Earlier this week, we got an email from one of our ugly ducklings asking if they might be permitted to write a column on our blog about her journey in entering recovery for nailbiting. We hope her blogs might bring a new level of understanding to the fine line between bad habits and compulsions – and we’d love to send her love and support as she is entering this journey.
Every day, we will be tweeting a picture of her current progress and once a week, she will be blogging an update here! Stay tuned for more on this journey!
I’ve been biting my nails for longer than I can remember. I’ve bitten my nails further than I ever thought possible, and I fear that if I don’t stop soon, I will eventually keep going until I’ve nothing left all – not just ripping the nails out of my nail beds but literally cannibalizing my own fingertips.
Hello, my name is Samantha, and I’m a compulsive nail biter.
Biting my nails isn’t mere habit. If it were, I would have stopped ages ago. A habit is a behavior that requires little conscious thought; and all it takes to break a habit is conscious interruption. A compulsion is a habit that has skidded beyond the point where conscious interruption can help. Becoming conscious of the behavior only makes it more compelling. Attempting to interrupt it causes significant discomfort – such as anxiety and obsessive thinking.
All these years, I have treated my nail biting as a habit. Today, I am owning my compulsion. My nail biting is fully conscious, and it doesn’t care if it gets interrupted. It just wants to keep doing what it’s doing. To stop biting my nails, I am going to have to expect and accept the discomfort, the anxiety, the obsessive thoughts. And I am going to have to expect and accept the desire to bite will never truly leave me, not permanently. Not ever. I will never be able to let my guard down.
I will always a be a nail biter. But starting today, starting now, I am a recovering nail biter. This is day one. And counting.