I have finally broken my Dermatophagia / skin biting habit after 37 years. A personal story, not an advert


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May 08, 2009

Hi there It's over a month and I am still not compulsively biting my cuticles. This has been the longest period of time ever that I have not been biting and I have absolutely no urge to do this. I continue with 2 x 20 mins meditation every day. Last week I had two days off (it was my birthday and I was out partying) and I instantly started biting at my cuticles until they bled. However, I started back on my meditation again and it instantly stopped. Just to confirm I have tried every other technique in the book with no success. Also please note this is a completely free technique, there is nothing to buy or any course to follow and it has been 100% effective for me. I really do hope you'll try it out. It has simply changed my life, but it does require lots of work each day. Good luck - Jason
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October 19, 2009

Hey Jason, Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you so much for posting this. I'm 14 and I've had what I now have found out to be Dermatophagia for as long as I can remember. I too have tried absolutely everything and nothing has worked. I have to wear plasters to hide my fingers and mostly just keep them in my pockets. I don't socialize much and feel nervous shaking people's hands. I do magic and it’s horrible because sometimes I perform in a close up setting and my fingers look disgusting. It has taken over my life. I will try MBCT everyday now; I just hope it will be successful. It almost makes me quite emotional thinking that it all could stop. Thank you so, very much. Jesse Brooks, South Africa P.S Please could you send me the directions? jessembs@gmail.com
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May 18, 2011

Hey Jason. I'm a certified yoga and meditation teacher who specializes in recovery and habitual re-patterning. I'm excited to speak further with you and to have you try a special habituation meditation in addition to your meditation that will take you less than half the time you are currently using, and perhaps will give you even better - more lasting - results. I also am not advertising anything, except to share hat I may have a more efficient method than yours, and want to share it with you since you are already dedicated to this path of treatment. This treatment has worked for me at only 5-7 minutes per day, enabling me to stop picking after 25 years. That being said, more meditation is always better! :) And I can advise you, and others since I am technically certified to share and teach these meditations. - Look for my post in a few days... Truly Yours, Fateh
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October 17, 2012

thank you so fucking much LondonJason for this forum post! your inspiration to try meditation helped me so much to finally stop skin picking and biting at my finger tips after about 7 - 8 years of embarrassment I think. :-)))))) also your hint to being "mindful" was the key to success for me. I definitely owe you a big beer! a few weeks ago i found out by googling a bit that i'm not the only one doing this weird thing and that there even is a name for it: Dermatophagia. maybe this knowledge helped and was the first step to manage this disorder for myself. I'm so glad that I found your post here! I first started being a bit more mindful than before and took better care of myself by trying to avoid stress, avoiding multi-tasking (which is known to be bad for a human brain) in my office job and also to reduce coffee a bit, which seems to cause inner trepidation. but the key thing that I believe helped get over this was autogenic training. I've ripped two audio files from youtube and burnt them on CD. one file has a length of about 11mins and the other one about 22mins. I use the first one every morning before leaving my house and the longer version every night before I go to bed. after doing this I'm relaxed, focused and more placed in my middle. I also use a rich lotion soothing and nourishing the skin. it's strange but since the first time I tried this I didn't pick and bite my fingers anymore for a whole week! the first week without dermatophagia for 7 -8 years!! well, after a week or so I had a longer bath and the upper layer of the skin on my finger tips peeled off by itself and I backslid for a moment and picked and bit, the temptation was too big. but after removing all horny skin with a nail clipper and using a good lotion it got better again instantly and I haven't been picking and biting for another couple of days now. so I'm spending half an hour each day lying on my back and doing autogenic training which is a very good price for a better living without embarrassment anymore and I anyway feel good after each session because I'm more "mindful" and centered. and it doesn't cost a cent!! ;-) right now I have no desire whatsoever to pick or bite skin from my fingers which I could have never imagined a few weeks ago. I can't tell if I'm over it for good now but I can tell that the skin on my fingers looks better than ever before in the past 8 years and I feel that I'm not hiding my hands anymore at meetings or dinners which is a great new feeling for me! I also cannot tell if this measure helps for everyone, I guess it always depends on the cause why someone is picking and biting and obviously in my case the reason must have been related to some nervousness, unease or inner disquiteness. yet, if someone reads this, gives it a try and it works for him / her I'm very glad that I could share this experience and help somebody. I still can't believe that I managed to handle this so easily after having tried so many other things in the past in vein rendering me desperate. so, I wish you all good luck for the future, take care and be mindful! :-) cheers, patrick
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February 08, 2017

Hi Jason, Do you still have the leaflets you received? Erika
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May 23, 2009

Thank you so much for posting. I have a 12 year old daughter who compulsively nail bites and recently (with advent of acne) started face picking. I also have a sister who permanently scarred her skin as a result. I don't want this for my daughter. I also don't want her on medication (SSRIs) if there's an alternative. We will try meditation. I'll let you know if it works. I would also love it if you would scan the directions you received. I'm feeling over MY head, much less my daughter's, and would love all the help I can get. Sra
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October 18, 2009

Hey Jason, Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you so much for posting this. I'm 14 and I've had what I now have found out to be Dermatophagia for as long as I can remember. I too have tried absolutely everything and nothing has worked. I have to wear plasters to hide my fingers and mostly just keep them in my pockets. I don't socialize much and feel nervous shaking people's hands. I do magic and it’s horrible because sometimes I perform in a close up setting and my fingers look disgusting. It has taken over my life. I will try MBCT everyday now; I just hope it will be successful. It almost makes me quite emotional thinking that it all could stop. Thank you so, very much. Jesse Brooks, South Africa P.S Please could you send me the directions? jessembs@gmail.com
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October 19, 2009

Wow that's great Jason, I've just started seeing a therapist for my skin picking / itching but it's not really doing any good so if you could email me the meditation guide it could come in handy? buywakingup@hotmail.co.uk
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December 14, 2009

I am desperate. Please, please, please e-mail me the instructions that you were given by the RNH. I've been struggling with this as long as I can remember and desperately need some help. kari6885@hotmail.com
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May 18, 2010

Please send me more information, I'm looking at bloody nubs as we speak. shyster_7@msn.com. thank you for posting! I'll be sharing this with my mother who also bites her skin.
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May 21, 2010

Hi Jason, Excellent post,very happy you have found something that is working for you and I hope it continues.Im 39,I have BDD and skin pick mainly face,arms and back,which has gone on since teen years,far too long.I often find doing Yoga helps me through days,bringing myself back into the 'present moment' etc,so I was very intrigued with all what you wrote.I got onto researching MBCT,ive also downloaded the meditations from iTunes(thanks for that)I would be extremely grateful if you could post the scan of the documentation and instructions that you were given by the Royal National Hospital.I also have noted down the address of this hospital,as my partner and I will soon be moving back to the uk and will maybe located in London.My partner has terrible sinus problems. Regards Jo
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May 27, 2010

Hi LondonJason: I just read your story for your 'cure'. I hope its still working for you, and if nothing else, youre getting some constructive 'me' time with your meditations. Id love a copy of the docs & instructions from RNH. Im about the same age as you, and I can see kinda how this method may work; I recently completed a Person-centred Psychotherapy Diploma, and my similar OCD almost faded into non exsistence. I suspect this was due to the whole 'sitting with my feelings' in a non judgemental way (which is a person centred approach too). However, since i completed the course, and have had a break from this self reflection, my OCD had flared almost beyond control. Ive been told that mostly these compulsive behaviours are a way of avoiding sitting with ones inner being (!?) as its too uncomfortable or just scary to be faced with doing so alone, for fear of what may lurk there. My mail is stickgal@live.co.uk, and please post again to let us know how youre getting along...
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February 07, 2011

Thank you. My name is Omar (23 years old) and i finally took the courage to research my finger biteing issue. I have dermatophagia since i was little. My mother had the same problem her whole life until she started getting her nails done she for some reason stopped. I am a male and would feel wierd haveing my nails done so plan A is not good. So I have ignored it believing that someday it would go away but it just got worse. Please send me an email of the steps you took in detail so I can hope one day i have normal looking fingers. Again Thank you so much.. omar_uhh@yahoo.com
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February 23, 2011

Hi Jason, congratulation on your success, be great if you could give an up date to let us all know how you are doing. I am a compulsive skin picker and I benefit from yoga and can relate to the mindful approach. Can you please email me the information. Much appreciated. bedrock2000666@yahoo.co.uk
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March 07, 2011

Congrats on your success - Please could you send any relevant information to jameskundi@hotmail.com. Thanks in advance for your help
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March 12, 2011

Please, Please send me what you did to Stop. I really need to know what you have discovered.I realize it might not work for me but you sound like whatever you did was so encouraging.I can be reached at cjesep@gmail.com. Thanks so much.
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May 01, 2011

Jason, I am so glad to know your story. Congratulations! Thank you so much for sharing. It is almost a relief that this can be treated. I thought there was no way to get rid of it. I am fed up with my skin biting habit. I have been doing it as long as I can remember - and I’m 27 now. I just want to get rid of this. Also, I have been recently diagnosed with depression, anxiety and possible ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder). My psychiatrist and psychologist have suggested me to take prescribed medications and other treatments that I cannot afford. Frankly, I don't want to depend on such medications for the rest of my life. I am hopeful that meditation, that you have indicated, will also be able to help my depression, anxiety and concentration, and I will be saved from taking medicines that have horrible side-effects. Can you please send me the instructions on samkan84@gmail.com? I will be really grateful to you. Thank you so much. Regards, Sam.
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May 18, 2011

Why medicate, when you can meditate? Email me, or check my posts coming up in a few days on the forums about a free medical meditation for OCD and habituation which I will be sharing soon... - Truly Yours, Fateh - fatehsinghyoga@gmail.com
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May 17, 2011

Hi Jason I am really interested in looking at the techniques you used if you could please send me a copy of the documents and instructions you were given to porsouls@hotmail.com. I have picked the skin all over my body for at least 13 years, and I have spent the last year really working on myself and I have had a gradual but significant improvement. I've not been to any doctors, but I've found for me using E45 cream helps to make my skin smooth and less pickable, but as soon as I stop using it I start to pick again. I think it's interesting how you have found a mental technique to help you, and yet if you stop practising it, you relapse almost immediately. I hope you continue to improve. Maxine.
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May 18, 2011

Hi Jason, Thanks for sharing your story. I am certain myself that this is true and works because I have done it myself - just using a slightly different meditation technique, which is specifically targeted to OCD and addiction healing... And I think that with some of my advice we can hone this technique into a valuable alternative treatment... I'm a picker and a yoga & meditation teacher, 39 years of age. I work full time, but I also teach about addiction recovery - and specifically about how to treat and change habits and patterns. This is my first time coming to this board, and this is the first day I have posted. I was very touched by some of your stories. Some of you have pretty severe cases of picking (CSP), and some lesser cases, but it seems like you have reached a point of beginning to search for answers, and have started looking for help... The question is, would you be willing to try a holistic therapy to help yourself out? I have access to and teach (freely) a medical meditation that comes from India which is specifically an aid for habituation, OCD, addiction and related behaviors. I did it recently for 40 days, and was surprised that I completely stopped picking (after 25 years) for about 20 days... for the first time in my life... I have kept doing it weekly though because sometimes minor picking comes back, but I'm currently working on it through regular practice of the meditation, and with some dietary restrictions, and it's almost gone now - my hands, cuticles and fingers are healing up wonderfully... I cannot make any guarantees, but in this instance, the treatment I am offering is simple, holistic, and harmless... All it takes is a little bit of commitment, diligence and patience. What do you have to lose?... I'd like to know if you and the rest of the board believe you can commit to doing something like this for yourself for 40 days straight every day - as a starting point - and for only 7 to 11 minutes per day (15 minutes total time to settle down and tune in and tune out). Then you can continue to do it 2-3 times per week afterwards, or as needed, until the picking stops... I am willing to share this medical meditation totally free, and I would like to share this meditation with the board here, but I want to do it in a way that is proper and respectful. I also want to meet and get to know people who are committed to healing, and want to try this meditation - people who can follow through for 40 days, and also respond and give me feedback on their progress. I would like this to become part of the research I am doing for recovery from OCD - and if this is successful, to help to spread this meditation technique to help many other people living with habitual OCD and addictive behaviors. Also, at the same time, I would also recommend going on a measured dosage of natural Inositol, as recommended in this article: http://westsuffolkpsych.homestead.com/inositol.html, concurrently with the meditation. I have a strong feeling that the two together will help attack this problem naturally from multiple angles, psychologically, holistically, and internally, naturally. If you are interested, email me and stay in touch through this board. I will post up more information soon - please look on the forum in a few days under the topic "40 Day Medical Meditation for OCD and Habituation".... Truly and Humbly Yours, Fateh -- fatehsinghyoga@gmail.com
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May 12, 2013

i need your help!! im ready to follow whatever u say =\ i also emailed you from khaula.n@hotmail.com
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May 23, 2011

Hello. I have been picking for 20 years. I always thought that I am the only one in the world with this condition. To find this information on the internet was priceless for me. I have been trying to stop picking for th past 20 years without any success. Can someone please e-mail me any helpful information, techniques that will help me to treat my self. I kindly thank anyone who will answer to this message. Thank you in advance. Sandra
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June 03, 2011

I am 30 years old and have had a skin biting/picking habit for the past 15 years. I have suffered with depression in the past and although I seem to have come to terms with this and am able to manage my life more successfully now, I am still blighted with this habit. I find myself absent mindedly picking and biting my fingers and scratching my legs constantly. My fingers are unsightly and I cant show my legs in public as they are badly scarred through years of scratching and picking. I live in the far east now and work in the financial industry. Dealing with clients and colleagues makes me nervous as I worry they might notice my problem, this in turn makes me more nervous and anxious and I end up making the problem worse as a result. It is a relief to see that I am not alone in suffering with this problem. I can particularly relate to having a mind full of worries and anxieties with regard to the past and what the future might bring. This affects my focus during the present day and I often struggle to cope with everyday challenges which leaves me worried and frustrated. I am fed up with being prescribed anti-depressants by doctors who seem to dish them out at the merest hint of anxiety. Any information on a more natural approach would be massively useful in helping rid myself of this affliction. I have always struggled with using willpower alone so any tips or advice would be welcome. Please email: pedrojrobinson@gmail.com Many thanks, Peter.
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August 03, 2011

Hi Jason! I see that you posted on this forum a long time ago. I just came across it as I decided to start researching my bad "habit" and how to stop it. Little did I know there was a term for my behavior, called dermatophagia. I've had it on and off for 15 years, and I want to stop!!! Every word in your post rang true for me, and it felt amazing to read that I am not alone. I am so happy that MBCT worked for you, and have been interested in looking up a local therapist who incorporates that approach. I know my scatter-brain OCD-ish self would likely benefit from some mindfulness practices in my life. If there is any chance that it may help me with my skin problem, all the more better. If you still have the info you received and can still email it, I would be so grateful! Thank you again for writing your encouraging post! raery@alliant.edu
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August 13, 2011

I just found out what cures mine as well! After expirimenting with marijuana, i found out if I smoke at least once every 2 days, my impulse to pick goes away. It really is a miracle plant and while it may not have the same effects for everyone else, I will smoke until i no longer have the impulse.
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April 05, 2012

I thought I was the only one! I have done this my entire life. There isn't a time I can remember back to when I didn't pick and bite the skin around my nails. I remember my Mom putting something on my fingers that was suppose to burn if you got it in your mouth. Did that stop me....no. It is such a compulsion and the drive to do it is so overwhelming it feels almost impossible to stop. Sometimes, they are so bad, I wake up in the middle of the night and my fingertips are throbbing. However....I have found that, if I can get to the point that they don't look too bad and I have a manicure done with nails and all then I don't bite them....don't have the desire to bite them. Is that weird or what? Does anyone know the cause? I cannot associate it to anything...I've had a fairly normal childhood and nothing from then I can attribute it to. I DO however suffer from depression...another thing I think I've had my entire life. I will be 60 this month and wonder if either will ever end. I would love to know the cause of this. It seems to be associated somehow to stress or anxiety for me but I cannot keep it at bay. My depression is pretty well handled with mild medication, but the biting and picking seems to have a life of it's own. Anyone have any suggestions as to what causes us to do this and to the extent we do???? I get so disgusted with myself over it.
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May 05, 2012

Hi Jason, I really hope you are still on this forum..I would really appreciate any help I could get..I've done this for 35 years and I'm worried about my health/infections. It's to the point I can't go in public for days until it heals for a bit but as soon as my mind races I start again. Right now I can barely type and I can't wash my face tonight either. Please send any info to: jwm3338@gmail.com. Thanks so much. If someone else received the info from Jason please respond, because Jason may not be on here now...I would be so grateful.
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September 30, 2012

I have adhd, ocd, Dermatophagia, anxiety, and LOTS of tics... i never knew i had ocd and i still don't think i have anxiety... but i do have 'superwoman' complex as i like to call it. I need help and i am on 5 medications in the last 10 months... the adhd has DEFINITELY gotten better with vyvanse... adderall LOVE but made the symptoms of everything else worse. I wore gloves all the time for a while... helped! Fake nails for a while... helped!!! Nails cost too much and you can't type well in gloves. My parents don't believe in ANYTHING and have the turn the cheek method and STRICT method... which makes you a liar, anxiety filled, and control issues of many kinds.... i am 36 next month and can't take it anymore... i have had issues way before i had trauma which started at age 16, 18, and then i just seemed to i guess self harm which i never knew i did!!! i just want to be freakin NORMAL. I am now a single mom of two, work 3 jobs, workaholic, never want to have sex again or be married. OCD personality disorder.... but not a door shutter. HELP.
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October 17, 2012

How do you bring yourself back into the present moment? How often do you do the meditation? 40 min a day? Do you ever spend time thinking about the future and making plans or goals? I'm intrigued.
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November 11, 2012

I am nearly 50 years old and still bite the skin around my nails. It's disgusting! It drives my husband crazy, and I don't blame him. I don't feel anxious, but when I think about what's going on in my life, I can imagine that I am concerned about a few things. I then look down and notice that the meat around my nails is in horrific shape. Stress related for sure. I take an anti-depressent. Any other ways to prevent this self abuse?
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December 07, 2012

Omg. I too have had this for years. It was only until just now that i have found out that there is an actual name for it. I am forever picking/biting the skin around my nails, particularly my thumbs! I pick the skin until it bleeds and my fingers are red raw, all the time. I also take it to the extent of scratching my skin mostly on my hands and on my fore arms. It then scabs up and then I continue to pick the scab until I physically cannot pick it anymore, needless to say my skin is scarred :( I have depression and am on mild anti depressants. I seriously thought I was the only one that did this to myself and I totally relate to everything I have read. I have the shame of people seeing my nails/skin. I also do it on my fingers til they literally throb! Sometimes I can't type because of it. I am so relieved to know I am not alone but as I am typing I am still picking!! AAAAAAGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHH!! xx
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December 09, 2012

I am 42 years old. And have biten my fingernails, cuticles & skin since I was a little girl. My parents were constantly fussing & fighting my entire childhood. I remember going to my room & holding my ears & constantly biting my nails & skin, it seem to soothe me somehow. Well probably 15 years ago I stopped biting my fingernails, thank God. But in the past 7 or 8 years I have started biting my skin around my nails & all the way down to the knuckle. I even got a serious staph infection in my thumb 3 years ago & honestly thought it would never heal. You would think that I wouldve learned my lesson. I am so embarrassed about my hands, and my husband & 2 boys are constantly saying Mommy, stop biting your skin!!! I cannot tell you how many bandaids I use in a weeks time, I try to put antibiotic cream or vaseline on them & them bandage them up. I carry gloves with me in the vehicle, cause I bite them terribly when I'm driving or riding. I do have Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Fibromylagia, and Myofascial pain. I want to stop so bad, I've prayed for God to take this from me, and I know he can. Ive said so many times thru the years that I wish I could just sleep for a couple of weeks & let them heal. I take medication for anxiety & Lorazepam to sleep & Adderall and/or Percocet for the extreme faigue & pain. But the Adderall makes the need to 'bite' even worse. I'm desperate for help
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May 06, 2013

I just think it's weird that MY WHOLE FAMILY would bite obsessively, (except mother) who wasn't there. This is how we watched T.V. Everyone biting! When I asked my father why we did this, he simply stated the we come from a long line of worry worts. His daddy before him would worry and his daddy before him. So, I think it is worry, Worry is BLIND and cannot discern the future, is a quote I read once. So, eat less sugar (it really gets us workin') watch other intakes, like caffieine and save the BODY, Then, take your medications for the MIND and as some of you are stating, the latest known cure, Meditation, focus on your own breathing for 40 minutes a day, for the SOUL. BODY < MIND AND SOUL! Take care of it, nurture it, Make a point of RELAXING and staying in the moment like trying to meditate All Day Long! May want to add Vitimin "B COMPLEX" it lowers stress too. "B" is for BALANCE! Good luck friends. I am 54 and just found out Medications for mental disorders are almost free everywhere! So we CAN afford some help. Ask for your local family and childrens services. Or, somewhere, the Governmnent doesn't want us running around crazy, so they do amply supply help if you want it, It sure is helping me! Free Phsyciatrist, AND MEDS!!! Look it up! Good luck!
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May 12, 2013

wow i actually didnt think my habit is curable =\ i hav d exact same issue as in ur post i just cant resist picking at my fingers and even whyl m picking im thinking dat i shud stop but i just dnt till i end up bleeding . its horrible and my fingers are ugly please of anybody can help me contact me at khaula.n@hotmail.com
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February 15, 2014

would like to know more about the focused thinking in the now
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December 07, 2014

I have been picking and eating my skin since I was 11 years old, I am 18 now and I did not think of it as an issue at first until it started getting really bad about 3 years ago... I dont know what to do because I just cant stop and its hard to talk to my dad. I have told him about it a long time ago and he didnt try to do anything about it, he just told me i would grow out of it. But i am tired of my skin and feet looking horrible. I am ashamed to talk to anyone because i dont want anybody to get weirded out about it and some people just wouldnt understand what i am going through. I bite the skin on my feet, fingers, and my lips.. I pick my skin all day everyday and idk how to control it. please help me...
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November 14, 2018

hey jason thank you soooooo soooo much for sharing this! i was starting to feel like nothing is going to work and its really nice to find out that you're not the only one with this weird habit. i would greatly appreciate it if you sent me the guide; here is my email lydiabelai@gmail.com