I suffer from an illness called "Dermatillomania", which isn't even recognized in the DSM so its technical diagnosis is called "Trichotillomania" or "OCD". Dermatillomania is an impulse control disorder that causes a person to pick at one's own skin and is also categorized as an anxiety disorder. It can exist co-morbidly with depression, eating disorders, body dysmorphic disorder, and personality disorders.
For a good 5 years, most of my teenage years, I thought I was the only one and didn't even get a diagnosis. I attempted suicide because of the shame of causing 50% of the scars on my body. In recent years, I have published a book about it and it's the 2nd book that addresses this issue ever printed.
I have had 2 health professionals (one of them, mental health) tell me to "just stop" picking at my skin.
Not only has my Facebook Fan Page accumulated a little more than 1,000 fans, but it's opened up a forum for people to discuss their experiences with the disorder. I want my page to help others who also believe that they are the only ones because this disorder needs awareness. Acceptance from society is something we're very far away from since our disorder is not well known.
I have had 2 health professionals (one of them, mental health) tell me to "just stop" picking at my skin. My book has helped many people relate to someone who has what they have and I am blessed to get the long e-mails I have expressing what my book has done for people. I am finishing up filming of a documentary about my life with Dermatillomania- the first one ever. I need help in spreading awareness and know that you all have the amazing Facebook platform to do so. I am asking that you send an update to your mental health- related fan page about my Facebook fan page (Forever Marked) so that others suffering in silence can realize that they aren't alone. My goal is to create the largest online forum about skin picking, although there are not many other forums around to discuss this.
A quick interview I had with the news station about the disorder and my book can be seen on my YouTube channel (and also spread to your fans):
A video I created in 2007 explains the facts of this disorder as well, and it's what started me to spread the awareness... under an anonymous account at the time. It's an emotional account of what it's like for me to have Dermatillomania: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p-fpEUhl44A&feature=fvw
Thank you so much for reading this. I would be forever grateful if you can update your members with a mass message, let me know which cause you're replying from and I will return the favor if you want. Posting one of these videos into the status of your page would also be extremely appreciated. We need to stick together and spread awareness for mental health because the first step to recovery is awareness. Thank you.
By Angela Hartlin