It’s on, folks. The time of “now or never, all or nothing” seems to have arrived.
I wrote recently about my latest CBT homework assignment, and how I was starting to actively work on ridding my life of BDD-related compulsions. My main compulsion, skin picking, has been the hardest thing to stop doing, but is the one compulsion that I need to remove in order to move forward with a healthy, happy life.
I was all fired up about my new homework assignment, and was feeling more than ready to move ahead with it.
However, something strange happened over the past two weeks: I found that apathy began to overtake passion.
In the past, my BDD made me feel anxious, worthless, ugly and depressed. I hated myself and hated my life. I picked to relieve all of these sensations, and the picking would cause me to feel even worse. It was a sneaky hate spiral that didn’t seem to have any potential of getting better.
Recently, due to a combination of medication and therapy, I no longer feel so awful about myself. In fact, I’m tempted to say that my depression is completely gone. I can see that I have a bright future, that I am worthy of being on this earth, that I am smart and have a great personality. I no longer ask myself why I have friends or how people could love me. I believe in myself.
My anxiety has also gone down, though it still very much exists. I don’t feel as anxious before OR after picking as I once used to.
While these all seem like great steps, they have led to an unusual outcome: the aforementioned apathy. Instead of being excited at my progress and wanting to move foreword even more, I seem to have stopped caring about my recovery as much as I used to. It’s almost as if, because the anxiety and depression are nearly gone, I don’t mind the skin picking.
Think of it this way
If you are doing something that is pleasurable to you (skin picking) that has damaging effects (anxiety, isolation, depression, bleeding and scarring), you obviously want to stop the action and find another pleasurable activity that does not have any negative results. However, if you have found ways to skirt the damaging effects (in my case, through means of therapy and medication), then why would you stop the pleasurable activity? I enjoy picking my skin ~ it gives me a feeling of accomplishment and relief ~ and since I don’t mind the results anymore and am no longer avoiding social or work situations because of my scratches, I might as well continue.
This is the mood I have been in for two weeks. I feel like I have arrived at the furthest point of my recovery ~ I can’t get any healthier than I am now. I’ll just accept that picking is a part of my life and move on.
I spoke with my therapist about this today ~ I told him that I feel much better, but that the picking hasn’t gone away. I also mentioned that I don’t mind the picking as much anymore, and asked why this may be.
His answer was basically that I need to push myself even harder. I’ve felt awful about myself for so long that the mental place that I’m at now is a huge improvement over my past self. Because I am healthier, it’s easy to simply stop fighting and accept my current situation.
This makes a lot of sense to me. Honestly, I’m scared to move forward. I’ve lived with BDD and skin-picking for about seven years! It’s a part of me, and getting rid of it feels like giving myself a lobotomy or killing an old friend.
It’s also EFFING difficult! To change a deeply engrained behavior requires concentration, strength and perseverance. It is a constant battle, and I can’t become apathetic or decide that I’m “fine” with where I am.
I deserve an amazing life
If I really think about it, I am NOT okay with where I am – I don’t like looking at my face and seeing all the places where I have scratched and picked. I don’t like that I have scaring and uneven skin tone because of all the nights I spent ripping my face apart with tweezers. And if I’m fully honest with myself, I don’t enjoy picking as much as I convince myself that I do. It causes me a lot of pain, physically and emotionally. Even more than that, I know that I am letting my BDD win. I am allowing this disorder to share my life with me.
I don’t want to continue down this path ~ I want to FULLY recover.
I want to get to the real finish line, not just to the place I am now where I feel generally okay. I don’t want to be average, I want to be exceptional. I want to live to my fullest potential, to recognize all of my dreams and to feel confident in myself. I want to be happy.
I am fighting again. I took two weeks off, and now I’m back on board. This week is going to be extremely difficult, because I have to fight my apathy and my BDD. I am so close to being recovered, but that doesn’t mean I can stop the fight ~ I have to continue punching my BDD in the face until I cross the finish line.
I am not allowed to pick this week. I know what is going to happen ~ I am going to experience intense anxiety. There will be frustration, tears, nausea, headaches and feelings of weakness. I am going to want to pick, I am going to be fighting against myself in order to move forward.
My BDD is going to wrestle me with all its might to get me to the mirror, to grab the tweezers, to squeeze and pick and prod at my pores until I’m back at square one.
This week is going to make or break me. I refuse to give in. I’m going to win.
I’ll keep you all updated. If you are at this point in your recovery as well, please join me. We can fight together :)