Self-published in late 2009 through Lulu.com, Angela Hartlin released her honest first- hand account of her struggles with Dermatillomania, depression, anxiety, and Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). It documents the specific challenges she faced interpersonally, with her health, and with her will to live as her symptoms progressed.
Her memoir is unique in that it began as an online blog available only to her viewing as a way to express herself without any repercussions. She then opened it up to a few people who suffered with mental illness so that she could find support in people who wouldn’t judge her. It offered her the anonymity to speak freely with raw emotions and startling thoughts that would otherwise surprise and worry people in her life. The blog was an outlet for everything she was feeling inside and it was created in hopes to understand herself better so that she could tackle her Dermatillomania and begin to rebuild her life.
As time moved forward, she felt less of a need to write in her blog because she found better strategies for coping with life in general. Near the end of 2008, she revisited her blog and found it very painful to relive the thoughts of suicide and see how much she had suffered for those years and years previous to the blog being created. This amount of pain almost prompted her to delete the blog to forget about that past and move forward, but she realized she did not want all of her struggles to be forgotten. She believed there were probably others out there in her situation who went through what she did, many who may not have survived.
She still believes the trend of silenced victims of this disorder should not being suffering alone. If her story can help others by sharing these taboo thoughts she kept locked away, then she wouldn’t have gone through the years of despair for nothing. She was given another chance and hopes to reverse the stigma placed on Dermatillomania sufferers by showing them that life doesn’t collapse if everyone knows about their disorder. It is the secretive nature of this disorder that spirals lives out of control making them feel like there is no way to escape the urges that damage their skin.
Angela gave a meaning to her pain and hopes that others will have the courage to conquer the shame, if not the disorder itself.