Maybe we don't want to get better...


Live a Happier Life - Free from Picking

Stop picking with online therapy program, based on CBT.

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November 20, 2017

Sorry about the grammatical errors. O meant *Invision a life without it* and *convince me I'm worth it*
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November 20, 2017

I* omg
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November 21, 2017

Have you had any other OCD related or impulse control problems in your life? I can understand your situation because my childhood was stressful and my father emotionally abusive. The household I grew up in fueled my chronic anxiety. I believe that when I was young my body and brain was constantly immersed in large amounts of the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol is known to effect the brain by changing its structure. Can you imagine a developing brain being under constant inflow of cortisol? An unstable environment will do that to a child. I believe that OCD and impulse control disorders can be a byproduct of such an upbringing. It is a form of a psychological coping mechanism of some sort. I believe that there are subconscious processes as well as dissociative/repressed attributes in this disorder. Personally, I struggled with nail and cuticle biting since the age of 5. This year, at 28 I finally was able to quit that habit. It slowly faded away because I chose to meticulously take care of my nails every week. Anyway, I believe that skin picking can be overcome. It takes constant effort to minimize the habit. By that I mean constantly taking care of your skin, reminding yourself that its not worth it to pick, exercising, and any other strategy that lessens your urges. You must always be mindful of this disorder and do not allow it to fully control you. The fact that you choose to battle it is enough to quite possibly lessen its severity over time. Healing is never a one time thing. It takes years to successfully heal. I have hope because if I was able to overcome nail biting then maybe I have a chance at overcoming skin picking. I think you have a certain fear of abandoning this habit because it is proving to be highly effective at momentarily calming you down and easing the inner frustrations. Skin picking is a form of emotional purging. What will work to help you transition from this habit without fear is if you find some other behavior or hobby which you can fully immerse yourself in. That way you can get the same emotional satisfaction without the self harming after effects. But you must never just give in to the disorder, doing so will only cause your picking to become worse. I know because I have had that stage (DENIAL). I told myself its not as bad as I think, that I can heal my skin afterwards, etc (minimizing the problem). Its a form of self enabling and it will only spiral you further out of control. The first step is to admit that its a self sabotaging behavior which you are intent on stopping. Then comes the mindfulness part, a daily ritual of reminding yourself and affirming how you are taking the steps to minimize your picking by controlling urges. Here you can implement various cognitive skills as well. Positive self talk, envisioning a positive future, meditation, etc. What exactly is scaring you about the ability to stop picking? I think for the majority of us on this forum the problem lies in not being able to stop. We fear the urges which demand us to keep on picking. Its a strong inner feeling which forces us to pick, even when we logically reason that its self damaging. It is a problem which centers around our willpower. Are you able to quit if you will yourself to stop? If you can restrain yourself willfully then you are a step ahead of us...if you are still able to choose to pick it might mean that you have a greater chance of getting better if only you change your perspective. Also I want to add....at one point I was able to resist picking for 3 months. I was newly married and wanted to be a "normal" wife. Resisting caused a lot of emotional turmoil because I had to sort out my psychological state without having to rely on an outlet. When I finally gave in, I picked even more than before. This experience allowed me to understand the behavior a bit more. I believe that by choosing to pick what our mind is doing is trying to create a reason for our emotional turmoil. By self harming, we are focusing on the wound, the healing process, imperfections...instead of the real issues inside of ourselves. The picking is a form of behavior which the mind creates as a form of scapegoating. Instead of having to deal with repressed emotions (mostly pushed back into the subconscious), we are distracted by creating visible wounds to control our inner instability. Yes, this behavior is a form of control. But not control of the outside appearance as much as the inner psychological processes. I believe that repressed emotions are the root cause. At some point in our lives we hid away great pain and guilt...we pushed it far away into our psyche. Now behavior such as skin picking has emerged as a byproduct of that repression.
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November 21, 2017

Abnormal repression, or complex neurotic behavior involving repression and the superego, occurs when repression develops and/or continues to develop, due to the internalized feelings of anxiety, in ways leading to behavior that is illogical, self-destructive, or anti-social.
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November 22, 2017

Thank you for your response. I can definitely relate to a lot of the things you said, especially about the behavior stemming from repressed emotions. There is no doubt that I was under constant exposure to cortisol as a result of my childhood environment. At times I felt like I had to lead a double life, because at school I had to pretend like I wasn't put under constant stress and anxiety in my home life. I found that as a result of this I am unable to connect with others the way I would like to because I have an eminent fear of being judged. It feels like my mind never shuts off. It's always analyzing and focusing on one thing or another and especially thoughts that make me feel uncomfortable or scared. For example I feel like if i don't do certain things past the number 6 (ex. if I'm eating a snack like grapes or chips I have to eat at least 7, or if I go down a flight of stairs and there's only 6 steps i feel like i have to go up and back down so I'm not cursed) something bad will happen to me, because in my mind 6 is a cursed number. But I know this has no basis in reality so I don't understand why I insist on giving in to the urge to do it. Picking is very much a way to get my mind to stop over analyzing everything. I get intimidated by people I deem 'perfect' and feel the need to stay away from them, because I am not worthy of being in their presence. My dad did not allow my siblings and I to make any friends growing up.Every time I meet new people I feel this immense need to please them so they won't think I'm abnormal or so they don't leave and it has gotten me in to so many situations where people have taken advantage of me because they knew I would let them. As bad as I want this habit to stop it is seemingly impossible for me to believe that I can exist without having to resort to this to stabilize my uncontrollable emotions. I think that I am really sensitive to things that most people would overlook. I also suffer from really bad insomnia and find that even when I am extremely tired I will do anything in my power to prevent myself from sleeping. My emotions can be fine and regulated one minute then I find myself feeling extremely sad in the next. I don't think I'm bipolar because I don't experience symptoms of mania, but it's like I'll look a random object and suddenly become overwhelmed with sadness to the point that seeing people walking exhausts me because I can't discern how they have so much energy. I really feel like I'm losing touch with reality and myself and it really doesn't seem like it's going to get better. I cannot remember a single day where I have not picked my skin since age 7 and I'm in my early 20s. I desperately want to find a solution to this but I don't know if I'm enough to deal with what being cured entails. I am so isolated from everyone, what if i overcome this and the world demands more of me than I can give? I know that doesn't really make sense, but what I'm getting at is I don't know if I'm equipped to live a normal life. It seems like I'll always be 'off' or 'weird' and anxious. I really is unfortunate. I don't know what to do, everything just seems out of my control. I want to address my repressed emotions but i don't even know what they are or how to deal with them. I really do hope everyone suffering from this can find peace, someday...somehow.
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November 22, 2017

You are still very young. Wait it out until you are 30 and see if your perceptions balance out. Some individuals tend to get better with age, so do know that time can be on your side. In some ways I have improved over the years, but in other ways I'm still struggling. The skin picking has been the most stubborn affliction to deal with so far. Overall, critical parents can trigger lots of problems. These problems can affect overall quality of life, but that is something we must accept as we deal through the issues. Be comforted knowing that there are many individuals struggling with similar problems and that you are not alone. It also seems to me that you are struggling with social anxiety, avoident behavior, and superstitious OCD. You ask why you give in to the irrational OCD (counting numbers, magical thinking, etc). I read a description which explains it well.. "struggling with obsessive perseverations about superficial worries that are little more than left brain dissociations from repressed pain". Your mind is creating the OCD thoughts and superstitious beliefs as a way to distract itself. This is what I mean by the mind finding a scapegoat. The OCD and skin picking are scapegoating rituals which we use to either distract ourselves or to try and make sense of our inner conflicts. I also read today that unconscious displacement of emotional conflict can create lots of problems, including body dysmorpia, skin picking, etc. This is exactly what I was trying to explain in my previous comment. It's an unconscious process of displacement. And the repressed emotions from our past can be playing a significant part in this dynamic. Was your household full of strict, rigid rules? Possibly very strict religious upbringing? Also know that it's common to suffer with codependency if you were a child of a narcissistic parent. A child learns to be codependent when they are forced to love and accept a parent who is critical or abusive. This might be the reason you mention that you are eager to please others, even when they take advantage of you. When a person is conditioned from an early age to overlook the negative aspects of an abusive or condescending adult (in order to cope emotionally; example..."my father yells and puts me down but I know he does it because deep down he cares and loves me"), they grow up being overly generous in believing that there is always a good side to every person. I was like that myself and stuck around in some pretty bad relationships. The way I was able to change that is by educating myself about narcissists and other disturbed personalities. I now know that it's important to have a healthy level of anger because it helps to fuel the self preservation instinct. We need to protect our emotional well being as much as our physical well being. Also the problem we face is of internalizing our conflicts. While some people externalize and attack outside influences, we attack ourselves for the pain we feel. Guilt is a huge component of the equation. Your doubts about not being able to live a normal life are understandable, but you don't have to have any particular "normal" life. Just try to manage as best as you can. Don't pressure yourself with some ideal image of how your life should be, it will only cause more unecessary worry. Have you had therapy at any point in your life? You seem to be insightful and quite introspective.
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November 23, 2017

I really want to know how to fix this. My life is becoming so pointless and death is becoming so intriguing, but I'd never act on that. I'd rather sit and suffer and hope that the situation will sort itself out, but that has proved to be unyielding. I did grow up in a household with strict and restrictive ruling and a strong religious foundation, which we were obligated to follow. My father was definitely not emotionally stable and would take it out on everyone, but it felt like I was especially targeted. My mother at times would ask him why he hated me so much. I was beaten, called names, made to feel insignificant and always terrified by him. I found myself retaliating by not letting him have the satisfaction of knowing that he had the power to hurt me in the way that he did. So when he would hit me over and over again with his belts I wouldn't even cry. I would just sit there and wait for him to decide it was enough, and I would go to my room and just sit in silence. To this day he, and even my mother expect me to be over the situation, but they don't realize how much damage it has caused. I am always in pain. My skin is all scars now. I don't have any self-worth or self-esteem. It feels uncomfortable to say I love myself. I feel alien and bnormal everywhere I go. I don't know how to connect with anyone. I have honestly become this house of self destruction and it feels like a matter of time before death will come for me. I often feel like everything I do is pointless, because I am always alone and cannot get anyone to understand the constant inner turmoil I'm subjected to everyday. I can't invision a future for myself because death seems more realistic at this point. I just don't know what to do anymore. I sought out therapy but its effects only lasted so long until I found myself breaking again. My inner dialogue is always self depleting and I always surrender to the belief that it's true. All of my attempts to handle the situation have failed and seem pointless now. I just can't do this anymore. I don't know if I can even make it to 25 let alone 30, it has become too much. I really do appreciate your help though, it's unfortunate how abuse demands lives. I want to help myself but I just do not know how.
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November 24, 2017

Have you been diagnosed with complex PTSD? The origin of such a diagnosis is made after an individual suffers through prolonged, extended trauma. Try reading up on CPTSD and see if it makes sense to what you are experiencing now. I am so sorry that you had to put up with so much abuse, it is truly disheartening that anyone should have to endure that. Often with years of abuse, the hatred and contempt a person directs at you will be internalized. Its impossible to not allow it to affect you when you are forced to exist so close to someone and to constantly feel their deep seated contempt towards you. As a child, there is also nowhere to really go except to live with parents and put up with the inflow of hurtful behavior. I believe that I was tempted to pick at myself because I often felt trapped in my own home. I always felt as if I had no way out since I was too young and vulnerable. Its similar to how animals will bite and pick at themselves when confined in a small stressful space. Even when I just think of that situation in my past, I experience a dreadful feeling in the pit of my stomach and a heightened sense of anxiety. I felt so confined and trapped, with no privacy and having to put up with strict rules that usually went against my personal comfort. How do your parents justify what occurred? Have they apologized to you? I am worried that you were unable to receive any closure from your childhood experience. In an unstable household its common that one child is outed to be the one who becomes put down and abused (the black sheep of the family). Sometimes the whole family joins in to pick on that individual. I think that abusers often project their own disdain of themselves onto their children. As if the child is at fault and therefore has to pay for the parent's own misfortunes. I dont understand that logic except that it gives abusers a temporary relief when they are able to displace their anger on someone else. How are you coping in society? Are you going to school or working? Do you feel that you can at least focus on something productive to divert your attention from some of the internal pain? How is your relationship with your parents? In trauma, there are three reactions - fight, flight, and freeze. In my life I experienced the freeze response. That is when you feel stuck and unable to do much, unable to socialize, unable to have much motivation in life. Its when we go inside ourselves and shut down.
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November 24, 2017

Seriously every time you respond to me you bring me so much hope. I haven't been diagnosed with anything, because I was terrified to seek treatment, mainly because of my mom. I was in huge denial and thought that I could stop it if I really willed to. In my childhood my mother was truthfully the only source of love I got from someone who had authority over me. However I am coming to find that maybe she didn't love me as much as I thought she did. She would buy us things and was nowhere near as strict as my father. She's also really nice and genuine and makes everyone feel comfortable, but it was clear that of all my siblings my brother was her favorite and I was jealous of this. My parents had my older sister and they wanted a boy but I came out a girl, and I remember paying with my mom that God would bring them the boy they wanted. Our childhood consisted of my brother getting special treatment from my mom and my sister was very shy and timid and would cry about everything so my mom was also really protective of her. I guess I was the child who had no one. My father liked my brother because he wanted a boy, he liked my sister cuz she would surrender to his strict rules and was terrified of him. I was very critical about not surrendering to the nonsense my father put us through and he knew this so he would hit me that much more, and that much harder. I recall him punching me once and laughing and there was nothing I could do about it. Sometimes when he abused me I would let my mom know and she would yell at him, and he would say I was responsible for the conflict in their marriage. It got to a point where my mom started blaming me also. She would say things like "he's mad at me because of you" and "you're just like him you don't know how to maintain peace, you know how he is you shouldn't retaliate" and I felt like I lost her. This past summer I was fed up, I couldn't take it anymore. My body was aching from all of the scars I kept inflicting on it, but I just could not bring myself to stop. It dawned on me that life just wasn't for me. I prayed to die night after night but would always be greeted by the disappointment of life. I spent days in bed, hardly eating or talking to anyone. I only got up when I had work, which made me feel like I wasn't completely out of control, because at least I could keep a job. Then I wanted to be done with that too. I had never considered suicide, but it started to become more and more intriguing. I remember going to the pill aisle at the store and thinking if only I was fearless enough to do it. At that point I went to my mom. In a complete mental breakdown I told her that I didn't think I was going to make it another year, and that I couldn't stop picking and that I wanted to get help. Her response was "what are the doctors going to do, hold your hand?" She also said she'd disown me if I ever went to therapy or got on psych meds because therapy would just label me as "crazy" and the meds would turn me into a "zombie". After my own mom couldn't come to my rescue I felt completely alone. I left their house for college even though I'm in a great deal of financial distress staying there would've made me suicidal. My mom always let it be known that I was supposed to be in the medical field, but I cannot stomach that idea. I get disgusted so easily that I would panic if I was put in such a situation. However I felt this immense need to please her because she would always remind me of her friends' children that were in the health field, so for a long time I was going to school for something that drained me and caused me a lot of distress just so she could be happy. She often refers to me as stubborn and she called me an island cuz I'm never in tune with the rest of the family, but I just can't relate to them, or anyone for that matter. As far as my relationship with my parents I never speak to my father unless completely necessary, and my mom treats me like I'm a child and tries to exert control over my life, but I can't help but love her regardless. I have never received any apology from them. My father does not claim any responsibility for the abuse and truma my siblings and I were subjected to at his hands. If our childhood is brought up he will actually play victim and act like everyone is trying to make him seem like a bad guy. He once told me that I would thank him for the way he raised me and that he gave me "tough love". I hate him completely. I told him I wouldn't attend his funeral when he died and my mom made me apologize. I don't think I can recover from this. I only recently sought treatment with a therapist and they suggested I consult someone about receiving anti-anxiety meds. I can't believe I let it get this far. My mom wouldn't even look at me if I even considered meds. I'd feel like I'm betraying her. It all seems impossible. Now more than ever in my life I am completely isolated, don't have a job, can't maintain any friendships and have no true purpose. It really has ruined my life. Thank you for listening and responding. I really do appreciate it. It finally feels like someone understands. (:
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November 25, 2017

Be weary of denial, it is a trap. The only way to be able to live with the past is to face it. Denial is also a catalyst of repression...and with repression comes all of the neurotic symptoms such as OCD and skin picking. From what you write, I get the sense that your mother was willing to sacrifice the well being of her children just to peacefully live with her husband. She therefore enabled his behavior, didnt protect you in times of need...didnt protect you as much as was needed. Very sad how the sadistic behavior got to the point where your father would punch you and laugh. And ofcourse, its very common for abusers to shift the blame onto the victim. By doing so, they dont have to deal with guilt. Its sick how the blame for a marriage between two grown adults was directed at a child. Incredibly immature and twisted rationalization. You must know that you have a chance at a happy life. What would help you most is to eventually find a loving, caring, and supportive relationship in which you can share yourself and be accepted for who you are. This has personally helped me immensely. I have read on this subject and many individuals who come from abusive backgrounds get much better when they are finally in a safe environment, sharing their life with a person who is accepting and loving of them. When you start to feel loved and accepted, your perceptions gradually start to change. Just because a parent was sadistic and didnt see much worth in you does not mean that everyone else will treat you in a similar manner. But first learn to emotionally protect yourself from predatory individuals who seek out to hurt and to take advantage. You must educate yourself on such dysfunctional types and always be on the lookout for signs. This is important because individuals who grew up abused will naturally attract these sub-types of humans who seek to feed off your insecurity and take advantage of you. Such people exist because they believe that by hurting and demeaning others they will receive a boost to their own ego and feel superior. Its sick but thats the reality and those who have been abused will naturally attract abusers throughout their life. Your family is not supportive of you and they dont even attempt to see you as your own individual with your own preferences. I wish you could build a support network around you so that it will be easier for you to gradually distance from your family. Sometimes no-contact is the best method in these situations. If they are pressuring you to do what you dont want to do, criticizing when you cry out for help, and choosing not to see their own fault in the situation then it will only hurt you more to have to be subjected to that sort of behavior. I have read about many individuals who isolated from their abusive families and who have turned their lives around. At this time you need support from others. Do you have anyone in the extended family with who you are close with? Also it might help you to join PTSD or CPTSD forums. http://www.outofthefog.net/forum/ is a good portal for those who have grown up in abusive families. You will find many like-minded individuals on that forum.
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November 25, 2017

https://www.mentalhelp.net/blogs/toxic-families-who-scapegoat/
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November 25, 2017

https://www.google.com/amp/s/narcabusesurvivoretheseboots.wordpress.com/2015/05/29/outcasts-scapegoats-and-black-sheep-of-the-dysfunctional-family-what-was-your-role/amp/#ampshare=https://narcabusesurvivoretheseboots.wordpress.com/2015/05/29/outcasts-scapegoats-and-black-sheep-of-the-dysfunctional-family-what-was-your-role/
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November 25, 2017

https://lonerwolf.com/identified-patient-black-sheep/
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November 25, 2017

I like this link....... http ://byregion.byregion.net/articles-healers/Scapegoating.html
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November 25, 2017

Thank you for all of your advice and thanks for the links. I'll check them out and see if I can relate. If you need someone to vent to also, I can check back on this forum evey now and again. I'll also try to find links and offer up any advice I think will help aid our situation. It's good to know I'm not alone in dealing with this heavy ordeal. Sometimes that's the only thing that keeps me here.
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November 27, 2017

Yes, there's a lot of comfort in pulling out hair follicles, and I don't want to give it up.
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November 27, 2017

I think we really have to assess what's at stake when we engage in the behavior. The pleasurable feelings only last so long before we find ourselves feeling guilty and helpless to the condition. For me the picking starts from precieved inpefections in my imagination that my skin is filled with crater like scabs that I must get rid of because of how disgusting they are. However when I go to pick and don't find any I will actual dig my skin again and again with my fingersnails so deep that it creates a wound, which then forms into scar tissue so the next time I have the urge to pick the disgusting crater like scab that was once a figment of my imagination is actually there. It's basically a self fulfilling prophecy. I find myslef to be very obsessed with the scabs I do pick out and I examine them again and again and bring them to the light and look at all of the gross textures they're composed of and their discoloration and I get so fixated on them. I find myself engaging in the act for hours a day. If a scab it too big I have to rip it up or tear it into smaller pieces because it's so disgusting. It's hard for me to accept that the scab was a part of my body, which is why I continually look for more and more scabs to remove. I obstruct the healing process my body naturally tries to maintain by picking healing wounds and reopening them again and again. I'm trying to tell myself now that the scabs aren't as horrific as my mind magnifies them to be and that the only way to truly get rid of them completely is to let them undergo the full healing process uninterrupted. I think maybe subconsciously the scabs may represent fear of things I can't control. For example I couldn't control the abuse and trauma I was subjected to in my childhood and now I need a constant outlet to feel functional. I've learned that even more than a sense of control picking has served as a way to distract myself from heavy emotions I do not want to feel. I'm going to challenge myself to accept the scabs as grotesque as my head makes them seem. And I'm also going to challenge myself to let myself feel what I feel in the moment without trying to disengage from what those feelings are. I really hope this will help aid in my path to recovery and maybe you can try it too.
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November 28, 2017

What struck me is when you mentioned that your picking starts when you perceive your skin to have crater like scars when none exist. So you imagine them to be there even when nothing is there? Or in a way you wish that there was something just to have a reason to pick? Are you as fixated on the flat white scars as much as the indented crater scars? If there are no indented scars on your body, you say you start creating them in order to try and create a process where you are eventually excavating these scars? And this process makes you feel as if you are helping your body to get rid of the scars? The overall preoccupation being scar tissue and it's formation?
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November 28, 2017

Oh its scabs, not scars. The only thing that has helped me with the obsessive urge to pick off scabs are hydrocolloid bandaids. Are you currently using them? If not, you need to because they are a lifesaver. The longer you keep them on the better. And the wound doesn't form a scab because the hydrocolloid bandaid functions as the scab, to keep everything moist and healing nicely. I had a big issue with the whole scab cycle, it's horrible and I can understand. Hydrocolloid bandaids is the only thing which helped me quit the endless cycle, so I recommend them to all skin pickers.
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November 29, 2017

Yeah it's like I have an obsession with making sure my skin is perfect and in attempting to do so I ironically end up causing more damage. I would try the bandaids but I primarily pick on my scalp. I haven't picked it in 3 days and I'm trying so hard not to cave. I bought hair growth oil and have been applying it daily. I really hope I can do it this time. I just want to be done with this condition forever.
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November 30, 2017

What do you pick at on your scalp?
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December 02, 2017

Any flakes or dry skin I find...its miserable. After going 4 days without picking I caved today :(
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December 15, 2017

I'm gonna copy/paste this great post I've found on the /r/skinpicking subreddit, because I really think it will help: Why do you skin pick? Skin picking actually releases dopamine. Yup, just like joy or drugs. So no matter how awful you feel afterwards, in the moment itself, your brain is excited. "Yay, we're skinpicking! Dopamine!" You will skin pick more when you're stressed, tired, bored or depressed for two reasons: first of all, your brain is looking for relief. Secondly, in those situations your willpower levels are low, so it's difficult to stop yourself. Willpower is finite. You replenish it by eating slowly digesting foods, by sleeping etc. You deplete it by making decisions. This means that if you get triggered multiple times a day, every time you're losing willpower and you're more likely to fail the next time. (source: research by Baumeister, Kelly McGonical) That's why it's good to put towels over your mirrors or put hydrocolloids over sore spots - you want to avoid the temptation. Now your brain has been executing skinpicking.exe for years. The program has some well-defined steps: craving/trigger, finding a mirror, picking at one spot, ... whatever it is for you. Your nerves and brain are insulated by fat, called a myelin sheath. The thicker the myelin, the faster the impulse travels through the nerves. When you open a door, do you have to figure out first how far to reach with your hand, how to grab the knob, ...? No, most likely you don't think about it. You did it so many times that the pathway is set in your brain and the whole program runs on its own. Same goes for skinpicking. Once started, it flows exactly has it has been flowing forever. This is why it's so difficult to quit just by willpower - skinpicking is a physical pathway in your brain. You will have to rewire it, for example by using some scented hand lotion everytime you get the urge. This way you make a new pathway: restless feeling -> hand cream instead of restless feeling -> skinpick. In the beginning will take lots of time and it could take months before the redirection is stronger than the original skinpicking-pathway. You'll have to figure out where in the pathway you can interrupt (before it starts? between two phases?) and what other pathway gives your brain the same feeling of relief (dopamine). Do you have to know how your brain works to get rid of skinpicking? You could do without... but it can remind you that this is not easy. When you slip, you can just remember that the pathway in your brain has been strengthened over many years. Just be patient and keep trying, until someday that old skinpicking pathway disappears. Relapses happen, go back to training the alternatives. You are still making progress!