The Mental Health Taboo
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I looked down, embarrassed, at my dry, cracked and bleeding hands. It was a cold winter day and my hands had been hiding inside my gloves. I was in third or fourth grade. I had quickly removed and tucked my pink gloves in my desk and hid my hands as best as I could on my lap. I sometimes hoped the discomfort itself would help suppress the urge to wash my hands. I was tired of covering my hands in Vaseline every night to help them heal.

My parents would ask why I felt the need to continue to repeatedly wash my hands, but to their frustration, I was unable to express why. I knew why, but I knew if I divulged my reasoning I would be labeled as "crazy". Back then the explanation I gave myself was that my hands were simply not clean enough. Looking back, I understand it was a comp...

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