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Unread 07-19-2017, 12:01 PM   #1
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Default Is this a form of self harm - to scratch the thumb out of anxiety till it peels off..

This was something I didn't even notice until I found my thumb has scratch marks and the skin is peeling off, I wondered how.

Specially when travelling or having nothing much to do or trying to relax or idling; that is when my anxiety levels go over my head. Without being conscious about it I would fidget my fingers, and now my thumb is purple.

As a child I used to pick scabs off of healing wounds and I had little awareness of doing so. It has become partly involuntary.

Now that I'm on meds, most of the symptoms including this is almost gone, but once in a while I catch myself still doing this. I don't know if it is hard wired into my head somehow, and don't know how to get it off.

Apart from this, there is another bothersome pattern hard-wired in my head I wish to get off. Wonder if I could just wipe those two out of my head for good.
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Unread 07-19-2017, 10:38 PM   #2
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Default Re: Is this a form of self harm - to scratch the thumb out of anxiety till it peels o

Yes.
It is self harm.
Just because it isn't extreme doesn't mean it isn't.
It causes physical damage and you are doing it to yourself in reaction to some stimulus, or lack there of.

However, it is a habitual coping mechanism opposed to a coping mechanism actively sought out and consciously perpetuated.

I would suggest you either get a fidgeting toy, though it's just a stop gap and doesn't really resolve the underlying nervous habit.
or
Google how to break a similar habit.
I chew my fingernails for example and, like you, I don't really notice its happening.
Until that tinge of pain and the blood. Then I stop...

In my case. None of it worked so I just stick with the covert toy option to occupy my hands.
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Unread 07-20-2017, 06:16 AM   #3
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Default Re: Is this a form of self harm - to scratch the thumb out of anxiety till it peels o

Honestly I don't see this as self harm. I've been doing it for as long as I can remember, but I don't and never have done it to deliberately hurt myself. It is a nervous habit that I just do automatically.

Self harm is very different for me, that's a conscious decision.
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Unread 09-14-2017, 07:16 AM   #4
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Default Re: Is this a form of self harm - to scratch the thumb out of anxiety till it peels o

Sounds like dermatillomania. If so that isn't self harm. It is similar to OCD but it is not OCD either.
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