Even Microsoft Word doesn’t know what it is. Trichotillomania
is an impulsive
control disorder that manifests itself in the compulsive pulling of hair on the head, face and body. It’s fairly rare, and as such is not something
most people know how to react to.
I have dealt with this disorder since I was 7 or 8 years old and it has greatly impacted my life. Because it is not very well understood, even in the
medical field, I wanted to write this thread to share my experience and encourage others to share theirs, as well as to answer people’s questions
I’ll start by saying that I’ve never told anyone close to me about this. Not once. It’s no longer something you can see just looking at me, but
when I was a child I pulled my eyelashes, so it was visible. People – even adults asked questions, made comments, and always generally assumed they
had every right to point it out, as if I were unaware. They’d ask why I did it – a question I could never answer. People would even try to tell me
my eyelashes would never grow back, which I still don’t understand because that’s totally false. I’m still often amazed by how much people have
to say about the private issues of others, and how freely they feel they can comment. It’s absolutely inappropriate, and probably the main reason
why this isn’t something I talk about now.
Even as far back as 3 or 4 years old, I had issues with anxiety and some obsessive-compulsive tendencies. I can remember being no older than 4, lying
awake at night worrying about what would happen if the house caught on fire or someone tried to break in. I’ve never dealt with stress very well,
and have always been particularly sensitive to it. This combination ultimately led to the emergence of this disordered hair-pulling behavior. My
parents, understandably concerned, tried everything – therapy, medication, sugar-free diet, hypnosis therapy, massage therapy, chakra meditation
classes, yelling at me when they’d catch me pulling. None of it ever helped. Honestly, I feel that all of this just destroyed my self-esteem as a
kid. The damage done by bullying from my peers could not have compared to feeling like even my parents thought I was some kind of broken freak. But
I’m not sure they could have handled it any other way. What I would tell any parent facing this issue with their child today, though, is to never
make them feel ashamed of something they can’t control.
I still struggle with trichotillomania, but I have since adapted the behaviors associated with it so that there’s nothing for people to ask about.
Not even my closest friends know. My parents no longer bring it up or ask about it. I really feel that at this point, it has ceased to impact my life,
and that is the closest I can come to recovering from it.
There is so little known about this disorder, and to this day there really is no treatment for it. So I’m hoping this thread can provide answers for
someone out there in the same place my parents and I were.
I’d be glad to answer any questions on the subject, and would love to hear from anyone else who might have some experience with trich.
Thanks for reading