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serene , 13 Aug 2017

Escaping strong urges by skin picking = leading to depression

We skin pick in order to escape those extremely irritating strong urges that compel us to think about a pore or pimple. By skin picking, we are simply substituting that strong compulsion for disappointment. Either way we suffer. If we abstain, that urge stays in the back of our minds. And if we pick, we obsess over the healing process.

It seems to be a lose-lose situation. How in the world do we stop that obsessive urge to pick??? Especially when we abstain and then have that tormenting thought haunt us throughout the day? This is the root problem. ( Not the actual skin picking act, but allowing the urges to guide and control our behavior. )

By abstaining from picking a pimple, I am not eliminating the urge. I am simply holding off on the urge. Meanwhile, that desire to pick can build up inside me as a feeling of immense pressure. And then the act of picking feels like taking a hit of a drug. It feels extremely relaxing and in a sick way liberating. Liberating from that extreme inner pressure.

I am wondering how many of you struggle when you resist the initial urge? How do you deal with that urge throughout the day? Does it lessen in severity after you initially hold off on the picking or does it build up and become stronger the more you resist?

I am trying to stop this behavior, but am finding that the inner feeling of pressure is what gets to me. Abstaining in the moment isnt as difficult as dealing with that "itch" in the back of my mind. Sick of it dictating for me to pick throughout the day.

5 Answers
August 14, 2017

Hey there,

You have nooo idea how much I identify with your posting! In fact I'm sure it's something every single one of us pickers has gone through.

It really seems inevitable, or at least for me, to obsess over the fact you abstained from actually picking. I get tight chested and can't really focus. All I can think about is how my pore is getting more and more swollen with warm liquid just waiting to be popped! What a rush! It's stupid.

Even if I hold off for the day, when I get home from work I usually go crazy.

I used to pick my legs really bad but now to hide it I've been picking where the sun don't shine - front and back.

I've learned that if you can stay strong (or should I say distracted) long enough, once your skin starts to clear you'll be less inclined to check it out and thus, won't pick as often. It's once you start picking that they seem to call all their friends to join the party... and than the party never ends.

Good luck!

August 15, 2017

Yeah so true. What a nightmare addiction. Yet unlike let's say a substance, this issue is always with me because it's centered on my body. I can't simply walk away from it. Have to look at myself every day.
What's the longest you have gone without picking?
For me it must have been 3 months when I got married. It was hell and the way I kept distracted is by playing video games. I felt that if I immmerse myself in the game then I'll be able to not think about the picking. It did help a lot. The best part about those 3 months was the ability to easily leave the house without worry of concealing sores. But that inner pressure was making me mental. I don't know what the hell this is. It's just torment. I have had good weeks and even at most a good month of no picking from time to time. But when I relapse it can be bad. I'm trying to put the breaks on a current relapse. Trying to wait for everything to heal up. Ive been taking the self care route after a two year break. I think it helps a bit more because it teaches me to be more gentle with myself. When I ignore the issue or go into denial mode, then shit hits the fan. I rationalize the picking and allow myself to do more damage. Yet the self care route has its own drawbacks. Staring into the mirror to see how the skin reacts to a new cream, doing monthly skin peels and having to wait out until the face returns to normal, obsessing over the results. Also having to wear sunscreen all the time in order to protect skin after a peel. Its tiresome. In the future I want to do C02 laser resurfacing. But I have got to stop picking. I did monthly face peels for 3 years and improved my scars and had nice skin....then stopped for 2 years and messed up all my effort with picking ( getting married and moving out of state were huge triggers). So starting over again with the whole TCA peel route, this time hoping to not stop for more than 3 months. I think if more pickers tried doing facial peels they would get hooked on it.

August 18, 2017

I am dealing with this now. My wounds have finally started scabbing and I want to pick them so bad that it's insane. I totally feel where you are coming from. It is only a matter of time before I do. The thought of doing so is starting to consume me. I feel so bad just thinking about the lose lose situation.

August 18, 2017

Missmiami....What if you apply some sort of spot treatment or cream on the scabs? Any sort of barrier which will heal them quicker and prevent you from picking as much? Do you implement skin care into your routine? It can be effective, especially if you see the positive results. Its also very helpful to use hydrocolloid bandaids to speed up the healing process. Overall, do you experience moments of clarity where you can easily abstain from picking? How long can you go without habitually picking? I am taking the self care route again and also been exploring effects of complex PTSD. For the past two years I have been in a bit of denial about my self picking. I tried the "forget it and let it dissipate on its own" approach and it led me nowhere. I think that skin picking has been an outlet for me due to the fact that I developed CPTSD. Have you ever had therapy? Im looking into getting back into therapy and reading self help books on trauma. I feel that skin picking evolves from a subconscious process of purging unpleasant emotions. Some sort of self soothing behavior to suppress or try to eliminate the unwanted feelings. ( A traumatized mind will often self sabotage in various ways, including self harming). It is important to be gentle with yourself. Focus on your positive traits and try to de-stress every single day. I think that the way we can break this habit is to constantly be aware of it, even if it is painful to us. Treat ourselves kindly and expect progress to be slow and gradual. I have battled and completely eliminated other issues ive had, including 25 years of severe nail biting. During the past few years my habit of nail biting would come and go and the severity of it would change throughout. It slowly dissipated, but what worked was constant awareness and taking meticulous precautions such as painting my nails every week. Eventually this broke the habit as my brain "forgot" that urge to bite my nails. Now if I look down and see a dry cuticle, I dont experience that strong urge to bite it off. I believe that the trick with any body focused repetitive behavior is to slowly increasing the time period in between these self harming sessions. So first set a goal for a week, and dont berate yourself if you mess up. Be gentle with yourself. The slip-ups will happen. Yet the most important aspect is to be mindful of your thoughts. Program your mind to understand that you can be in control and that you can build up your emotional resilience to these impulses. I think that if we gradually extend the time in between picking, the impulse to pick will slowly lose its strength. There has to be some sort of strategy in combating this behavior.

August 18, 2017

Introspection is very important in battling these issues because I sense that they are a function of the subconscious processes in our mind. Introspection is the enemy of subconscious impulses.
Also, when I state that it is important to be gentle with yourself what I want to point out is the fact that when we attack ourselves over giving in to the urge to pick, we are creating a void of self punishment. We start picking even more because we give up on ourselves and feel on a subconscious level that we deserve the self punishment. Think about it for a moment. Why do you feel that strong urge intensify when you pick one pore or pimple? Why is there a strong need to pick more and to keep exploring the skin? The feeling of letting ourselves down is rationalized into a form of self punishment. We feel that we dont deserve to stop, and that we somehow deserve what we do to ourselves... I think that is why the self harm is so pleasurable in that moment. Skin picking is almost a form of masochism. Pay attention to the subconscious rationalization that goes on in the background the next time you pick. It is usually overshadowed by the impulsive urge itself, but when you become mindful it is much easier to catch and decipher such tangled feelings.

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