'I want to raise awareness rare condition Dermatillomania'

23/05/14

Samantha Wake

Samantha Wake has suffered from a rare mental condition that makes her pick her own skin since she was 12.

She says she "wasn't taken seriously" when she first went to the doctors with her mum.

It wasn't until she says she "basically broke down in front of the GP" that she was diagnosed with Dermatillomania and was referred for professional help.

Now, the 20-year-old from Shropshire wants more people to know about the condition.

It's never really bothered me because I am who I am I just want other people to know they're not alone with it
Samantha Wake

She said: "There's not really a lot I can do about it other than raise awareness to help people out there in the same situation."

Samantha has set up a support network on Facebook to help share advice for other people in her position.

She says she hopes the group can pass on some of the help she got when she received cognitive behavioural therapy.

The treatment teaches her what triggers the condition and ways she can control the urge.

"It really helped to be honest," she said.

"But it's not a miracle cure. It's not going to get rid of it straight away."

Samantha's condition has affected her face but she says Dermatillomania can leave cuts and scabs all over the body.

It's horrible because I feel like I have to put make up on people don't understand
Samantha Wake

She said her condition puts her into a "trance-like state" and stops her doing day to day tasks.

"Sometimes you feel like giving up because it's always going to keep going," she said.

"It's horrible because I feel like I have to put make-up on and people don't understand. You just feel constantly judged.

"But when I've got make-up on I don't really feel like myself either, so none of them are me."

She added that she doesn't like making social plans because she knows that she'll become self-conscious worrying about her condition and will end up not going out.

"I think it's hard because there's so much pressure out there on social media.

"It's never really bothered me because I am who I am. I just want other people to know they're not alone."

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