Islamic marriage advice and family advice

I suffer from anxiety and compulsive skin picking

woman walking away

Assalamu alaykum,
I really need some outside advice. Alhamdullah I became a muslim 2 years ago and since then I have been learning and performing my daily prayers and i've successfully made some improvements in my life. However there are some problems that haven't changed and i'm not sure if I can handle them alone. My fear is that they will start having a negative impact on my marriage and i'm very happy with my husband. We met after I came to islam and he has been a great source of happiness in my life.

Before islam my life was quite complicated, I had a hard time growing up and left home at the age of 16 after feeling neglected by my parents (who were divorced) and suffering sexual abuse at the age of 12. During my teenage years I felt alone and depressed. I felt a lack of motivation to attend school but still managed to graduate. I sought counselling and after becoming a muslim in my first year of university I came to terms with forgiving my parents and trying to move on from the pain of my past.

However, there is one problem that developed in my teenage years that is still pleging me. When i'm anxious I tend to pick my skin and leave noticeable marks on my body. I went to behavioural therapy and instead of treating this the practitioner treated me for social anxiety. At first I trusted his expertise, but after paying 200$ per session and seeing little progress, I ran out of money and stopped going.

I am currently in my 3rd year of university and find that I have a lack of motivation to perform household duties and even study. I could get away with this in high school but in now the procrastination is starting to effect my marks. Usually to deal with my skin picking I would get some fresh air outside to leave the home environment; but my husband prefers me to stay at home, especially when he sees no house work is getting done he finds it non-productive for me to go outside.

I want to be a good muslim wife and I feel this problem is tearing me apart. My husband started noticing and he gets very angry when he notices me picking my skin, because he thinks its on purpose. But I can't seem to stop and I know it's more subconscious than just a habit. I was seeing a counselor recently but she was a non-muslim and she prompted me to talk about current personal issues and i'm not sure if it was haram to talk to her about my husband ect. I wish I could see a muslim counselor but i'm a student and I don't work so I can't pay anyone.
I would appreciate any advice you could give me...

Jazakah allahu khairan (in advance)

-journey2islam

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Answer given by María M,

As salamu alaykum,

Sister, what you are doing is stimulating your body, through the picking your body receives more blood in the place you do it, depending on the place of the body you do it I would be able to recognize which organ or vessel you  are trying to stimulate the most, with the information you give me, I can advice you the following, this is just for you and to follow this tips won´t make you any damage, Allah(swt) forbids.

A healthy way to stimulate your body in a conscious way to balance  your system is shiatsu, there is an excellent book that will give you all the details and the information you need to practice from day 1, insha´Allah, the title is  SHIATSU+STRETCHING and the author Toru Namikoshi.  You need this urgently, have you heard about an oriental healing technique that works on the acupuncture points using suctions cups, what you do to yourself reminds me of this, then you need to bring your subconscious information to consciousness and learn from a trustworthy author what your body is shouting to you, insha´Allah.

Rubbing your body with a towel every morning to stimulate your circulation will be very good, until your skin turns pinkish.

Don´t take baths, take showers and faster the best, if you soak yourself for too long you get very weak, and you need to strengthen yourself, insha´Allah.

Eat balanced, fresh fruits, vegetables, cereals, meat, fish, poultry, eggs and some dairys, not much.

I hope this helps, insha´Allah.

All my Unconditional Respect,

María

IslamicAnswers.com Editor


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4 Responses »

  1. As salamu alaikum, sister

    I hope my message is not too late. Are you still suffering with this problem?

    I can empathise well with some things you described and I think it would be very beneficial for both of us to stay in touch.

    Looking forward to hearing from you,

    Sue

    • Salaam,
      Dear Sister , Journey2Islam, I suffer from the same problem.
      Your post has brought to light a very important issue in my life , often a cause for embarassment , as I pick the skin off my thumbs.
      I also suffer from anxiety , and hope that someone reaches out to me ...when they read my post as well.
      Inshahallah, after every darkness there is light.

      JazakAllah,
      Maliha.

  2. Salaam my sister,

    I am sorry you are having to cope with this disorder.

    Your disorder is called dermatillomania, and it is characterised by anxiety which could stem from your childhood experiences which you have not adequately let go of, and are now manifesting in these ways.

    The reason that the counsellor was treating you for anxiety is because she/is is trying to solve the root of the problem rather than the symptom. Skin picking is one symptom of an underlying emotional issue.

    The way that counselling works is that a client will come tote counsellor with symptoms: lack of sleep, fear, compulsive habits, tearfulness, insomnia - a wide array of issues will take someone to a counsellor. These are called "presenting problems", they are the problems that people can see and fear and are aware of. driving these problems, are the roots of those problems - some event, or condition that is not noticeable because study are sub conscious or blocked out from the clients awareness levels. The counsellor will then speak with you until she can begin to identify possible causes for these problems.

    It is important that you are as open with the counsellor as possible, as anything you hide will stunt your development in counselling, and it will make it difficult for the counsellor to help you connect with the root cause of your anxiety. Therefore, do please speak to your counsellor about your husband or any other issue that may be a factor in your emotional health.

    As a student, there should be free counselling services available to you. If you do not want to go into intensive counselling, there are different types. For behavioural change, CBTis usually the route to go for. CBT stands for cognitive behavioural therapy, and it is normally 10 sessions with a counsellor who will work with you to produce a specific outcome such as stopping smoking. after that,there are deeper forms of counselling which are best suited to people suffering from long- term emotional pain, such as a woman who cannot get over the death of her husband 10 years later, or someone suffering from depression. For cases where disorders are string, such as anorexia, bulimia, self harm, or addictions - a specialist in this area would have to be consulted.

    For now,i would read up about your condition as much as possible, and try to cultivate an inward eye in which you are assessing yourself and your behaviour and trying to notice what triggers your picking and what relief this habit is giving you. After that, consult your student body - as there should be some free resource for you.

    At the end, there is relief for all of these problems, and you are not alone with this condition. Do invest in yourself and take care of yourself, remember to have fun and laughter in your life and prioritise relaxation because your body has a right over you.

    Peace,

    Leyla
    Editor, Islamic Answers

  3. As salamu alaykum,

    Sister, what you are doing is stimulating your body, through the picking your body receives more blood in the place you do it, depending on the place of the body you do it I would be able to recognize which organ or vessel you are trying to stimulate the most, with the information you give me, I can advice you the following, this is just for you and to follow this tips won´t make you any damage, Allah(swt) forbids.

    A healthy way to stimulate your body in a conscious way to balance your system is shiatsu, there is an excellent book that will give you all the details and the information you need to practice from day 1, insha´Allah, the title is SHIATSU+STRETCHING and the author Toru Namikoshi. You need this urgently, have you heard about an oriental healing technique that works on the acupuncture points using suctions cups, what you do to yourself reminds me of this, then you need to bring your subconscious information to consciousness and learn from a trustworthy author what your body is shouting to you, insha´Allah.

    Rubbing your body with a towel every morning to stimulate your circulation will be very good, until your skin turns pinkish.

    Don´t take baths, take showers and faster the best, if you soak yourself for too long you get very weak, and you need to strengthen yourself, insha´Allah.

    Eat balanced, fresh fruits, vegetables, cereals, meat, fish, poultry, eggs and some dairys, not much.

    I hope this helps, insha´Allah.

    All my Unconditional Respect,

    María

    IslamicAnswers.com Editor

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