Broken Light: A Photography Collective

We are photographers living with or affected by mental illness; supporting each other one photograph at a time. Join our community, submit today!

Dermatillomania Series

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Please welcome first-time contributor Patrycja Marciniak, a 24-year-old graphic designer, artist, and photographer from Poland who has struggled with depression, anxiety, and dermatillomania, the urge to scratch and pick at one’s skin.

About this photo: “Since my teen years, I’ve struggled with an intense skin picking disorder. This problem is not widely known – even by dermatologists – and is often underestimated. I’ve never been properly diagnosed until a year ago; until then, everyone just told me to stop scratching my skin. I photoshopped my scars away from the pictures, because I didn’t want to show how it looks like but how it feels like; using images of peeling paint, I tried to imitate the feeling of the need to scratch. At first, you only see a little crack in the paint on the wall; as you touch it, it flakes off, creating damage that gets bigger and bigger. You know that your touch only enlargens the hole, but it’s really hard once you’ve started. Soon you discover you’re standing in front of a bare, concrete wall. I used peeling paint stock images by Prudentia and FoxStox.”


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3 comments on “Dermatillomania Series

  1. BookOfBokeh
    April 12, 2017

    Bold, brilliant and accomplished. Sorry for the disorder, but you’ve turned it into a triumph.


  2. adhd33
    April 26, 2017

    I, too, have suffered from dermatillomania since I was a teenager. I am now 58. These photos perfectly portray what it’s like to suffer from this disorder. Well done.


  3. Eduardo Mendoza
    May 9, 2017

    Such is the way when digging in the wounds, but we have to keep going, great work Patrycja!!!


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