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Hello.

New here. Been lurking around a bit though, reading your posts and conversations. Hope that's ok :)

So, as the title says i'm here to challange myself to deal with my obsessive skin picking by not doing it for 100 days. Which is a lot of days and a lot of mirrors to avoid but i guess that now is as good a time as ever, as breaking this vicious circle won't ever get easier.

To keep spirits high i chose to call myself Becky the Brave. it has a nice dungeons and dragons kind of ring to it, don't you think? Well, you can laugh all you want, i don't mind :) . Courage is something i need in abundance at this point, and if that little name on the screen can give me a boost in some way i'm not gonna turn that down.

So what i'm gonna do is write down the rules and basic facts that goes along with this challenge and i'll update this introduction with some more personal details and descriptions of my situation sometime tomorrow.

The Becky-the-Brave Challange to Beat Obsessive Skin Picking

1. From today and for 100 consecutive days i will obstain from picking, scratching, pulling and being violent on my skin. No breaks, no excuses, no nothing.

2. i will update this post like a blog every day, or as close to every day as possible. in my writing i will stay true to myself and my emotions.

3. To lower anxiety levels i will stay clear of caffeine, as in coffee, tea and chocolate.

4. To help me deal with the anxiety i will use Bach remedies, more on those in a later post. Will make and order for Crab Apple tomorrow, which supposedly helps you focus on the present and ease obsession with detail.

5. My skin care routine will be as follows: Nuxe flowery cleanser and toner, Weleda baby face cream by day and Avocado oil and Weleda Skin Food at night. i will use make up. At some point i wish this could lead to me feeling less dependent on make up as a shield and a cover, but i'm letting that be a later issue.

6. i will breathe. by recognizing my breathing i will stay focused and calm down when the urge to pick gets overwhealming.

7. i will try to avoid mirrors as much as possible, and when i have to be near one, like when i wash my face in the bathroom, i will stay at an arms length from it so i won't get "sucked in" or "blur away"

Thank you for reading and thank you for being so inspiring in sharing your personal stories. We're gonna make it, i really think we are.

Good night - need some beauty sleep now

Love

/becky

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Becky!

Loved your post.

I will be excited to read your updates.

I'm trying to do the same thing. I can go for a few days.....then I relapse.

So this is awesome knowing someone else is trying to do it too!

:-)

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Thank you, MsBittersweet and MeganWillNotPick! i know that feeling too well, not being able to go on for more than a couple of days. But join me and we'll kill this moth*rfu*ker once and for all. i mean, people do this - it's not like it's impossible or super complicated. it's just about NOT giving the f*ck up!

i'm sorry about the language, i really am, but get into this football-coach-at-halftime kind of mood and... well, you're probably adults, you can handle it. and you're probably as fierce as i am about kicking it and dealing with this for real. so profanities. yeah.

So 1/2 Day down, 99 1/2 to go right!

i don't have many wisdoms to share except that the whole concept of not being violent upon my own body is sort of expanding beyond picking the skin of my face to include picking and scratching off my finger- and toenails, picking at my chest and obsessively scratching my scalp. it's like - if one's gotta go, they've all gotta go. Which i guess is a good thing, because it would feel counter-productive to keep scratching my nails while struggeling not to scratch my face. Now i'm all about creating a 100% non-violent relationship with my body.

i need to thank Nichibeicafe on YouTube for posting videos about doing a 30-day challange to not pick her skin. She put words on so many things i thought i was the only one experiencing, especially the "sucked into the mirror" thing. Never knew anyone else had that. i'm sure there are lots of inspirational videos online, and i will make sure to post a link if i come across anything of interest.

Now i'm gonna go wash my face for the first time within this regimen. With a concious mind, breathing my way through and just noticing whatever pops up in my head. No guilt, no shame. Just slowly taking care of my skin and then letting go of the mirror and moving on with my day. in peace.

will keep you posted on how the day evolves. i have a feeling there will be lots of posts in the next few days...

goodbye for now. i wish you all the strenght and courage you need.

love

/becky

Edited by Becky the brave

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Hi Becky,

I'm also doing a challenge based on nichibeicafe's videos! I remember telling my mom or my +1 about them and they were like what if it's not true or she started picking again after her challenge? I thought about it and realised that it wouldn't matter! The message was so powerful and the emotions she expressed so real that I wouldn't care.

I'm also working on kicking a whole bunch of habits at the same time. For example, I've been squinting my left eye for like 25 years because I see better with only my right eye. So a few months ago I realised that I had wrinkles around my left eye while I only had very fine lines around my right eye! Still, sometimes I catch myself trying to squint my left eye. Actually, I see well enough with both eyes, it just takes a few minutes for them to adapt and focus. So in reality there is no need to squint...

I remember seeing an avatar like yours, maybe on a different forum? Anyway, just wanted to say that in my experience it's better to keep a few "bad habits" when you start out. I mean, I'm not beating myself up about scratching my back a few times a day. I'm aware that it's "bad" and I stop myself after a few scratches. But it's not like oh my god back to square one.

The problem is that your face is very likely to develop hundreds of clogged pores and whiteheads, so it will become very difficult and depressing. I'm only a week into my own 30-day challenge and my skin is like 80% congested. A week ago, it was 75% clear pores (after regular Clarisonic + extractions)! So try to set attainable goals. Like there is this one video where a girl talks about this book, something like "4 day win". It's about how the first 4 days are the most difficult and you have to reward yourself after the first 4 days. So just be aware that it could happen that after a few days there will be a lot more to pick and you are likely to feel down about it.

Also I wanted to ask you if you could post daily pics? I find this helps enormously! I also plan to to a video where I will blur the pics one into another. This is also a huge motivator for me.

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Thank you for your comments, outofcharacter and northlinks4kylie!

it says this topic has 33 views as of now, which makes me feel like we're all part of this top secret club with a fierce mission, all 33 of us. And ofcourse you too, 34. and 65, if you turn up. and so on. We're in this together, people! Go team!

See, now i'm going all pep talk on you again. less cursing this time though. good thing? dunno, i like my strong words.

Oh and Outofcharacter, to answer your question, i do not feel comfortable posting pictures of myself right now. maybe in the future...

Anyway. i wanted to give you a bit of an update on how the day's been so far. it's almost been a whole day since i started, which is awesome and scary at the same time. i was making a count-down list in my calender earlier today and i realised just how many days 100 days are. Loads! i'll be hanging around here doing my thing until sometime in the middle of September. i'm not even sure where i'll be living in September. but none the less, i now have plans to celebrate myself in september. so wherever i am i'll give you the most awesome post. Cool.

Now, on to updating. i've had the day off which means i've been having an L Word marathon and not much more. in between episodes i wrote a lot, like 5 pages of just going through emotional stuff, clearing things out of my head. i will not share all of it with you, but here are parts of it, the parts i thought mattered the most.

Warning! its personal stuff. too intense maybe? i'll see for how long parts of it will stay on here.

________________________________________________________________________________

_

"It really started when i began realising i was a lesbian. Or, queer. Non-heterosexual. It was in the spring of 2007 when i’d been living away from my family for quite some time. I had this very intense crush on a boy in my hallway – i really believed that if i could make him love me everything would just fall into place and i would be a good straight girl and stop hating myself so much.

Oh the things i did... They seem embarassing now, but i mean, i was 19, i was young. I had no clue. Anyway, he had just ended a very serious committed relationship of several years and i was just uttery confused and shaken by having all these conflicting emotions of love and hate and lust that i really couldn’t control.

So i dealt with it in two ways: i started picking at my skin and my body in general in a more obsessive and agressive way than i had before, and i started exploring online sex chatrooms. I was just so physically confused. I couldn’t reason with it, so i let it all out on myself.

The sex chatrooms thing faded away after a while, the idea just got less sexy and more tiring. But the addiction to go to the mirror late at night and just sink into this world of my own while i picked at the pimples i thought i had….that addiction just grew stronger and stronger. In a way i think it was a way to keep myself from having sex with a woman.

I made up this routine of what i needed to do before i could sleep and what i needed to do to make myself presentable before i left my room to have breakfast, so it just seemed absurd to even think about staying the night with someone. Even the idea of kissing put me off, beacuse i’d have someone so very close upon my skin."

"I know this is going to be fucking difficult, and i know there might be times when i want to give up. It’s not easy, and recognising that it’s hard might be the only way to actually get through it. Becuse that idea that â€you just have to stop†or â€just don’t do it†is very deceitful to me. I know, i’ve heard it so many times now it’s just like mantras of failure. When someone presents an easy way out or an easy solution, if it doesn’t work out to be that easy for me the circle just narrows downwards and turns into guilt and stress over not making it. Wich makes me crave that calm aftermath more. Which makes me wound myself.

About hope. My hope right now is that i’ve actually made progress since 2007. When i was at my worst i would do my face, chest, back, nails on my fingers and toes, scalp and my calfs – where i would squeeze out ingrown hairs after having a waxing."

"For the longest time i thought this had something to do with being pretty. Or not wanting to be pretty. My mother’s words, really. She’s taking all this very personally in a way that makes me feel very uncomfortable with my own body. She cannot get her head around the fact that this is about something beyond being pretty. Her words about â€why are you ruining yourself like this†or â€why don’t you want to be pretty†or â€why can’t you just stop? Is this something you WANT to do? Because it sure seems like it, the way you’re just going on and on without stoppingâ€

________________________________________________________________________________

That's a lot of words. Plenty more where that came from :)

Thank you so much for reading and being part of this. We're doin this!

Yeah!

Now i'm gonna get ready for bed with my chamomille tea and get a proper good night's sleep, which is not something i can say about those poor 3 hours i managed to get last night....

Best wishes

/Becky

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Yay for Becky the Brave! Very inspiring postings! I'm dealing with a very severe skin-picking episode currently that I just blogged about (see new posting in this forum). As I sit here waiting and waiting and waiting for my skin to heal, I've also been thinking about seeing how long I can go without picking.

I almost wonder, since picking is such an addiction, if going about the problem in a manner similar to Alcoholics Anonymous would be a good idea. With AA, the mantra is that "If you don't take the first drink, you can't get drunk." A similar society for skin pickers might say "If you don't squeeze the first time, you can't maul and scab and scar your face." AA also takes things one day at a time: the goal isn't to stop completely, but to stop for today. Just some food for thought.

Incidentally, as a gay man I am fascinated by your linkage of your skin-picking to your self-revelation of being a lesbian. My skin-picking also began shortly after I came out as gay, and much of it had to do with the shame of being less attractive than all the Adonis-like gay men around me that could pick up guys like nobody's business. Our culture saturates us in so many stupid stereotypes that I felt -- and still sort of feel -- like I have no business being gay and proud if I have the acne problem I do. Perhaps you experienced something similar? Or even if not, nice to find someone else for whom issues of skin-picking and sexuality are closely related.

Eric

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Eric S, it's really cool to hear that your problem might have started the same way. i'm just gonna let you in on my thoughts about this a bit more. One of my major hobbies is to over-analyze stuff. i could be an olympic over-analyzer...

i kind of just wanted to reverse my sexuality. i think that when i started feeling all these wonderful things, like lust and desire, they scared me shitless and made me turn against my own body. on one hand i wanted nothing more than to just be one of those free spirited, fun loving people who just "go with the flow" and have fun with their sexuality - but i couldn't. the self hatred was too strong.

in one way i'm linking picking to masturbation, you know, it's pretty much the same concept of touching yourself very intensly to get to a state of "bliss" afterwards. i've even thought about the "popping", extracting, of the stuff in the pimples as a metaphor for ejaculation, and that somehow picking in this trance-like way becomes a way to create a relationship to ones body.

also, the process of seeing myself as a sexual subject was not an easy one for me. for the longest time i was just completley grossed out by my own sexuality. i hated it. i didn't want to feel all those things. i felt disgusted by my own desires, and for that i blame mainstream socitey and heteronormativity. i mean, it's really no surprise that gay teens have these problems of self hatred and denial, when what you learn is that basically if you act on your desires someone might kill you, or at least think you're disgusting for hitting on them by accident.

so my simple conclusion is that to keep myself from acting on my desires i created this ritual of picking, partly to calm down and deal with anxiety, partly to have som sort of relationship with my body.

see, over analyzer. :)

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Halfway through day 2

i just tried to make an excuse to pull off some dead skin around my fingernail. And earlier i found my fingers running across my face searching for scabs to pick. But i caught myself doing it, and just put my hands down. Took a deep breath, and went on with my life.

Huge deal!! i've always been so obsessed when i've stepped back, that the thought of pulling that piece of skin has made it impossible for me to do anything else until i surrender, do it, feel bad - and THEN get on with what i was supposed to do.

So is obsessing like that a way for me to take a break from something that's too intense, dull, or stressful? Because i have this pattern of not taking my own signals very seriously, denying myself to, for example, take a break during my dull work. instead i keep on working until distractions, like my fingernails, become overwhealming. And then i feel bad. Silly me.

Lesson learned: take breaks. Breathe properly.

thank you for being around, whoever you are :)

Love

Becky

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Just hang in there. Picking will not be either of our lives forever. That you're already showing such self-reflectiveness right now is a testament to your courage and your dedication.

Fascinating thoughts vis-a-vis the sexuality question too. I'm a classic overthinker too. :)

Halfway through day 2

i just tried to make an excuse to pull off some dead skin around my fingernail. And earlier i found my fingers running across my face searching for scabs to pick. But i caught myself doing it, and just put my hands down. Took a deep breath, and went on with my life.

Huge deal!! i've always been so obsessed when i've stepped back, that the thought of pulling that piece of skin has made it impossible for me to do anything else until i surrender, do it, feel bad - and THEN get on with what i was supposed to do.

So is obsessing like that a way for me to take a break from something that's too intense, dull, or stressful? Because i have this pattern of not taking my own signals very seriously, denying myself to, for example, take a break during my dull work. instead i keep on working until distractions, like my fingernails, become overwhealming. And then i feel bad. Silly me.

Lesson learned: take breaks. Breathe properly.

thank you for being around, whoever you are :)

Love

Becky

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2 days down, ninetyeight to go...

had major anxiety attack. pulled two flakes of dead skin off of healing scabs and popped one pimple. stopped right there. cleaned it, disinfected and stayed the fuck away. proud to have managed to stop it. and it doesn't look very bad, so i'm not super disappointed.

which is a deceitful way of looking at it, because if i'm not really disappointed and think that it's not so bad after all, chances are i'll do it again. but i'm aware. i'm breathing. i'm doing it. compared to my former regular nights this is huge improvement, and i think i'm doing an awesome job.

feel a bit fed up with myself after all this thinking about feelings and life and whatnot. bleh. i just feel like doing super-superficial stuff and not bother analyzing anything at all. like watching Buffy. or go shopping.

you cannot believe how much i look forward to being able to put on makeup just to feel cute, and not to cover up my skin. since my major acne/picking area has been my cheeks i've been very hesitant to wear blusher, sp blusher is kind of my holy grail of having clear skin.

YES! i've got it! When i finish the 100 days i'm treating myself to a trip to the MAC-counter and get myself a really nice new blusher. There, i've said it - it's on the internet, so now it's true and has to happen :)

as far as skin goes i have two small pimples/whiteheads growing - one below my nose, one on my jaw. they don't bother me very much, i don't feel that obsessive urge to pick at them. i'm gonna keep it that way tomorrow as well.

And i'm really proud to say i haven't picked at my nails, fingers or toes, for two days either. feel like i need to get some new black nailpolish to celebrate that they look quite decent. the one from h&m that i useually get is called "manhunter", funnily enough. i love black nailpolish, makes me feel way cool.

well, good night boys, girls and everybody else

love

/becky

Edited by Becky the brave

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3 days down, 97 to go

or Why am i breaking out if i'm not doing anything to upset my skin?

Well, hello period.

Long time no see.

You come bearing gifts? Naaah, i'm not sure i'd call a bunch of pimples "gifts", but that's just me.

so far today i've been at my new super-fancy job for the first time. it's awesome. i get to see concerts and get paid. best job ever.

downside: period. which in my life comes with a couple of heart-warming surprises

1) excrutiating pain, 2) drowsyness and tendency to fall asleep at inaproperiate times as an effect of painkillers fit for a T-Rex, 3) about 100 tiny pimples all over my face. not visible, just perfectly annoying in their bumpyness. it's a word. 4) Hunger. Hunger. Hunger. want food now.

happy days.

so in between keeping myself together physically and trying not to eat everything in sight i've been touching my face a lot, "checking" my skin. i picked at one, the same one i picked at yesterday. to be perfectly honest i don't have the urge to pick at the tiny whiteheads, no no, it's the half-healed, scabing ones i want to pick at. the ones that really hurt, where i feel this kind of hardness underneath the healing skin - like i tried popping it but there's still some white stuff "down there" that i "need" to get out. the rush of picking at the ones that really hurt is so much bigger, and the after-effect thus more powerful.

it's so gross, i can't believe i'm telling you. i'm disgusting. please forgive me.

going off to bed now, in all my grossness. i swear i will never touch a scab again. gross gross gross.

bye babes

love

/becky

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One down, 99 to go.

As you might have gathered from my absence there has been some serius falls off the waggon. I had a really bad anxiety attack a few days ago which made me pick at everything that had nearly healed until it was even worse than when i started a week ago.

yay.

so now i'm back on square one. Hopefully not again, though.

The scary part of relapsing was that i was so concious of what i was doing an all the time i was thinkng "i can stop this any second, but i choose not to" So it's bad. and i've been under some bad stress that i haven't really taken seriously, basically i've just been beating myself up for being lazy and messy, when in fact i've been so extremley tired and exhausted from what life has handed me the past days.

weekends are always tough, i feel i get caught in between. but it's monday, i'm back at work, i feel empowered and trust myself to take care of this and not fall back into old patterns.

tonight i've decided to go to the gym and maybe clean my room a bit to make it more harmonius. working out is a great relief of stress for me, so that'll hopefully make me feel a bit better about myself.

on the BRIGHT side: i experimented with two new creams for my face last night, and they've really helped calm my skin down over night. One is a very mild BP, 1,5%, and the other is a cream that i was recommended by my tattoo artist to heal my tattoo. i thought it might help healing the scabs, and it seems to be working.

so i'm hanging in there, trying to feel positive and cover up with lots of makeup.

talk to ya'll soon

/becky

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Quick update

I'm no longer keeping track of days, so i'm not sure what day i'm on anymore.

But I'm doing quite ok.

I've done some minor picking at blackheads, but managed to quit before anything bad happened. my new bp cream together with my tattoo-healing cream are working wonders on my scars, so there's basically just healing redmarks now. no bumps or whiteheads anywhere.

feels good.

that's all for now. i'm thinking about posting a couple of pics soon... we'll see about that

love

/becky

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