Teen shares tale to stop stigma of mental illness

Danny Bowman, who appeared on ITV's Daybreak.
Danny Bowman, who appeared on ITV's Daybreak.

A teenager has spoken about hitting ‘rock bottom’ after becoming addicted to taking ‘selfies’ as he tries to raise awareness of mental illness.

Danny Bowman, 19, tried to take an overdose after dropping out of school and becoming addicted to taking pictures of himself, or selfies, to find the perfect image.

“It started when I was 15,” said Danny, from Guyzance.

“I wanted to impress girls, as you do, and I just didn’t feel good enough, so I started taking selfies to try to get the perfect one.

“I would put them on Facebook and girls would see them. But then I got mixed reviews and I just kept taking more.

“I spent six months housebound, taking 200 selfies a day.”

He didn’t see his friends or family and lost two stone in weight in his bid to create the perfect image.

But Danny, who appeared on ITV’s Daybreak this week, said he hit rock bottom when his mum found him ‘piling in’ tablets in a bid to take an overdose.

“It was awful and really upsetting,” he said.

But Danny was fortunate to be treated at London’s Maudsley Hospital, after he was diagnosed with body dysmorphic disorder, technology addiction and obsessive compulsive disorder.

Now he wants to raise awareness of mental illness.

He said: “By sharing my story I want to stop the stigma against mental illness and raise awareness of this awful illness and illnesses like it.”

Talking about technology, Danny added: “Selfies are such a new thing and we live in such a multimedia age that you can’t avoid it. Everynody wants to outdo each other and to show how good their life is or how good-looking they are. But it can get extremely addictive, it’s like a drug.”

He spent around four months being treated for his addiction as an inpatient and outpatient. “The treatment was amazing,” he said. “But it was very hard, and difficult at times, but it got me better.”

He added: “I really want mental health to be recognised as equal to physical health and for there to be more investment in services.”