During my week in Los Angeles I met so many people and spoke to more than 200 across the 5 public talks to students and staff at UCLA, USC Keck School of Medicine, USC Santa Barbara and OCDLA. There is nothing more moving than to hear from individuals directly affected and helped by my story. It’s exactly why I am doing this. It is advocacy in action. I am grateful to have permission to share messages from one individual:-
Thank you immensely for taking the time to come to UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine and share your artwork and your story. Your ability to describe the emotion and depth of how you have experienced skin picking, anxiety, and depression was very inspirational. Getting into medical school at UCLA for me was a huge privilege, but one of my biggest fears for me was the beach and body culture of Los Angeles– Almost every experience you shared with dealing with mirrors, skin, hands, zoning out,”–set off triggers for me, and I think in a positive way. I’ve looked up/Googled different understandings of excoriation and dermatillomania to try to make sense of what I’ve been going through since middle school, but your story gave me hope, motivation, and a better grasp on self-honesty. Thank you again for all you have done and will do. I wish I could’ve spoke with you following your talk. Best of luck with your future work.
A second email:-
It has been powerful following your recent journey, as I’m sure you’ve been able to affect so many with your story. Thank you so much for getting back to me. It was incredible hearing your story then writing to you with how I related–I felt almost as if the burden felt lighter for me. I have actually made a few steps forward in terms of treatment (just within the past 2 weeks). I think hearing from you was the final straw in terms of making action steps for myself.
Deeply moving to know that my story and presentation touched and helped someone directly. I also had feedback from one of the USC staff members in attendance:-