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View Full Version : Picking! Make me stop!



Admiral Squish
2011-08-16, 04:59 PM
I have a really, really bad habit. I pick at things. Whenever I'm not absorbed in what I';m doing at the moment, I subconsciously begin to pick at things. I wiggle and pull and scratch and snap and tear and unravel and dissemble anything that happens to be on hand. I used to keep a pen on hand which I would simply dis- and re-assemble over and over again. But it doesn't always work, and I'm constantly damaging the things around me. I unravel fabrics, I pluck out furniture tacks, I pick away at the rubber/foam coating of my steering wheel while I'm sitting in traffic. Plastics are a good time-waster, because I have to fold them over, then back and back and forth and back and forth until the joint comes apart, leaving me to start doing it again until I'm eventually left with a pile of tiny peices of plastic. If my fingernails aren't strong enough to break something, I'll often start to chewing on it.

I need to stop doing this. But I have no idea how to do that. I don't evenknow why I do it in the first place! It's not even conscious. I mean, while I'm doing it, I'm thinking about how I can take it apart in the most interesting way, trying new ways to break it, or trying to figure out where to put the force for it to snap. But somehow, it never occurs to me that I NEEDED that thing I just destroyed until AFTER the fact.

Does anyone else do things like this? Does anyone know how to stop doing it? Does anyone here know behavior modification techniques that might be effective? What bad habits do you have that you just can't seem to kick?

Zain
2011-08-16, 11:22 PM
I share your problem my friend, I've found that keeping a Pen, and learning how to spin it around ones fingers helps a lot.

Circle of Life
2011-08-16, 11:26 PM
I learned to roll coins between my fingers to occupy my hands and keep me from shredding important documents without realizing what I was doing. :smallsigh:

It's surprisingly easy to pick up, too.

As to why, while I'm not a neurologist, I've heard from several sources that people who tap their feet and in general do 'busywork' while distracted have active minds. So, not a bad thing, all in all.

Icewalker
2011-08-17, 12:47 AM
Yeah that's probably the easiest solution, find something else to fill your hands. Something constructive! Like the small talents mentioned already. Could even switch it up day to day. Carry around a deck of cards, learn sleight of hand. Spin pens. Roll coins, and then learn to palm them. Lots of little things you can learn.

Whiffet
2011-08-17, 01:00 AM
Fiddling with coins is best, since you're unlikely to destroy them with your bare hands. I advise against pens; I've broken several.

Xyk
2011-08-17, 01:29 AM
Willpower would work. You have to have some though. That's one of those bad habits that's not that hard to stop. Like thumb-sucking or nose-picking. Just realize that you should stop and then stop.

Jalor
2011-08-17, 07:31 PM
I had the same problem. Now I keep a deck of cards on my desk, and instead I shuffle them. When I'm not at my desk, I fidget with the sturdiest small object handy. Coins and dice are especially good for this.

Candle Jack
2011-08-17, 07:36 PM
I chew pens. While it's a disgusting habit and I'm constantly running out of pens, I find it helps me concentrate.

thubby
2011-08-17, 10:06 PM
silly putty.
you can mangle it all you want, its still just goo.

Whiffet
2011-08-17, 11:55 PM
silly putty.
you can mangle it all you want, its still just goo.

Ooo, good idea! I should try that.

LaZodiac
2011-08-18, 02:39 AM
I share your problem my friend, I've found that keeping a Pen, and learning how to spin it around ones fingers helps a lot.

I too would suggest avoiding pens. The first day you stab a pen through the palm of your hand is also your last.

The only advice I can give you is find a thing to occupy your hands while your relaxing, cut your nails whenever they start to get an edge on them to avoid the ability to scratch, and if you get any scratchs/healing wounds due to scratching, peroxide the hell out of them as quickly as possible, if only to make them go away faster so you have nothing TO pick.

Although, it seems your problem is more with picking at stuff you have in your hands, and not yourself. In this case I think the best solution is to break your fingers and jaw. THIS IS A JOKE DON'T DO THIS

Feytalist
2011-08-18, 03:51 AM
THIS IS A JOKE DON'T DO THIS

I love how you felt the need to add that little clause. Readers Are Geniuses, heh:smallbiggrin:

I tend to scratch at my hairline or my stubble while I'm deep in thought. I've actually scratched through the skin on occasion. I use pens as a distraction, but I advise against clicky pens. Your coworkers/friends just might murder you.

Another fun little toy are those rubber stress balls or even slinkeys to play with.

Jalor
2011-08-18, 08:45 AM
silly putty.
you can mangle it all you want, its still just goo.

This is an excellent idea. I'm going to try it myself.

valadil
2011-08-18, 10:21 AM
I do this too. I think my fingers have ADHD. Keeping finger toys around is the only way to keep them happy.

My wedding ring is a good one because I always have it with me. I like seeing which fingers it fits on and then prying it off those it doesn't.

String is awesome too, but less socially acceptable. I'll tie knots during D&D games, but not at work meetings.

BuckyBalls (http://www.getbuckyballs.com/) are just plain fantastic. A little too fantastic. I always find myself wanting to do more and more with them.

Rubik's Cube and lock picks are my other finger toys. They keep me a little too engaged to have around all the time, but I like them at slow RPGs.

LaZodiac
2011-08-18, 10:51 AM
I love how you felt the need to add that little clause. Readers Are Geniuses, heh:smallbiggrin:

Better safe then sorry :smallwink:

Trog
2011-08-18, 02:10 PM
*A troglodtye enters*

*hands OP a banjo*

*tips hat*

*wanders off*

...

*leans back in*

El J would be proud.

*leaves again*

Icewalker
2011-08-19, 07:09 PM
I support the Trog's approach. I support this approach greatly. I need to get my banjo down to where I'm living now...

But yeah, definitely just find some little thing to keep your hands busy. If you're learning while you do it, all the better.

Herpestidae
2011-08-19, 07:14 PM
Busy work. Go online, print off 10 or 12 Sudoku sheets (Kakuro is also good for this purpose) and go to town. Hours of mental stimulation!

thubby
2011-08-20, 12:14 AM
Busy work. Go online, print off 10 or 12 Sudoku sheets (Kakuro is also good for this purpose) and go to town. Hours of mental stimulation!

i think the problem is the hands, not the brain attached to them.

Lappy9000
2011-08-20, 11:58 AM
Could be worse, brah. At least you're tearing apart objects and not your actual fingers and hands like I tend to do. But yeah, I feel for ya, Admiral Squish. I usually don't even notice until there's blood running down my hand. I always try to keep some band-aids on hand (excuse the pun), to avoid embarrassment.

Kneenibble
2011-08-20, 12:17 PM
Could be worse, brah. At least you're tearing apart objects and not your actual fingers and hands like I tend to do. But yeah, I feel for ya, Admiral Squish. I usually don't even notice until there's blood running down my hand. I always try to keep some band-aids on hand (excuse the pun), to avoid embarrassment.

I do this too. :smallyuk: Help me.

Admiral Squish
2011-08-20, 07:26 PM
A lot of good suggestions!

In regards to the suggestion for bringing something with me to fiddle with, I tried getting one of those grip-strength trainer-things, but I got a lot of... unsavory commentary, so I stopped. I also tried short chains, which were really interesting for my hands, but they made them always smell mettallic. Coins might work, but I'm worried that every once in a while I'll drop it and it'll make a loud noise, plus the aforementioned metallic smell. Pen twirling might work, but it seems like one of those things that takes a lot of practice. Card shuffling might be fun, but I suspect I'd have to learn how to play card games to justify it. Silly putty tends to leave tiny bits of itself on your fingers and makes your hand smell like salt. Banjo, also fun, but loud and not acceptable for most places.


Could be worse, brah. At least you're tearing apart objects and not your actual fingers and hands like I tend to do. But yeah, I feel for ya, Admiral Squish. I usually don't even notice until there's blood running down my hand. I always try to keep some band-aids on hand (excuse the pun), to avoid embarrassment.

Oh, I do that too! Though not quite to that extent. I just chew off my fingernails and cuticles. Oh, and I have a bad habit of picking at scabs and zits, opening them up over and over.

Lappy9000
2011-08-20, 11:52 PM
I do this too. :smallyuk: Help me.


Oh, I do that too! Though not quite to that extent. I just chew off my fingernails and cuticles. Oh, and I have a bad habit of picking at scabs and zits, opening them up over and over.We need to start a support group.

Edit: Gwaagh, I was doing it as I made this post :smallsigh:

Circle of Life
2011-08-21, 12:08 AM
Quarters don't actually make much noise unless you actively hurl them at something, and dimes even less so. The type of coin you use depends on how dexterous your fingers are, I suppose.

Feytalist
2011-08-23, 03:56 AM
Pen twirling might work, but it seems like one of those things that takes a lot of practice.

The practice itself should keep your hands busy for a good long while, and that's really what you're after, isn't it? :smallwink:

Xyk
2011-08-23, 11:51 AM
We need to start a support group.

Edit: Gwaagh, I was doing it as I made this post :smallsigh:

Your avatar seems to have picked several pieces of skin and an arm right off.

Neko Toast
2011-08-23, 12:03 PM
While I don't have a case that's quite as severe as yours, I tend to fiddle with things when I'm anxious. I remember I fiddled with about 3 facial tissues until they were rendered useless one time when I was talking to a counselor.

These days I keep a small metal Slinkie by my desk. Keeps my hands entertained quite easily.

Renegade Paladin
2011-08-23, 06:22 PM
I suggest getting someone to sit next to you with a yardstick with instructions to thwack you across the knuckles when you start doing it. That'll fix you up right quick.

:smalltongue: