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Mary_A , 27 Apr 2011


I’m going to try a new (and quite original) strategy to stop: I’m giving up the skin-picking AND the struggle against it! It probably sounds weird to say this on a forum where everyone is in the middle of struggling. And I don’t mean this discouraging! But these don’t pick-challenges don’t work for me anymore. I’ve tried so many times, over and over again, and for so long... I need a new approach. I think about it as going on a strict diet: it works for a little while, but if you want to lose weight AND keep it down for good (the hardest part), the only way is to change your way of living. In the context of the skin-picking I’d have to change my way of thinking. There’s a switch in my head that has to be turned. I’m extremely obsessed and insecure about how I look. I can’t pass a mirror, or even a window or a car, without checking my reflection. I’m constantly conscious of my damaged skin, and worry all day about people noticing it. So, STEP 1, let’s throw that overboard! From now on I only look into mirrors to put on make-up in the morning, and to wash it off in the evening. And the rest of the day I’ll try not to think about it, or hide myself anymore! In my case, the constant checking in mirrors is a form of avoiding behavior: I feel tensed because I think I’m ugly, and out of fear of embarrassment I have a to check how I look to make the tension go away. Sometimes it works (‘oh I don’t look too bad today’), but most of the times I see something I don’t like (‘my hair, my skin, my clothes!!’) and the tension I had doubles. So avoiding behavior often has an adverse effect. When I went to see a therapist, he pointed out to me that skin-picking is a form of avoiding behavior as well (!!!) : I lose myself in the moment which makes me forget my sorrows and stress for a little while. But here again, as you all know, it has an adverse effect, because after a picking session I look 10 times worse than before. And then there’s more tension and so on and so on... My therapist told me that if you face the tension, instead of trying to avoid it, the avoiding behavior will go away eventually, and so will the picking!! STEP 2 will be going out without make-up on, because make-up is of course another way to avoid anxiety. But this step has to wait a little longer, let’s take one at a time. For now I’m sticking to: no mirrors, no hiding, not thinking about looks!

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