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polkadots , 14 Nov 2009

puzzles and altered lights

Hi everyone, Just wanted to pass along some possible suggestions for on-going behavioral modification for this. Like many of you, I don't want to take medication for this--even though I have taken one that worked a miracle--because of hoping to have more children and their safety in utero. While I am convinced that this disorder has to do with imbalances, hormones, or other problems in the brain, or pyschiatric disorders caused by environmental factors such as being abused as a child, and is aggravated by many of the things we eat and chemicals that they put in foods these days, I think there has to be some way to deal with those everyday compulsions/feelings. Unless somone out there can do some really SOLID research, we could bat around all the possibilities and reasons we do this all day long. And, just sitting on your hands, or putting on special nails, etc., isn't going to address the underlying compulsions/feelings that are still going to be there, such that when you ultimately start picking, you will end up looking like ground beef instead of just having measles. So, I'm trying to find similar acitivities that most closely mimic what I'm feeling as I pick, and especially afterwards. Clearly, I don't want to completely mimic the pain and blood. So far, the best idea I've found is puzzles. Yes, this probably sounds crazy, but it has a lot of similarities. The looking, searching involved, the frustrations (similar to not being able to get it all out), the "joy" from making a piece fit (similar to getting it all out), and especially the endless hours at a time that are spent at this activity, even though you are sick and tired of it, but just can't stop, to the point that you are exhausted and in a certain level of pain. In many ways, I hate doing puzzles, just like I hate the picking, but it can still be quite addictive. The other idea combined with this is to alter the lights where you primarily pick. Don't go completely dark, but have light that won't reveal the detailed marks on your face. I have a closet off of my bathroom that works well. Of course, this requires you to actually remember to adjust the lights. And, both ideas require will power and determination. Have I quit picking? No. I think this is an ongoing process. Long ago (32 years old and started picking when I became a teenager), I realized that there was never going to be a night and day, magical cure for this. Some days are just going to suck. But, we just have to get back on our feet and try, try again. I can lament about my past and even my present, and detail everything that's ever gone wrong, but that's not going to change the fact that today I am faced with this compulsion and tomorrow will be more of the same. Peace, Polkadots
3 Answers
November 19, 2009
Thanks for your words and ideas, they are very helpful, encouraging and uplifting. I am finding alot of comfort in all these posts since finding this site 2 days ago and being able to talk about this for the first time. Like many I thought it was just me, never really met another picker that I was aware of. I actually like puzzles and the process of putting the puzzle together does have a similarity to the picking, it was such an accurate comparison. My husband of course hates my picking and in the past we enjoyed doing puzzles together, so I thought. But, after a few really big puzzles he admitted to me that the way I do them, with the intense searching, trying to insert a piece, discarding them in a pile, well, he just hates it. It really bugs him and gets on his nerves, so I no longer did a puzzle with him ever again. He is Bipolar though so it's not all me, ha,ha. I can do a puzzle by myself though.
November 24, 2009

In reply to by Kali

That's pretty funny about your husband. Yeah, the puzzle idea has kind of gotten buried--literally. My most recent one is under a bunch of other stuff. (I also have big clutter issues) Anyway, it's still helpful to keep thinking of ideas because it keeps me focused on quitting for good, someday, hopefully. It's easy to just give up and get in that rut again. But, as my daughter gets older, she's going to start asking.....and I just don't want to have to have that conversation. Anyway, came up with another idea, but haven't tried it because it would involved buying something. But, wood carving would totally get a similar feeling I think. Ironically enough, I hate accidently cutting my fingers and that would be a very big possibility with that. Oh well, thanks for responding, and I hope you find something that helps you.
November 24, 2009

In reply to by polkadots

I know what you mean about the clutter, right now there is not a clean surface large enough to even do a puzzle right now! LOL. Your original post got me thinking though of other ideas, my husband once told me to put paint in a bucket and let it dry (his Dad was a painting contractor) and then pick or peel it. He was being rather sarcastic at the time due to his frustration about this. I never have done this and it might seem like too much work but you could just pour some paint into an old aluminum pan or shallow, plastic dishpan. Also popping the bubbles in Bubble wrap, I am always ordering things online and usually recycle the bubble wrap but may start keeping it for myself. I don't think I'd be much of wood carver in the sense of actually creating anything nice but Whittling a stick would work too. So far we have Puzzles, Wood Carving/Whittling, Bubble Wrap Popping and Paint Peeling. Please add to the ideas everyone, thanks.

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