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anjy , 15 Dec 2012

Pursuit of normalcy.

I am fearful of sharing my bad habits and experiences with others, but I think it's a step in the right direction. Being honest with myself is always the hardest part. I do my best to avoid the truth, but I'll never be able to heal if I'm incapable of explaining myself. So here's to hoping I might find comfort in this place. Here's to hoping I can be free of compulsive picking one day... It's always been a part of me. I struggled with picking at my skin before I was old enough to understand the consequences of it. No matter how hard I fight to resist it, my fingers will run up my skin to find a scab. Picking is usually a thoughtless act; something I'm so used to doing, it often doesn't occur to me that it's happening until it's too late. I pick at the skin on my fingers, at any sore, and I peel apart my split ends. And I am ashamed to admit that I suffered as a cutter for nearly seven years. I have not cut myself for about a year, and now I want to take another step forward. I want to end the picking. I'm not really interested in pinpointing why I pick, but maybe understanding why would help me heal? If you're trying to stop picking, what has helped you? Is it more of a physical or emotional struggle? I lost my mother when I was 13 and the presence of substance abuse has always been a problem in my family. I feel certain that the depression and stress with school is a contributing factor, but does it help to place blame? I simply want to move forward to better things. I don't know how to motivate myself to cope in a healthy way.. I live in a small town and have sought out counseling, but there is only one therapist available to me. I can't afford counseling, but I hope putting my struggles out here will help. Even if it's in a small way. Ready for change and tired of feeling alone in this. Tired of feeling gross and fed up with myself..
2 Answers
December 19, 2012
I wish I had the answers for you. I'm trying to figure this out myself. We are not so different. I suffered depression when I was younger, and I cut myself some as a teen. I am happy now, but the compulsion to pick remains. You seem bright, and with purpose; I'm sure you can get through this. I have no time or money for therapy either. There are tips out there for ways to lessen the amount of picking. At least you have taken the 1st step. Good luck.
December 19, 2012
I am seeking treatment from a therapist for picking. One of the hardest things to do as a picker is not to beat yourself up about it. Mine has gotten to the point where, after every time I have a "pick session," I am crying on the couch, lamenting what a failure I am. This starts the cycle of anxiety over again and is not beneficial to recovery. Instead, remember that your picking is a condition that you suffer from, just like any other sickness, and it can't be helped. Would you beat yourself up for having a cold? That being said, accepting that you are at the mercy of your condition is the first step in fixing it. My therapist believes it is important to address what triggers picking and why. Personally, I don't feel this is as relevant. For me, I started picking around the age of 12, over ten years ago. I was bullied and made fun of as a child, and this has shaped me as an adult, but whatever reason I had for picking in the beginning, it now happens so automatically that I can be in the most comfortable setting - at home on the couch, watching a movie and eating dinner with my boyfriend - and the compulsion will be so strong that I have to leave the room to pick. My therapist has also suggested trying something like journaling whenever I have the urge to pick, so that I can assess the thoughts in my head and also do something else with my fingers. Again, this hasn't been helpful for me but might be worth a try. I have only been aggressively trying to stop picking for the last few months, and I have now been diagnosed with depression, so we are going to try the medication route. There are many people in my life who are recovered addicts, and they have gotten clean "one day at a time." When I feel like I want to pick, I tell myself to wait 60 seconds, and then I can go pick. After 60 seconds is up, I am proud that I waited, and I tell myself to wait five minutes. After five minutes pass, I often forget that I wanted to pick. This is how we will get better. It won't happen all of a sudden. We will win back normalcy one day, one minute, one second at a time. Best of luck to you.

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