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PAMAWATX , 04 Dec 2011

Chewing tongue & inside of cheeks in addition to fingers?

Hello all - can't tell you how relieved I was to find this site/forum! I'm 26 and have been picking/eating for as long as I can remember. My Dad used to do it too and my Mom hated it; she thinks it's just a nasty habit my younger sister and I learned from him. However I have always battled depression & anxiety and still do despite having a successful life so I think there are deeper hereditary mental issues at work here. I used to bite my nails as short as I could get them but somehow managed to stop that with sheer willpower in college. Unfortunately I still pick, bite and chew the skin around them so much that they bleed. Dryness definitely has something to do with it; I go through periods where I moisturize and manage to stop - like the entire period of my engagement because I was too embarrassed to show off my ring/have pictures taken otherwise - but I'm angry with myself for resuming the behavior on my right (dominant) hand now that I've been married 4 months. Worse and less controllable is what I do inside my mouth. There are two different ways I chew my tongue. One is that I stick both sides between my molars and just gnaw away, especially when I'm concentrating on even the littlest thing, until sometimes it becomes swollen and sore but never bleeds. The other way is that I'll actually rip little pieces off the back sides and play with them between my teeth until they become "useless" or tear into too many smaller pieces and I swallow them. I do this with the inside of my cheeks and lips, too - I'll contort my face and even use my hands to help reach as many places as possible. My jaw has started cracking from being overworked and sometimes I get headaches from doing this so much but I'm less aware of it than when I abuse my fingers. I believe impulse control disorder runs in our family, especially hot headedness, but despite being more conscious of this possibility than my other family members I've still had trouble controlling myself. I've made an appt with a counselor I found on this site for next week but wanted to share my story here anyway in an attempt to create healing connections. Thanks for reading. Much peace to you.
2 Answers
just me
December 04, 2011
I think its great that you have decided to go for counselling. There is so much shame around these issues that its hard to reach out for help. I wonder how well counselling works, and if I should do the same. Hopefully he/she will help you figure out any causes and suggest some specific techinques to deal with it. Also, just the fact that you are going will increase your resolve and determination to quit. Its so hard, so I applaud you.
December 04, 2011

In reply to by just me

Thank you! Your kind and supportive words mean more than you know. My consultation is Friday; I'll let you know how it goes. I've been to 4 other therapists in the past but that was before I made the connection with skin picking, so I'm hopeful someone who is specifically trained to help with this condition can be more helpful than the others were.

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