Hi everyone! *waves*
Firstly, I cannot even begin to express how surprised and glad I am to have found this site. Before today, I had no idea that there was a name for compulsive skin picking. To be honest, that kind of scares me a little bit, but at least I know that I am not alone.
Anyway, my story.I'm a 20 year old woman and I have been biting and picking at my nails and the skin around them for as long as I can remember. Up till the age of about 12, I loved nothing more than nibbling at the side of a nail until I made it split, then grapping this free edge with my teeth and tugging until a substantial amount of my nail came off. I would then take this torn piece of nail, put it in my mouth and chew it happily for a few minutes until I would get bored and spit it out. Then the process would start all over again.
When I was about 10 years old I was fitted with train tracks-metal braces. This meant that I couldn't physically bite or tear at my nails because the little metal blocks got in the way. That's when the picking started, and it continues to this day.
The process is pretty much the same everytime. I find even the tiniest piece of loose skin around my nails, bite and tear at it with my teeth to make it bigger, then tear it off with my teeth. If it's a really big piece I put it in my mouth and chew it for a while. I also pick under my nails, especially at the edges. Since I have been doing this for years, the sides of my nails have now come free of the nail bed, making my nails look disfigured. The nails on my middle fingers are particularly bad. They're all bumpy and have ugly ridges on them. The surface on them looks like a mountainous terrain-I am not exaggerating.
As a result of this problem I am now very self-concious about my hands. I don't like anybody to see my nails-not even my family. I always try to hide my nails by keeping my hands in fists. I have literally had people recoil in horror upon seeing my nails. The only way to make them look somewhat presentable is to either wear fake nails or nail polish. I wear nail polish I lot more often though, because false nails can't stick to my nails very well-the surface is too uneven. I've tried all those nail biting solutions which taste gross but they never ever work as I always just get used to the taste.
I've tried so many times to stop but I always fall off the wagon. Even as I have been typing this I have stopped at least 5 times to pick at my nails.
I think, starting Monday, I am going to try and go cold turkey yet again. That's how I came across this site-I was looking for tips on how to stop.
I am really ashamed and disgusted with myself for doing this. It's like some weird force over me. Trying not to do it is like trying not to sneeze-the urge is just unbearable.
Anyway, thanks to anybody who has taken the time to read this. If you have any advice/tips for me on how to overcome this problem, I would really appreciate the support.