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    Helping My Hands: 6 Tips for the Nail Picker and Biter

    Part 1 of 2 Watching the first few episodes of ‘House of the Dragon’ on HBO, something shocked me to the core. It wasn’t the violence, the childbirth scenes, or Matt Smith setting a whole bunch of people on fire. No.

    It was seeing myself on the screen.

    Well, not exactly myself, per se, but seeing a teenage girl being snapped at by her father for nervously picking at her nails–so much so, that they’re bloody. In this case,www.youtube.com/watch a high ranking lady and main character in the series, chewing and picking her fingers nervously throughout the first season of the show.

    In most action packed shows, mental health and neurodivergence aren’t added to a character’s development unless it’s a plot point. But having that quick few scenes of Alicent’s bloody nails and skin not only gave depth to her character, but represented a common issue within mental health–bodily harm. It’s very common amongst disorders, with almost www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3556753 being seen as nail biting before a certain age.

    I’m not a fan of Alicent by any stretch of the imagination (Team Black over here!), but if she was around in real life, I’d offer her some help on saving her nails. After all, I’ve struggled with biting and picking at my nails and cuticles since I was in elementary school, due to both nerves and as a habit. Not only that, but before I was medicated, my MDD and hypoplasia caused my hands to tremor incessantly, so much so that I got berated by a classmate in graduate school for having ‘wiggly hands’.

    Sometimes, picking them to oblivion was the only thing I could do to calm them down.

    I can only do so much in regards to my conditions, but I’ve learned a few things in order to save my hands from when I’m feeling the urge to pick at them, or even bite them (a medical term called onychophagia. Picking your skin is known as dermatillomania).

    Here’s what Dr. VV recommends if you bite, tear, and otherwise abuse your fingers, whether it’s due to anxiety, depression, compulsion, or just a bad habit.

    Tips for Saving Your Nails/Fingers:

    Recognize That You Have a Medical Condition: We don’t associate stimming with addiction. After all, the image of the addict–tragic, dark, with an empty bottle or used needle–is a vast departure from the individual shredding their cuticles for comfort in a classroom or behind the wheel of their Prius. But that wee bit of serotonin drives us. People who shred their nailbeds and chew on their fingers are not doing it because of peer pressure. It’s a comforting activity that is also harmful (Issues like staph infection, ingrown nails, broken teeth, and constant bleeding are some potential medical side effects of onychophagia). In fact, nail biting is even listed as a disorder by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, connecting it to disorders such as OCD, ADHD, and ODD. I have both a learning disability and MDD, so I fit right in with this alphabet soup. Many people are ashamed of their nails if they bite them: remember, if you’re one of them, it is a part of your psychiatric makeup.

    Get Glitter Nail Polish: Many well meaning individuals have recommended getting nail polish put on to keep one from chewing on their fingers. The issue with this solution that I’ve found out is that, should you begin the inevitable picking again, the nails will look even worse, driving you to pick and bite even more, your brain overwhelming your senses with the need to modify your nails. However, with glitter nail polish, especially if the polish comes in big, circular flakes, they help with the need to pick, all while leaving your nails alone. After all, you can pick the flakes right off, a soothing effect that leaves your cuticles and nail tips alone. I personally recommend LA Colors in Confetti or Sally Hansen’s Instant Dri in Grape Split.

    Wear Driving Gloves: Oh, so corny and so useful! I drive a lot for work, and when my hands and brain are still, the inevitable picking occurs. I recognize this issue, and after a suggestion from another picker on Calm Hands (see below), I invested in a pair ofwww.amazon.com/dp/B07PYG8FZ7 from Taiwan. Suddenly, the bloody fingers stopped, and although I’ve got a long way to go to break the cycle, a huge compulsion is currently curbed when I’ve got those bad boys on. Especially since the fingers and palms have a risen bubbly surface, which allows me to rub them repeatedly, scratching my proverbial itch to pick.

    Find a Support Group: Most people associate addiction with groups such as AA. Believe it or not, there’s also some communities for pickers as well! I’m

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    Grieving a diagnosis?

    I've been having a hard time lately. There has been a problem with one of my direct reports and its always hard to have those conversations. My supervisor sat in on the meeting and said I was firm but not mean but my direct report does not understand that she did anything wrong. I can't help but thinking I failed. I keep reminding myself that I can't control the behavior of others but my heart won't listen.

    I had a confirmed diagnosis of early Parkinson's disease a month ago. There is a tremor in my right hand and muscle rigidity. But I can't help but thinking that this is not going to improve. And there is no cure. Is there such a thing as grief over a medical diagnosis?

    I already suffer from depression and anxiety and all of this is not helping. Also, it gets dark earlier and I can't get out and walk. And to top it off, 2 rapid c*vid tests came out as positive. So I am alone for the holiday. The only saving grace is that I've had 3 boosters and this just feels like a really bad head cold.

    I'm having trouble seeing anything positive. #Depression #ParkinsonsDisease

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    POTS is seemingly getting worse, and my coping is in a bad place.

    What a mistake of a night for me. I went with my significant other to his bowling league. I say significant other, yet for the past year we've been on again off again as he relapsed with alcohol and gambling. He swore to me he was done doing both, and tonight he was drinking and gambling on the games. I was mortified. On top of that, I haven't been in public to do anything but grocery shop or go to a restaurant for my child's birthday in probably over a year. My POTS causes me to tremor horribly and my arms and legs also lock into weird positions. I find out, much to my displeasure, that one of the members of his team is a bouncing blonde who thinks nothing of hugging anyone and I believe was flirting.
    So with my cane, I stumble to the bathroom and cry. I should have just stayed in bed. People were starting at me, I've gained weight due to inability to move much, and I recently cut off about 12 inches of my hair because I couldn't maintain it anymore. So basically, I felt like a steaming pile of crap. I told my SO that he would be happier without me, and I really think he would be. I need someone who has empathy for my situation and doesn't bowl and drink and have women flirt with him. I am need calm, and security and affirmations that I am pretty and enough. He does say it, but I don't believe it.

    I came home and sobbed and now here I am typing, hoping someone else understands. I want my SO to know what it's like to be in a position like me and feel what it's like, and he can't. And overall, I really just don't want to have POTS anymore and I want my life back.
    #PosturalOrthostaticTachycardiaSyndrome #Depression #Anxiety

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    I’m dealing w/ many health challenges currently. Appt w/specialist tomorrow to see if my tremors may be Parkinson’s. Prayers & good vibes appreciated

    I sat at services tonight with my glasses fogging up in my mask (eyes); my hearing aids not helping me enough, making it hard to hear my Mom (ears); my legs shaking as I sat and having such a hard time turning pages in the prayer book as my hands shook (essential tremors); worrying every time that we stood up and during the long walk from the car to the sanctuary that I was going to fall over (balance); not being able to focus in the sermon beyond one paragraph without losing track (brainfog, focus); sitting with my long legs cramped in the seat and with my calves & feet burning from my Neuropathy (legs).

    Thankfully I didn’t have a migraine (head) tonight (they have been less frequent these days but they can still ruin a day or night when they do happen) and my back didn’t hurt (body). Two small victories, less things to deal with, at least for tonight. I have somehow mostly been able to not allow myself to get caught in the down side of my bipolar depression. So no major depression (emotional), another small victory, but I did have severeanxiety (emotional) as I packed and tried to get out the door …bad enough that I took the med I have for anxiety that I have never taken before driving. And I had a day without complications from being HIV+ and aging (immune system) and no times struggling with PTSD (emotional) And today was another sober day (addiction) I have 10 years 9 months

    While I was struggling so much to tie my tie and button my shirt with my hands shaking I looked in the mirror. I saw my balding head with a grey beard and just suddenly felt really OLD. I have to admit to myself that my body isn’t what it once was, I can’t do most of the things I used to do…I compared myself to my dad who didn’t get his tremors until his 70’s and mine are getting worse rapidly and I’m only 57! But it all could be part of something bigger…I will say it for the first time…I may have Parkinson’s Disease! Ok I said it. I’m seeing a tremor specialist at a Parkinson’s Disease and Movement clinic next week and to be honest I wouldn’t mind the diagnosis… at least I’d then know what’s causing all the symptoms I’m having!

    UPDATE: This was written a week ago and since then I have pushed myself and gone on two 45 min walks and an hour hike. I got new trekkers (2 aluminum poles) and they have given me much more confidence I can move safely and provided great support from falling. I will do as much as I possibly can…I’m not going to let my challenges stop me from being active and enjoying life! My appointment is tomorrow…prayers and sending good vibes would be appreciated

    #MentalHealth #Depression #Anxiety #PTSD #Selfcare #Selflove #ChronicPain #ChronicIllness #BipolarDisorder #BipolarDepression #RareDisease #COVID19 #Migraine #Addiction #AddictionRecovery #HIVAIDS #longtermsurvivor #Grief #LossOfAParent #Disability #IfYouFeelHopeless #Hope #Love #TheMighty #MightyTogether #mighty

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    My Pituitary Story

    Part 1 of 2 The Pituitary Foundations Awareness Month – Live Well With Pituitary Conditions

    Patient Stories Submission – The Pituitary Magazine – 1177 Words

    Although my Pituitary journey officially began in 2008 I’m convinced it began long ago as a child. I can recognise the signs and symptoms. Especially when faced with stressful situations. Times when exercising at high levels of intensity in sporting activities.

    My ‘actual’ diagnosis came through an unconventional route, as it does for many. A tremor developed in my hand. Headaches, dizziness, sickness and being run down were daily features. Due to the tremors, I was referred to a neurologist. He gave me the choice between living with it and not knowing if there was anything serious, or having a brain scan. Stating there was a 25% chance of something showing. Am I glad I had that scan? YES! However, my follow-up was very brief and was pushed out of the door rather quickly, only being told a lesion had been found.

    Left waiting and wondering for 2 weeks was not helped by a letter that hit the doormat talking about Pituitary Surgery. Before being connected with an Endocrinologist. Pituitary Adenoma with Apoplexy was the diagnosis I got and needed. For someone who had just battled through training for and running in a London Marathon (completing it somehow) leading an active social life and working at an amazing job, this was a real shock.

    Numerous tests and scans were now a part of everyday living. The terms LH, FHS, progesterone, prolactin, and cortisol formed part of everyday language. At one point my prolactin levels rocketed from a secure 150-7500 in a matter of 3 months. A battle with medications and side effects ensued. Including three long years with no periods at all. Infertility also surfaced and my consultant urged me to grieve. I don’t think I will ever fully accept that. For me, that’s been the hardest part of the process.

    A few turbulent years were to follow. With the battle to find a treatment, I could tolerate. Needed to suppress the prolactin. The impact of a decline in neurological health, and the return of chronic fatigue/pain, I had suffered with at varying levels since a teenager. Largely down to Ehlers-Danlos.

    Another twist came as I tumbled down the road into pituitary insufficiency and then further into Addison’s. The diagnosis hit me hard. Fear set in and everyday normalities became mental battles. Shock packs and careful monitoring. Now having to manage both pituitary insufficiency and hyperprolactinemia. By this time I had lost not only my health but my career, sporting activities, hobbies and purpose in life.

    Added stress and struggles of my brother’s illness and subsequent death sent my mental health tumbling. Later that year a Psychotic Episode occurred to make matters more complex. Careful medication monitoring is key for me. Balancing hydrocortisone with antipsychotic medication is difficult. The withdrawal of Cabergoline (for prolactin) was essential.

    Some luck was to lead me down a different path. I fell into two things that kept me going. A Para-Swimming career ensued. Looking for a sporting hobby I joined a local swimming club. It supported my mental health and general well-being. After classification, things progressed fast: achieving National titles, swimming in International events, and breaking British Records. Even travelling to Nice to participate in the European Masters Games. Working with top coaches and training with elite athletes. All amazing experiences and unexpected.

    The Pituitary Foundation filled the other part of that void. I became an Official Campaigner. Initially supporting on social media, taking leaflets everywhere – hospitals, swimming pools, doctors! Telling anyone I could about the perils and challenges of all things Pituitary. The understanding of the hours put in made it easier to feel like I’d contributed. I could help when I felt well but pull back when not.

    Creating Time To Heal was a way I thought I could help others face the same battles as I did. Proud of my website and the message it aims to promote. At the centre of the website is my quirky and creative blog. The spelling and grammar may not be perfect but they all come from the heart. Being added to The Pituitary Foundations’ list of patient blogs gave me great satisfaction.

    In addition, I was asked to become an Active Essex Disability Ambassador for the Essex All Together programme. It aims to inspire, support, promote and deliver accessible exercise and sports provision for a broad range of LTHCs and Disabilities. My work has been celebrated with a page of my own on the Active Essex Website, through the Active Essex Sports Awards and within Ambassador Team Meetings.

    Both volunteer roles have

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    Reminding myself how strong I am 💚

    I fought for a diagnosis for years! Bladder pain, pelvic pain, labrum tear in the hip, balance problems, speech issues, memory issues, skin manifestations, muscle and joint pain and stiffness, motor movement problems, depression, anxiety, vision problems, loss of libido, hypothyroidism, 1 cervical and 2 thoracic disc hernations, stage 2 spine degeneration... the list went and still goes on and on.

    While I was getting sicker and sicker and literally felt like I was dying, I looked completely “normal” to everyone else, except my boyfriend who basically watched my whither away. I became a shell of who I was. I was known as strong, fit, bad ass, a weight lifter, a runner. I was teaching group fitness classs, teaching personal training sessions, running an online fitness program, exercising 5+ days a week, hiking, camping, playing soccer...

    Then all of a sudden, I developed severe bladder issues that brought me to the ER repeatedly, ran through multiple urologists and pelvic floor therapists (2016). I was diagnosed with interstitial cystitis and pelvic floor dysfunction (2017). Not too long later, I tore the labrum in my right hip. Throughout that year (2018), we tried rehabbing my hip and pelvic floor, but any progress we made was halted by reoccurring lower back pain. I never experienced back pain in my life and now, I couldn’t get rid of it. By the end of 2018, in a matter of months, I could hardly walk without feeling like I would fall, my hands would tremor, the words coming out of my mouth would get mixed up and make no sense, my skin felt like ants were crawling all over me, I developed extreme neck tightness, lower back and hip pain, leg numbness / heaviness, dizziness, vision nearly blacking out then tunneling back in, constipation worsened, endless food intolerances. So much was happening at once and I had no clue why. I saw so many doctors and no one would give me a good answer / one I would accept.

    I joined a million Facebook groups, especially ones pertaining to interstitial cystitis. That’s when I read about stealth infections like mycoplasma, Bartonella, and Lyme disease. I went to my primary care and begged him to run a Lyme disease test on me. It came back equivocal, which to the conventional / allopathic medicine world meant it was negative. I learned from these FB groups that when it comes to the Lyme disease tests (Elisa and western blot), they are extremely inaccurate and not reliable. There are a lot of false negatives. So, knowing this I found a Lyme literate practitioner and brought this test to her. In the Lyme disease world, equivocal is a positive result. But I also had all the clinical symptoms of a Lyme disease patient. So, finally 3 years later I was diagnosed won’t Lyme disease. At first I was relieved to be validated, that I wasn’t “crazy” and I wasn’t “blowing things out of proportion”. But soon, I learned how controversial, expensive, and difficult this disease is.

    So now, almost 4 years after my diagnosis I am still treating, but in a very different way than when I first started. Lots of supplements, medications, sauna, diet change, etc. The treatments can be very overwhelming at times. I still mourn the person I used to be...

    But I HAVE to remind myself that I am strong. My body is strong, my mind is strong. And because of this disease- I AM LYME DISEASE STRONG. 💚

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    Reminding myself how strong my body is

    I fought for a diagnosis for years! Bladder pain, pelvic pain, labrum tear in the hip, balance problems, speech issues, memory issues, skin manifestations, muscle and joint pain and stiffness, motor movement problems, depression, anxiety, vision problems, loss of libido, hypothyroidism, 1 cervical and 2 thoracic disc hernations, stage 2 spine degeneration... the list went and still goes on and on.

    While I was getting sicker and sicker and literally felt like I was dying, I looked completely “normal” to everyone else, except my boyfriend who basically watched my whither away. I became a shell of who I was. I was known as strong, fit, bad ass, a weight lifter, a runner. I was teaching group fitness classs, teaching personal training sessions, running an online fitness program, exercising 5+ days a week, hiking, camping, playing soccer...

    Then all of a sudden, I developed severe bladder issues that brought me to the ER repeatedly, ran through multiple urologists and pelvic floor therapists (2016). I was diagnosed with interstitial cystitis and pelvic floor dysfunction (2017). Not too long later, I tore the labrum in my right hip. Throughout that year (2018), we tried rehabbing my hip and pelvic floor, but any progress we made was halted by reoccurring lower back pain. I never experienced back pain in my life and now, I couldn’t get rid of it. By the end of 2018, in a matter of months, I could hardly walk without feeling like I would fall, my hands would tremor, the words coming out of my mouth would get mixed up and make no sense, my skin felt like ants were crawling all over me, I developed extreme neck tightness, lower back and hip pain, leg numbness / heaviness, dizziness, vision nearly blacking out then tunneling back in, constipation worsened, endless food intolerances. So much was happening at once and I had no clue why. I saw so many doctors and no one would give me a good answer / one I would accept.

    I joined a million Facebook groups, especially ones pertaining to #InterstitialCystitis . That’s when I read about stealth infections like mycoplasma, #Bartonella , and Lyme disease. I went to my primary care and begged him to run a Lyme disease test on me. It came back equivocal, which to the conventional / allopathic medicine world meant it was negative. I learned from these FB groups that when it comes to the Lyme disease tests (Elisa and western blot), they are extremely inaccurate and not reliable. There are a lot of false negatives. So, knowing this I found a Lyme literate practitioner and brought this test to her. In the Lyme disease world, equivocal is a positive result. But I also had all the clinical symptoms of a Lyme disease patient. So, finally 3 years later I was diagnosed with #LymeDisease . At first I was relieved to be validated, that I wasn’t “crazy” and I wasn’t “blowing things out of proportion”. But soon, I learned how controversial, expensive, and difficult this disease is.

    So now, almost 4 years after my #Diagnosis I am still treating, but in a very different way than when I first started. Lots of supplements, medications, sauna, diet change, etc. The treatments can be very overwhelming at times. I still mourn the person I used to be...

    But I HAVE to remind myself that I am strong. My body is strong, my mind is strong. And being of this disease- I AM LYME DISEASE STRONG. 💚

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    I’m so scared …

    I’m Queen of the hashtag, yet what I haven’t included was anything about my movement disorder. I have a bad tremor and spasm. I toss my morning coffee and can’t keep food on the fork. Other symptoms began piling up and I could no longer ignore them. My doctor is leaning towards a Parkingson’s Disease diagnosis and I am terrified. I will know more in about ten days.
    Is anybody out there hanging between diagnosis and hell? This is killing me …

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    × " Living In A World With Chronic Debilitating Pain & Fatigue For A Lifetime " ×

    × " Imagine Crying Yourself To Try And Get Some Much Needed Sleep. But Your Leg's Are On Fire With Shock's Of Constant Wave's Of Sharp Pin's & Needle's. Your Whole Body Is Paralyzed And Can't Get Out Of Bed In The Morning...I Suffer With Chronic Sleep & Tendinitis My Pain Level Range's From 6 To A 10 Then I Have To Go To The Hospital To Get Medical Attention.. When I Was A Child At 6 Year's Old. I Have Been Through Six Surgerie's. My Childhood Doctor Mulitated My Leg's My Tendon's Are Shortened For Unknown Reason's. So I Have One Leg Shorter Than The Other. And Then They Wanted To Do Back Surgery On Me Next. My Parent's Didn't Bother To Ask Question's 1st. Or Do Enough Research On #cerebral Palsy. It's Amazing To Me That I Haven't Ended Up A Drug Addict To Take Away This Pain...That I Have To Live With.. Lower Back Pain...Cramp's In My Leg's Painful Shock's At Night. Shaking...Tremor's In My Leg's...And Now My Hand's Are Starting To Have Tremor's...And Pain. My Memory Is Fading...And I'm Only 37 Going On 38...This Is Why I'm Never Happy And Fake It Till I Make It...With People In My Life. Here I Don't Have To Become Anything Else.. But The Mighty Master Poet That I Love Being.. Stretching Help's But Only Alitte...Medicine Meh Doesn't Do Anything... Unless It's Really Good. But I March On With My Life..And Not Let The Pain Destory My Inner Peace Of Small Happiness.. Sincerely, ☆ S.K. ☆ #AnInsight

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    Sketching With a Piece of Charcoal in Non-Dominant Hand While Your Tremor is Making Your Whole Body Shake and Also With Double Vision is Hard

    When it comes to painting I usually just hold the paint brush with my teeth to avoid having to deal with the constant shaking. But I'm trying to practice using my non-dominant hand more often...I also didn't fancy holding charcoal in my mouth...I really like the look of old renaissance portrait sketches and I wanted to kind of combine that style with an art nouveau portrait poster style. Not my best work but it's something a little different.
    #Art #ArtTherapy #ICantDrawButDontCare #EssentialTremor #Encephalopathy #sketch

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