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Bullying in the Workplace

The sores are healing but my scars still serve as a reminder.

The sores are healing but my scars still serve as a reminder.

I wrote a post recently called “Don’t let the bastards get you down” where I talked about an ex-friend of mine spreading rumours about me in my workplace and telling my work colleagues all about my picking (my biggest secret!). Two nights ago in the staff room, I was questioned intensely by another work colleague. I was sitting at the opposite end of the staff room with my back turned to everyone, watching the TV minding my own business, when she called out my name in front of everyone else (I think there were 7 of us in total in the staff room) and asked me if they were bites I had on my arms. I was quite taken aback by this. I haven’t been questioned over my marks in a LONG time and for the most part my picking has been getting better. Add to this I also wear long pants and long sleeves to work so I was not at all prepared with how to respond to this. I agreed they were bites, hoping this would end the conversation (as it usually does) but she continued to question me… When do they bite you? They must be big mosquitos where you live! Where do you live? You have to be careful you don’t get Ross River virus! And so she went ON and ON and ON! I was that ashamed and embarrassed I walked out of the staff room in complete and utter shock. This personal attack on me came out of nowhere! I’ve been there almost a year, my picking was a lot worse when I first started, she’s had plenty of time over the last few months to ask me one-on-one what they were but she chose this moment when the staff room was packed and right after the rumours at work had gone around about me to question me about my scars.

THIS IS BULLYING! And it brings back all my old memories of being taunted in the schoolyard for having “chickenpox”, “rabies”, “scabies”, parents recoiling in disgust, fearing I was contagious, teachers asking if I had the “chickenpox” (one even lifted up my shirt in front of another teacher in the staff room to “examine” my skin) and employers accusing me of being a drug addict and having to check my “track marks”! I am not contagious and I am not a drug addict! I am a girl that has seen and been through a lot and because I keep all of this bottled up inside of me, it has to escape somehow, and THAT is what the marks are that you see – PAIN ESCAPING!

As you can probably tell, it really bothers me that people can be so nosy and insensitive! I would never ever question someone on their physical appearance or on any condition/illness for that matter. Dermatillomania is a serious, debilitating, life-threatening illness that deserves the same recognition, respect and treatment that is given to other physical and mental illnesses. No one jokes about cancer. No one asks a cancer sufferer why their hair is falling out. (Or at least I hope no one does these things!). So why joke about me? Bully me? Torment me? Question me relentlessly?


It would be so easy for me to relapse right now but my mum has told me that I’ve been doing really well lately and encouraged me to not let this woman destroy all the progress that I have made! So I won’t. Because you know what… I AM strong enough to fight this and my scars prove that!

I hope one day I have the courage to tell ALL the people that I meet, especially the nosy ones, that I have a skin picking condition, and hopefully educate them in the process! Education and greater acceptance are two things Dermatillomania sufferers urgently NEED!

Staying positive & strong!

Staying positive & strong!

Don’t let the bastards get you down!

It’s a horrible feeling when you have your trust betrayed. I’m usually pretty careful who I confide in about my skin picking with because some people can be quite naive about the sufferings of others but I thought I could trust this friend of mine; especially since he was intent on becoming a psychologist. And so I opened up to him only to have it thrown back in my face. He was nasty – physically, emotionally and verbally. I recall him yelling at me one night that no one would ever find me beautiful because I had wrecked my skin, I was ugly and scarred and no one would ever love me. I didn’t react. I knew he was intentionally trying to upset me and I find that with bullies they usually put others down in order to feel better about themselves. His insecurities were endless and as a result of that he would “pick on me” to distract himself from his own intense feelings of self-hatred. I’ve now found out that he has been spreading rumours about me in my workplace and telling my colleagues that I “constantly pick pick pick at my skin”.

The old me would have become upset at this. But I have come to realise that “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me”. There is nothing anyone can say to me anymore that will bring me down. Yes I pick! Yes I have sores! Yes I have scars! If you have a problem with it… get over it! Because as I have found out – it’s those who have a problem with what I do who are the problem. To quote Bernard M. Baruch: “Those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind”. I have people in my life who love and accept me for who I am and it is only their opinions that matter to me. One of my work mates even said to me they were so happy when they found out I had my flaws because they always thought I was so damn perfect. This made my night – in that one sentence alone I was able to see myself how others see me and the view wasn’t so bad after all!

In life I try and turn every mistake I make into a lesson that I can learn and grow from. In this case I wouldn’t say I’ve learnt not to trust others because the world is full of beautiful, kind, accepting people and to not trust them would be to miss out on some truly great friendships. What I have learnt though is to be strong in myself and to not care so much what others think of me. And most importantly I have learnt, and am still learning, that when others “pick on me” I don’t have to take it out on myself anymore. People who pick on me aren’t worth me wrecking my skin over. And so I won’t even pick a single scab over this ex-friend of mine and his nasty bitter words – that’s how little him and his opinions matter to me.

Lesson learned: surround yourself with those who love you! I deserve it and SO DO YOU! ♥

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