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So I got my exam results back today: 2 High Distinction’s, 1 Distinction and 1 Credit!! Not bad a for a single working mumma attempting her first full-time semester 😉 at University! I’m really proud of myself and how far I’ve come. This proves to me that I can do anything I put my mind to! There was a time when those results would have disappointed me as I am a perfectionist and so I always aim for the highest marks possible BUT I have learnt to be realistic. NO ONE is perfect! And I have other responsibilities on top of my studies so I don’t always have the luxury of time. Unfortunately I can’t go out and celebrate the way I’d like to as it turns out it wasn’t gastro I had… the Doctor found abnormal enzymes in my liver and he also thinks I may have a stomach ulcer (so I guess the stress was affecting me after all). News like this would have usually thrown me into a stressful state exacerbating my picking and my depression but I know there is nothing I can do except wait for the results and put my faith in my doctor and whoever up above is watching over me. I’m going to keep focusing on the positive and I think to celebrate my good marks I might shout myself some guitar lessons, a makeover or a professional photo shoot (one that shows off my scars)… what do you reckon?
Ok so I woke up today aware of the fact that I have made a commitment to myself to quit picking. So far I have only played with two pimples on my face and I have given myself permission to do this. I am not going to get upset with myself (as this only causes me to pick more) and I am not going to assess the damage in the mirror. I am simply going to be understanding and compassionate towards myself today. I can’t change overnight after all!
This morning I have been laying in bed reading Pearls by Christina Sophia Pearson which is a book of meditations on recovery from hair pulling and skin picking. One of the lines in the first meditation really resonated with me, it reads: “Today I know that living behind bars of compulsion closes me in, and I no longer wish to stay there.” Many skin pickers refer to their struggle as feeling like they are stuck in a Dermatillomania prison, forged by their compulsive behaviours. I no longer wish to be in this prison. I want to break free. I want to experience freedom and taste it on the tip of my tongue. I want to be able to shop carelessly, dress carelessly, dance carelessly, love carelessly… basically experience life out of prison and without the constant fear of wondering if my skin is still covered (have my sleeves ridden up?) or if my makeup has run off (can people see my spots?). I want to experience life! I want to LIVE! Because as we all know, life with Dermatillomania ain’t really living!
I will keep you updated on my journey (daily if I can!) and share with you my successes and my failures along the way, as I know I am bound to experience the occasional slip up. So far I haven’t put any strategies in place so it kind of feels like I have set out on a journey without a road map, unsure of the final destination… BUT I WILL get there and SO CAN YOU! For now I will read a meditation daily from Christina’s book, gently tell myself “no” every time I am aware of my fingers touching my skin (it’s important to be kind to yourself) and go about buying some fidgets. Can anyone recommend any good ones?
That’s all for now but may I add… far out it’s hard not to pick at healing scabs… they are so dry and flaky and crispy and I just wanna… NO dermagirl NO!!!
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?
I’ve been a bit slack lately with everything that’s been going on so I’m sorry this is my first post in a while. My little man is back at school, in year 1 this year, I’m moving back in with my mum this weekend (shall be interesting to see how this goes as I moved out about 6 years ago, when I was 18) and uni goes back in just over a week. The STRESS is unbelievable, I am trying to stay calm and I am trying not to pick as a way to cope. Surprisingly I’m not doing TOO bad at the moment. It’s mainly the scars that are getting me down. I’ve bought a couple of products recently that I am going to start using to see if that makes a difference so I’ll keep you updated on how that goes. Hope everyone is keeping well!
I’m looking forward to getting a start on my new book “Pearls – meditations on recovery from hair pulling & skin picking” by Christina Sophia Pearson. As you can probably tell from the sight of my legs, I need all the help I can get at the moment. Will keep you updated on what the book is like and if it helps. Also if anyone has read any helpful books on Dermatillomania please let me know. I want to learn all that I can about this condition in the hope that knowledge = power!
I have registered to attend a Webinar (a seminar conducted over the internet) on Body Focused Repetitive Behaviours which is what skin picking falls under. It is run through the Trichotillomania Learning Center and there are still tickets available if you sign up to be a member. The non-member tickets have unfortunately already sold out. If you’re interested more information can be found here.
Once I have attended the event I will share on here my thoughts and experiences with it. Because TLC is based in the United States and I live in Australia I will have to get up nice and early at 2:55am to be a part of it. It should be worth it though! And I’m very interested to see what I learn from it and what I can take away from it.