I’m getting waaaay off track from nature posts here, but I am easily distracted (hey, look, something shiny…) So, this story about nail biting and a new “cure” for it is on a lot of news pages today. Being a Biter of Nails myself, I read it out of curiosity. And, according to the article, I have a major problem!
In public, compulsive biters typically keep their hands out of sight as much as they can, buried in their pockets or behind their backs. They often feel depressed and shamed, and avoid social contacts. Van Abbe says his clients suffer so much from the stigma that none would volunteer to be interviewed or photographed.
Really? And here I’ve been going around carelessly flaunting my “ugly result of self-mutilation.” Now, I’m sure that in some cases this can become a serious problem, but calling this “a self-inflicted deformity” seems just a wee bit extreme. (I grant you that if you are gnawing them down to the bone and have bloody stumps, you certainly do need help).
There is even a fancy word for this: onychophagy. Which, technically, would mean “eater of nails” and I don’t think most of us biters are swallowing the nail bits. Although, I suppose if you use copious amounts of ranch dressing you might enjoy them…who knows!
Anderson Cooper has a funny piece about adult nail biters here, which sums up things pretty well.
And, to break the nail biter stigma, I offer up my ragged nails for the whole world to view!