Monday, January 28, 2013

Day 151- OCD as Dermatillomania: Delusional Mind

This blog is continued form:

     Within my last few blogs, I had been writing through the fact that I do not want  to have OCD/dermatillomania, yet I make the choice every day, not to change. Anyone who suffers from derma/OCD or any other kind of addiction, obsession or compulsion might argue with me that the disorder is not a choice. It is a choice. It is a choice made over and over SO many times, that it is literally programed into and as us, to the point that it has become automatic, unconscious and seemingly unstoppable. The fact that it is a choice can be proven by an interesting thing that I have observed within myself as well as in support groups: we stop ourselves when we ‘have’ to. If we have to go to work, we will stop and go to work. It’s not like someone outside of ourselves came in, bound our hands, got us dressed and pushed us out the door. It is us that stops ourselves when we deem we ‘have’ to, yet we keep falling back into it, over and over again.

     This is not to say that it can be stopped altogether in one moment. Maybe it can, because anything Is possible, but as with most addiction or automatic programmed behavior, it takes a process to stop.

     It is this choice that I have been writing through in my past few blogs. I do not want to have OCD/derma, I also don’t ever make the genuine decision to stop and change. This is summed up here:

I find out that I don’t really WANT to change for real. It’s like, someone that does drugs like heroine, ‘wants’ to stop, but doesn’t really want to stop, because they love the drug so much, they’ll use any excuse to take it. On top of this, once you stop, you have to face everything you’ve done unto yourself. So, the desire to stop Is present because, we know that it’s ‘wrong’ and ‘not normal’ and harming ourselves, but at the same time, it feels so good. Herein, it feels good, but it is not good for us in reality. So what is that feeling but an energetic experience in the mind? “

     These writings and realizations were exploring the ‘positive’ side of the OCD experience—positive in the respect that it is seemingly ‘giving’ us something (feeding the mind-reality at the expense of the physical real reality). There is more to this side and I will go into it in blogs to come, but for the moment, I am going to explore a bit of the negative side.

     The negative side of OCD/dermatillomania is that side which is unconscious, wherein, it’s like the hands are roaming and one is not even aware of the fact that there is scratching, picking, rubbing, etc… going on. For me, it’s when I watch tv or read, or when I’m studying or really just any time I have a moment. It’s so automatic that I’m not even aware that I am doing it, and then I’ll realize at some point and I’ll stop. What I observed it that, I get really uncomfortable and the OCD is soothing and puts me at ease. When I stop myself, this uncomfortability overcomes me to the point that I can’t sit still or focus. So it’s less of a ‘gaining’ something as it is creating an uncomfortability and then escaping it with OCD/skin-picking.

     I will explore this uncomfortability, which I experiece as an irritation and anxiousness, and how I create it using the tool of self-forgiveness so that I can get to the bottom of it, and change.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to create an uncomfortability within and as myself which I use to justify OCD/skin-picking.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to, when I am not completely focused and engaged, allow my mind to wander about with thoughts that I should check my skin, that I should touch it and rub it and feel to make sure it is even and smooth.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to become anxious and irritated at the thought that there may be any kind of roughness or soreness or unevenness or bumps on my skin, and I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to think, believe or perceive that if there is, they need to be removed, evened-out, touched and/or rubbed in order to ‘make it better’ and ‘make it right’.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to think, believe and/or perceive that roughness, soreness, bumps, unevenness, or dryness on my skin is bad or wrong, instead of seeing, realizing and understanding that it is just my skin processing itself and maintaining itself as it does every day and will continue to do unconditionally till I die.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to think, believe and/or perceive that if there are any irregularities on my skin, it is indicative of disease or illness, and I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to think/believe/perceive that if I remove the irregularities, then I have removed the possibility of sickness and/or disease, and that having smooth and even skin means I’m healthy and nothing is wrong.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to believe the insane logic that I can impose health upon myself by manipulating the way I look, and I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to, in an attempt to alter the way my natural skin looks for the ‘better’, actually harming it and making it not only look way worse, but actually abusing it in the process.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to fear illness and disease.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to fear dying of an illness or disease.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to fear that my skin will show me the first signs of illness and disease, if I were to suffer from one.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to think, believe or perceive that if I can control my skin’s appearance then I can control my health.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to think/believe/perceive that my skin, in its natural state, is dirty, flawed and contaminated, and within this, I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to think, believe or perceive that I can/need to/have to clean it and maintain it from the skewed perception that my mind knows what’s best and must impose itself upon my skin, instead of seeing, realizing and understanding that my skin is actually working, for the most part, within and as perfection, wherein, perfection is not in the appearance of the skin, but exists within the skins ability to process, care for and maintain itself, without any conscious effort on my part.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to impose my mind’s skewed version of reality onto my skin, which exists within actual reality, and which deals with actual reality in every moment, unlike myself as my mind, which distorts reality, and then hides from and escapes this distorted version of reality through self-abuse.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to distort reality by thinking/believing/perceiving that my skin is dirty, flawed and contaminated.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to become uncomfortable by the thoughts, ideas, perceptions and beliefs that my skin is dirty, flawed and contaminated, and I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to think, believe and perceive that I must immediately intervene in order to experience myself as clean and perfect.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to think, believe and perceive that in order to experience myself as clean and perfect, that I have to constantly clean and perfect myself.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to think/believe/perceive that if and when I am not experiencing myself as clean and perfect, that anyone that sees me will see and/or think that I am dirty, flawed and imperfect.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to judge myself as dirty, flawed and imperfect, instead of accepting myself as I am, as Who I Am at this point, and accepting my physical body and skin as it is, which is perfect, as it consistently does the job it is supposed to do, which is to maintain itself to the highest standard at all times, despite the abuse I impose upon it.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to judge myself as dirty, flawed and imperfect, without ever really asking myself or investigating what ‘clean’, ‘flawless’ and ‘perfect’ actually are or what they actually practically entail.

I commit myself to write myself out of the skewed version of reality I have created for myself, and the skewed version of myself I have created in my mind, until I make actual reality so undeniable to myself, that I will no longer be able to fool myself and manipulate myself with these mind-games that I use to justify and create and cause me to compulsively pick my skin.

I commit myself to teach myself how to treat my body with dignity and respect, and to leave it alone within the understanding that it does not require my intervention in any way whatsoever, unless I am sick or have a condition that needs to be tended to, in which case I will tend to it in the most practical and reasonable way possible, by supporting my body to function to its utmost capacity, as it is design to do so long as I give it what it needs, and nothing more.

I commit myself to learn to accept myself and my body and skin as what I am in each moment, without looking at myself through my mind’s eye, without distorting my self-perception, and without creating something more or less than what is actually here.

I commit myself to slow myself down and observe myself when I am participating in activities that do not require my full attention, so that I can identify and stop the thoughts as seemingly automatic flashes of images of my skin connected to irritation and anxiousness about what may be present on it.

When and as I see that I am following and participating in he thoughts as flashes of images of my skin with irregularities and imperfections, connected with the emotional experience of irritation, anxiety and fear, I stop and I breathe. I bring myself back to self-acceptance by reminding myself that touching or ‘tending’ to those thoughts by following them through to physical action, will only actually create and manifest exactly that which is causing my to feel irritated, anxious and fearful, thus creating a vicious cycle of self-abuse and self-enslavement to addiction and obsessive compulsion. I see, realize and understand that by stopping my participation within/as these thoughts as they occur, I can break the cycle and free myself from the disorder forevermore.

When and as I see that I am becoming uncomfortable and irritated and anxious at the thoughts of being dirty, flawed and imperfect, I stop, and I breathe. I bring myself back to self-acceptance by reminding myself that if I don’t accept myself as I am now, I certainly won’t be able to accept the diminished version of myself that I create through my participation in the thoughts, feelings, emotions, ideas, perceptions, beliefs and judgments that I impose on to myself with and as my mind, so I am better off if I simply stop, breathe, and make the decision to let it go.
To be continued....

To read more about the process of self-acceptance, check out this blog I worte on beauty: Day 3- Beauty Is A Beast

And this one is about honouring the physical body, which I took a moment to realize once my relationship ended and I realized I had been compromising myself within ALL of my relationships: Day 31- Quitting Love- No Sense of Self

Self Study with support, learn to respect you and others, learn how to stop mind chatter, learn how to forgive so effectively that you actually change forever, learn how to stop and change the automatic thoughts that run your life --This is some of the benefits and rewards that one receive with walking the DIP LITE training -- and it is ALL FREE and will even FREE you from your EGO.
 Sign up for the free course at this link: DIPLITE, try it for yourself .


  1. I have this problem too and can relate to much of what you're written.

    I'm going to an addiction self-help group on Thursday for the first time because frankly I've tried for 6 years to beat this on my own and I can't stop.

    I keep thinking that my insides are diseased and full of crap and that I have to pop the spots / sores to get the crap out.

    I also pick at / remove any scabs or dry skin because I feel like I need to make myself look beautiful and that any of these marks, blemishes or irregularities make me look ugly and that people will be disgusted with me if I let them be.

    It's going to be a hard journey but I really need to stop. I already have scarring and I don't want to get any worse.

    Thanks for sharing your journey, as it has inspired me to share my own.

    I wish you all the best in living a life free from skin-picking :) x

  2. Thank you Tori, for taking the time to leave a comment, as the timing was impeccable because today is the day I decided to 'get back on the horse' so to speak, after having experienced a fall within my process.

    That's awesome that you are seeking support, to support yourself in the decision to stop. I remember a time when I couldn't even fathom stopping; so to even be at that place where you are willing to stand and do what's best for yourself is an amazing first step.

    Please share your journey, because we support eachother in being open about what it is we face when we decide to walk the decision to stop and change.

  3. Hi, I'm just about to leave for my addiction meeting again. I will let you know how it goes.

    This last week there hasn't been a single day when I didn't pick at my skin and one day was particularly bad, as I was picking in a way which I knew was likely to scar :(

    I feel really low right now, but hopefully the meeting will help.

    I hope you're having more luck than me!

    Lorna x (Tori Faerie is my account name :P)

  4. Please do give an update on the meeting. You are treating an addiction, but many would argue otherwise. It will be interesting to see how you respond.

  5. Hi Kim,

    I found the meeting very helpful. We looked at negative ways of reacting to a bad situation / feelings, such as getting angry, self harming or isolating yourself and then contrasted this with more positive pro-active responses, such as changing your environment, going for a walk, listening to music, reading or other activities you enjoy.

    The key thing for me was learning about the nature of urges. When you have the urge to do something, it's like a wave. It starts off and then the more you resist, the more you want to do the action. HOWEVER, it always peaks. And then after it has peaked, the urge starts to fade until you are back feeling calm again. I have never got past the peak of my urges. I have always given it, because I felt like my head would explode if I didn't give in (which I've been assured it won't). Surfing the urge wave is hard the first few times, but the more you do it, the easier it gets :) So I'm trying this out this week...

    Also, I learnt that as the urge get nearer to peaking, thoughts become more irrational. So in my case I would start to think things like "But I have to pop that spot or the crap will spread under my skin" or, "I have to meet a friend later and if I don't pick off that scab my friend will be disgusted and refuse to see me again". All of these thoughts are my brain trying desperately to get me to give in to the urge, because going against an urge does not feel comfortable at all. These thoughts are like a defence mechanism gone wrong. My brain is trying to prevent me from feeling bad, but really, although picking may provide short term relief it's worse in the long run and the thoughts are not logical / true at all xx

  6. Wow, really cool insights! I've definitely experienced this 'wave' and have walked through it as well. But I have also fallen many many times within it. I do recognize as well that there is an aspect of investigating the thoughts, feelings and emotions that trigger the urge, but there is also the sheer will and self-discipline to ride through it once it has already begun. My perspective would be that prevention is the best cure, but it would take a process to get there. So for the time being, to ride through the wave through it's peak and then back to 'normalcy'. Thank you so much for sharing your insights and experience here! I'm grateful!

  7. No problem :) Some pretty crap / confusing stuff has happened to me this last week so I've had a couple of major relapses but I'm ploughing on....

  8. Whenever I fall I think of the following: Bernard Poolman once said "It's better to fall many times then to fail, because if you fall many times you teach yourself one thing: you will never give up".
    This is a process, you're not going to be 'cured' overnight. It's an investment of time and effort stemming from self-care, self-love, self-acceptance, self-worth, self-honouring, etc... Everytime you pick yourself up and plough on, you are living these words, making them real as Who You Are.

  9. Hi.

    I have fallen off course again. Very badly. I was unable to attend my addiction group for the last two weeks due to other commitments which may have had something to do with it. Right now I'm right back where I started with the picking as bad as ever. I think part of me has just said "Oh this is just something I do. It's not that bad because most other people don't notice it so I might as well carry on doing it."

    Also, I recently started seeing someone which has also made part of me think "Well he doesn't notice it so it's not a problem." I know that this is all wrong thinking, but it's hard to get out of it :(

    I also feel really imperfect lately. Perhaps that's also linked with starting to see someone new. I just keep running my hands over my skin and if I feel any kind of bump or imperfection, even if it's not anything visible, I'll pick at it until I the skin feels smooth.... only then there will be a small red mark which will take weeks to heal and I don't even let it heal properly, because I see the scabs as imperfections too to be picked off.

    I feel completely helpless with it right now. I've just tried so hard to stop. And it's not like I have no support network, cus I do, and people have tried to help me / be there for me, but I just want to push everyone away and say that there's no point, because I won't listen to them anyway...

    Right now a life without this habit seems an impossibility :s

    Also, several times over the last two weeks, after picking in the morning on my face, I've felt like I was too ugly to leave the house. I always manage to cover it up with make-up but then for the rest of the day I feel like everyone is looking at me and judging me and I want to hide my face because I feel so ashamed.

    I think that's one of the main issues. I feel ugly and unattractive most of the time. And I guess on some level I hate myself. Or I hate being a person, with all the complicated things that entails. All the responsibilities and obligations and having to live up to other people's standards. Though it's probably not just that, it's probably several things linked together...