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hormones, advice, misc..
My first time in a forum. Quick lowdown: I pick primarily on my face. My case is due to a combo of impulse control disorder, body dismorphic disorder, and depression. I've been on an SSRI antidepressant for 13 years and birth control pills, both of which I think have an effect on this disorder, but I'm not really sure how exactly. I am older, I think, than most people writing- 33, I have been dealing with this problem for about 15 years. Don't let this discourage you though; it has gotten MUCH better over the years and I do believe it can be beaten. When I first started picking on my face I would spend at least four hours every day in front of the mirror attacking microscopic specs and imagined bumps...I spent so much time doing this that my upper thighs became dented from leaning against the bathroom counter to be closer to the mirror. I literally had a horizontal line across my thighs that was two inches wide and a half inch deep. It took nearly two years for the dent to go away once I started beating this disorder. I have no idea why the disorder has gotten better for me- maybe my age (chemical changes), maybe more will power, or better stress coping skills, who knows...it's pretty much at the point where I don't pick at all except for a few days before my period, at which time I seem to have little to no control over it. Has anyone else found it to be linked to their monthly hormonal cycle? Any advice? I feel like if I can figure this part out I might finally have this thing beat. I don't have much advice to give, but thought I'd share some of what I have learned over the years... 1. It's important to find a supportive person or people to talk to about this problem; I know it's really hard, but the more I talked about it the less it became my "shameful secret" and the more I was able to focus on getting better. 2. If you're going to try substituting a healthier behavior be careful what behavior you choose. While I think this could be a great therapy, it backfired for me. I had decided that whenever I got the urge to pick I would instead harmlessly pull out leg hairs by tweezer (sounds ridiculous now)...well that quickly turned into me picking on my legs in addition to my face. I haven't been able to wear shorts in 10 years. I recommend a behavior that is "outside of yourself" such as an artistic or musical hobby. 3. Try not to get discouraged if you relapse. Don't blame yourself. It's important to believe in yourself and your ability to concur this. 4. Try to avoid the "spaced out pick"- ask your trusted friend to gently let you know that you're doing it (and try not to get mad at them when they do- they're doing it because they love you and want to help you) 5. Try writing notes to yourself on your mirror with a dry erase marker- mine say things like, "just walk away" and "remember, red, raw spots are way worse than a microscopic spec" 6. Try keeping a journal of your habits- it might help you figure out a pattern to your behavior and/or the things that trigger it (understanding the times that you're not compelled to do it could be helpful too) 7. I found that simply not turning on the bathroom light (unless absolutely necessary) has been helpful I'm starting to ramble so I'll wrap this up. I recommend watching the documentary Too Ugly to Love. I happened across it on BBC the other day. It follows three people with body dismorphic disorder. It might be a good thing to watch with someone that you want to share your problem with but aren't sure how to explain it. One last question- has anyone tried hypnotherapy and if so did it work? good luck everybody.
June 22, 2008
I am also a first-time forum writer who has found a discussion worth contributing to after being a skin picker for ten years. I'm 26 and, like you, I have experienced great improvement over the last few years. Four hours in the bathroom in the evenings has, for the most part, turned into fifteen minutes. I would offer the same advice you gave to anyone who is in the heat of battle with this thing. Thank you for articulating it so well! I think I took the most difficult step in my own recovery process when I realised that I needed to nurture, rather than punish, myself back to health. Like most other skin pickers, I tend to be ruthlessly self-critical, so deciding to make lifestyle changes on my own behalf wasn't easy...but it was the best thing I have ever done. Getting better has not come without setbacks and I find that I also struggle mightily once every month. Self-control is hard, if not impossible, to come by when PMS sets in. I think part of it has to do with the fact that women are a lot more emotionally vulnerable when estrogen levels are high, not to mention the fact that skin also becomes more blemish-prone (and, for us, any small imperfection can lead to hours in front of the mirror). Maybe, working together, we can come up with some ways to beat the monthly attacks of impulse. Here are a few things I've been doing that might work for you too: 1. If you're able, schedule a facial or massage once a month on the first or second day of your period. The first time I got a facial, I felt like I was walking naked on a busy street, so I understand completely if it sounds terrifying. Over time, I've come to peace with having someone else see my skin without makeup. (I've also made friends with the woman who works at the salon, which helps a lot.) Knowing that one of my accountability partners is going to see my face usually helps me steer clear of the mirror beforehand and the feeling of fresh skin after makes me relax enough to be able to talk myself out of picking for a while. Even if the facial doesn't sound like a winner for you, I would suggest making some sort of monthly appointment to do something beneficial for yourself to help interrupt your normal thought process during your period. 2. I also "gear up" for that time of the month by covering my large mirror for a few days and only allowing myself to put on makeup when my very sweet and supportive boyfriend is in the room with me. That tactic isn't fool-proof, but it has saved me more than a few times. 3. There are also some natural remedies for balancing emotions and side-effects of PMS that help me stay calm and feel more in control of my own thoughts. I don't remember which supplement it is that I take, but I would be glad to let you know when I get home tonight if natural remedies are of interest to you. I would also be interested to know if hypnotherapy has worked for anyone. I hope those suggestions are helpful. Many congratulations for your successes in beating this! I think every victory should be celebrated, so I celebrate with you today. Cheers!
June 25, 2008
Is there any way possible I can deal with this by myself?