Wednesday 11 May 2016

The Power of Storytelling: Amy's story

Amy writes about her experience of Dermatillomania for the Student Minds "Power of Storytelling" Campaign

-Amy Walker

 Hello, I’m Amy Walker from Under the Surface. I am an 18 year old blogger in Scotland that currently blogs in her spare time. My blog posts are based on things I am passionate about such as my personal experiences and opinions. I also blog regularly about mental health.

What has inspired you to share your story?

When I discovered that my mental health problem had a name and diagnosis rather than it being a bad habit, I took great comfort in reading about others who have Dermatillomania. I would search it on twitter and read blog posts about it. I started blogging shortly after and was asked to write a piece for Stigma Fighters Teen. Writing for them made me realise that not only were there other people who suffered from mental health issues, but they were also incredibly passionate about helping to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health. The sense that there was a real community of people on the Internet and on social media, who were collectively working together to reduce the stigma around mental health, was something that I really wanted to be involved in.

Has telling your story helped you?

Each time I tell my story through blog posts on various sites, I feel refreshed. It is a little reminder that, again, it is not a bad habit but something much stronger that I am trying to fight. These little reminders are important, especially in situations where I tend to question myself and ask myself why I do certain things. Writing about mental health issues has allowed me to combine my passion for writing and my avid interest in mental health. This has not only helped me, but also has allowed me to do something that I enjoy and makes me happy.

Has telling your story helped anyone else?

I really hope so! I can’t say for sure because Dermatillomania is not well known about and a lot of people suffer without knowing they have it. However, I feel that I am achieving my main aim, which is to raise awareness about many different mental health conditions.

What did you find hardest about sharing your story?

It is the hurdle I have still not jumped which is sharing it with people I know. I am only close to a few people in my personal life who are aware I have Dermatillomania. However, they don’t know that I write about it. Those that are not close to me have no idea about either. I have planned to share my blog soon, but I want to get into a routine and build more of a community first.

Do you have advice for someone who is thinking of sharing their story?

If you are nervous then you can test the waters by Guest Posting on other sites, which gives you the opportunity to distance your story from your personal social media/site. You can also remain anonymous until you have received some feedback and are more confident with your decision to share your story.

Do you have any useful information on your mental health condition?

Dermatillomania is one of many body focused repetitive behaviour conditions. The condition involves repeatedly picking at areas of the body. Personally, I pick at skin on my scalp on a daily basis. I also occasionally pick at my face and lips. Although the condition is something that I do to myself physically, it is to do with what is going on in my mind. Dermatillomania is often linked to other mental health conditions such as OCD and anxiety.

For those who suffer with conditions such as Dermatillomania, information and helpful advice can be found on the following websites:

Booking an appointment with your GP can also provide support in terms of diagnosis and treatment. 

Are you interested in getting involved in The Power of Story Telling Blog series? Please don’t hesitate to get in touch

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