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How a 'Fidget Cube' Has Helped With My Dermatillomania

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Editor’s note: If you struggle with a body-focused repetitive behavior, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can find resources at The TLC Foundation for Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors.

For years, I have dealt with dermatillomania and anxiety. Sometimes I pick at my skin because I’m anxious, and sometimes I get anxious because I realize I am picking at my skin. It’s a vicious cycle that leaves my skin raw and often bleeding. Anything that could redirect my unconscious skin picking would automatically be a godsend.

Enter the “fidget cube.”

When I first heard about fidget cubes, I didn’t automatically think about the possibilities this little gadget would have for me. I heard about how it would be good for people with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or anxiety, but I hadn’t considered what it could do for my dermatillomania.

Recently, however, I found myself dealing with a lot of family issues that gave rise to more anxiety and, consequently, more skin picking. I tried redirecting my skin picking to a different fidgety habit, such as pen-clicking. That just caused people around me to get irritated, so I finally decided I should look into something else.

I looked up fidget toys and, lo and behold, the fidget cube was at the top of every list. Considering I’m a broke college student though, I wasn’t sure if I could justify the cost but I ultimately decided any price for an alternative to dermatillomania was worth it.

It cost me $12 on Amazon and already, it has helped me so much.

functions of antsy labs fidget cube

With six functions, I have my pick of what to fidget with, though the tactile gears are my favorite. Whenever I get the urge to pick at the skin under my nails, I can redirect that urge to the gears and pick at those instead. The ridges get under my thumbnail and provide enough resistance to mimic the feeling of picking at my skin.

The other functions are great too, though the switch is not as quiet as advertised, the rotating dial has more resistance than I would personally like, and the rotating ball on my cube doesn’t click. However, the silent clicky buttons are more subtle than clicking a pen, the joystick is very calming to mess around with, and the rotating ball is still very soothing to move around, like a marble on a desk.

Since buying it, I have used it at home, on the bus, in class and even in restaurants. Almost nobody has noticed, and if they have, they typically become intrigued.

Even my friends have asked to try out the cube, just for fun. The looks of joy on their faces when they messed with the various functions was reassuring. They understood just how helpful it can be.

Since buying the cube, my skin is slightly less marred and I feel much calmer knowing I can fidget with something in public that won’t bring attention to myself or cause me to bleed.

Just FYI, this isn’t sponsored. The only compensation I’m getting from this is the satisfaction of knowing this could possibly help others with picking. Dermatillomania is a valid disorder and we all deserve a chance at recovery. If this cube can help someone else the way it has helped me, that is good enough.

If you or a loved one is affected by body-focused repetitive behaviors, you can find resources at The TLC Foundation for Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors.

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Images via Fidget Cube Facebook.

Originally published: May 24, 2017
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