Nail biting... it has been a habit of mine for forever. I am an anxious person, more so than average. When I'm anxious, I bite my nails. Not really any other time.
This can actually be a real issue, as it is for me. Excoriation Disorder or dermatillomania. Some cases can be really severe. So, if you know someone showing these signs, please stop being so critical. Here's a link with more info. Telling them to 'just stop', shaming them or punishment for a disorder is just a deplorable way to react to something that doesn't actually concern anyone but them.
So how did I quit?
For most, professional help is required. Not as a punishment but to help. If they don't want help, leave them alone. If you suffer from this and are sick of hearing the drama, tell them to mind their own. In all actuality, that added drama will only stress you out more and probably make your condition even more apparent.
For me, it was just that. It has an issue associated with it, it's not like people WANT to pick, sometimes to the point of bleeding and self harm. That's why people need to learn to be more kind. The world already sucks, don't make it worse for someone else. Regardless of the reason.
Humans are flawed. Everyone has flaws. If you suffer and feel embarrassed about it, Don't beat yourself up over this. It's okay to admit you have an issue and address it. Getting help is FANTASTIC, it would improve so many aspects of your life!
Remeber, harsh comments aren't really about you. They are about someone else hurting inside and they need to say something hurtful. If someone is overweight, a normal person wouldn't feel the need to point it out or tell them just to 'stop' eating. If someone has pimples, a normal person wouldn't just assume they need to 'stop' being so gross and wash their face. Why? It's rude, no one else's business and it does the exact opposite of filling the world with love, which we desperately need more of. If it offends them, they can put their offense on the list of things we don't have time for. For me, watching violent shows and proof reading are on that list. Sorry not sorry.
😡 First, I decided I was done. I was sick of getting my nails done. I would have them done (maybe 3 times in my life?) and did them myself a lot. Why? Because it is as fun, pretty and I had short nails. That's basically all. I am not necessarily very vain, I garden and work with my hands a LOT. They suffer and I get that. But I decided I was done. I have really nice hands, even with the work load, and guess it was a shock to people that I had nice hands and horrible nails.
That's just how I am. When I decide something, that's that. It gets done immediately or I stop doing it. Infj and Capricorn, fight me.
😱 I figured out my triggers. When I'm anxious, I find something, anything else to do. I can't just sit still or I fret. It's that feeling of my nail not being perfect: a split, a rough edge. My first impulse was to 'fix it'. Which did not help. I am not a great couch potato. Never was and hopefully never will be. I just have to keep that up.
☝🏻I always carry a nail file with me, always. If I feel something that's not perfect, I get my nail file. I try to keep my nails as smooth as possible. I never have an issue unless I feel an imperfection. I take really good care of my hands now. I don't treat my nails like tools, if I can't open it with my finger, I get The Smart Guy or scissors, knife, etc. The more I pamper my hands, the less I have to fret about. That sounds so vain but it's self care!
so so so much easier said than done but I try. If I feel a rough edge, I tell myself messing with it won't fix it. No amount of messing around will fix it. Leave it alone. Hands and skin aren't meant to be perfect all the time.
🤢Bad taste or cover the area,
I didn't always bite my nails. I would rip nails off if they split. Or just pick with my other hand. If you are a biter and are prepared to stop, a bad taste on your nails will at least remind you to stop. Just to remind yourself why you want to quit. Of course, don't use essential oils or anything toxic. I would suggest Apple cider vinegar on non-open wounds. Something that's safe just in case you forget for a second.
For other areas, long sleeves may not actually be the answer. I know when I FEEL a rough spot on my nail, it drives me mad until I fix it. Same would apply to a rough spot on the skin rubbing on fabric. I wouldn't recomment bandages too often either. That's a moist areas just trapping in germs. Maybe, if bandages are used, try washing it twice a day and applying a new bandage at those times. That may decrease your risk for yeasts and bacteria growth. If it's acne that's causing the picking, definitely speak with a dermatologist. I'm a firm believer that acne is your skin (the largest organ of our bodies) asking for help.
😦Beating the 'I didn't know I was doing it until it was done',
Sometimes, it's totally subconscious. I didn't even know I was doing it sometimes until it hit me or someone pointed it out. I know it's normal for many. It would be fine to ask someone you know is trying to quit if they would like a reminder or you ask a true friend for one. Be clear, it's not telling them to stop but just to let them know. Maybe even taking a break and talking for a moment about what may be stressing you. It really is hard to reign in. Try to limit your exposure to known triggers until you can handle it.
💊Try a supplement for skin, hair or nails, if your doctor gives the okay.
This is like the reward. I take hyaluronic acid suppliments, mainly for my skin but it helps nails and hair as well. It's a step, one you can totally skip if you want. I really enjoy taking something that I know is helpful to my skin and feel like if I bite my nails, it undoes all the work the supplement does to help. Poor little supplement!
💅🏻Paint your nails or decorate,
I love painting my nails... okay, no I don't. It's a waste of time and takes forever. I hate thinking if someone added up the time I spent on stupid things I do in life... Nail polish over the course of my life would be stupid crazy. BUT! It helps. I don't want to mess up that time I took. I don't I want to do it again. It can be really helpful when trying to stop.
Kinda hard to paint other parts of the body that can be the focus for someone else but maybe henna? Henna is SO beautiful! I would love to have it done again. I know if there was a chance I would ruin it, that would make me think twice. It takes forever also! If you pick at your face, I great skin care regime could help! Same concept, if you pick at it, that layer of amazing skin care will be gone!
👗Wearing protective clothing when working.
I don't do this but wearing gloves when you do the dishes or garden. Wear gloves any time you are working so you minimize the amount of damage you get while doing them. If your nails are thin and brittle, talk to your doctor about what you are lacking or what would cause that. For me, gardening, which I'm all about, drys my hands out badly. Gloves would help but I love the feel of the Earth.
After showers or hot water, avoid working until your hands and nails dry. Nails can become softer and more likely to become damaged. Avoiding damage will avoid the imperfections and thus, lead to less 'fixing'.
Face and body apply as well. Be sure your skin is hydrated and cared for. The less you have to pick at, the less you will pick! Seems logical but in the end, you have to be the one to look at those 'imperfections' as LIFE. Humans aren't perfect and that's okay! Know that picking doesn't help it. It actually makes it even more noticeable.
In the end, it's up to the person who is effected to want to stop. No amount of shaming or ridicule is the answer. Finding help or figuring out the underlying issues is the key.
Always speak to your doctor, this is just what has helped me and is in no way medical advice on your own condition. It may be good to speak with your doctor about ideas you have found that may work though! She/he may very well agree!
Remember, you are strong and wonderful!
The Smart Girl in Pants
The Smart Girl in Pants