"Believing You Can" Can Help You Take Control of Hair Pulling, Skin Picking and Nail Biting Disorder

"Believing You Can" Can Help You Take Control of Hair Pulling, Skin Picking and Nail Biting Disorder

One of my favorite quotes is

"Whether you you say you can, or you say you can’t, I believe you."

This quote is all about Mindset: "Do you have a Can, or Can’t Mindset?"

When I say to myself, "I can’t find a fidget, or fidgets don’t work, or I can’t control my hands and the urge is too strong.  I just can’t..."

What I am really saying is "I'm not going to make taking control of my BFRB a priority and find a solution to my problem." 

Which means I'm also saying, "I'm fine with the way thing are," even though I know I'm not fine. 

And you know what?  Our brains like to be right.  When I say I can't, well Ellen, I believe you. I believe that if you say it, it is true.

But is it really?  When you say "I can't," is it really true?

One of my other favorite quotes is:

"Nothing feels as good as my BFRB, except not doing my BFRB."  

How do you feel when you read that? I feel hope.

An insightful woman coined this phrase during a recent support group meeting I lead. A few group members expressed their individual struggles with their Body Focused Repetitive Behaviors (BFRBs). Other group members offered suggestions on healthier coping strategies to stop hair pulling (trichotillomania), stop skin picking (dermatillomania) or stop nail biting - in the moment.

Each suggestion was followed by a declaration “No, that won’t work," "I tried that,” “Oh, I don’t like that...”

Then, my insightful friend gently spoke up,

"I hear you. There is nothing better than doing my BFRB. Nothing feels as satisfying. I too can’t find anything else that satisfies as much as pulling my hair and picking my skin...except not pulling my hair or picking my skin."

She continued,

"I used to be a girl who didn’t like lotion, or fidgets, or hats, or the Keen bracelet. I am a girl who pulls her hair & picks her skin. If I want to take control then I need to become the lotion, fidget, hat, and Keen girl. And once I opened my heart to these new ideas, it allowed me to pause, and then I choose, 'what do I want to do next?'  When I pause and not pull or pick for even 10 minutes, that feeling is so much better than my doing my BFRB."  

And that was that, my new favorite quote! And hopefully soon to be yours too!

"Nothing feels as good as my BFRB, except not doing my BFRB."  

Is it easy to not do our BFRB?  No way. 

But it is doable when you harness the power of Keen awareness to make healthier choices that can feel just as good, because in the end, it will feel so much better. 

How do I know?

Because I've been there. I struggled with Trichotillomania for over four decades.  With awareness of my hands - thank you HabitAware Keen bracelet - and the strength to choose healthier behaviors & self-love, I began to put my hands down, and pause.  The journey of taking control of my BFRB was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.  Actually scratch that. IT IS the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life, so far. Four years ago I found HabitAware Keen and for the last four years I’ve been 95% pull free and 100% shame free! 

Now I know that "Nothing feels better than my BFRB, except:

  • feeling confident in my own skin.
  • knowing I have self-regulation strategies to practice.
  • knowing I can do hard things.
  • feeling proud of my effort.
  • knowing I'm showing my family & how to handle their own discomfort more healthily.

So today I ask you, to complete your sentence: "Nothing feels better than my BFRB, except ______________"

And when you think, "I can't..." ask instead, "What CAN I do?"

If you don't know how to answer either of these questions, we can teach you!

By Ellen Crupi, HabitAware Director of Awareness 

Image courtesy of Littleforestowl / Unsplash 


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