Saturday, July 24, 2010

Face Picker!

My deep dark underbelly and thorn in my side is my addiction to picking my face. Believe me, it's worse than it sounds. It has been dubbed a family curse (as I share the addiction with two others in my family). Through my youth it was a daily ritual that I would go to the mirror and forget about time as I squeezed the life out of every pore in my face, digging under every scab and creating more than just a swollen mess. I would put up my spiky shield, so anyone who dared to try to stop me would think twice next time. It was really embarrassing. I would go to school every day with a swollen scabbed over face, then sometimes I would pick during class and I would start bleeding. It was a serious contender to my self esteem and confidence. It definitely held me back. It was a big player of the worst time in my life. With time, it has gotten better. I no longer have a spiky shield and I think I'm pretty awesome which really helps. I can't say I'm over it... not yet, I have said it so many times I think people have stopped believing me. I don't think anyone would point the finger to say I was lying, but because I slipped up and spiraled out of control again, my credibility with that statement has worn thin. I've had this bane for about 13 years... so, over half my young life. It's been a long and bloody battle.

Here are the tools I've employed to fight this monster:
1. Incentives -never work!
2. Tracking progress -almost works.
3. Lights out in the bathroom - it would work, but the light has to be on sometimes... and it doesn't solve the problem of absent minded picking. It works equally as well as limiting my bathroom access because, eventually, I will be in there. Also, I must note, gloves are useless and I don't need nails to pick.
4. Prayer & blessings. -My theory on these is, my desire to pick is overcoming me and I have let it become stronger than any other desire, so until my desire is different, God won't control me. It's part of life to learn to overcome the "natural man" or the natural inclination to sin. He can and does support me. So, prayer & blessings work if I let them.
5. Writing on the mirror, on my hands, on the door... -doesn't work.
6. Talking about it -well, it sometimes makes me want to do it, sometimes it helps me understand my problem better. So -flip a coin.
7. Rule sets. -My current rules are:
1. I must be 2 feet from the mirror at all times.
2. I must have my hands constantly occupied to prevent absent picking.
The thing about rules is, it still takes a strong will to follow them & no one is or should be enforcing them.
8. Inspirations. -they actually help a lot. They motivate me. Most of mine come from my scriptures. If I read my scriptures daily my resistance power gets really good.
9. Journaling. Well, I've never kept a good addiction journal. I have started a couple times, but I don't want my daily entry to be, "Alas, I failed!" In a creative streak I saw what my journal should be like and I think I could do it now. I could simply write a motivation, a scripture reference, draw picture, write a poem, or gab about the bane... whatever I was in the mood to do. I feel it will help me know I'm doing something to support my efforts daily, something positive I can point to and say, that's how I fought my bane today.
10. Tools for fidgety hands -work so well! I don't find myself peeling off a scab absent minded-ly, running to grab a tissue because I'm bleeding, finding things that absolutely drive me crazy which send me into a picking fest. So I crochet, make friendship bracelets, or play with something. My "fidget" was intensely useful. It's a ring that you roll up and down your fingers and it pokes your fingers as it moves. It was very satisfying and calming.
11. Talking to myself out loud on the way to the bathroom. "I am just going to look, I will not touch my face." -it helps a lot when I have felt something that would otherwise be the gateway to a pick fest.
12. Love & Patience. It was started with self hate & impatience with imperfection, so love & patience from others and from myself are a necessary support.

The most important rule in fighting addiction is, you can't give up on yourself. You have to believe that you can overcome it. The Little Engine That Could said, "I think I can!" He never would have made it up the hill if he was saying, "I know I can't." It can't be overstated, you have to believe in yourself. If nothing else, my many exclamations that I was done picking my face were affirmations and those exclamations said that I believe that I can overcome at last. I do believe.
My current thought is, "I'll be 25 in less than a month. I can't visualize my 25th birthday -a milestone birthday of maturity- with the bane of my existence in my mirror. I'm absolutely convinced that I won't be picking my face anymore for the rest of my life." It's okay to scoff at me for that, I know it sounds funny, but it is good that I feel this way & it is a very good omen.
If you have any questions or would like to hear more about the dark days of the addiction, don't hesitate to ask. My purpose in writing this is therapeutic, and if it aids in someone's fight in their addiction, that is absolutely beautiful. Good omens to you.

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