment, humiliation, fear, bad grades, disciplinary actions, etc… In the past, and even still today in some areas, children are beaten to achieve this effect. Nowadays, it is more and more common to simply medicate the children to sedate them into compliance.

 

To be continued….

Compulsive Skin-Picking: What is Makeup Really Covering Up? (part two)

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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.

Compulsive Skin Picking: What is Makeup Really Covering Up?

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For years now I have been visiting support forums and websites in order to read about and interact with other human beings that are facing the same disorder that I am. I suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), which manifests for me mainly in compulsive skin-picking (CSP). Compulsive skin-picking (CSP) and general obsessive –compulsive behavior have been my means of coping with life, and dealing with myself and what goes on inside of me.

Interacting with others gives comfort in a way as it reminds us that we are not alone, and that there are others out there that are going through the same thing, and experiencing the same difficulties as myself. One of the things that I have noticed is the discussions about makeup which take place in such interactions. Cover-up is used to hide and conceal the damage done unto the skin, so that one may face the day and face life without having to also deal with and face the reactions of others to the huge blemishes and the multitudinous scars, cuts and sores that are created as a result of CSP.

I have often wondered about cover-up used in this way, because I knew deep down that covering up the damage done by the disorder is in no way treating or preventing the disorder. This realization is a combination of common sense, as treating the symptoms is NOT the same as treating the condition itself- as well as personal experience; because if using cover up to hide the blemishes was in any way an effective treatment for the disorder, I would have been ‘cured’ long ago, as I have been hiding my secret disorder behind makeup for years now- over a decade. So what is it that I am really covering up and hiding behind when I conceal my blemishes?

In the following blog, I am going to look at the internal experience that is escaped through OCD and CSP, and covered up with concealer, and I will look at how I myself actually create this experience throughout the day:

Within walking my process, and now focusing on walking through and out of skin-picking, I have been looking at, becoming aware of, and identifying the internal experiences which cause friction and conflict within me, and which I suppress and avoid through a series of distractions and the pursuit of ‘just being happy,’ and ‘okay’.

This is a pursuit outside myself, meaning, the happiness is being sought as an external experience, which can only mean one thing: there is an ‘unhappy’ experience present. However, instead of looking into and fully investigating that ‘unhappiness’, it is simply ignored and suppressed and covered up by all the ways in which happiness is attempted to be attained.

One of the common way this is attained for CSP sufferers is by looking ‘normal’, or looking ‘good’, ‘beautiful’, or ‘presentable’, by covering up the damage done, as if the disorder did not exist, or as if we could forget about the disorder so long as no one else can see our secret truth.

To reiterate: one of the techniques I have used to avoid the seemingly unbearable internal experience I exist within and as, has been to pick at my skin, and to engage in obsessive-compulsive tendencies in other ways. This has been my fruitless attempt to ‘make it right’, and achieve a ‘satisfied’ or ‘orderly’ experience of myself, attempted through external actions only- again not looking at what causes the internal experience in the first place.

Over the past few days since I have been writing about skin-picking, I have been looking at this internal experience with more intention, attention and focus. When I’ve had the desire to pick my skin, I’ve looked at what it was that I am trying to escape what is the current experience? What is creating this? How do I create this for myself? Why do I feel I cannot cope with, or face this?

So, as my mind would lead me into the endlessness of mind activity, I would stop within myself and just feel it- what does it feel like?  And It is nasty, yes, it certainly is. Obviously this is so, otherwise I would not feel the constant need to escape it. However, it is impossible to escape it,  because ‘It’ is me. It is within me, as me, and over time and throughout the day it becomes like a white noise- constantly there, but I’ve become so used to it that I don’t notice it unless I put a dedicated effort into doing so. But this background noise has, and still does have the ability to completely run my life.

So what can be done?

What can be done is to see how this ‘background noise is created. To see, realize, understand and notice events throughout the day that slowly accumulate this toxic internal environment that is so unbearable it must be escaped, ignored and/or endured.

The following is an example of one part of one day, wherein I put in the effort to look at and face, and even play around with myself and my internal reactions and experience in order to see how I create such an experience for myself day in and day out:

For context, this is an example of a day where I’ve already taken back the first hour. I have taken ownership of the first hour of my day, four days a week before work (I work four ten hour shifts a week), and have moved on to now taking ownership of my drive to work. Within this ‘taking ownership’ what I do is really look at and investigate what is going on within myself during that time. I look at it, face it, and script out a way to change it, and then I apply myself to live out that new script, and I do it over and over again until the new script simply becomes who I am and what I do. The new script I write for myself obviously does not involve skin-picking behavior, and it goes a step further to include self-supportive activities which over time, lead to a strengthening of self, and a nurturing and honouring of self. I will expand upon this in blogs to come, and reveal in these videos:

I’ve noticed that while driving in my car to work, regardless of what time it is, I will become anxious about getting to work on time. I have been late to work SO MANY times over the years because of skin-picking, because I would become trapped within a skin picking session up till the last minute, and then I would have to hurriedly apply make-up to look ‘normal’ again for work. Throughout this entire play-out I would be building and generating anxiety until I was tightly wound up; and this would be the starting point of my day. This has happened so many times over the years that I find, even when I am not late I will automatically go into this anxiety before work as a habit because it’s what I’m so used to. It’s become all that I know. I feel as though, if I do not go through these motions I will not be able to get to work at all, because in the past, it has been the anxiety of getting to work that has broken me out of the skin-picking possession and got me moving towards actually getting out the door. So now there exists the belief that without the anxiety, I cannot move myself, and I won’t get to work.

Continuing with this common sequence: after I would get myself out the door and off to work, I would be in a really unpleasant state. I would get to work, and would probably have an air about me, or a presence about me that others may react to. Whether I did or not, I can never be sure, but what is certain, is the fat that because I felt so anxious already, and because I would also feel insecure due to the fact that my picture presentation was covered in flaws, and because I created and manifested the anger at myself, the fear, the self-loathing caused by picking, I would reflect it back to myself off of my coworkers.

For example: the other day I got to work, and as I was walking by a couple co-workers I said “good morning”. One of them looked at me and replied, but the other one just looked at me and turned away and began talking again. As I continued walking to put my coat away I remember this having given me a really bad feeling, I felt like they disliked me, did don’t want me there, and painfully endured my presence.

So the interesting thing about this is that these thoughts and self-beliefs can only be experienced by me if I created them already. Somewhere in my life I accepted and allowed myself to feel these ways about myself, ways which are now activated within and through certain situations. So, within self-honesty I can see, realize and understand that I in fact painfully endure my own presence at times, especially within and as skin-picking. I dislike myself when I participate in the self-abusive habits that I participate in. I in fact don’t want to be me when I feel the way I do after I have had a pick session, for example. And these emotions and beliefs are at the forefront of my mind when I have a picking-session before work. So when I interact with others, I subconsciously believe they are all feeling the same way about me on some level. What a self-sabotage!

I thought about this that day, and I tried something new to see if they were in fact feeling this way about me, or if I was simply creating it all in my mind. I walked back over there and asked how they were doing, and the other one ignored me again. So I pushed through the fear, self-consciousness and anger, looked straight at her and asked if something was wrong. This seemed to surprise her or catch her off guard, she sort of snapped out of it and apologized. She actually reached out and touched my arm, and participated in a very warm and welcoming interaction.

As it turned out, she was dealing with an extremely stressful situation within one of her work-cases, and she was trying to figure it out with the other co-worker. She was just completely wrapped up in it, and had probably worked herself up into a state where she was so self-involved in her own situation that she was not concerned or aware of the impression she was giving off to others- which is definitely something I myself have done!

So when I pushed it a little by asking her if anything was wrong, I learned it had nothing to do with me at all. I had just been taking everything personally, and consequently feeding my own cycles of self-loathing, insecurity and lack of self-acceptance.

Within the state of mind I enter into within and through the disorder of skin-picking, I become even more prone to these self-experiences, by taking so many things throughout my day personally or out of context, because I set myself up to already feel this way: so a glance, a comment, my own internal conversations, etc… using all of this to accept and allow myself to feel terrible; creating and manifesting an absolutely dreadful internal experience, and then getting home to abuse myself within skin-picking as a release and escape from it, only to start the whole cycle over again: Waking up the next morning and not wanting to face the day ahead. Reluctant to get out of bed, and feeling fatigued on my drive to work because of this absolute reluctance and the anxiety that I create for myself—I mean, is this living? Or is this simply enduring the day? Within and through skin-picking, I create a life which that I can’t endure and which I would rather escape.

So how does all this relate back to makeup? I will expand upon these realizations and how they relate to the act of covering up with makeup, and explain how makeup/cover up/concealer can actually be used as self-support, in conjunction with sorting out the internal experience. Because recall: it’s never really about what we do, but rather, Who We Are Within that which we do.

The Guilt (part four, final)

Within this blog I am continuing working through a specific point of guilt within dermatillomania, wherein not only am I placing myself as less important and less valued than the disorder, but I am also placing those in my world as second to my disorder, and then reacting to this inside myself within and as GUILT.

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I carry this guilt in a deep place within myself, and can feel it from time to time, when I make eye contact with those I care about, or I feel it in moments where I know I could have been feeling better/looking better and thus doing, living and being more, but have compromised myself, my life and living because of the disorder.

Time to Forgive myself, let it go, and change.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to trap myself into and as a disorder that takes my time/focus/investment of myself into and as energy which leads to events and play-outs in my life such as being late and thus making others wait, being frustrated and angry with myself and projecting it on to others, being/becoming quiet and subdued and not opening up/explaining why (because I do not want to reveal the disorder), but instead creating a difficult environment of ‘uncertainty’ and friction for those around me, and instead of facing myself and opening up/letting others in, I would retract within myself and want to disappear and not have to face myself and face others as me and thus not take any responsibility for that which I am creating, but instead try to escape it and then react to it within more anger towards myself, more frustration with myself and my environment, more isolation within myself, and more guilt and regret suppressed within me.

 

I commit myself to walk myself into and as self-acceptance when I am around others, because I see, realize and understand that the way I feel around others is merely a reflection of the way I feel about myself, only that it’s suppressed when I’m alone, and it is shown to me when I am around others, because when I’m around others, I have people around that I project myself onto, and to have backchats and internal conversations about, which is all going on within my own mind only, and has nothing to do with anyone but myself.

 

I commit myself to take responsibility for my reactions emotions ideas and beliefs, wherein, instead of accepting and allowing them to influence me, I let them go, and I breathe myself back Here, especially around others, which I am grateful for because it shows me where I am still not accepting myself, and where and how I can gift myself back to myself in self-acceptance.

 

I commit myself to let others into me or to let myself out to them, without fear or defensiveness or self-consciousness or worry, just to freely express myself as who and what I am at this point, flaws and all. Fearlessly.

 

When and as I am around others and I begin to feel the anger and frustration arise within myself, I stop, and I breathe. I bring myself back to self-acceptance by reminding myself that, although I still fuck up, and I still have a disorder, and I still repeat abusive and destructive patterns and habits, that reacting to this is only adding fuel to the fire, and that the most supportive thing I can do for myself in that moment, is to just breathe, and let go. Just Stop, and Change. In that moment I have the power to do so, and because I have decided to support myself to live life for real, it only makes sense to do that which supports me in moments like these, instead of going down the same old path of anger, frustration, hate, loathing and fear, perpetuating all of these things instead of living a life of uninhibited self-expression.

 

When and as I see that I am retracting within myself when I am around others, because of and due to the way I feel others see me because of the damage I have inflicted upon myself and my own skin, I stop, and I breathe. I slam the doors shut to my mind and I force myself to remain present, in physical reality, exposed for all to see. And I stand and prove to myself that I am no less than my own image of myself, that I can stand and walk within stability no matter how I look, and that after I expose myself, I remain, and I’m still here to continue walking as I build my strength, my self-will and my resolve.