This can leave lesions all over a person's body, and it won't really have time to heal, since they will continue picking on it.
A woman's habit nearly led to her losing her leg. Lauren McKeaney, 35, from Chicago, has suffered from the psychological condition, dermatillomania all her life. This means that she can't help but pick on her skin constantly, according to New York Post.
Dermatillomania falls under the umbrella of obsessive compulsive-related disorders (OCD), which causes a person to repeatedly pick, squeeze and even bite at their skin.
This habit can leave lesions all over a person's body, and it won't really have time to heal, since they will continue picking on it. This habit is something that can affect a person for months together, or maybe even years, if not treated properly.
In 2014, McKeaney contracted methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) on her inner thigh. The life-threatening infection occurs when bacteria enter the body through cuts, which were aplenty on the woman's legs, due to her habit.
My condition was at its worst in 2014. Right on my inner thigh, I contracted the life-taking bacteria MRSA," she told Truly. “My right leg was just so swollen and infected, and the doctors had to come and talk to me about potentially losing my leg."
“I felt the lowest I had felt but it was there that I actually heard someone say, ‘it looks like she has dermatillomania’.” The woman had to have eight inches of her thigh removed to get rid of the infection, but thankfully her leg was salvageable. After spending months in physical therapy, McKeaney made a full recovery.
"My body is riddled in scars and sores head-to-toe, and I had absolutely no idea or reason why. My formative years consisted of doing everything I could to keep anyone from looking too closely or asking too many questions. My entire life was affected by the front I put forth to not have to explain what I could not effectively explain," the woman shared on her website, Picking Me.
“‘Leper’ and ‘Polka-dots’ were nicknames from bullies, sleepovers only happened with friends who did not make fun of my all-black sheets. A high school nurse incorrectly reported me for self-harming, a college counselor thought I was using meth, a health club manager informed me members were uncomfortable in the locker room with me. Dating and intimacy were more about hiding than opening up,” she continued.
She shared that after almost losing her leg, she could “no longer silently suffer”.
“In an innocent stranger’s questioning of what had happened to my leg one day, I experienced a new compulsion- to share the truth. And I haven’t shut up since,” she wrote. McKeaney set up the nonprofit Picking me Foundation to support the dermatillomania community. The organization is “dedicated to raising awareness and inspiring acceptance about dermatillomania for sufferers, supporters, and educational communities alike”.
“[This disease is] misunderstood, underreported, and under-diagnosed, and it lacks medical studies, research, and funding for treatment. We aim to change the connotation of the word ‘pick’ to help patients and parents understand these behaviors are not their fault and to educate the medical world on the dire advocacy this skin picking disorder needs as it affects three percent of the global population,” she shared.
Cover Image Source: Picking Me Foundation