Do I choose to pick?
A friend of mine said some things to me today that have really got me thinking. Although at the time I felt angry, defensive and even a little bit upset, I realised when I got home that he had probably raised a few valid points. One was “I choose to pick”. Of course as most skin-pickers know we do not choose to have this condition. More like it chooses us. It creeps up on us out of nowhere and then all of a sudden we are left with this life changing habitual addiction that we can’t seem to break free from. I’ve always likened it to being addicted to Heroin. We NEED to pick just like an addict NEEDS their fix! Without it we, or at least I, start to feel like I am going a little bit crazy… ok insane even! I get withdrawal symptoms if I go even a few hours without picking. My skin starts to itch, I become incredibly fidgety and anxious, I can feel my heart rate quicken and my stress levels start to rise, my hands start wandering craving their next session, my mind begins to focus on all the imperfections I know are on my body and then I give in. I have to. I pick! And then the relief washes over me. My thoughts stop. My mind goes numb. My heart rate drops. The anxiety disappears. But then the shame and disappointment kicks in and so does the stress when I realise how much of I struggle I am going to face in trying to hide all of my fresh wounds. All of my battle scars.
So why do I keep doing this? AM I CHOOSING to do this? I’d always thought no… but maybe I am? After all my picking has been with me for 20 years. It’s all I’ve ever known. It’s been with me through the good times and the bad. It’s helped me when I’m angry, sad, excited, stressed. It’s almost like a friend that I turn to for EVERYTHING! But like all dangerous friendships my Derma has caused me a lot of heartache and a lot of suffering too. Do I still NEED it? Do I still WANT it? Is it as easy as CHOOSING not to do it anymore?
I thought I was beyond willpower. I thought I was stuck with this for life now. That there was no way out. I mean surely there are times when I have no control over this condition? Like when I am sleeping or when I enter a “trance-like” state. But what about the other times? The times when I consciously choose to sit myself down on the bathroom floor and pick at my skin for hours. The times I grab my tweezers off the bathroom bench to “fix” my myriad of imperfections. The times I allow my hands to wander over my skin because I am feeling emotions that I don’t know how to deal with and picking is the only thing that offers me a way out of my thoughts and feelings.
I guess I face a tough question now. And an even tougher decision. Do I REALLY want to stop? If I stop will I miss it? OR will I have the life I always dreamed of living?
Maybe for once my yearly New Year’s Resolution “to stop picking” might actually be achieved. Twenty years of making it and breaking it so far. Maybe 2013 will be the year of change for me… If I choose it to be!