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awaken , 01 Feb 2012

First day of the rest of my life

I've been skin picking for 20 years. Over the years I've scalp picked, scab/excema picked and finger picked. I'm now predominately left with picking the skin on my fingers. My thumbs have callouses and the rest of my fingers are starting too now, on the left side of my distal-interphalangael joint. I hate being this way so imagine my shock when I find out I am not alone!! For years I didn't speak of what I did, hid what I did, dismissed what I did and thought I was a freak. I've become quite clever about my skin pick. I rarely make my fingers bleed, I just move on to the next one. So anyway, after much soul searching I knew I needed to stop, I've known this for years. I've read lots of tips on these forums and the internet and I tried to work out for me why I did it. I've not quite worked it all out but there is something about wanting to remove imperfections on my fingers plus I've been doing it so long I mostly do it without even realising. YESTERDAY I GAVE UP. Seriously. Willpower works for me, I developed a couple of my own CBT techniques. I have not skin picked for 44 hours now and I don't intend to start again. I am really not sure if this is going to work but I've taken control like this in other areas of my life (ie weight) and it has worked. I'm also dealing with alot right now and I feel like I'm seeing life in a new way, I was diagnosed with cancer last month so maybe this isn't the right time to 'quit' but I'm going to try. Wish me luck!
6 Answers
February 01, 2012
Hi awaken. you sound very strong and you will undoubtedly know what to do for the best for yourself. - we tend to know our bodies pretty well and i bet you have lots of ideas and positive things to work on for getting well. - You will find best timings for things and if you have had successes in things before, like you say, you can do it in all other areas too. :) Also, - out of interest, what are the two cbt techniques that you have found help you? - I am just learning about cbt and would be interested to know what works for you. p.s. liked your comment about seeing life in a new way. - thanks, loads of luck and best wishes to you.
February 02, 2012

In reply to by cleanandsparkles

Hello Clean! I'm feeling slightly misguided in my own display on strength. Today I was so busy there were only four occasions where I came incredibly close to picking. I am proud but my biggest fear is this 'strength' won't last and I'll be back to where I was. The main technique I'm using right now is every time I feel the 'twitch'. I say to myself 'I don't need to do this', 'I don't want to do this', 'Disgusting Habit'. I then try to visualise my repaired hands and feeling more confident in myself. I then pair that with using some handcream. At the moment that is stopping me from seeing the imperfections. I need to do a bit more work on all this as it isn't strong and when my willpower disappears (and it will) I need something more. Plus I fully appreciate you don't go and break a 20 year habit by simply stopping. Or maybe you do? Maybe this is different in some way. I really want to suceed. Sounds silly but I'm considering using sunscreen on my hands too, whilst on holiday last year 2 weeks of applying factor 50 made my fingers look beautiful and well repaired so I wonder if this could work outside being on holiday!!
February 02, 2012

In reply to by awaken

hi awaken. know what you mean about fear of the strength not lasting but do think that we, as humans, have amazing abilities within ourselves. sometimes i think we reach a point where we have absolutely HAD enough. - mantras are great - i have been using them too, especially 'I AM STRONG' as i find it permeates my weak times, and the more i say it to myself, the stronger i feel. (Susan Jeffers book gave me that idea). re: sunscreen, anything that works for you. Like you, I do think it is more than just stopping, it is utilising any and every 'tool' available. Anything positive. also any 'pick' needs total forgiveness. part of whole healing process in my humble opinion. - excema is tricky, i could write a book on it, in fact i nearly did. - found so much out about it and have accumulated quite an array of info. - am a bit knackered right now but will 'chat' again soon. in the meantime, great you are doing so well and thanks for your tips, good thoughts. :)
February 05, 2012

In reply to by awaken

"Plus I fully appreciate you don't go and break a 20 year habit by simply stopping. Or maybe you do?" - if you are ready you can actually just stop. What "ready" means is a shift inside when you feel like you have changed and don't need the habit anymore. Or maybe you find a better way to deal with the reasons of picking. What's making you pick? What state of mind and emotional state are you in when you are about to pick? It is important to understand your reasons to do it - when you know what makes you do it, you'll find your own way to stop. Then you won't be afraid to fail but only determined to recover. As an example I'll take myself: I pick when I don't like myself. I have to stop myself in the feeling and feel it. My trap is that I run from emotions, I'm afraid to feel them for some reasons (long story) and that's why this is what I have to learn. I stop myself in the emotion and feel it. Am I sad, am I mad or something else? I feel the feeling until it has got so much attention that it disappears. Then I JUST STOP picking. Because only THEN it's easy.
February 06, 2012

In reply to by Basta

Very interesting. I do feel different but I am worried it isn't going to last long. I reverted to bad habits this morning after a very successful first week. I nibbled alot this morning and felt awful after. I was waiting to see the doctor so I put it down to anxiety. It turns out I've got terrible tension in my shoulder, I wonder if the 'quitting' has caused all this. Anyway, I've reapplied the handcream and will try to feel strong.

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