I am 21 and my sister is 19. We live together and have become super close in recent years. She has been suffering from depression for years now but luckily I have excellent health insurance (or at least, good enough) and got her into a therapist a long while ago. While she is still depressed she is no longer suicidal which I find to be a HUGE step in the right direction. I like to celebrate the small victories with her.
I came to find out when she was opening up about one of her sessions (which she does with me from time to time) that she has consumed inedible items ever since she was a kid. At nineteen she still frequently eats paper including the shavings from ripping out pages from her spiral notebooks, candy wrappers and gum wrappers, among other items here and there. Then she said she eats STAPLES, as in the little pieces of metal used to bind paper. She said she quit eating them for most of high school but now eats them whenever she is stressed or just wants to munch on something. I understand eating paper items, and although not healthy it makes sense to me. I use to put everything in my mouth as a kid and I suppose she never grew out out the toxic habit, but STAPLES?!
I was hoping someone with pica could explain this to me as I am rather confused and my sister was unsure of how to explain this. I tried to do research online but found very little about it. So I am turning to one of my favorite forums to ask all of you:
Do you eat staples?
Do you eat any other metallic items?
Do you have any idea what attracts you to these said items?
For now I have bought an iron supplement (melts in her mouth, as she has a hard time swallowing pills) for my sister in case it is her body's reaction to not getting enough iron in her diet, even if she isn't testing as anemic. It's a wild guess, but if it may help I am willing to try it.
I also worry about the health risks. Perhaps it could scratch her throat, puncture her stomach, get stuck in her intestines. . .