Tuesday, April 16, 2013

My Trichotillomania Story

Hi my lovelies! I have something to share today with you all that I haven't shared with any of my friends or really, any of my family. If you are out there suffering with this disease, I am right there with you and I know what it feels like.

So a little background on trichotillomania. It's a psychological condition usually linked with OCD, but personally I think it's more of an isolation disorder, where you pull out your hair. Maybe it's your eyelashes, your eyebrows, or your hair on your scalp. It affects 1 in 10 adolescents and it's not easy to shake it by yourself. It's not something that vanishes or is something that can be treated within days. It requires time and that person's willpower. So here's my story.

Back in the eighth grade, I was not having a good year. My brother was being born and my parents didn't tell me, I actually found out from a friend who heard it from her mom. It threw me for a loop and I was really, really frustrated. I was not very expressive and I didn't like talking about it and I just wanted a way to cope. My parents just sorta acknowledged that I never knew and yelled at me a lot for my ignorance and indifference during this time. I was just really mad and I thought about suicide and cutting; I just ended up clawing at my arms and leaving scratches.
So I started pulling my hair. It was like a release from the stress and anxiety; none of my friends understood and were all so happy. It kept me okay for a while until May of that year. We went on a class trip to King's Island and I am utterly terrified of amusement rides, so terrified that a neat little line of hair was missing the next morning after the trip. I went to the doctor and I had tests done; I had alopecia, an autoimmune disease towards my hair follicles, as well as trich. Oh and I pulled from my scalp, like right in the center. I guess I just keep moving my part further to cover it, and I have my bangs there as well. My parents laughed it off as nothing and as they were preoccupied with my brother, I pulled more and more. I would sit on my bathroom floor and just pull out handfuls at a time and then stare at it. I knew what I had done, but I couldn't stop. It continued on this way until today and I still have trich and I'm still suffering with it. I pull almost every day and especially before tests or if I've had a bad day. Pulling is just a constant, I don't notice it now. I said it was an isolation disorder because I only pull when I'm alone, and I've wanted to get out of my house more often. I think maybe when I can drive, I can be with others more instead a strict no going out thing and it might help.
The only time I haven't pulled every day , is summer camp. For three weeks every summer, I lived with someone, where I wouldn't be able to pull. That's why I pushed so hard to go to camp each summer, to get that temporary growth for myself. My roommate made me want to stop, to be normal and happy just like her and for three weeks I was.
It's going to be hard to stop, especially with no doctor or psychotherapist but others have done it and so can I. I'm not sure if people have noticed it yet, but I'm hoping I can work so no one ever will. If someone makes fun of you for it, just keep walking. Don't stoop down. It's important to tell your family and definitely, your friends. It doesn't have to be all of them, but just to have a shoulder to help you. I haven't actually told any of mine, but now I've told you guys, I have! March marked two years of trich for me, and I've had my ups and downs but I'll keep going. If you have something to say, particularly about this, please say it. I know what you're going through, I'm still dealing with trich today. I know about all the constant cleaning and vacuuming. I know.
Please if you have trich, tell me. It'll help you and me to know we have a shoulder. If you don't have support from your family or friends, you have me and the rest of the Internet. And if you feel extra bad one day, YouTube trichotillomania and you'll find great things. Thank you for reading, this is so important to me. XOXO

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