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cire21 , 03 Jun 2011

My Coming Out Post ...

Hello All - new to this site, and glad I found it. Let me tell you, I have had a nail biting and cuticle picking problem my entire life .. and now i am approaching 60 years old and I'm a a male ... and have had only marginal success combating both issues. I have rarely .. if ever ... except for one dermatologist about 20 some odd years ago ever spoken to anyone about my problem .. so I consider this my "coming out" party! My nail biting issue is, for the most part, under control. From everthing I've read in this forum, Iv'e experienced them all ... shook my head in acceptance ... nodded in agreement ... and fortunately felt relieved that I'm not the only one out there with this embarassing behavior. Believe me, I've done it all, and experienced it all. I rotate between cutting my nails very short .. letting them grow out .. experiencing a tear or rough edge .. biting it off .. and then making them all uniform as much as possible. A few years ago, I noticed that the overall condition of my nails and cuticles was much better in the summertime for some reason. I concluded that it was because I used suntan lotion (oil or cream), and that it supplied the necessary moisturing recipe that I desperately needed. So, I started using that as my daily lotion, and generously applied it before I went to bed at night, and it seemed to work. I now use neosporine or vaseline .. each and every night ... and it does help tremendously! Who wants to go to bed smelling like the Coppertone girl! However, my cuticle picking has been my #1 lifelong issue. It truly is a nervous or anxiety condition, and various emotional or ??? triggers can bring it on ... but it is constant! I've picked; cut; hidden; band aided; gloved; bled .... to the point where I stand like Prince Charles with my hands wrapped around my back when in the company of people. To many, this posture is a show of confidence .... "if they only knew the TRUE reason!" My thumbs are horrible, with deep horizontal ridges because I pick at the cuticle base, and sometimes literaly "tear" away the skin! I've removed every stanley knife and razor knife from my desk arsenal, but I still seem "to get the job done" with just about anything that can get that little bugger! I am slowly, but surely making progress, but each and every time I think I've crossed another hump or reached the next plateau, some thing will trigger another "picking" session that destroys all of the mental energy I expended up to that point. There is, no doubt, permament damage to my nail beds, and my finger tips are somewhat discolored. Over time and distance, I've become a master at camouflaging my condition, but there is always that self-conscious doubt regarding when and if anyone has noticed it, or picked up on some of my techniques that prevent someone from getting a clean view of fingertips .. especially my thumbs. One thing I do that seems to help a bit is to place a little nail polish remover on a washcloth, and then "scrub" my finger tips in it. Make sure to get a good brand of remover, as polish remover CAN help generate growth, but it can also dry you out if used too much! The one thing it DOES do, is it will sting if you have some deep and open cuts! It's a good mental reminder just how much you NEED to stop! A little tough, personally injected reinforcement like this every day is good thing, and highly recommended! So ... looking for any other good hints out there to help me with this long term, and life long obsession. Seems like I've found the right support group!
1 Answer
June 10, 2011
Welcome to the club Cire21! I'm so sorry that you've had to suffer with this for all your life. I'm 22 and I worry sometimes about how this will effect my future, and how long I'll be doing this for. I like your ideas about Vaseline on your fingers (do you wear gloves with that? I feel like it'd be messy and get on sheets and whatnot..) and truly appreciate you "coming out" about you're long term experiences. The only person who has ever mentioned my habit to me is my mom, who tells me to get my hands out of my mouth or just gives me *that look* when she sees me biting or chewing. I'm new here myself but I can tell you that coming here makes all the difference. Thanks to the internet we finally know that we're not alone, that there are other that can relate and share experiences we've had right down to the last detail. There's also support from others trying to quit and rallying up other people to join them. It's a difficult thing to do, but our own online "Pickers Anonymous", as another user called it, helps bring our self damage to light and hopefully influences us that much more to at least begin stopping.

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