This post and the beautiful image above (click it to see in full!) are courtesy of Alyssa, a young woman I met once for a Breakthrough Session (get yours when you sign up for the Freedom Kit). She generously shares her experience working with my book to find freedom from her compulsive skin picking here.
It got to a point that I could no longer take my habit of picking at my skin. I suppose the details don’t matter that much, I simply reached the boiling point. I felt out of control and frustrated that I finally got to a point that I wanted to stop but it seemed I couldn’t. I found the website contacted Annette and bought a copy of her book.
Instead of looking at this recovery process in a negative way and looking at myself as bad and as with a problem I decided to have fun with it and really make an effort in making a life style change.
Through reading the book I realized that the challenge I was facing did not have one solution but many solutions, and only through a holistic approach would I be able to change the behavior. As I said I wanted to approach it in a fun way so I looked at everything very positively and I documented everything with photos. I don’t have any social media so I kept everything private (until now :-)
I did exactly what the book said, I logged how much I picked and why and followed the outline in the book. I tried to gain awareness of why I was picking and what I was getting out of it. I accepted that it was going to be a process and this helped me to not beat myself up so much when it happened. I started using putty to keep my hands busy when reading or when having the urge to pick. I put lotion on my body making in harder to pick. I tried some EFT work, yoga, relaxing,nature walks, prayer and focused on hobbies that I enjoyed. I got tegaderm bandages as the book suggested and kept them on the first week just to aid me in building/breaking habits. I did all of it little by little and with gentleness and love. My therapist also supported me in making these changes and in staying positive.
And then came the dreaded life style change. I cut out sugar. It was no where near as hard as I thought it was going to be. I picked a date that I was going to stop and the night before had a little celebration with myself at McDonalds as my “last unhealthy meal.” Instead of focusing on what I could not eat I focused on the things I could enjoy. I soon came to learn sugar is in everything. So I decided I was just going to make things like bread from scratch and not put sugar in it. I really began loving making homemade bread (it’s so easy) and it made my roommates go crazy because it smelt so good. Even just making the bread and working with the dough was therapeutic. Now I am not as radical with the sugar but I barely have it and if I make my own desserts I use coconut sugar.
I took pictures of my arms and the steps I was taking to heal and kept that as a log. It really helped to stay motivated, accountable and be able to concretely see how far I had come. I took the pictures I have been documenting and made them into two images. I have not stopped picking my skin all together but looking at the two pictures I have are a reminder to me that it is possible and a reminder of my personal journey. Just looking at them encourage me to keep going and to not give up when I find my hand reaching for my arm or chest. It is possible, it may take some hard work but making the hard work fun, positive and gentle make it so much better.
Thanks, Alyssa! People can learn a lot from you sharing your process. If you’d like to contact Alyssa, she welcomes your email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What’s been helpful to you? Please share in the comments below.