Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Diaries of an Obsessive Compulsive Picker: Week 2 & 3

I've been dreading writing this post for a very simple reason: I haven't had much success in the not-picking department these past two weeks. I've been having some trouble breaking away from the vicious cycle of picking: I pick, feel very guilty indeed, promise not to do it anymore, I give my face a break for a couple days to heal and it looks better and better, I pick again because I spy some clogged pores or a whitehead that's begging me to be squeezed. Most of the time, I manage to stop fairly quickly, but twice I definitely overdid the picking and gave myself some more trouble spots in the process. Right now, the challenge definitely feels quite daunting - but I have a couple ideas for improvement to incorporate into my routine.

1) Crochet. To stop my fidgeting fingers from roaming in the vicinity of my face, I picked up crocheting - for realz! I used to do a lot of needlework as a teen, and while at the university, I stopped completely. I believe it's important for me to start doing it again; firstly, it keeps my hands busy, secondly, the repetitive patterns have a very soothing effect, and lastly, it proves that my fingers are capable of doing some good for once. I've started an infinity-scarf project in the shell pattern, which you can see in the photo - I recommend that book too, very easy to follow and lots of ideas/patterns to try!

2) No mirrors. I really, and I mean really, need to stop checking my face in the mirror every time I go to the bathroom. Because, when I'm standing there in front of the mirror, I lean closer, and when I lean closer, I can see every single enlarged pore and tiny pimple that I immediately want to do something about. So, no looking into the mirror for me! (Plus, it gives me a back ache to lean over the sink).

3) Treats. I think one of the main reasons for my recent lack of success is that I've set a bar very high without any sort of external encouragement to motivate myself. I'm on a general beauty and fashion no-buy, plus I'm trying to use up some very unloved items from my collection; it's almost as if I'm punishing myself in the process. So, I've decided to treat myself to something lovely from the top of my make-up wishlist if I manage to at least diminish the picking - I think I deserve a reward!

4) Words of encouragement. I cannot stress enough how much your support and the experiences you've shared mean to me; I would just throw in the towel without you! I seriously need to re-read your comments on the original post more often, they help so much! I've also been collecting some inspirational quotes to put me in the good spirit. Here's one my favorites:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God; your playing small doesn't serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
*EDIT* by Marianne Williamson, used by NELSON MANDELA on May 10, 1994

I'll leave you with these amazing words for now and check back in 2 weeks to hopefully report some more progress. I hope some of my tips and tricks might help you too - please let me know in the comments if you have any of your own!


  1. It's funny that a day or two after your first post on picking, I got the first zit (the bumpy one with pickable) for the first six weeks, thanks to Neutrogena mineral sunscreen. Now I have two ginormous wounds on my right cheek and all I can think of is to wait for them to completely harden and...peel them all off.

    Ok, I am not helping...

  2. Hi, I think this would be my first time to comment on the blog. I wanted to reach out, because at one point, I was one hell of a compulsive picker! I would do it anywhere, especially when I felt anxious. I think it's good that you're aware of it, and are thinking up ways to stop it.

    I had my husband tell me to stop too whenever he saw me picking...and the crochet, avoiding the mirror, and reward ideas are good too.

    What ultimately made me stop picking was when I realized that I didn't just have a lot of pimples, as a result of the picking (and hormonal changes), but that I already had developed a moderate form of acne, for the very first time in my life. My skin was ugly. And I knew it would only get uglier if I continued my habit.

    The motivation to get better skin and avoid a more difficult level of acne made me just stop picking completely.

    I'm not sure if these are words of encouragement, but I wanted to share how I was able to stop this habit, nonetheless. :)

  3. Rewarding and avoiding mirrors should help :). I made it a rule, to lean closely to the mirror only once a day, but sometimes I just can;t help myself.

  4. Hiya! New to your blog and LOVE it. One thing - that quote is by Marianne Williamson, not Mandela. He used it in a speech and thought you'd want to know. Also, regarding the pick - think of it this way: for every spot you pick, three more will appear. Also, put prescription medicine on and that should help curb the urge since it's so expensive!


  5. A reward system is always a must whenever I'm trying to achieve something. The treasure has to be good enough for me to persevere but not give up if the task is too hard!
    Crocheting and knitting sounds like a great idea though. Keep your hands everywhere but the scabs!

  6. Monika, your last post on picking was so encouraging that I actually stopped picking at my face! Not completely but like 80% less than I usually do. So you're a great source of encouragement to a lot of us pickers out there and we're right there with you in the battle!

    Maybe say a week of no picking and you can treat yourself to a really pretty lipstick? Then extend the next period to two week for something else, and so on. This is a short-term relief, though. But it can be habit-building. You've got me thinking now... I'll share with you whatever ideas I can come up with! Good luck and keep up that crocheting - scarf looks really good! :)

  7. @Citrine: I know exactly what you're talking about, those healing wounds that dry up and start flaking are the worst...

    @Ida: Thanks so much for commenting, dear, it means a world to me! I think I do realize it's making my acne so much worse, but it's like I want to sabotage my skin and not even give it a chance to heal :( I'll think about it more, thank you for the advice!

    @Annathea: That's an awesome rule, I'll introduce it too!

    @seekuptbm: Thanks for letting me know, I edited the post! So true about even more spots appearing, I'll try to remember that at all times!

    @Ashley: I know, I should definitely introduce little treats now and then - but it's kinda hard around Christmas, I should be shopping for gifts instead!

    @Liz: Oh, Liz, you're such an amazing support system! I'm so glad that my post helped, and knowing you're doing it as well is definitely helping a whole lot! Thanks so much for your kind words, you're the best! xxx

  8. Picking is a vicious cycle. I know all about it because I have the same horrible habit. I have lots of scars do to it because I did it a lot when I was younger. Mirrors are your worst enemy, especially the magnifying ones...

  9. I think it's great that you're taking steps to try and stop, picking can definitely be a very hard habit to break!

    Sometimes I'm tempted to touch my face when I get a spot, but one thing that's really helpful for me is to put a patch over it. I don't know how easily available they are to you, but I think Essence makes some and I have relatives CP mine from Asia (Nexcare). Basically, they're this thin rubber material that adhere the spot, and suck all of the gunk out. I just find that they're really great for forming a barrier over the spot, so if I do mindlessly touch my face, it's literally impossible for me to touch the spot. Obviously not the best for when I'm out in public, but they're good for sticking on at home.

    Hope you can break the cycle! And btw, I love crocheting too :) Usually for long car rides hahah

  10. Keeping my fingers crossed for you :) good luck with the crocheting, too, it looks amazing

    I actually can go months without picking (especially since I gave myself the worst acne of my life back in our 3rd year at uni by trying to pop some stubborn plugs) but I do struggle with biting the inside of my mouth. I've done it since I was a little kid and never saw any problem in it until I noticed little wrinkles around my lips several months ago. Yuck. You've inspired me to try harder to quit ;-)

  11. I think Makeup Morsels gave a brilliant tip....I have been meaning to get those spot stickers too! Thanks for sharing your journey and I think perhaps trying to make a few changes in your life can be v buy and no picking...I read somewhere that to really succeed in breaking one habit, one should only focus on one habit at a time. I prob got that from Zen Habits...

  12. this quotation gets me everytime, mainly because i still struggle to understand it and that is why it is so inspirational and needs to be looked at every now and again...i wonder if i will ever truly believe it!

    Don't lose heart it is early days, and you won't be able to change overnight. Nor may it go away completley forever but you will improve it over time :) thinking of you