YOU ARE NOT ALONE: REAL LIFE STORIES
Anonymous Notes From Picky People – Feels So Good
I get a lot of pleasure out of picking my skin.
The simple habit of touching my skin and feeling for lumps is total muscle memory. I have done it over and over again. My fingertips are like a fine tuned instrument that knows how to play my face and upper back or wherever there might be breakouts.
My fingers are happy and the sensation of the pressure of my nails is pleasurable. Just take a moment and tap the tips of your fingernails on a table lightly. For me this feels good and I get the same feeling while scratching at a scab. Combine that with the sense of relief I feel from releasing a zit from my skin and you have got a pretty compelling argument to keep picking. It feels good.
I also find pleasure in the pain I feel in my face when I squeeze. It can be uncomfortable at times and even excrutiating other times. No matter how painful it might be, the moment after the pain – I feel somehow invigorated and even euphoric. The stimulus can be intoxicating.
And once I start – I spiral into this pattern of fixing one pore so I may as well do the rest… it becomes a fixation – like I am hypnotized into continually repeating the same behavior over and over.
I have taken to talking to myself aloud when I go to pick. Obviously I don’t do this when there are other people around… I don’t want anyone to think I am crazier than I already am. But it helps me identify and relate to what I am doing to myself. The more in touch I become with my aggressive picking, the sadder I get about what I am doing.
I try to make the statements either objective statements of fact and not shameful. So I say things like, “I am about to go to the mirror and pick at my face.” “I am picking at my face now and I feel like shit.” “That really hurts.” “I am so relieved that is over.” “I want to stop this picking.” And stuff like that.
What I find helpful is taking a sympathetic tone with myself like, “You don’t need to beat yourself up like this.” Or “you’re so special and I hate to see you tear yourself apart.” This has actually gotten me to stop a few times. I feel like I might want to cry, but the tears don’t come, but at least it makes me very sad about my bad habit and inspires me to change in that moment.