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Flyingelephants , 15 Jul 2020

Nail bitting, skin picking and taking nails off

I’ve always been an anxious person and over the past10 Years my anxiety manifest strongly through my desire to skin pick. I usually bite my nails to the point when they get really short and I bite the skin around it. I’ve had infections and I usually bite and pick until it bleeds. Recently I’ve been very anxious and have actually pulled two nails out. It starts with creating a whole in the nail and taking the upper layer. I don’t think I take the whole thing out but usually it gets to a point where it bleeds and it hurts to much that it forces me to stop. This has only happened twice. Once while in an abuse I’ve relationship and now during COVID times. I’m just wondering if I’m the only one and what methods help? I take antidepressants and anti anxiety meds. I’ve tried grounding exercises but it’s always too late. I don’t stop until it bleeds or it hurts. Please if anyone else had the same problem please let me know. I feel like I’m crazy and no one will ever love me with my hands like this. I’m ashamed of what I do to myself and the guilt makes my urgers worse.

1 Answer
July 16, 2020

I definitely don't think that you are the only one. It's a difficult problem for sure. Have you tried wearing gloves? Or wearing a band aid over the nails that you pick at (like if it just tends to be certain ones?). If the biting helps your anxiety have you tried chewing gum or ice?
Also, have you ever tried body scan meditation? It may not be for everyone, but personally I have found that when I am consistently doing a body scan or self compassion meditation every morning, I have less anxiety and less urges to pick over all.
I swear I having nothing to gain from promoting this book, but I will talk about it all day, because I loved it so much. "Self-Compasssion" by Kristin Neff. I highly recommend it. I knew I had a lot of guilt and shame and self criticism with my picking, but I didn't realize how much and how it was really impacting me and making my problem worse. Even more than that, I didn't really know how to treat myself differently. This book gives some really great examples of how to relate to yourself in a more compassionate way. It made a big difference for me.

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