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Annina , 04 May 2014

55 and life-long problem

On May 4th, 2014 Annina said: Even as I write this I am picking, and I swear to myself every time I get one pick down and one piece of finger flesh in my mouth, I will stop. I always think, this could be the last one. I am not stopping though, and obviously, totally, really, really wish I could. I am 55. I have been picking my fingers since I was about 6-8 years old, I think--I just remember doing it most of my life. I pick the skin around my nails. I do not generally chew my nails, and they in fact, usually look kind of long and nice. But NOT my thumbs. My thumbnails are bumpy, discolored, peeling and both thumbs have huge "humps" in them which I do my best to hide from people. That is particularly hard to do at work when I am holding a document to show to a colleague or reading a book to a kid--I have become adept at pointing at text with my pinkies since they are usually not as desecrated and I also curl my thumbs in so no one sees them. I am embarrassed, distracted, definitely not as efficient as I could be at work or home since so much time goes to staring at and shredding my fingers. I also bleed, a lot, I go through boxes of band-aids, and about once a year I get a serious infected finger and have to embarrassingly go to doc for strong antibiotics. I am a lier, sometimes, frequently....because I tell the doc the wound came from a paper cut, the kids I work with I have "skin problems" and infections, any adults that might (God forbid) happen to notice that I have very "dry skin" that cracks and peels.... I always feel like I want to make my skin smooth, to get rid of the ridges, skin 'cliffs' and flaky prickly skin...."If I just make it smooth I will be done....." I DID quit for five years. I don't know how I did it but I did, through sheer will. Now I think the habit has always been lurking, and it pounced again about two years ago. Finally, my teeth have been hurting lately, the front teeth, from so many years of grinding on the flesh between my front teeth. I sound like a monster but am not. I would love to have a permanent, lasting complete cure. I feel shattered and fractured, not at peace, not centered at all. It impacts my self-esteem, it controls my life. I don't want to see or talk to people due to the shame I feel for what I do, with a hidden bleeding finger to remind me. Or a skin tag I cannot wait to get into my office and chew on. Argh. I want to try hypnosis. Anybody...success with that? Look forward to hearing what you have to say. Have read a lot of blogs here, this is the first time I have posted on a blog. Maybe this full disclosure of my real-life, all-consuming problem can help?? ( - : ) - :
2 Answers
May 05, 2014
"If I can just make it smooth I will be done." I have thought that same thing, consciously and subconsciously so many times. I've also thought about hypnosis, and would love to hear if anybody has any experience with it (positive or negative!) This is not the most helpful reply, but I just wanted to say I could rellay relate. Have you tried other things to stop? After years of therapists seeming to play the picking down as a symptom that would go away when I dealth with other issues (spoiler alert: picking has not stopped), and after a fight with my significant other who is very concerned, I've finally decided to try and stop this myself... I just don't know how.
May 06, 2014

In reply to by scalped0414

Wow, no positive results from therapy.....? I was going to go that route again, and did try a few sessions a few months. Had to stop because got too busy but I did not feel like it was going to be effective anyway. I honestly feel like real live old hypnosis that makes me feel like chewing my skin is like chewing rusty nails might be the only way to go. You asked how to quit, and said you really wanted to.... I can only tell you I did stop for five years, nothing specific happened in my life that enabled me to do that, I just powered down and did it. The first week the hardest, I stopped again for 3 days a couple months ago but that obviously did not work. I find if I just do NOT START in the morning I will be OK. The first pick and chew throws me off and I am into it for the rest of the day. If I absolutely do not let myself look at or even acknowledge my fingertips, if I can get over all the urges and ignore the ends of my fingers in the morning,and continue through the afternoon, I can make it. I actually find peaceful hours where I do not pick which is great. But I've been terrible now for a couple years. The only thing that seems to have helped me is this forum, I just posted on 2 days ago!!! It has had an effect on me. I am not alone and I feel really laying it out there in all it's nasty, honest detail has helped me somehow. Today was better, I still chewed a lot but it was a better feeling day....? ( - : I read all of everybody's posts and I so feel their desperation and the grip of their picking habit, in whatever form it may be. I relate to all of the posts and all of you, and I don't know, it just feels good to know someone else also chews on the flesh on their fingers, draws satisfaction from it, and is struggling to figure out how to quit. That really has been an eye opener for me.

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