Remember that November holistic skincare challenge thing I posted about? Well, it's time to let the first part of the secret unveil, and to be honest, it's a rather dirty little one - and talking about it is very difficult and personal for me. Ladies and gentlemen, I'm an obsessive compulsive picker, and I hereby vow to stop picking on myself from now on - forever.
Then, following Fran's suggestion (I'm signed up for her newsletter, very inspirational!), I read the online book 'Stop Picking on Me' and promised myself never to do it again. If you're a fellow picker, I highly recommend it; it's eye-opening. Picking is so much more than just a bad habit, it really is an illness of the mind and the body. I've also decided to document my progress here week by week to keep myself on track, and hopefully help some of you who might be suffering from it as well. It might not be pretty, so if you're of a delicate disposition, I suggest you skip these posts altogether. Anyways... read on to find out about my struggles during the first week of not picking.
Day 1 (Oct 27): I've just started reading 'Stop Picking on Me' and, a couple pages in, decide to try to do my best and STOP. Many passages in the book ring very true to my experiences, which is making me emotional; I'm starting to realize that my picking is not so much about the acne on my face, but personal insecurities that have been impeding my happiness. I really want to start the recovery, even if it proves very difficult. I don't want to hate my body anymore, I don't want to feel the shame and the guilt, I just want to start loving myself, skin and all, a bit more.
Day 2 (Oct 28): Still reading the book; I'm now on the part where the author recounts personal stories of other pickers. It brings tears to my eyes, and I want to give a big hug to all the pickers - myself included. I've also noticed how many times a day I touch my face with my fingertips, looking for bumps and imperfections to work on - I've decided to avoid touching my face at all. I also decide to tell my husband about my habit (well, he probably knew anyhow) and my decision to stop picking, just to have someone to keep me in check so that I cannot go back. I'm proud of myself for overcoming the shame, but I lose focus for a couple minutes and voila, I just picked a cuticle.
Day 3 (Oct 29): I'm being positive that I can do this, I keep on repeating little affirmations to myself, like 'Your body is smarter than you think, it can and will heal', 'Let it be', 'You already are that unique, beautiful person, acne or no acne'. We're driving to Tacoma for a blacklight bouldering competition Mr. signed up for; I'm taking a white scarf with tassles so that my hands have something to play with on the way. The day is rather busy, luckily I have little time to obsess over my face as my hands are full taking photos.
Day 4 (Oct 30): I get into a bit of a bad mood in the morning and I'm not so sure anymore if I can do it; even if I don't go stand in front of the mirror to pick away, it's so difficult to resist touching my face or scratching at my bacne. I feel like a bad person, I hide under the blanket and bite down hard on my lip, and there's a cystic bump starting to appear on my chin. I wear cotton gloves while watching a TV show on Hulu; that's when my idle fingers usually start inching toward my face. Mr. calls me Michael Jackson. I manage to get over myself, we run a bunch of errands and also pick up a few supplements at Whole Foods; I'm feeling a tinge of hope that maybe they'll help in clearing my acne a bit as well. I do an at-home microdermabrasion at night to get rid of some of the flakies that I can no longer pick (but I still did pick a couple).
Day 5 (Oct 31): I feel a bit better and try to work on my positive thinking. I start jutting down some inspirational quotes in my agenda to reread when I'm feeling especially low. I'm also thinking about starting a craft that would keep my fingers occupied and channel that nervous energy; maybe beading or crocheting? A crochet scarf with little flowers would be super cute for the season :) I look in the mirror and see some of the old breakouts healing nicely, but the cystic bump is looking quite angry and it feels itchy, which is driving me mad... Will it really heal on its own?
Day 6 (Nov 1): After being really good for the whole day, I start picking again while doing my night-time skincare routine - the yesterday's spot has also been joined by a friend right next to it. I'm feeling pretty disappointed in myself and even want to withdraw from the whole challenge, but decide to wait until the morning. I also realize I should absolutely not lean in closer to the mirror in the bathroom; there is always going to be something I'd be tempted to pick!
Day 7 (Nov 2): Fortunately, none of the spots I picked yesterday became inflamed, so now I just have to wait until the little wounds dry up. The cystic bump of the week is slowly shrinking and going away, so I guess this answers my question, yes it does really heal without my poking around it (I left this one alone during yesterday's picking session). I forget to wear my cotton gloves, so some back scratching ensues, but not too bad overall. I've just posted about my November skincare challenge, so it's official now and there's no turning back - and have also got some awesome comments, I'm feeling very grateful for my blogging friends. Fingers crossed I can pick less (or even not at all!) next week :)
Let me know if this is of any use to you - I might just post another short update at the end of the month if this is too gross/personal/difficult to understand, or I could write in the same weekly format with more tips and tricks I'm picking up along the way. Just let me know in the comments, lovelies!