Purple Pain

I met Kate* at McDonalds as arranged. She had wanted me to tell “her story” for my blog. She is a Skin Picker. Dermatillomania, I have since learnt is the medical term for this compulsion. I researched it before I agreed to do the shoot.

How will I know you when we meet?

I’ll be in purple. I love purple.

No sooner had I introduced myself and sat down at the small McDonalds outdoor coffee table, she bounced up. Purple Doc Martens bounding away.

Lets go do this!

( Get it over with before I change my mind maybe?)

I knew from her messages she was petrified to be photographed without makeup. Sores open for the world to see, but craving it at the same time. Hoping the process of showing her scars and sores would work as a visual deterrent for her.

When it came time to take the makeup off, she was brave, but betrayed by her uncontrolled shaking. The camera looming over her.

”Lets do it” – she repeated.

Kate peeled away the layers and let out a loud yell when she had finished. More a gasp than a yell. A victory cry! A war dance!

This is Kate’s story.

“Ever since I can remember this is what I’ve been told. It started with my mother and grandmother. I would pick, pick, pick! Peel skin from my families bodies after being sunburnt…gosh I even remember peeling the wallpaper off my bedroom wall where I slept.

When I got older it would be by boyfriend “stop picking”.Then my husband “stop picking”. Then my kids.It is now at the stage where I pick my face bad, use whatever I can get to help do it. I have tried to stop many, many, many times using different techniques from cutting off my nails to admitting myself in a clinic for a month. So here I am now using the platform to hopefully stop my grandkids from ever saying “stop picking”…”
*Kate’s real name changed by request.

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