YOU ARE NOT ALONE: REAL LIFE STORIES
Anonymous Notes From Picky People
This chapter is filled with real life anonymous accounts from other people who suffer from being a bit too picky. I have gathered these commentaries from various friends of friends and even strangers who agreed to participate and share their experiences in the hopes it would help them understand their issues better and perhaps help someone else.
Anonymous Notes From Picky People – My Life HAD to Change
I had been working as a graphic designer from home for ten years. My daily routine consisted of waking up turning on my computer and logging in while still in my pajamas. Halfway through the day I might change into some sweats. I interfaced with most of my clients over long distance phone lines, modems, and faxes. I had very occasional meetings with people usually at the onset of a project, then the rest of my work was done in the privacy of my own home. Wherever I lived, one room was dedicated as my office. The Internet was fabulous for someone like me, who rarely got out of the house. I could interact and make some kind of contact with new and different people.
I was really good at what I did and I was really good at picking at my face. I was a perfectionist and whenever my stress came out on my face, of course I had to work on it because it wasn’t perfect. If I could just get out the imperfections – I would rather have a flat round red mark or scab that I could cover up with makeup than a bump or the feeling like there was something under my skin which might come out. I made it come out in my own controlled manner, not in nature’ s time, but in my time.
I was sort of a recluse, but I would never admit to it. I was actually a fairly gregarious person before I began down this career path, so loner was not part of my self definition, although that is what I became. I really didn’t mind staying in all the time, but I knew ultimately it was not great for my health, because I tended to get locked onto my computer and wouldn’t leave it to get for a glass of water, much less to eat properly or take a walk.
So I decided it would be good for me to get a new job outside of home. I sent out resumes, went to a conference or two, got interviews and a job offer.
Going out to get the job was manageable as far as the picking goes. I was able to use makeup effectively and relatively controlled the picking as I knew when I had to be seen in public ahead of time.
Then it hit me. If I had to go to work every day, it meant I had to ‘face’ the world every day, too. I was scared about how I could control and stop my picking, cause my skin has to be perfect every day. I knew I had to change or be forever locked in a place of secretive insecurity.
The first 24 hours were the toughest. No make that the first 24 seconds were the toughest, then the next 24 seconds, and so on. Then I made it through my first day of not picking my face, although I still picked at other parts of myself (cuticles, ingrowns).
If I needed to pick a cuticle I was determined to cut it properly with a pair of clippers. And my face, well I could do nothing to it. By this time, after less than a week of not squeezing I had experienced a couple of white heads which I simply stared at. I touched my face and neck a few times, but only out of habit of doing so and not with intentions to pick or squeeze. Just feeling any of the nodules or pimples in my skin was enough to make me want to, so I knew I had to stop that, too. It was like fingernails on chalkboard not picking.
Then the first few nights were the worst. Night time was the time when I did my worst picking. I guess the accumulation of the day’s worries and stress caught up with me then and I had to take it out someplace.
I have definitely cut back on picking, but by no means have I stopped. I absolutely have to control my major picking during the week and somehow have found the willpower to do so. Now I confine it to Friday nights when I came home from work. It is like a relief and a reward for pending up all my urges for the week, so it can get pretty brutal. But that way my skin has a few days to bounce back before going back to work. Of course it wreaks havoc on my social activities over the weekend, but i don’t know what else to do?