I’m back, just two days shy of being two years since I’ve last logged in. This is such a struggle, but I know that I can get through it. I did in the past, and I will again. This time, as a form of therapy, I am choosing to blog about my experience. Hopefully, this way I’ll become more aware of my triggers, my inner voice, and the fact that this is truly a challenge that isn’t going to get any easier just because I wish for it to end. Part of me really dislikes the idea of giving this facet of my life so much attention. It’s easy to think, “If I just give the positive aspects of my life more regard, then I can beat this skin-picking thing… because I won’t have any time for this nonsense.” Easier said.
I could tell you about all the wonderful weeks that went by without a slip. I wish I could get back to those times when I would look in the mirror and say to myself, “I’m doing awesome. I’m not really anxious to pick, and I feel content just washing up and going to bed… besides, why would I ever want to destroy what I’ve already achieved?” I’m rather proud of myself at those moments. But right now is not one of those moments. In fact, it’s been so long since I’ve resisted the urge to pick that I almost forget what it feels like to really like the person I see in the mirror. And I believe that is where I have to start.
It’s about the “why”. And not why I pick. I’ve gone through all of that self-searching of why it is I do what I do. Truth is, I don’t always know why the hell I do what I do. I could say it’s because of my traumatic childhood. Err, no. Everyone, in one way or another, has been deeply affected by events in their lives. I could say that it’s because I expect too much of myself. Well, yeah, that’s true. But there have been many other instances that high expectations of myself (even those bordering on unreasonable) have come to benefit me, and although that trait hasn’t always worked out for me, I don’t believe it’s where I go wrong. I could even say it’s because I don’t manage stress well, and skin-picking is my outlet… but that’s kind of a gimme. And if that were entirely the case, I would be better off trading this in for omniomania (aka shopaholism). I’d rather deal with buyer’s remorse and debt than self-harm and reclusive behavior. Or maybe not, because I have no idea what it’s like to suffer from a shopping addiction, and it’s just stupid to think of trading one problem in for another. Anyway, I think the more appropriate question to ask rather than “Why do I pick?” would be “Why would I not want to pick?” Well, that’s a good question… and one to which I haven’t really believed the answer.
I would like to believe that I wouldn’t want to pick because I love the person standing in the mirror. And because I love taking care of my skin when it isn’t scabbed or bleeding. And because I love the feeling of being free of the pain that picking brings me. Why would I not want to pick? Because I think it’s time to stop crippling myself. Again, easier said, but perhaps I can get myself to start living and believing these statements.
An interesting thing that a therapist once told me is that she didn’t believe that I would ever stop being a skin-picker. She believed that I would have to deal with this for the rest of my life, similar to how an alcoholic never stops being an alcoholic, but rather, they find sobriety through a continuous healing process. She said, that on the bright side, I could learn to control my behavior enough that I, too, could find my own “sobriety” in a sense. Looking back on that conversation, the future, as my therapist laid out for me, seemed dismal. But at this moment in my life, I find hope in that outlook. Maybe it’s too much to ask of myself to be 100% free from skin-picking. What’s done is done, and tomorrow is unknown. I have to worry about this moment, this day. I don’t have to pick today. Maybe I’ll do it tomorrow. Who knows? I’ll just take it one day at a time…
“It isn’t the burdens of today that drive men mad. It is the regrets over yesterday and the fear of tomorrow. Regret and fear are twin thieves who rob us of today.” ― Robert Hastings