There is nothing funny about mental illness. Millions of people worldwide suffer from conditions like depression or anxiety disorder. For many the difficulty is compounded by having more than one mental illness at the same time. Research has shown that certain mental illnesses are more prone to co-occur that others. Dermatillomania has often been seen to occur comorbidly with depression, anxiety and OCD, although no causal link has been found. Although stigma is rife across all conditions of the mind, conditions like depression are far more well known and has been to focus of an abundance of clinical research and advancements in treatment and therapy.On the contrary, dermatillomania and other body-focussed repetitive behaviors (BFRBs) are considered of the most under-diagnosed mental illnesses, primarily due to the lack of awareness by those sufferring with dermatillomania that it is a clinically recognized condition. In addition many mental health professionals also have very little knowledge of BFRBs in general, often times choosing to focus on the areas they are expert in or underestimating the impact compulsive picking has on the individual.
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There has been a welcoming shift though, in that BFRBs are receiving more attention within the mental health profession and the medical research community at large. this shift can be attributed to organizations such as the Trichotillomania Centre (TLC), but more significantly to the brave voices of the may individuals who have openly shared with the cyber community their experiences with compulsive skin picking disorder and other BFRBs. Over recent years more and more people have come to realise that they are not alone and that there is help out there. We have seen dermatillomania increasingly featured in mainstream media, and well known public personalities coming forward with confessions of their struggles with these behaviors. We have also seen dermatillomania featured in books, from personal true story accounts such as Angela Hartlin's "Forever Marked: A Dermatillomania Diary", to fictional novels such as Sarah Elizabeth Schantz's "Fig". These are all brillinat contributions to literature, but also to the cause of raising awareness about dermatillomania. However these are all very serious, dark accounts of mental illness, which of course is an accurate reflection of the pain and suffering that those challenged by these conditions face on a daily basis. But people with mental illness will also tell you that sometimes it helps to find the humor in our darkest days. In steps Jenny Lawson with her latest book, "Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things".
Given the subject matter, one would hardly expect a book of this nature to be described as being 'hilariously funny', but that is exactly what how it is being decribed. Jenny suffers from depression, which influences much of the thoughts and behaviors she describes in the book. But she also suffers with dermatillomania, which Jenny dedicates a whole chapter on. The book is available on Amazon and you can also follow Jenny via her blog, "The Bloggess".