From Hell to Gel: The Story of a Nail Biter

Nail biting, although common, can turn into a long-term problem for some. Meg Howe shares how lockdown has helped her to finally break the habit.

Meg Howe
13th August 2020
For as long as I can remember, I have put my fingers into my mouth and have bitten my nails. I'm not sure why, and I don’t think I’ll ever know, but I have to thank the Coronavirus for the fact that my nails have now grown.

For the entirety of my life, I’ve always been nagged for biting my nails. Both my mum and gran always told me growing up: “your hands would be so pretty if you stopped biting your nails”, or “you’d be able to wear nail varnish if your nails are longer”, which did always make me want to stop biting my nails, but I just couldn’t.

During my childhood, I tried many remedies to stop me from biting my nails. One of these was to paint my nails, but after a few hours, it would chip from playing outside and then I would just pick off the rest. Another was that ‘stuff’ that tastes of acetone – it was branded as a solution to biting nails – and it was supposed to make you stop. However, dipping my nails in this stuff didn’t help at all, and I ended up either licking or washing it off within hours in order to bite my nails again.

As many teenagers did at the age of fourteen or fifteen, I started having acrylic nails done, paying £25 a pop. Not only was this a complete waste of money (future Meg would go back to 2015 and tell herself to stop after the first couple of times), but it was also completely ruining my nails, so much so that, in October of 2018, I bashed my nail on a metal cage – ripping off the acrylic, and my own nail too! This nail took six months to grow back, and was horribly painful at the time. It’s safe to say that I have not worn any form of false nails since.

So, I was biting or picking at my nails from 2018 until the start of 2020, but good-old Coronavirus stopped that! I was scared of the virus, and like many, developed rather intense hygiene: not putting my hands near my face (it’s strange how much we do that without even thinking about it). Then, as if like magic, my nails started to grow. Nineteen years of my life and all it took was a global pandemic!

My boyfriend's mum (a beautician), offered to paint my nails with gel polish, which I will be forever grateful for! The fact that my nails looked so pretty, plus the fear of the virus, made me keep my nails away from my mouth and not want to bite them in the slightest.

Now fast forward 7 weeks, and here I am, with new gel polish on (that desperately needs re-doing), typing away at my laptop with long nails that make that satisfying tapping sound, and I couldn’t be happier.

My family and friends must also think I’m so silly to say “look at my long nails” every other day, but this really has done wonders for my mental health.

It may sound strange to others, hearing how happy I am that my nails have grown what is only a matter of millimetres. My family and friends must also think I’m so silly to say “look at my long nails” every other day, but this really has done wonders for my mental health.

In this Instagram post, I briefly describe the positive impact that Covid has had on my nails!

If you’ve read this far, then I thank you! But the moral of this story for me, and positive things that I will take away from the lockdown period are (besides the short nails): that small things do matter; they can make a massive difference with your confidence and mental health; and that it is always possible to do something if you put your mind to it – never give up!

Featured Image: Unsplash

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AUTHOR: Meg Howe
Passionate History student and Educator

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