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Kafitz48 , 25 Jun 2009

Long time picker

I have been picking my fingers since I was at least in First grade and am 48 now. I remember in 1st grade picking the caulous that had formed on the second finger of my right hand where my pencil rested. I have a permanent rough spot there now. I have also picked at my cuticles and sides of my fingers as well. Over time, I added peeling the skin down the sides of my fingers all the way down to the joint on my hand. I used to pick the skin on the bottom of my feet but, I no longer do that. I also had at times, picked at my scalp and inner edges of my ears until they bled and then picked at the scabs that resulted. I don't pick at them as much anymore but, still do sometimes. I have picked at scabs on my arms, legs and feet when I have a sore but not to create a sore in order to have a scab to pick at. I have gotten infections in some of them. Most of those though, were when I was a kid. I do still sometimes do it now but, not as often as I did then. I have moved on to not only picking my cuticles and sides of my fingers but also some of my knuckles. The fingers I pick on the most are my little fingers which includes the sides of my finger nails as well. I used to chew my finger nails but, not any more. I did suck my thumb when I was about 3-4 years old but, stopped that when I was 5 as a promise to my father. My thumbs are misshappen because of it though. I have chewed at my cuticles so long that It has affected my nails. My nails are weak and have ridges and flat spots in them. I also chew the inside of my lip and cheek. I will go the point of pulling skin off my lips until they bleed. When my fingers start to bleed, it does not stop me I just keep picking. Even the pain created from this does not stop me. I pick while driving and crocheting.Having something else to do with my hands does not always help. I did stop for a couple of different times but, each time when I started again, I was like a ravenous dog who hadn't eatten in months. In a matter a minutes I had my healed fingers looking like a mess. The longest time I stopped for was 9 months. I really had to stay concious about it all the time and tell myself not to when I would find myself doing it without thinking. Even when my fingers start to heal, the scabs or rough spots that result from the healing just add more temptation for me to pick again. I always thought that this was just a really bad habit until I started doing a search about it on Google. I also had wondered if it was a form a self mutilation. From reading a lot of the sites I have found, I see that it is and it is an OCD. I have never inquired about help for this problem because of embarassment and because I thought it was up to me and my will power to stop. I want to stop. Each time I look at other women with there nice looking fingers and hands and then look at mine I wish mine could look that nice and not be red, sore and bloody. I did have one doctor see it and she told me I should take up crochet or something like that. I told her I had but, It didn't stop me from picking. She prescribed me hydrocortisone cream to heal the sores but, that would not solve the problem. I have no problem with my fingers healing. I have at times though come really close to getting a bad infection in my fingers. One time I tore the skin on my little finger from the cuticle all the way down to the end of my finger on the outside of my little finger. Many times I have done this so bad I have had to put on Neosporin and a bandaid. I have always had a low self esteem and it is to the point where I don't like to look at myself in the mirror if there are others around, such as in a public restroom. If I am by myself, it is fine but, as soon as someone else comes into the restroom, I look back down at the sink. I desperately want to stop but, don't know where to turn for help. It is nice to know that I am not alone in this problem and that it does have a name. Kafitz48
4 Answers
June 25, 2009
Hi and welcome. You are at the right place! This is a good place to turn for help; I think the first step is TRULY wanting to stop. You have more experience there than I, having stopped for 9 mos before! Does that encourage you, like you know you can do it b/c you've stopped before? This site has some therapists listed; you may find one near you. Or, I've heard good things about their online therapist, who I am thinking of contacting. It's so hard with fingers and hands b/c they are always there, within sight and feel. I find it's very difficult to just leave them alone. I've been using acrylic nails, and my cuticles are healthier than they've probably ever been in my life! Now that one nail has fallen off and another is chipped, I'm tempted to take them off, but not sure I trust myself to not attack my cuticles. : ( So, turn here for help. That's what we're all here for. Take care!
July 14, 2009
Wow! I am really amazed by the things you wrote on here are the exact same symptoms that I am going through! I am so glad to hear that there are a lot of people going through this and not just me. At times I would look at other people with nicer fingers and mine are just horrible. I am able to stop my compulsions but weeks or months later, I am back at picking again. I can empathize. Tell me, did you ever found a cure or self help so I am able to stop this?
July 15, 2009

In reply to by Nemji

No, I have not found a cure. I try to tell myself to stop but, the more I think about stopping the more I pick. I wish I could find a cure or something that would help other that fighting with myself and the urges to pick and losing the fight. I wish I could offer you more help. I will keep trying to stop some how. If I find out anything that really works for me I will let you know or if you find out anything for have any suggestions please let me know. This is definitely something that is not just a will power issue. Thank you and good luck. Kafitz48

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