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GinaZahn , 06 Sep 2010

Picking the Pads off my Fingers.

There are always a few painful moments in my day when I am faced with how disgusting my habit is. The rest of the time I am unaware...frankly I am used to it. I am used to looking down and seeing blood smeared across my fingers. I am used to the sting of the salt when I eat chips. I am used to the hard callouses and small fragments of dried skin scratching my husbands back when I intend to softly touch him. I am used to keeping my hands out of the water when we go hot-tubing to avoid the grotesque white corpse skin that puffs up when water absorbs and accentuates every flaw. I am very familiar with it all. My mind has somehow, after 20+ years, avoids at all costs to be conscious of this haunting scene. Most women have beautiful hands. Perfect nails. And when a co-worker asks to see my stunning wedding ring, I smile and stretch out a trembling hand with shredded cuticles, skin pieces every which way, some fresh blood and dry blood spots...some on each finger. I pray to God they don't say anything. Sometimes they do...sometimes they don't. But it is in these particular moments that I am pulled from my fantasy reality that my habit isn't too bad and drawn back to the horrific realization that I peel, pick, pull, chew and eat my fingers alive til they throb, swell, bleed, infect and I can no longer write or bend them. They Heal. They always heal. First a bloody scab, and if it's sore enough to keep away from, then overnight it will callous: and here begins the cycle once again. There have been times when my fingers have healed completely. I got fake nails on when my husband and I went on vacation to Mexico. I couldn't pick them. I could chew and bite them, but not at the same frequency that I can pick. So they healed quickly and I was so encouraged by the sight of smooth skin that my hands healed over, past the calloused stage and I began to look down upon my hands like they were a strangers hands. There was discoloration on the pads of course, because of scarring from the years of violent picking. However when I woke up the next morning after taking the fake nails off....i discovered my hands were once again bloody, shredded and ugly again. I must have picked them in my sleep. I haven't been able to get them as healed as they were that August of 2009. This is a part of my life. I am ashamed, embarrassed, disgusted with my own action. However, its all I know. I yearn to sit with calm, unmoving hands. I yearn to eat chips without searing pain shooting through my hands. I yearn to one day not carry band-aids in my purse, desk, drawers, car, etc. I yearn for soft hands to touch my husband with. I yearn to come out of the shower without white fingers. Are there any other finger pickers out there? Anyone who can relate to these events? I more hopeful just to know I am not the only one.
2 Answers
September 06, 2010
I had a very similar problem but with the pads of my feet. the only thing that helped was when i got the tops of my feet tattooed. I started treating my feet as though they were art pieces and began wearing cute shoes and painting my toenails etc. Eventually I started picking less and filing my feet more. Maybe in your case you should paint your nails and file the crap out of your hands. Then get some henna tattoos (temporary) to force people to look toward your lovely hands because that was the only thing that made me happy about my feet again. good luck!
September 07, 2010
I too would love soft hands again. This habit started so long ago, I know it deals with not being comfortable in my own skin. At first it started just the thumbs, picking at the cracks, then moved to other fingers. I cant say I dont enjoy the feeling as i pick off the skin, it feels good. But once they bleed or I look down and see the shreds of skin all around me. I just get so upset with myself for the lack of control. I try hard not to use those fingers on my boyfriends back but the worse part is when we are together and I am more thinking of picking than a loving moment. I have tried using hand cream, gloves to bed, files, anything to stop. My boyfriend will hold my hand, and if i want to pick it drives me nuts. I am a bit happy to know I am not alone at this, but sad also that I cant just chalk this up to "dry skin" and it is a compulsion disorder

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