At the age of 20, Paula Saadatmand experienced a loss no woman should ever have to endure.
The young woman from Winnipeg had a miscarriage, leaving her so traumatized she started picking at her own skin. The behavior spiraled into a dangerous self-harming addiction in which she’d tweezers to rip at her skin, trying to “rid herself” of any imperfections.
The picking became completely uncontrollable to the point she scratched herself in her sleep and would wake up with blood on her blankets and sheets.
Going out in public still seemed impossible. People would see Paula’s legs and rudely ask if she had a drug problem. On one occasion, Paula was using a public restroom and another woman couldn’t even wash her hands because she was staring so much.
Paula’s self-esteem hit rock bottom. For seven years, she refused to wear shorts, dresses or skirts. She kept the scabs on her legs completely hidden in shame.
Two years ago, Paula decided enough was enough. officially diagnosed with dermatillomania, or compulsive skin picking, an impulse control disorder that produces by relief and/or pleasure — but in turn, it can cause an endless cycle of satisfaction and shame.
Pauls cut her nails short and got rid of her tweezers to prevent relapse. She uses topical creams to help heal her wounds and goes to counseling.
Now 27 years old, Paula has come to see her condition in a whole new light. She recently posted a selfie on social media, and when you see it, you’ll understand why it’s so incredibly brave.
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