Prozac stopped my nail biting

I used to be a nail biter. I can remember biting my nails from the time that I was a small child (probably only six or seven) I would do it when I was nervous because I needed something to focus on rather than anxiety
. But at the time I had no idea why I was biting my nails. It didn’t end with nail biting either. I would also chew on the side of my nails where the skin was because that was a pattern.

When I think back to why I was nail biting, I realize that I was trying to control something that I did not have control over. I couldn’t manage my anxiety so instead I focused on something that I could have autonomy over and that was biting my nails.

I was able to determine how short they were and if they were uneven lengths I could bite them to make them all uniform.
So it wasn’t about the nails themselves, but rather about what they represented. As hard as I tried throughout the years from childhood to young adulthood I could not seem to stop biting my nails and it was all due to anxiety and control issues.

I tried everything to stop biting my nails. l attempted to make it undesirable to chew on my nails, a sort of aversion therapy. I put gross tasting weird things on my nails that would theoretically deter me from nail-biting, but it didn’t work.

It was the anxiety that kept me gaged in this distractive have it. Finally when I was 18 years old I want to see a psychiatrist to treat my debilitating anxiety and panic disorder. She was working woman Scandinavia and she gave me two options: Prozac or Zoloft? I thought about it I chose Prozac because it worked for another family member.

Many things happened after I started taking Prozac. They were mostly positive aside from The sexual side effects of muted orgasm and the uncomfortable feeling of dry mouth. I started to notice on a positive note that my anxiety decreased considerably. I thought to myself wow this is what normal people feel like. I didn’t find any to things that I had done when I was anxious such as destructive habits including biting my nails. It was weird though because I didn’t notice that I was nailbiting until one day I looked down and my nails are long. This should never happen in my entire life. Prozac made it possible for me to have pretty nails that I had yearned for. What a bizarre bit welcome side effect.

I decided to celebrate by getting a manicure. Not use any manicure, but a French manicure. My nails looked like a hand model’s.

Prozac made it possible for me to feel good about myself in a way that I didn’t imagine. There were other positive psychological benefits, and ultimately I was able to enjoy who I was and relish in a beautiful aesthetic part of my body that I never had.

What about you? Did antidepressants make you stop nail-biting or engaging in bad habits?

Sarah Fader is the CEO and Founder of Stigma Fighters, a non-profit organization that encourages individuals with mental illness to share their personal stories. She has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, Quartz, Psychology Today, The Huffington Post, HuffPost Live, and Good Day New York.

Sarah is a native New Yorker who enjoys naps, talking to strangers, and caring for her two small humans and two average-sized cats. Like six million other Americans, Sarah lives with panic disorder. Through Stigma Fighters, Sarah hopes to change the world, one mental health stigma at a time.