Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Life of an Onychophagic

When I was a kid I used to bite my nails on my fingers and even on my toes. I can still remember myself biting my fingers until it bleeds. There were times that I wasn't aware of it. My aunt caught me biting my toenails when I was like 6 years old and she told me, "Para ka'ng aswang d'yan!". I know it was really disgusting but I couldn't stop myself from doing it. I still bit even if there's nothing for me to bite anymore. There was one summer that I spent my vacation looking outside our window and watching my brother and our friends playing. I couldn't go out because my feet were swollen and my toenails fell off.

At school, I always consider myself as a commoner. I had a low self-esteem. My school made me feel like crap. No matter how much I study, it seems like I'm always at the bottom of everything. I was very quiet and most of the time I was alone. My classmates were mean to me. I will never forgive and forget what they did to me in freshmen year. My teacher, Ms Pernia picked on me every single day of my life. She made me feel so stupid. I'm not a genius but neither an imbecile. I can't answer her questions even if I know the answers because she intimidates me and because of what she was doing to me,  my classmates started treating me so bad. They bullied me. I was an easy target. I can't fight them. So I cried and bit my nails.

I experienced so much stress when I was younger. I was emotionally battered. I felt so alone. I did not tell my mom what was happening at school. I never wanted her to worry about me. Even if I didn't tell her, my mom would always ask me if there's anything wrong. She would ask me if I was tense or depressed because I was biting my nails. My dad died early, I couldn't accept that. I never told anyone about it. When I was 6, my classmate and also my neighbor told the other kids about my dad. They asked if it was true. So I told them that my dad died. I don't like the way they looked at me after I answered their question.Of course, there were follow-up questions.  It was too much for me. I felt like I was crying. I felt sorry for myself and I was so angry at the same time because I wasn't able to tell those kids to leave me alone and mind their own businesses. 

I really felt so pathetic. I couldn't stop thinking about what those kids did to me. I felt depressed. Those emotions lead me to nail biting. It is called "Chronic Onychophagia". An impulse control disorder caused by uneasiness, apprehension and fear. This Impulsive Disorder is also considered to be a part of OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder). Nail biting is also harmful to health because of the bacteria a person might get from doing it. My nails were swollen because of a viral infection I got from improperly removing my cuticle. I had fever and my fingers were so painful. They turned yellow green because of pus. 

What we did about my nail biting was very simple yet a bit expensive. My mom brought  me to nail salon and had my fingers molded with acrylic nails. The attendant was surprised when she saw how little  my nails were. She said my hands were like no nails at all just like Sadako's. Anyway, I really liked the way they did my acrylic nails. My mom was very successful with her idea of showing me how pretty my nails would be if they are long, clean and well manicured. From that moment on, I started taking care of my nails and I don't bite them anymore.

To all the kids like I used to be, please don't let yourself down because it will lead you to more serious problems. Don't be scared to stand up for yourself. Don't let anyone intimidate you. Even your teachers or any older people has no right to make you feel bad. Remember, there's nothing wrong with you. It's just that some people are mean but don't let anyone pick on you. You should be treated way better than that.

Talk to your parents if you experience bullying. Your parents will definitely help you with your problem. You're not alone with this. If your teachers are abusing you emotionally and they embarrass you in front of the class with or without any reasons, you can sue them. 

Be brave.

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