Monthly Archives: May 2013

In Hiding

I started thinking to myself tonight, after catching a glimpse of my reflection in the mirror, why is it that I pick? And I guess by that question I don’t mean a simple “why do I do it?”, which can range from anything to relieving stress or entertaining me when I’m bored, but what effect does picking have on my life and what do I get from it? The first thought that popped into my head was: to hide! My picking helps me to hide. I hide my face behind makeup and my body under clothes and when my picking is really really bad I will hide out in my house, refusing to go to work or uni, and I won’t even answer my front door to someone I know let alone a stranger. I’ve even caught myself hiding from my phone or laptop when I get a message in case it’s from someone wanting to catch up with me.

So what is it that I’m hiding from? Like a lot of pickers I have spoken to, and the few that I have met, we are perfectionists. Most of us also have perfect skin (before we attack it) and other great things about our body. For example I love my figure, my hair, my facial features and my nails (double edged sword this one is I know!). So why is it then that I will do something to my body that forces me to cover up everything I love about myself? I wear my hair down to cover blemishes, cut my beautiful long nails short, wear clothes that hide my figure and wear makeup that forces me to hide my face. The only reason I could think of as to why I do this was to hide from men.

When I was 8 years old I was sexually abused by a man probably in his late 60’s-70’s. Now I’m not sure how much of an influence this has had on my life or in fact my picking, as I started picking when I was 4, however I have noticed now that if I walk past a man I will glance away, put my head down and walk quicker. I feel their eyes on me even with the way I look now and so I worry what would happen if I was able to wear the kinds of clothes other girls wear… like dresses, shorts, skirts and singlets. The thought of attracting any more unwanted attention to myself makes me panic. So I guess what I’m trying to figure out now is do I use my picking as a tool to keep hiding, and from men in particular? What would happen if I felt ‘safe’?

Out of curiosity does anybody else use picking as a way of hiding from the world?

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Stop. Look. Ask. & Listen.

Stop. Look. Ask. & Listen.

My new motto to try and get me to stop picking when I’m in the moment. I thought I’d share it on the off chance it may help someone else!

Understanding

Understanding

Don’t let the bastards get you down!

It’s a horrible feeling when you have your trust betrayed. I’m usually pretty careful who I confide in about my skin picking with because some people can be quite naive about the sufferings of others but I thought I could trust this friend of mine; especially since he was intent on becoming a psychologist. And so I opened up to him only to have it thrown back in my face. He was nasty – physically, emotionally and verbally. I recall him yelling at me one night that no one would ever find me beautiful because I had wrecked my skin, I was ugly and scarred and no one would ever love me. I didn’t react. I knew he was intentionally trying to upset me and I find that with bullies they usually put others down in order to feel better about themselves. His insecurities were endless and as a result of that he would “pick on me” to distract himself from his own intense feelings of self-hatred. I’ve now found out that he has been spreading rumours about me in my workplace and telling my colleagues that I “constantly pick pick pick at my skin”.

The old me would have become upset at this. But I have come to realise that “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me”. There is nothing anyone can say to me anymore that will bring me down. Yes I pick! Yes I have sores! Yes I have scars! If you have a problem with it… get over it! Because as I have found out – it’s those who have a problem with what I do who are the problem. To quote Bernard M. Baruch: “Those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind”. I have people in my life who love and accept me for who I am and it is only their opinions that matter to me. One of my work mates even said to me they were so happy when they found out I had my flaws because they always thought I was so damn perfect. This made my night – in that one sentence alone I was able to see myself how others see me and the view wasn’t so bad after all!

In life I try and turn every mistake I make into a lesson that I can learn and grow from. In this case I wouldn’t say I’ve learnt not to trust others because the world is full of beautiful, kind, accepting people and to not trust them would be to miss out on some truly great friendships. What I have learnt though is to be strong in myself and to not care so much what others think of me. And most importantly I have learnt, and am still learning, that when others “pick on me” I don’t have to take it out on myself anymore. People who pick on me aren’t worth me wrecking my skin over. And so I won’t even pick a single scab over this ex-friend of mine and his nasty bitter words – that’s how little him and his opinions matter to me.

Lesson learned: surround yourself with those who love you! I deserve it and SO DO YOU! ♥

Judgemental

Sometimes I can be judgemental. Especially when it comes to things like drug addiction. There is a girl I know who I used to go to school with who has three children currently being raised by her grandparents because she is too busy getting high to look after them herself. And so I judge. I hear this and I judge. I see this and I judge. I think to myself “Why can’t you just stop? You say you want to quit so badly… so stop talking about it and just do it!”

And then I stop. Because sometimes it’s not that easy. Sometimes no matter how hard you want to stop something, like picking, or taking drugs, or smoking, it’s not as easy to quit as you think it might be. Especially if it’s all you’ve ever known. Especially if it’s been your coping mechanism – the only way you know how to deal with life.

And then there are the triggers! There are always triggers! Family, friends, stress, peer pressure, work, study, life (in general) and then there’s the actual tools themselves… the drugs, the alcohol, the cigarettes, the mirror, the tweezers! How do you put distance between yourself and the triggers and tools? And this is where it’s hard for pickers because unlike addicts, our major tool is quite literally right at our fingertips – our nails! We can’t just chop our hands off and then quietly go insane while the urges penetrate our every thought because that is simply not possible. We can’t get away from our major tool! I remember when I quit smoking I felt like I was going crazy! I wanted a cigarette SO SO SO badly! I’d just found out I was pregnant so I tore up all my remaining cigarettes and then threw them in the bin, just like that! Then I did not leave the house… I stayed inside desperately wanting to go to the shops and buy some more but I knew if I could hold out long enough until the urges passed it would get easier and eventually it did! But had someone been sitting right next to me smoking the entire time I was trying to quit or had my fingers been made out of cigarettes themselves, I may still be smoking today. It’s only because I could get that distance that I was successful! And that’s not to say I don’t still think about smoking because every now and again I will crave a cigarette, however I just choose to stay away!

So I try to do the same with picking! I try to “stay away” or “cut down” or just “quit cold turkey” but sometimes without even realising it my fingers are already back at work: scanning, searching, smoothing, scratching. Picking! And other times it all gets too much and because my hands are right there I figure “Well why the bloody hell not!” It’s a vicious circle! One I want to break free from but short of chopping my hands off, I don’t know what else to do. And I get judged! People say to me all the time “Why can’t you just stop?” or “If you really wanted to, you’d just stop!” Well it’s not that easy. And who are they to judge, just as who am I to judge? We all have our own inner struggles and we all have our own way of dealing with them. Sometimes it really is a case on focussing less on others and more on oneself. So from now on I’ll try to be less judgemental and when I notice myself asking these questions of others, I’ll apply them to myself and my situation!

I fixed it! I fixed it!

So my nose is quite sore at the moment. What started off as about 3 miniscule little blackheads is now one massive open flaming bright red gash across my nose. I’ve been picking at it for about a week now and gouging at it with my tweezers… I haven’t managed to get the blackheads out but I have managed to do some serious damage to the surrounding skin. The photo doesn’t do it justice and I’ve also covered it in cream to try and reduce the swelling. I seriously just do not understand why I do this to myself? And what’s worse is I actually thought I was fixing it!! Well doesn’t a bright red open sore look soooo much better than 3 tiny black dots you could barely notice!!! The worst thing about this disorder is not understanding at all why you do it. And even though I know I’ve just damaged my skin and made it look 100 times worse than what it was I am still sitting here picking at another spot I’ve found while I write this. Does it ever end???

Regret

Sometimes I see things or hear things that remind me of you and instantly I am filled with a deep sense of regret. A longing to go back to the past and change things but unfortunately I can’t and I will have to live with this feeling every single day for the rest of my life. If only you knew how sorry I am. If only I could fix things. If only I could hold you tight and never let you go. If only I could tell you “I love you”. ♥

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