Sometimes a seemingly
insurmountable problem can be solved by the most insignificant thing.
Hello! My name is This Girl
and I’m a recovering cuticle-biter. Shredded and ripped raw and bleeding, in
some cases down to my knuckles.
I tried meditation to be
more mindful and I’ve covered fingers in bandaids to prevent my own access.
Offended friends thought I found them boring. Self-conscious, I’d wrap my
fingers into my palm when I had to write in a meeting so my colleagues wouldn't see the mess of my hands. I once tried a manicure
but the beautician kept on and on about the torn skin on my fingers. Little did
she know how much I had to psych myself up to make an appointment.
I’ve never known how to
stop but I do remember when it started.
Around the age of seven, I
was sick for much of the year. I returned to school and into the next grade.
Overwhelmed by what I missed and anxious about what I didn’t know, I started
snacking on my own hands. That was almost 40 years ago.
Heading to Cairns at
Christmas time I had a vision of myself poolside with painted toe nails. A little,
‘Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous’. The pedicure went swimmingly. Then while I
was paying, the nail technician asked about a manicure.
For some inexplicable
reason, I felt I wouldn’t be judged. I told her about my nasty little habit.
Eager for a sale she said no problem.
She trimmed my cuticles,
and filed, buffed, and efficiently painted and dried my nails. It was like
watching a Ford assembly line. There was no comment or reaction.
Once she’d finished she
looked at me and said – ‘Just one week. Try not to chew your fingers for just
one week. They will get better.’
I walked out sporting
fabulous nails and I decided I didn’t want to chew them anymore. Even better,
the shellac nail polish was so thick, I couldn’t get my cuticles into my mouth
if I tried.
I’m not saying I haven’t
had a scratch and that my dry skin hasn’t peeled in places, but I feel pretty
much cured of something I thought I could never escape.
This and other behaviours
like hair pulling or skin picking are now considered a mental health issue, and
there’s a view that they arise from an emotional disturbance. Duh. But the
latest is that they sit within the obsessive compulsive disorder
classification. It makes perfect sense. As an adult I don’t have to be so
worried about not knowing something. I’m not a little girl anymore. But
behavioural patterns become entrenched and they need concrete strategies to
Saved by nail polish.
When I look at my nails now
I think – don’t they look great! Rather than – what can I pick next? Whodathunk?
I love my nails now. I like
to call the colour Tiffany Blue but I believe it’s just number 49.
I go to Metro Nails and
Hair, Wellington Centre, Hobart.
have you said goodbye to an old habit?
Here’s an interesting post I
can relate to by a former nail biter.