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I think I might be finally improving. I have been on this site for around 2-3 years
(struggled with skin picking for 15 years) and have documented my struggle with skin picking, but I believe that finally I am seeing improvements. This I know because I have overcome other similar chronic behaviors such as nail biting and various types of OCD. I am noticing that when I see a pimple it doesn't bother me as much, and the impulse isn't there as it was before. I can leave a pimple for a day or two, until its the right, normal time to pop it. It doesn't preoccupy my mind as it used to. I have realized this current state gradually came on without me noticing it until I finally realized how I didnt care about a few pimples on my face. I must say that what I am noticing is that I have begun to dissociate throughout the day instead of when I am just picking. I think I used the behavior of picking as a way to zone myself out and to keep my anxious thoughts at bay. By focusing on the skin and the process of extracting I was able to "escape" a current troublesome mind state. And I guess the guilt of damaging the self also aided in replacing the deeper issues beneath the surface. So what I am noticing now is that I tend to zone out and dissociate throughout the day, when talking on the phone, when reading, when watching a movie, etc. This could be a new arising problem but I feel at peace knowing that I dont have constant urges to tear up my face. I would rather have a mild dissociate disorder than skin picking. The only downside is that it is becoming a bit more difficult to concentrate and I have the dissociate phases at random times (sometimes even when talking to people face to face). There are also what seem to be micro amnesias when im feeling anxious. Its nearly impossible to concentrate on the phone when the other person is talking and I get easily bored. Maybe something along the lines of ADD or ADHD? I dont know much about those conditions but it could be a possibility. Overall I knew that if I overcome this disorder it will most likely be replaced by something else. I believe that my mind has adapted to dissociating without the crutch of having to have a repetitive body focused behavior. The nail biting and skin picking were probably there for the majority of my life as aids to tip me into a dissociate state. Now my mind can do it on its on whim, whether if Im bored, anxious, etc. Yet I think another possible reason for the improvement has to do with my ability to defend myself from others. At 30 years of age I am finally able to assert my boundaries and to eliminate negative people from my life. I believe that this was a large component of my trauma growing up. I struggled with weak boundaries due to a unhealthy family dynamic which led to unhealthy friendships and relationships. So now I dont have any problems sending people on their way and cutting them out of my life. This has improved my self esteem and my assertiveness. I feel more in control of my life and in control of how I should be treated. To put it simply, I feel good cutting suspicious people out of my life, particularly knowing that I dont even owe them an explanation for doing so. Overall I am a bit intrigued by these current dissociate stages ive experienced lately, not sure as to how I should process it all. Maybe its just a temporary stage as I am leaving behind an adaptive behavior of skin picking which lasted for 15 years. Those are just the two theories for my overall improvement. Either my mind learned to dissociate on its own and doesnt feel that the skin picking behavior is of much need anymore - or I am learning my boundaries and asserting myself and that has led to me having more control of my actions. OR quite possible a combination of those two? A bit of a rambling post but just a few interesting observations.