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Old 11-23-2011, 06:08 AM   #1
StacyAnnClover StacyAnnClover is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Los Angeles
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StacyAnnClover HB User
Compulsive Tongue Biting/Picking

I have not been diagnosed with OCD, but I have several compulsive activities that I perform and I'd like to understand them. The most destructive is my compulsive tongue picking...

Okay, this is gross, so if you're squeamish beware! Keep in mind that I do not damage my entire tongue! It is just small area, usually about 1x1 cm in area. As such...no one else has really noticed the problem.

So I begin by biting my tongue. Not so much gnawing a large chunk as pinching tiny bits of the surface between my front teeth and pulling them off. After a time, the buds on the surface (I guess they're called papillae) become inflamed, swollen, numb, etc. I can feel the buds when I run my tongue against the edges of my front teeth...and this drives me nuts. I just can't leave them alone at that point. So then I begin to pick at the surface with my fingernails, snagging little bits and pilling them off. This satisfies me to an extent, but I still feel like I can't excise the buds fully. So more recently, I've started using a nail clipper (I keep one sterilized especially for this purpose) to go in and clip the offending buds off. After I feel I've sufficiently cleared the area, I generally stop.

Anyway, it's all sort of a bloody mess, but the sore manages to heal up within a few days. And I would be lying if I said I did not enjoy it... It hurts, yet it's intensely fulfilling and satisfying (for lack of a better word). I have read that people with trichotillomania go into "trance-like states" when they are plucking hairs, which I can really relate to. I do not practice this behavior when I am stressed out (or at least not consciously stressed), but more when I'm bored or watching television. I become focused on the precision of the activity and not much else.

Does anyone else do this? I've been doing it since childhood and I've always thought that I was the only one. But now I'm beginning to think there must be other people. If so, please share! I'd like to stop, since I fear this might lead to mouth cancer or jaw problem (from the constant chewing).

 
The following user gives a hug of support to StacyAnnClover:
seymoursays (12-03-2011)