Hey, guys. Not sure if anyone has tried this yet - I’m about to embark on it for a few weeks to see how things go…
I visited a private therapy clinic yesterday and the lovely counsellor told me that conditions such as Derma and Trich occur and continue to occur because of feelings of a loss of control, whether that’s self-control or control of certain aspects of your life such as work.
He suggested that during the day we give ourselves specific windows to pick or pull for a set amount of time, gradually reducing that time after a while and thus returning a sense of control to our lives. Eventually, he said, it could be eliminated entirely. He mentioned that by allowing yourself to continue picking but having to resist for some time beforehand if the urge appears could be the starting point for recovery.
What do you think? I’ll let you know how it goes.
Wow OK I’m suddenly really hype about this because I’ve never thought of it before! Has anyone else tried this? I think it’s actually kind of genius because I think many of us experience a sense of accumulating urges when we are able to go for awhile without picking/pulling/biting, etc. This inevitably results in some extent of a relapse and the frustration is intense, because we feel that sometimes we are able to control it but it’s just a matter of time before suddenly we can’t. This “planning” strategy would 1) eliminate the built-up urges and resulting relapse/session 2) give a sense of control, which, I 100% agree is a lot of what BFRBs are about. Sometimes it feels like an addiction that just takes over. But in reality our fingers are doing exactly what they want to be doing in that moment. With derma, we feel for a moment that we are in total control of the surface of our skin, and that we can eliminate any “imperfections” we like. So yes, the chemical, almost biological release we get from the behavior and the incredibly strong urges are similar to an addiction, but there is something to be said for this ability to manipulate that we crave. We take it out on our own body because it’s available and it’s harmless for everyone else. When these behaviors are compared to OCD and even eating disorders, the thing that strikes me is the way such disorders emerge as coping mechanisms, and are described as an attempt to “get a grip” when it feels like there’s nothing to hold on to.
I am really into this and will definitely be trying it. I also love the idea of reducing the window allowed for the behavior. I may try setting a timer, knowing that when it goes off I have to drop my hands regardless. The time allowed could be reduced gradually and I think this could be really effective for significantly reducing wasted time and bodily damage. Thank you so much for sharing this with us!
Today I’m feeling oddly confident in terms of my picking. I look at what I’ve been picking at for so long and see now healing instead of destruction. I see scar tissue instead of raw flesh. I’m seeing hope instead of struggle.
What an amazing feeling.
So there are loads of things I have tried to stop picking. These are things I have had the most success with. They are probably a little unconventional, but maybe it will give you an idea. These are things to help me, so if you have ideas please let me know and I might compile a list of things everybody does to help the whole community.
1. Stay away from caffeine or loads of sugar. Getting a sugar high isn’t going to help your anxiety, its just going to make you more anxious and more likely to pick. If you love your coffee/tea (like normal human ) then just try to cut it down, switch to decaf, halve the strength ect.
2. Sewing. When I feel the urge to pick and I don’t feel like going outside or dealing with people I pick a needle and thread up. I have a number of diy projects up, but even if you just do the action I find it helps. Other similar options include knitting, crochet or cross stitch.
3. Go for a walk/run. If I feel kind of stressed out, I go for a long walk with my dog. It gets rid of the pent up energy and releases endorphins which make you happier after.
4. Do a facial mask. It doesn’t matter if its a ten minute or a forty minute mask but I find it helps to stop me pick, because there is a barrier on my skin. I never do the mask in front of a mirror, because then I get tempted to pick at my skin.
5. Fidgets. There are a number of fidgets you can get from the tangle to silly putty. if you don’t have one at hand I would suggest making one, or using objects like stress balls, bottle caps, glue tac or bubble wrap as cheep alternatives.
6. Keep nails short. I am not a fan of acrylic nails as they do more harm than good to your nails (they strip moisture, can cause brittleness, and increase the likelihood of nail infections if not done right). Keep them short and then use the fake nails on special occasions. Also I hate typing with them.
6. Draw/paint. I have found for many years that art can be a fantastic way to release stress and anxiety. You don’t have to be good, in fact even if you just splash paint over the canvas it doesn’t matter, its about keeping the hands busy and the mind occupied.
7. Write out your feelings. I do this on a computer (via this webpage) but writing out your feelings, be it in a journal entry, poetry or prose it can not only keep your fingers busy, but your mind too. Also it can be helpful to others who might feel/have felt something similar to you.
8. Hang out with friends. Social anxiety aside here, hanging with friends has helped “in the moment” urges, as I wouldn’t pick in front of a friend. An alternative is to go get food outside of home in a public place. (or take the laptop to a cafe) you’re less likely to pick in public so staying in public will reduce the picking (at least for me).
9. Putting barriers up between mirrors. Lets face it, we need mirrors to do things like makeup or just checking ourselves out. Some people put motivational posters up, but I put barriers up. This is like putting the set of drawers in front of the mirror in my room, or a shelf/sink in front of the one in the bathroom. I cant get close to inspect the face in detail.
10. Talk to somebody. This is one of the most important ones. Talk to a stranger on the Internet, your best friend, your parents or your partner. Talk to the cat or the dog or your fish. They don’t have to give you advice back, they just have to be there to listen.
So I was thinking about how diaryofaskinpicker and I both like the game 2048, and I realized that, through all my forays into knitting and fidgets and meditations, the only thing that’s actually come close to the satisfaction I get from picking is playing 2048. It’s such a simple activity,…
Yes, it’s true. Time seems to fly by. I tend to play very quickly too. And I agree that it does make me stop picking, or think about picking.
Emotional numbness is where we experience mild to severe feelings of detachment – so it’s hard for us to access normal feelings any more. This includes both negative and positive emotions as you can’t decide to shut just one feeling off. Common causes of emotional numbness include different…
New blog! Have you ever wondered what the DSM-5 really says about trichotillomania? Do the editors really understand the disorder? Here’s a look at what the DSM-5 has to say about trich. Let us know what you think!
Hi there. Thanks for writing. I totally understand what you mean, I’ve been picking for a long time too, and have recently been able to decrease my picking dramatically. It’s not a huge problem for me anymore at least, so it’s manageable.
I think that’s where you are too. So you’re thinking of how to heal your skin. In my case, my skin just sort of healed itself. But I think it depends on the level of damage done. Are there really deep scars? Are there mostly those annoying brown spots of old picking spots. They’re sort of like grave markers for previous spots where you picked. Here lies a long-gone picking spot.
I think the truth is that it’s difficult to control how and when your skin repairs itself. You can try certain things like lotion or oils, or OTC products to heal with healing or reduce scars. But I don’t think they work much. I think your own healing works best. I think it can help to use moisturizers, loofahs, or other exfoliating products thought, on a regular basis. I know there are laser treatments that can help with scars, but I honestly don’t know much about them. Too many questions about laser treatment, I guess.
Anyway, I think the best thing is to love our skin no matter what. I mean I know it sucks to have scars and spots everywhere, but it’s also important to accept yourself as you are. That’s why I really believe in self-care and self-love. You have to be comfortable in your own skin, so they say. Scars are our battle wounds, that kind of stuff.
Okay, hope this helps. Take care!
We tend to focus on looking for love, hoping for love, and waiting for love. Yet if we look to others to meet that basic need then we’ll always be empty and unfulfilled.
That is, for others to love us in a healthy way, we must first be able to nurture ourselves … and to love and honour who we truly are. The steps below can help you work towards this goal.
1. Decide to treat others with love and respect: As you seek to bring joy into others’ lives you’ll find that they repay you with kindness and love.
2. Practice random acts of kindness: “Play it forward” by doing random thoughtful things. That will turn you into someone you respect yourself – and you’ll also find that others are more generous to you.
3. Let go of the past: What happened in the past is merely history now. Today is a new day, and you are starting a new page. Let go of disappointments, hurts and any grievances you hold against yourself, other people – or the world!
4. Forgive yourself: We all make mistakes, or we regret some bad decisions. Don’t ridicule, berate or criticise yourself for that. Instead, forgive whatever happened, and give yourself a break. It simply means you’re human – and are not infallible.
5. Practice positive self-talk: Write down and repeat affirming statements and truths … like “I am gifted” … or “I’m a true and loyal friend”. Post these statements on the mirror and repeat them to yourself.
6. Think through what you really want in life – You can carve out your own path and you choose your own destiny. Your life is a gift and you can choose what you will do.
7. Be persistent: Work wholeheartedly at loving yourself. If you’ve suffered in the past then be compassionate. Be ready to acknowledge and work through your pain. You deserve that respect – and it will help to set you free.
8. Celebrate your accomplishments: It’s easy to ignore or to downplay what we have done – but don’t be blind to your successes and accomplishments. They ought to be acknowledged as they’re part of who you are.
9. Think of someone you want to be like and emulate them: Doing that will build those qualities into your life as well – so it is easier to like, love and accept yourself.
10. Be yourself and trust yourself: Be true to yourself – and don’t care what others think. Learn to trust your instincts and to follow your own heart. Also, learn it’s OK to say “no” and to do your own thing … And you don’t have to feel guilty for not pleasing everyone.
11. Don’t compare yourself to others: Every person on the planet is different and unique. We all have different talents and different histories. Discover who YOU are and then invest in being you!
12. Work on receiving love: When someone pays you a compliment or tries to show you love, don’t quickly brush it off – but try and see it as a gift. That is, a gift that shows you’ve value and are loved, and loveable.