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arjames , 28 Jun 2013

any advice on ways to distract yourself from picking?

I'm a 19 year old girl and have been picking since I was about 14. Up until tonight I was pretty much in denial about this condition and just attributed it to various skin conditions (a couple of which I genuinely have), so at this point I'm just sort of lost and looking for some guidance. Other than advice in psychiatric medication (for personal reasons) or therapy (for financial reasons), anything at all would be greatly appreciated. My picking has been getting much, much worse over the years and it's sort of starting to freak me out. I'm beginning to notice scars that aren't going away, not to mention nearly every part of my body is in some way damaged at the moment, and I have been spending anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 hours in a day picking at my skin. I've been picking at some of the same marks for nearly a year straight and I'm beginning to realize I'm not as in control of it as I used to be. It's gotten to the point where I don't even allow myself to be alone much anymore for fear of picking. Mainly, I'm looking for ideas on what sort of things people do to distract themselves or stop themselves from picking as well as ways to deal with the anxiety I get after picking, or after not allowing myself to pick. I used to do a fair amount of self medicating to deal with my problem, on both a physical and emotional level, and am trying to look into more healthy, natural ways of coping and healing. Any ideas from anyone would really make a world of difference, as I am, at the moment, for lack of a better phrase, scared sh*tless. Thanks. (Sorry for the long post, just a lot to get off my chest all at once. Never told anyone about this before.)
2 Answers
July 01, 2013
Knitting really helps me, but I have to have a project going and it has to be easily accessible. I also find rolling my kids play doh into little balls is soothing. Good luck!
July 02, 2013
Popping bubble wrap, playing with Silly Puddy or worry beads... (Pulling weeds in my garden also works for me because it simulates all the steps of picking.) Experiment with different tactile substitutes to see what feels good and lowers your anxiety. (When you find the right thing for you, you'll FEEL it in your body, the same calming sensation that you get while picking. For healing spots that you repeatedly attack, try hydrocolloid bandages. They work miracles for me. Go to Safeway or a major drug store and buy a few boxes of Hydrocolloid adhesive bandages (aka blister bandaids). Cut each one into into 6 or 8 pieces and stick them on any red/irritated spots or scabs. They act like a layer of skin so they keep out potential irritants, keep in healing moisture—and the best part—keep you from consciously or unconsciously picking. Apply them to clean, dry skin ASAP and leave them on for a few days. When you take them off, you will be amazed by how much better your skin looks. Good luck!

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