I am proud to announce that I have my first guest post! This was written by a lovely girl in the UK who also suffers from mental illness. I hope you enjoy reading it, and hopefully there will be more guest posts in the future.
The first person I told about my dermatillomania was my friend James. It was over Facebook and not much was said or done. I didn’t feel relieved or free of a burden. However, it did allow me to realise that it was possible to tell people without them treating me differently.
I didn’t plan on telling anyone else.
Then a few months later I stayed at a friends house to witness her picking at her shoulders. I decided to open up to her. Again, not much was said but this time I gained a small comfort in knowing I wasn’t the only person to compulsively pick at my skin.
I waited another few months then decided to research dermatillomania in a little more depth. It had gotten worse and worse since it began at the age of 13 and was beginning to affect my school life. That day I found out that there was treatment. A relief washed over me for the first time yet it didn’t last long. I didn’t have much freedom at the time and so couldn’t possibly seek help without my parents knowing. Therapy was an optimistic option in my mind but I often worried about how intrusive my parents would be.
My three attempts to tell my parents failed. I have many siblings so there was always something that needed seeing to. As far as I know they have no idea my bad habit, which they were aware of, is a treatable condition. They also don’t know about my anxiety and depression that come with it.
The good news is that I moved in with my grandparents at the same time as I was trying to reach out to my parents. Due to them not being around me 24/7 I would see them sharing strange looks each time my hand would drift to my head. I didn’t spin a story. I told them what I had and a doctors appointment was arranged.
Some people would say they were supportive but it’s a hard call to make. They didn’t prevent me from seeking help and my Gran would keep me company on the bus to therapy every few weeks.
However, my Gran insisted I didn’t need therapy and encouraged me not to tell my employer about it. When I tried to tell her how I was feeling she would change the subject.
I then moved in with my fiancé and his parents. He was aware of my dermatillomania already. However I was living with him now so he would have his eyes opened to the severity of it. He got and still does get frustrated. I understand why. He’ll occasionally ignore my picking which works well when I am calm. He mostly tells me to stop which doesn’t work all that often but when I do manage to snap out of it straight away he hugs me and kisses me and tells me he’s proud. I appreciate all he does after asking why he dislikes me picking.
His description was horrible.
He said that i stare into space and pick. Apparently I don’t blink at all for a very long time if at all. He days that I don’t look like me and that it’s like I’m in a different world. He hates it. yet, he still supports me.
After moving in with my fiancé I would still occasionally go to my grandparents for advice. In two cases my Grans reaction was to give me money. In one instance she gave me £200. Money isn’t what I wanted. I wanted support. Then, one day, she and my grandpa bluntly told me to stop texting them with my problems. It wouldn’t have hurt so much if I had a Mum or a Dad to go to. Overall, it wasn’t a supportive thing to say to an anxious, depressed, suicidal compulsive skin picker.
Amy is a 17 year old who works full time in an office from 9 until 5. She suffers from dermatillomania which involves obsessively and compulsively picking at her skin. She is also trying to gain another administration qualification. Her hobbies include reading, acting, learning, volunteering and writing. In her spare time she writes whenever she can and runs a blog. You can read more from Amy at: