Dr. Suess

"And will you succeed? Yes indeed! Yes indeed! Ninety Eight and Three Quarters guarenteed!"

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Lifelong bad habit

chronic onychophagia

That's what it is. Unless you're a doctor or psychologist reading this you're probably going ?huh?



Here I am, my freshman year in high school ... my hands placed where I did not want them ... with .. no nails ...

When I see that picture, all *I* can see, is the lack of fingernails.

At 4, my parents were trying to get the annual Easter picture ..and they could scarcly get my fingers out of my mouth long enough for me to GET the picture taken
I remember this being taken. By the time the picture was taken, you can see by the expression on my face, I was having great fun at sticking my fingers back in my mouth.

So, I've been through my flicker looking for pictures of me with my nails, and ... I do a good job of hiding my hands when the camera's are around. Only one shot, and it wasn't clear enough to show. The other, I had on fake nails FOR the picture.

One time in my life I managed to quit biting my nails. A couple of years ago. I just stopped. I had no idea why ... I just did. Suddenly, out of the blue, my nails just started to grow. It was amazing. I had fun playing with polishing them, lots of colors ... and then they grew ...and they grew ... and they grew.

They got to be too long ..but I let them grow so that I could do something fun and OSUish for Halloween. (by the way, when your favorite school's colors are Orange, white and Black ..it's hard to convince people it's not Halloween color's!!) and then I'd trim them down after. Only ... I'd never cut my nails before ... ever.

And when I did, I cut them too short, or too jagged ...or something ...and ... I started to nibble ..and well ... back came the habit after 4 months of not biting my nails.

My psychiatrist at the time has another theory besides my bad cutting job, or my own failure to continue the changed habit.
That, was within 2 weeks of my own self realization of the fact that events that happened to me as a child ... really DID count as abuse. I WAS hurt ...really hurt. The first nail came off the day after I found out that the first person that hurt me went to prison for molesting their own children.

His theory ... that probably had far more to do with it, than my own failure ...

His theory of why I stopped ... In June of that year, I'd been increased on a medication for migraine control. Topomax. In migraine control, it's used in low to moderate doses. In Bipolar, it's used as mood controller in higher doses ... they sometimes will see people no longer with anxiety ... and therefore no longer biting their nails ... as my dose was increased ...my anxiety levels probably went down a bit ... I stopped biting my nails ... and ... as my body adjusted to the new dose ... JUST as the revelations were coming to light ... and nibble nibble nibble.

It's a theory ... who knows if it's true. It all makes some sort of sense.

I asked for an increase of dose to stop my nail biting and he just grinned at me.

Evidently, nail biting isn't an excuse to go higher on Topomax.

Especially with it's tendency for appetite suppressent ...and a history of restrictive eating ... oh well ... I had to try.

So ... fast forward to December 2007 ... I get this BEAUTIFUL ring for my 20th anniversary.

Suddenly, people who've known me for 10 years are saying "you bite your nails?"

Even if they don't notice the ring ...my nails are front and center!

And so ... with great effort ... I've managed to go 2 weeks with nary a nibble. It's amazing what a few diamonds can do!!

I've pulled back out my polishes ...much to the males in my house dismay! (they HATE the smell) and I'm hoping that I can hold off till after the first of the month ..where I will get a manicure at the beauty school. I can afford it there. Hopefully, by treating myself to a manicure a couple of times a month, I will keep them in good shape.

I do know, without polish on them, I bite them. Period. I do a TERRIBLE job of polishing them .. with tremors, well ..let's just say, it's not pretty!!

However, even with the shakey job, they are prettier than the bit up edges of bitten nails.

We'll see ... does having attention drawn to my hand ...is that the cure to not biting my nails?


  1. I've been a chronic nail-biter as well, but managed to stop during first year med school. I finally figured out that starting to wear lipstick regularly was instrumental in helping to keep my fingers out of my mouth. I still start to bite if I'm really stressed, but find that if I have something on my lips I'm much less likely to persist. Good luck (the manicure is a good idea as well)!

  2. I don't thinks there is a cure for chronic nail biting. I was a big time chronic nail biter! They looked horrible. As a teen I remember ladies from the church commenting on my horrible nails, and I don't know at some point I had the will to stop biting them. I had to put polish on them, even if it was clear to stop, and I did. Sometimes I still get in the habit. It all depends on the mood and what's going on in my life. I think stress, and just life in general can put you into biting them. Good luck :)

  3. Topammax for nailbiting- Good try!! LMAO

  4. I too was a really bad nail biter. My mother is horrific as well. She tells of how as an 18 month old I saw her bite her nails so much that one time I tried to bite them for her...

    I haven't bitten my nails in nearly eight years. The reason is acrylics. I get pink and white, no polish, just the translucent pink and opaque white acrylic making a nice French Manicure. I consider it my big gift to vanity, but my hands always look professional, and if eny edge wears down (especially at camp) because it's not polish it still looks good.

    The trick os to find someone who does it well, not smokey or murky pink and someone who is gentle. Then tip them well and stay with them. You only need to get them done every two to three weeks. Often they only need to fill the white part every other time...

    Seriously, consider it.

    Good luck.

  5. Y'all are great and have no idea how much it means to me to know I'm not the only person who's been there!!

    Sandy! Ironically, my husband handed me $40 yesterday and said "this is for you ..to spend on you ... not on the family....not on the boys, not on something for the house ...for YOU!"

    I am going to get acrylic nails! I spent about 45 minutes talking with a friend yesterday who used to do nails about it. I start making calls first thing in the morning to find a place to get it done and will get it done as soon as I can (before I bite what I've grown!!)

    I'm so excited! I've wanted acrylic since I was a teenager and just haven't had the funds!

    I'll post a pic when they're done.