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So yesterday I Googled "what is it called when you eat your finger skin". And came up with dermatophagia. This is very new to me. Its awesome to read other people's stories. Any comments will help....
Ps I'm so anxious to send this I'm eating my lip.
I was recently cautioned by people close to me that I was exhibiting dangerous behaviours that may lead to eating disorders... These are people that care about me and love me so I thought let me do some introspection. I did some reading and got on to ocd etc. It seemed like anything could be a flag for a disorder. And I have always always chewed at the skin around my fingers. So i thought let's see if there's anything.
I was shocked to find out this is a real disorder. I am a 24yo female, I have probably gnawed at myself since I was 5! This was just some funny quirky thing that I did that annoyed everyone and was a bit odd... Right?? Dermatophagia. Its a thing. I only found this term yesterday and so I am still reeling a little bit. Im shocked, confused, relieved, self aware, scared and tearful.
I tried a few years ago to stop the biting... Mostly because some stupid ex boyfriend commented that it 'looked really ugly' (thanks, you fool) I was pretty successful at stopping, so for about a year my fingers got to heal! However.... One obsession prepared another. I started chewing my lips and the inside of my cheeks. I guess in hindsight the mouth chewing was easier because I can hide it. So i still do both but less on my hands. My mouth is always a chewed mess. My hands are probably also a mess but in phases.
I can't even read a book without going into a frenzy. I thought it was a concentration thing. I also am increasingly aware of phases of eating normally and starving myself, exercising to burn off fat. These things are linked, I see that. Its all about control right? We are trying to control ourselves. How do you just let go? How can I just stop and listen to my inner voice without trying to distract myself? I'm pretty amazed I've become this person. I was always very in tune with my emotions and always confronted an issue head on. Now I seem to want to hide from problems or feelings that become overwhelming. I guess I'm realising that I haven't given myself permission to just deal. I haven't allowed myself to be mindful.
So I guess I need to make some moves. I'm just not sure what the first steps are. Could anyone answer some of these for me?
Is a self diagnosis sufficient in this scenario?
Should I get a medical opinion? (I am suspicious of psychologists because none of my doctors have ever picked up any of these issues)
How do I talk about this to people who don't believe in disorders?
It would be awsome go hear from some people. Even just to have some say it's ok it's all normal.