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tosay , 04 Jan 2012

To tell or not to tell?

Hello everybody! I have just made an account here.I am 16, and you can call me Fera. I have picked at my scalp for as long as I can remember, however didn't realize it had a proper name and that I wasn't alone until about a year and a half ago. I could write forever about my story, however I have a specific question. None of my friends know about my derm. (Surprising, it's become obvious that my hands are constantly in my hair..) & I was wondering, should I tell someone? I have no one to talk to about this, and I have very accepting and loving friends...however,as you know, derm. is shameful, humiliating, embarrassing..even if I decided to confess, I don't know if I could muster up the courage to spill. It has become apparent that I may not be able to do this on my own.. Do your friends/classmates/coworkers know? How did they react, the good&bad? Please &Thankyou :)
3 Answers
January 05, 2012
Hello Fera, Thank you for coming here and sharing your story with us. I'm new here and can only tell you what I have experience, I'm no expert. But, I am quite a bit older than you, I'm 46 and have been picking at scabs on and off for nearly all my life. Stress is a major trigger and then most of the time, I just want to 'feel' something or feel the need to beat myself up over something from my past or something I can't control - probably the same everyone goes through. About telling someone, I have only let my daughter and a very close friend see my arms/scabbed up areas, I won't let my mother see them because she is part of my problem - the point being, I would only reveal yourself, your illness, to someone you trust - explicitly. You don't want that person to betray you and tell everyone and as we ourselves don't fully understand this, it may be hard for someone who does not do this to understand it. It sounds like you have great fiends and with technology, they may want to learn more about your condition to understand and/or help you! Something a lot of us never had the luxury of until recently. Good luck, let us know what you decide and how it turns out. Peace, Gina
January 05, 2012
Hey Fera, If you spend a lot of time with them, they already know how much you pick yourself. We're not very good at hiding it. If they can't tell by watching us pick ourselves, they will know from the bloody/raw skin or the piles of scabs/nails/dead skin that always surrounds us. The fact that we suffer from dermatillomania is only a secret to us. Andrew
January 08, 2012
Hi Fera, I've missed a ton of work recently because A) I was too ashamed to face coworkers and customers with the humiliating sores I created around my lips and on my cheek and B) I became extremely ill as I developed erasypelas, a bacterial infection caused by strepococci. I'm better now, but everyone was very curious about my MONTH LONG absence upon my return this week. So from this experience I'd like to share thoughts. As if the picking isn't bad enough I had never considered the scary secondary effects. The infection was extremely serious due to its proximity to my eyes and brain. I was terrified I had permanently disfigured myself and all vainity aside, that I jeopardized my entire health..potentially my life... no joke... i was going into septic shock. So thankful to have recovered and this scar by my lip is a constant reminder to be kind to myself or else! So those that ask and truely care, I've told about my problem. I found it relieving to not keep all this shame inside. Real friends accept and love you as you are and this has helped me do the same. Nosy people, well, I just said I was "sick". No details. Then I thanked them for their "concern" and assured them I'm feeling MUCH better. People really have no idea dermatilliomania exists and if you feel comfortable telling, it can be an important learning experience for you and them both. I hope this helps a little. I'm so sorry that anyone suffers from this affliction. It is real and serious and you are absolutely NOT alone my dear. Much love for us all, Kayla

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