Signs of a healthier relationship with my skin


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July 31, 2018

I think you might be able to soon break the picking cycle for good. This sounds very good, as if you are healing from within. I believe that the compulsion is lessening it's grip on you. That is why you are able to be more carefree. I know exactly what you mean. Its wholeheartedly the best feeling ever and anyone with OCD or any other compulsion will understand. I enjoy reading your insightful perspectives. Do you believe that getting in touch with yourself allowed you to curb the habit over time? Because I noticed that the more insightful I am about this habit, the better I do. In the beginning it was difficult, but if you persevere and keep a skin care ritual that works for you along with an inner dialogue that works for you, then you just heal as a whole. It almost feels as if everything "clicks" together and makes sense. What do you think, is that how you might describe the process of getting better? It's like I get these calm "aha" moments. I'm just so excited to hear you doing well...I wish there were more positive experiences in successfully battling this disorder. Every time I read an uplifting positive post it makes me more determined to beat this.
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July 31, 2018

Thank you so much serene! You’re very encouraging and it makes me so happy to hear that you feel more determined to beat this. I wholeheartedly believe you can. Let me try to answer your questions! So I’m am a person who struggles with anxiety as a whole. I don’t know if I would have seen this struggle in myself as clearly if it didn’t manifest in picking. In fact I may have been in denial that there was anything faulty with my way of thinking without the picking. So in a way the picking is a saving grace pointing me towards a much bigger issue. I also fully admit that I am vain. This is something else I dont want to be, but feel I would not have had to face without the picking destroying what I valued so much. I am NOT saying every picker has these issues but I guess I can only speak for myself and my point is that I had to realize the picking was a symptom of some deeper heart issues. Thoughts and ideals inside me that weren’t correct. So here’s where I am totally honest because this is how I’ve gotten better but I’m sure slightly controversial....lol...I believe in God and realized that the Bible has some pretty clear directions for how to change your thought processes so I decided to follow them like a manual. I honestly know for me that has made the difference. The steps I have taken I can’t take credit for because they come from what I have learned from the Bible. But basically these verses changed my life when I finally slowed down enough to not just read them like a pretty poem but as instructions::::::“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” ‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:6-8‬. So my steps are to stop, recognize my anxiety as something it says not to ruminate in, use that anxiety that wants to destroy me as a motivator and reminder to pray, literally give those thoughts to God like you would to a friend or on this site. Picture yourself handing it to him to take like a huge load. Praying as many times as you need each time those thoughts come back. I’m telling you that peace that surpasses understanding is a real thing and it’s amazing :) the second part of those verses is more like instructions on what to let into your brain to help protect you from anxiety in the first place. Funny how I learned things that were not good yet unrelated to picking can equate to an unhealthy thought life that...boom...manifests in picking and other destructive behaviors. The difference I feel between my faith applied to these verses and just simply meditating or even looking to a “higher power” is that my God is a God who picks you up and carries you through things despite who you are or what you have done or are even doing. All I need to do is pray and have faith and He takes it from there. It’s not like I need to do certain things to be good or practice meditating correctly etc. Its an untouchable peace when it doesn’t depend on our own ability to maintain it :) And the reality is because no one is perfect and this is a struggle of mine. The thoughts and desire to pick do come back but instead of anxiously trying to combat my anxiety and feeding the cycle of fix fix fix which let’s face it, sometimes gives instant gratification, but never lasting healing, I have this peace that I know what to do and that I can pray again and again and again. It’s helps a spinning mind to have faith there actually is something that you can count on to be consistent and it doesn’t depend on yourself!
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July 31, 2018

I am intrigued by the power of faith and meditative prayer. I believe that faith can be used to heal and change people in dramatic ways. My husband would relate to what you are telling me, as he tends to use faith to lower his anxiety and it has been miraculous at times to watch him use faith to exceed in life and get through obstacles. I applaud and respect that approach, but I also believe you have to have some sort of ability to "tap into it" so to speak. When I was much younger I would pray in desperation. I struggled with extreme OCD , severe depression and anxiety to the point of suicidal thoughts starting in 4th grade. Over the years my OCD and obsessions have morphed. Yet I find myself not relying on faith anymore because it has become difficult for me to get into that zone, that mindset of belief. Sad to say, but I think the constant struggles have beat me down and created a depressive realist out of me. For example, when you talk about being vain, right away I think that you might be struggling with body dysmorphia. Did you know that skin picking is a very common side effect of body dysmorphic disorder? So when I read you calling yourself vain, it in a way makes my heart hurt. Because if all skin pickers called themselves vain, wouldn't that possible spur us to pick even more as a form of self punishment? In a way I have experienced some issues with the Christian (I was raised in a Baptist family) belief system as it partakes to other personal challenges. For example, I have heard pastors stating that shyness is a form of pride. This comment upsets and confuses me. For example, I have a birthmark on half of my face. I have always been shy about it because it's quite big and looks like a brown bruise. If I go out without makeup, I often get a reaction, not always verbal. Sometimes people have a hard time looking at my face because they don't want to stare, or they burn holes in my eyes trying to not be distracted by the defect. Others will do the opposite and stare silently, which always makes me somewhat uncomfortable. Others change their demeanor towards me when they see it, becoming standoffish or even inquiring if I'm sick or if something happened. Probably half of them think I am being abused. So you see...in order to avoid such uncomfortable social encounters I am forced to wear makeup. With makeup I am treated normally. Does it make me vain and proud? The pastors would most likely say I'm too proud. I tend to lean towards a more rational point of view...that it is better for me to conceal the defect than to have to deal with unnecessary questions & unnecessary social discomfort from both others and myself. So in some ways I have become confused and let down by the Christian teachings. Also, when I think of skin picking, I don't view it as vanity, I see it as self hatred and possibly a way to take out self blame & guilt upon our skin.
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July 31, 2018

Wow serene! My heart goes out to you and the hurt you have experienced due to not only ocd and anxiety but the church and specifically confusing messages from a pastor. I think although we may have grown up learning about the same God we may have different understandings of Him. I have heard of similar stories of people who struggle with their faith due to the belief system or a church or pastor. I have myself felt hurt or confused or guilty by someone else’s interpretation of what the Bible means regarding something personal to me. What I have never been let down by is God himself. Sometimes it feels like you have to put on tunnel vision to hear from Him over the noise of those who think they’re hearing from Him for you;) if that makes any sense?! I am heart broken for all you have suffered! Also I am sorry I really did not mean to link skin picking to vanity as a rule! I just know it’s link for myself. I understand what you are saying about body dysmorphia but I know for me it’s pure vanity. We all have our things and that’s mine. But don’t worry I am totally okay and not beating myself up over it. Not does it make me want to punish myself and pick more...we live in a world that is so much about self-love that I know me calling myself vain sounds like I may be too hard in myself. BUT I feel like I can have a healthy loving view of myself and still see this weakness of mine. There is such a difference between the conviction and freedom that came from this realization than the feelings of guilt one may asssume would come. My mom always told me guilt is not from God. So true. This was an “a-ha” moment. I don’t feel it is at all vain to wear makeup or to cover a birth mark etc! The conviction I felt was when I got real with myself and admitted that I didn’t want to just be a pretty girl I wanted to be the prettiest, that I defined myself by turning heads and getting attention and having power in that. Ooooh that’s hard to even type but that’s what was in my heart and that obsession I believe is what keeps me in the cycle along with anxiety. Again I understand where you are coming from with faith and I would love to answer any questions you have specifically. I was raised in a house divided with one parent a Christian and one not and I feel fortunate that I got to see and make a clear choice for myself as oppose to those who feel they may have been forced into it at a young age and didnt get to see opposing points. I have grown to dislike using the word Christian at times becaue of all the “Christians” over the years that have tainted the word! I do hope and pray you will find a freedom from the different areas of anxiety and ocd you have struggled with for so long!! One that you feel safe in! I know how hard it is to feel like you are doing well but your one slip up from falling off again!