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I recently posted on my social media about a problem I have with picking. I have done a lot of damage to my fingers, picking my nails and skin until I’m bleeding and in pain.

I asked for advice. It was hurting me to type and, considering my job, it meant I was almost constantly in pain. I was picking in my sleep and waking up bleeding. I needed help. I needed to stop.

Finger Picking

A lot of people came forward with advice, and I was so grateful. It’s so incredible when you put one of your shameful things out in public and instead of judgement or ridicule you get kindness. Because it is embarrassing and it is shameful, and sharing it here isn’t something I’m enjoying. But if it can help someone else then it’s worth doing. Because I’m not the only person who does this.

A few people pointed out that finger picking to this extent is a form of self harm. It’s struggling to process emotions and pain on the inside and channelling it to something on the outside. To truly tackle the problem of obsessive finger picking you have to find the cause of that pain.

Anxiety

I’ve always been quite open about the fact I struggle with anxiety. I do a pretty good job of masking it when I’m in public, so much so that I’ve had people not believe me when I mention it. They assume that the extroverted person I present to the world couldn’t possibly be anxious, maybe even assume I’m either lying for attention.

I mask it so I can function and do the things I need to do. But it has taken a lot of training. I have, in the past, pushed myself too far and ended up doing things I live in constant regret over. I aim for a balance where I can look the world face on, take the risks and challenges that I need to take, and say the things I need to say. But where I don’t make myself become a completely different person in order to do it. And it’s not easy. I still end up facing several days of emotional recovery time after any big event.

Perhaps it’s this masking that is causing me to pick. I don’t know. I know I’ve always done it, and I know I’ve always been working on coping with my anxiety, so it would make sense. Unfortunately I needed something faster than therapy to work out why I’m anxious in the first place. I’m not going to stop making myself do the things I find difficult because I want a life and a career and relationships with other human beings. But that meant finding a less damaging way to process the subsequent emotions.

Anxiety Rings

Several people recommended Anxiety Rings to me and, I’ll admit, I was suspicious. But my mother found one online that looked right and bought it for me. She was worried about the state of my hands and how much I was hurting myself and, doing what good ma’s do, she did what she could to try and help me.

I know these pictures are unpleasant, and I’m not proud to share them, but this is an improvement. The ring you can see has let my fingers heal. Not completely, clearly, and there is a long way to go. But my fingers are healing.

Instead of picking, I twiddle the beads on the ring. It’s that simple. I had to consciously make the choice to do it at first but very soon it became instinctive. I do it when I’m not even realising it. I take it off to shower, do the dishes, etc. But I find that before I’ve even put it back on, my finger is spinning around my thumb as if the ring is still on. It’s like I’ve trained myself to spin beads instead of pick my fingers.

Healing

My fingers are healing. My anxiety isn’t, but it’s being channeled somewhere healthier. I don’t know if you will find the same thing useful, I guess it depends on how your anxiety presents itself and how you cope. But if you’re like me, I cannot speak highly enough of these rings. I’ve linked the one I wear HERE.

If it helps you then I’m so glad. Because letting my fingers heal is making me feel that little bit less like I’m spiraling out of control.

JJ x

Website: https://jjbarnes.co.uk
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