A 24-year-old man has committed suicide after suffering a mental disorder that caused him to obsess and worry about his physical appearance, according to the Daily Mail.
Nathaniel Asselin was stricken with body dysmorphic disorder, which causes one to stress over aesthetic flaws that may not even exist. Asselin took his life on April 15th of 2011, after years of fretting over whether or not his hair was done the right way and various imagined imperfections.
A shaving nick or a small blemish, or even just a bump under the skin would keep him in front of the mirror for hours, applying small pieces of Band aid to cover up the marks, his mother Judy Asselin said to ABC News. The irony, of course, was that he had a beautiful complexion.
Nathaniel had suffered from this disorder since the age of 11 and had undergone numerous hospitalizations and failed treatments, ABC reported. His mother told the news publication that her son saw dating as an impossibility, and when he actually left the house he always felt people were looking at him.
I can't do this anymore; I can't wake up in my bed in the morning and do this all over again, Asselin used to say to his parents, according to his mother.
After suffering years of BDD affliction, it became clear to Nathaniel that he would not achieve his goal of becoming an emergency medical technician. Instead, he volunteered to be an ambulance rider, coached track and worked part-time at Westfield School, where his mother teaches middle school.
His father Denis Asselin has embarked on a 525-mile trek on foot to visit all of the hospitals and clinics that contributed to his son's painful journey.
It was a metaphorically powerful symbol for me-how to move forward after the most tragic experience, he said to ABC.
He has created a website dedicated to his son called Walking With Nathaniel, which outlines the motivation behind his pilgrimage.
By finding better treatment, we can offer to those the hope that Nathaniel needed and so richly deserved, he writes.
The disorder that ultimately lead to Nathaniel's tragic suicide has been referred to as broken mirror syndrome and affects as many as 1 in 100 people, according to the International OCD Foundation. This usually begins in adolescence when children start to compare themselves to their peers.
They focus on a part of the body, founder of the International OCD Foundation said to ABC. The nose is too big or the skin is not smooth enough or the hair is not thick enough. It goes beyond a preoccupation and the mind can't let go of the obsession.
Denis Asselin is also raising money to promote BDD awareness, and has raised $15,000 that will be donated to research, ABC reported. Denis also shared the strength and perseverance that his son possessed.
He was a pied piper, he said to ABC. Kids just loved him and they never knew about his struggle because he never complained.
To donate money to the Asselin family to help raise awareness for BDD, or to learn more about the disorder visit Walking With Nathaniel.