I have come to the realisation that I can actually stop picking...it sounds obvious I know. Any previous futile attempts were merely wishful thinking, as a way to just convince myself that I was trying not to pick, and I think the reason I failed every time was because although I hoped I could stop picking, I didn't actually believe it. Now I know that I'm not cured...but I feel like there should be a 'yet' at the end of that statement.
The thing is I know that picking is quite a deep psychological compulsion, and that I've got a lot of emotional issues that make me pick i.e. I'm an impatient, perfectionist, control freak who is probably genetically predisposed to picking. However, picking for me is also a cycle...it's a bit like wash, rinse, repeat where I rip my face to shreds, become really ashamed/ depressed whilst it's healing, then promise myself I won't do it again until something crops up on my skin that I eventually end up picking.
There's also the routine of it - I usually do it during the week so it's cleared by the weekend, either at work/ home in certain mirrors. I feel like the mirror is my downfall and skimming my hands over my skin is the nail in the coffin, although I may not be able to easily overcome the emotions associated with picking that drive the compulsion, there is also the habitual nature of picking that I feel like I'm starting to break.
I know that something as simple as an elastic band doesn't seem enough to break the habit, but to my surprise it's actually working. Every time I feel the urge to look in the mirror or touch my skin, I snap the band - the bigger the urge the harder I snap it. It's working 80% of the time but for the other 20% when I can't help myself I snap it a lot after I've done it to attach the negative connotation to the behaviour.
It will be a lot harder if my skin starts breaking out more, but the fact I have a few closed comedones that I'd usually have picked by now makes me feel like I can handle it. My anxiety has also decreased quite significantly and I think it's because I have a coping mechanism - before I had all this anxiety that had nowhere to go but now I have somewhere to put it without picking.
It's also been interesting to see what my body does with my spots...even though I'm convinced I know my skin, the 2in1 comedone hasn't behaved how I expected so far, in fact one of the pores became a bit harder and pointed last night and this morning it was close enough to the surface of the skin that I tweezed it out without any inflammation or even using my hands so the other clogged pore hasn't been affected. Technically this is picking, but the fact I didn't use my hands is a big thing for me.
So I'm feeling determined even if my wrist is red raw!