My Extremely Large and Incredibly Small Victories

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I have been walking a process for about 4-5 years now where I am practicing living self-forgiveness and learning self-acceptance, self-love and self-understanding in my day to day life. I am doing this by actually forgiving myself, in writing as well as out-loud whenever possible, and letting go of all the burdens, bad habits and self-destructive patterns I had been living out for so long.

Forgiving yourself is not blaming yourself. We are not entirely responsible for the disorders we suffer, as there is a genetic component, an environmental element, and then there is society and the system within which we live, which definitely do not support proper healing and recovery on a daily basis.

Self-forgiveness is the same as making the statement that although there are many contributing factors to the development of a disorder such as OCD (derma, trich, germaphobia etc…), within forgiving myself, I am standing up a taking on that responsibility in its entirety. I am stating that I alone exist within my body, and so I alone, with all the support I can get, am taking responsibility for my own healing and recovery. I am using self-forgiveness to bring myself out of my mind, and to stop the internal conversations, thoughts and reactions that cause the emotional build up inside of me throughout the day, among other things.

Even though we are in fact alone within ourselves, it is always recommended to open oneself up to all the assistance and support we can get, keeping in mind the fine line between being supported and developing a dependence.

Remember SELF-responsibility, no one can do this for us. Seeking and utilizing support is not the same as having someone or something else do it for you – because that is impossible, no one else can ‘fix’ you for you. Support is guidance, it’s someone challenging you or pointing things out you may not have realized. It’s someone talking some sense into you when you are unbalanced and lost in emotions/feelings. It can be someone there to encourage you and push you when you face a fear, or to simply be there to listen to you and show you practical solutions you may not have seen or realized yourself.

Interestingly, within some of the best support I have received, I have found the things I need to hear most are the hardest things to hear. If someone were to say “you need to start taking this more seriously and apply yourself more,” for example, I might get incredibly defensive! I have argued about how much I do already and how hard it is for me, and that they don’t understand what it is I deal with on a daily basis.

But what I’ve learned is that this is what’s called ‘arguing for your limitations’, wherein you find yourself actually arguing and building a defense for why you shouldn’t try harder, you can’t do more, you’re stuck and the situation is unchangeable. This is obviously complete self-sabotage, and sets us up for certain failure.

It is in fact a self-fulfilling prophecy, because if you’re starting point is: ‘I can’t do this,’ then everything that flows from it, and from you, in terms of your actions, words, choices and decisions etc… will only ever end up confirming your starting point of being limited and unable.

What I have experienced is that there comes a time and a point within this process where you realize what you’re doing, because nothing is working and nothing is changing, and the same pattern just keeps on repeating itself. This is the time and the point I reached where I just had to suck it up and say ‘ok, it is time to actually apply myself for real. I started by finding a new starting point, one based in the statement “I am Here to assist and support myself do whatever it takes to manage and/or overcome this.”

Unfortunately, it is not so simple as making a statement. When I am told things that might indicate I actually have to change and step up my application, I look at why I react defensively. Not only with OCD/derma, but with anything that I wanted to improve, such as keeping things tidier at home and applying myself at work. The defensiveness I feel is covering up the fact that I am fearful. I am terrified of letting go of my current way of being and doing. I am scared of my perception of what the change will be like. I am fearful of losing a part of me and of my identity.

It may seem strange, but I’ve discussed this reaction in past blogs, and will go into in more detail in the near future. For now, I see it as a good sign. I see it as a sign that I am building myself up, my stance, my application, my self-will and my self-directive principle, and the disorder is actually feeling threatened.  Please read this blog, to understand some dimensions of The Fear of Not Having OCD/derma to depend on.

 

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.

Diffusing the Inner Time Bomb: Practical Self-Corrections

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Within this blog I will be answering the questions I asked in my last blog: Diffusing the Inner Time Bomb. I had received much support from a recent video, after which I realized/was shown/began to understand that the compulsive skin-picking (CSP) is a focused, intensive, all-consuming activity/distraction/form of entertainment in which I lose myself so completely, that I am able to drown out and escape my un-directed internal experience, ie: the bad feelings inside that I want to escape from.

So, the obvious thing to do now would be to understand and direct the internal experience. This is really the basic principle of this entire process, but at the same time, it’s completely new, because I hadn’t looked at it in this way or from this angle before.

I have generally looked at this from internal experiences such as anxiety/anger/fear pushing into csp, but now I’m looking at it form a slightly different angle: that of csp taking me away from the ‘storm’ of internal energies, into a ‘safe harbour’ of silence and stillness.

But it is actually quite deceptive, because that silence and stillness is not innocent- it feeds the ‘storm’, it enables the storm, like a crocodile smile, it leads me in and then eats me alive. Recalling of course, ‘it’ is me, and not something separate from myself. It is not an outside force that I can blame or become angry at, because if I do, that blame and anger create the winds and waves of the internal storm. It just makes the entire situation worse.

So there is then this helplessness because I am so used to something outside of myself being the ‘problem’ or the ‘solution.’ But in this instance, nothing and no one is able to do anything for me, because it is my creation. It must be done by myself. I will take all the support I can get, but no one can do it for me.
Simplistically, this is a matter of slowing down and observing my internal environment in order to determine what feelings, emotions, thoughts, ideas, beliefs, etc, do I create within myself, that I would then seek to escape through picking? I would like to be able to label and understand these internal experiences, in order that I may direct these energies towards actual living. Rather than letting them take me over and then ‘exploding’ into an all-out full-on possession where I have lost control, and then do things like pick my skin for relief/release, or work mself up into and OCD cycle.

If I can understand and direct these energies, I can then look at how I created them, and walk the time-line back to their origin, in order that I may stop repeating this cycle, and script out a new way of living, where the behaviour is actually self-supportive.
This brings me back to my original question from my last blog entry:  “what am I generating within myself, and how exactly am I doing it?”
I understand that this answer will be multitudinous and multifaceted, so I’m just going to start somewhere.

Today, the primary internal experience that was driving me to want to escape myself and my experience was ‘impatience.’

I would feel it in waves passing over me, it felt unbearable, as if I were stuck in  one place with no ability to move myself. It also made me feel constantly rushed/rushing, with a stress or anxiousness always present.

Within this, I see that ‘I’ was not present, and all the tasks I participated in within this state, were not accomplished as well as they could have been. I was merely ‘going through the motions’, trying to get through them/get them done as quickly as possible.

Using the tool of self-forgiveness, I will look a little more closely at the experience of impatience in order to determine how/why I create it:

 

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to be and become ‘impatient’ within myself, as myself, throughout my day.

 

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing ‘impatience’ to exist within and as me.

 

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to create and manifest ‘impatience’ connected to events and tasks that I have to get through and accomplish throughout the day.

 

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to become ‘impatient’ with myself when I think/believe/perceive that I am unable to move myself as quickly/easily/effortlessly as I am able to move myself in my mind.

 

I commit myself to be/become aware of every single part of the tasks at hand wherein every part/movement/step/progress is deliberate and known, so that every part/step/breath/progress/movement can be tested and improved, wherein I test all possibilities and keep only that which works well, and in this seemingly painfully slow process, I see/realize/understand: over time I would become more quick/efficient/effective.

 

When and as I see that I’m growing unbearably impatient within a task, I stop, and I breathe. I bring myself back to awareness within the realization that if I stop feeling impatient, it’s not going to ruin everything, meaning, if I stop myself from being impatient by taking a breath and just slowing down: I will still get it done, and so I stop, I breathe, I let the wave pass, and I realize: I am still Here, and I continue the task within constantly bringing myself back to awareness, continuously bringing my focus back on to myself as who I am within doing the task.

 

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to plan out my day in my mind in such a way that it would be humanly impossible to accomplish everything, wherein I become overwhelmed and end up doing less than I am able, and then become ‘impatient’ with myself’

 

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to become ‘impatient’ with myself, instead of patiently directing myself to gently push myself throughout the day.

 

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to set up unrealistic expectations for myself which are daunting and cruel, instead of honouring myself with the patience that I will require to slowly learn how to change and live in a way that is self-supportive.

 

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to want/need/desire to get through tasks as fast as possible in order to ‘get everything done’ and ‘be done with it’ in an attempt to gain that elusive experience of ‘accomplishment’/’doneness’ at the end of the day, but because I have unrealistic standards, while at the same time: I pile on more and more tasks/chores/responsibilities, and so I become impatient while doing them, because I begin to see that I will never have time for it all.

 

I commit myself to replace the pursuit of the experience of accomplishment with the practice of patience before and during my participation in tasks.

I commit myself to define tasks before I begin them, giving myself a start and an end point that are clearly defined and do-able.

 

When and as I see that I am seeking to attain the experience of accomplishment by piling on more and more tasks/jobs/chores/responsibilities, I stop, and I breathe. I bring myself back to self-patience by realizing and understanding that following my mind in the pursuit of experience in this way is only punishing myself, and then punishing myself further by then becoming impatient with myself, when that self that I am really punishing through my participation in this energy, is the part of me that has only ever supported me to be Here. Therefore, I direct myself to unconditional self-patience, within the commitment to self-honesty and change, wherein I balance self-patience with self-diligence

 

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to sabotage myself by piling on more and more tasks/chores/jobs/responsibilities within the thought, idea, perception or belief that the more I do, the more accomplished I will feel, instead of seeing, realizing and understanding that actual real accomplishment, comes from doing tasks/jobs/chores/responsibilities well, in presence and awareness wherein I am constantly open to learn how to do it better and more consistently through actual practice and application, proving it to myself over time, instead of thinking it up in one moment, and then becoming ‘impatient’ with myself for not already ‘being that’ or ‘being there’.

 

I commit myself to be/become, give/gift myself patience, through slowing down, being and becoming more realistic with the tasks I have in mind (and not getting all OCD about them with piling on more and more stuff to do).

 

When and as I see that I am becoming impatient with myself because of and due to the fact that I have created an un-do-able amount of things to do, and because I’m not flying through them like some superwoman that I am able to be in my mind, I stop, and I breathe. I bring myself back to awareness and back to breathe by reminding myself that there is time each day for me to practice and apply myself towards tasks, and I patiently push myself to look at the task that I am doing, and making sure, with absolute certainty and self-honesty, that I am doing it in a practical and efficient way.

 

When and as I see that I am growing impatient with myself while performing/doing/working at a task, I stop, and I breathe. I bring myself back Here within the realization that I am separating myself from myself by projecting myself into an imagined future, and then comparing my current position with the imagined position, and becoming impatient, when in reality, I am simply Here, able to one thing at a time, one breath at a time.