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BigPebbleNotTi… , 07 Apr 2019

What Is Wrong With Me? Help..?

Since I was young, I've always had terrible habits. Example, nail biting. Another that I've had since I was young is picking off and eating dead skin, usually off the feet. Occasionally though, its the skin around the top of my nails. They are so short at this point, I can just pull and skin will come loose. I usually don't go to the point of creating wounds, or blood of any kind (although it does happen). I absolutely hate this habit. I can't find out what it is, and I cant find anyone else with a story quite as similar. Everyone else creates open wounds and blood, but I don't. The only thing that makes me stop is when another person is on their way toward me, or if I'm with others. I can tell myself, "Bud stop this ain't good" but nothing I say to myself ever works.
Does anyone know what this is? I really just want to know, so I can see if its treatable. Please tell me if you have any idea. I had myself almost in tears, just asking What is wrong with me? Please, I'm desperate.

1 Answer
April 08, 2019

You are experiencing a body focused, repetitive compulsion. It occurs as a means to dispel some of the inner tension which you experience. Some people are just naturally sensitive and anxious individuals, so they tend to be predisposed to such behavior. Others have grown up in a stressful environment or experienced something traumatic which has sensitized their physiology, thus triggering this problem. I dont know your background, but all I can say is that our minds will adapt and use this sort of nail biting/cuticle tearing/skin picking behavior as a means to distract us from what the real issue is. The real issues are within us and encompass self perception/self esteem/and anxious tendencies such as OCD, etc etc. What happens when you bite your nails or pick at your skin is your brain releases dopamine, which acts to soothe you. Its a self harming habit that has its reasons for existing - its an attempt for your mind to stabilize itself, at the expense of your physical body and image aesthetics. I think its how the mind hijacks our behavior to preserve its sanity, even though we might maul and deform ourselves in the process. So the importance lies in self preservation of the psychological equilibrium within. Do not think that this behavior is irrational. It might feel that way because its a subconscious, deeply ingrained behavior that functions almost like an automatic reflex. Understand that what you are experiencing is a desperate attempt of your mind to stabilize itself. I learned that having to deal with this, we need to have massive amounts of self empathy. The guilt that is created by the habit can be devastating, perpetuating an endless cycle of self hatred and more picking/biting. We need to view this problem with a compassionate heart. Tell yourself "I struggle, I am struggling, and what I do to my nails and cuticles is simply an extension of my struggles. The tension I feel, the anxiety I experience, the self complexes that I have about myself are all being displaced onto my body." Have compassion and empathy for how your mind is trying to distract you and preserve itself. This is the step im in at this point and my picking has minimized, I am learning to look upon myself with caring and understanding.

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