Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Nervous Habit

What do you do when you're stressed?

Do you reach for a cigarette? Head to the kitchen in search of food? Or alcohol? Do you fidget or pace? Pull out your hair (trichotillomania)?

I rub and scratch my face. I have done this since my late teens, early twenties. The first time I recall doing it was in my early 20's when I had a really stressful job (working for a hard arse boss) and I would rub my skin on the way to work and on they way back home. It is a subconscious thing, purely compulsive and most of the time I'm doing it without really being aware of it. When I become aware I try to stop, and have even tried sitting on my hands or holding something, however, next thing I know I'm doing it again. I cannot stop.

It begins with rubbing my skin all over until I find a lump. This "lump" might be a tiny blackhead, or a really small pimple that hasn't yet developed, or a dead or dying pimple, even a small flake of skin. Sometimes it's purely imagined "lumps". What ever it is I hone in on it and rub that spot obsessively. Then I'll move on and find more lumps, imaginary or otherwise. After doing this for days I end up creating angry red sores on my skin (see pic - eeek!!!!). If I'm doing this it is a sure sign that I am feeling super stressed and it's interesting to note that this doesn't occur when I'm premenstrual. It's purely stress related.

I had a friend call me up on it once, saying how bad my skin looked, how for someone in my line of work she was surprised I didn't have 'better' skin.  I was pretty miffed with her remark since she's known me for a couple of years and it was the only time she'd seen my skin looking bad. She has seen I have great skin for my age... I take good care of my skin and it shows... when I'm not stressing out. And to be fair my skin hasn't looked this atrocious since she made her comment way back in 2009. Something has triggered this latest stress attack.

It is a frustrating habit, one I'm yet to break - if that is even possible. I'm just thankful that I don't get stressed too often, I'd HATE to see what that looks like!! I'm really lucky also that I use Skin Serum (the precious!) often because this helps stop any scarring this rubbing and scratching could cause.

So what is it you do when you're stressed? Can you related to rubbing your skin? Do others do this? Let me know your thoughts.

~ and remember the reaction buttons at the bottom of the post ~ mwah!


  1. It's hard, Jodi. The best way I know of to break a habit is to replace it with another ("good") habit or to ask one's partner, if they're available, to say "Hey, you're doing it again."

    We know, instinctively that what we are doing is not healthy for us but it does become quite automatic, sometimes. :)

  2. PS ~ I think it's cute that we are asked by a robot to prove that we are not a robot. :)

  3. You raise an interesting point. I do it less when my partner or others are around because mentally I'm aware others will think it's odd, so somehow it's mildly controllable. Though I do feel myself getting tense when I can't do it and sometimes I'm so stressed it doesn't matter if others are around. My partner often tells me "Leave your face alone".
    P.S. I didn't know about he robot thing. Good thing he's working hard to prove we're alive ;)