It’s impossible to put into words how it feels to stand in a corridor thronging with hundreds of people all wearing their lanyards, brought together in Dallas with the same purpose: to understand, connect with others, and find recovery from Hair Pulling and Skin Picking disorders. I had a lump in my throat watching a group of kids hurry by, laughing loudly together, aged between 8 and 12, and thought back to how troubled and alone I was with skin picking back then. Here the sense of community is very apparent. Warm smiles and conversations with people make this hotel buzz with good energy.
I knew nothing of the recovery and adventure I would find through this disorder.
It’s nuts to think I’m even in Dallas, let alone about to give the Keynote Speech at this Global conference. In just a few hours at two workshops I’ve found out more about the disorders than was possible elsewhere. 500 or more people are here, health professional, adults, kids, parents. People wanting to find ways to cope.
I’m already meeting amazing people who know the disorders just as I do. Back to front and inside out.
So I’m speaking in just under 2 hours. A deep breath to tell my story, how I have found a way for art to transform and regulate my illness, how I use it to help others too. A deep breath to say the truth.
I feel deeply honoured to be here.