Trichotillomania - Fighting the Pull

Fighting the Pull

This isn’t going to be easy for me to write, and this post is going to be very personal for me. If you’re suffering from trichotillomania (Trich for short) like I am, then you’ll relate to this post and know exactly what I’m talking about. If you don’t have Trich, I hope by the end of this you at least understand what it is, and the types of struggles it causes for the people who have it.

When you have Trich, even leaving the house can be stressful. Did I draw my eyebrows on right? Will people stare at me and notice I have hair missing in spots? Should I wear false eyelashes to hide that I have none? These questions are what I ask myself every time I walk out the door, and I’m sure many others do as well. The worst part? False eyelashes don’t wear well if you have none of your own to hold them. Eyeliner goes on easy without lashes, but it doesn’t stay where you’d like it to half the time, and one touch to your face, even just to itch…could let the whole world see what’s under that makeup.

For those who don’t know what Trich is, it’s a disorder that causes recurrent, irresistible urges to pull out body hair. Although they say it’s treatable by a medical professional, I have never found anything that works to make it go away for more than a few weeks if that. The only “treatment” they tried to give me was counseling and medications for depression. I’m not depressed, or at least I wasn’t, I’m a SAHM of 3 little girls…I now work from home also because with the hubby schedule there’s no time for me to go out of the house for a job. So the added stress level has once again left me with a bald body.

Daycare is out of the question, I definitely cannot afford $350 a week in child care for 3 kids, and let’s be honest here that’s crazy and no one should ever be in this situation just because they have a family. How are we supposed to feel usefull when we’re made to sit at home doing nothing more than what women were stereotyped to do forever. I’m sorry I’m a career minded mother and not having an income or life is not an option for me. So trying to find a way to work from home has added yet another stress factor.

I was about 5 or 6 years old when I developed this condition, and up until 2 years ago, I had still thought I was the only person who suffered from it. Other than the amazing people I’ve now met in this time online, I have never known another person with trich.

I was treated like a freak by people who noticed missing hair, or that heard from someone else how weird it was and blah blah blah. But most times, we don’t even notice that We are pulling out our hair. The damage becomes clear after we’ve seen what We did. We all know how it goes, doesn’t matter what makes us different, someone else will always point out our flaws for the rest of the world. One of the worst things you can do to a person with Trich, at least in my opinion, is ask the same stupid questions we get daily. Like, why do you do it? Or why don’t you just stop? They don’t understand unless they have it.

Some have even taken it as far as smacking my hands while I pull at my eyelashes or hair. Always resulting in me fingering my eyeball or hitting my head, which gets infuriating after the first time. And when you show them frustration because of what they did, it doesn’t bother them a bit because they don’t know why you do it Or how to make you stop.

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(I had eyebrows growing back, and had almost all my eyelashes grown. It doesn’t take long at all for that to change and be taken away without noticing it.)

Here’s some advice to someone who knows a person with trichotillomania, leave them be. Comfort them, tell them it’s ok, and don’t make them feel less human by treating them anything other than a normal person. Because that’s what we are. You don’t see us hitting your hands for something we can’t control. We’re not out telling people with depression or other disorders to stop because you can control it. You cant, and it’s something we have to all come to terms with. Not everything in life can be controlled. We all deal with different things in different ways. Let us try and live our lives as normal and as happy as we can.

Most people with this condition pull from their head, eyelashes and brows, and even leg hairs or any body hair available to pull. I’m guilty of all of it. I have bald spots on my head that will never be normal again. My eyelashes have been gone for years, my brows will never look normal without being filled in, and I have to prep myself every time I leave the house, even just to look like I have no makeup on, requires me to wear some.

As I said before, there’s certain types of makeup that just doesn’t work well for us trichsters. Mascara for anyone who pulls their eyelashes can be a nightmare. It takes months to grow eyelashes back, and mascara for most can bring the urge to pull them out back even worse. Having to take the makeup off at night can even make them fall out when your just trying to take it off. Even being gentle doesn’t always work. Over time our eyes gets used to it and they simply come out without an effort of pulling anymore.

I could be doing so good for 3 months, have my eyelashes almost completely grown in, and as soon as I end up pulling out one single hair, you can start to get the feeling and urge to “make it look normal” by evening out the other side. This of course makes it worse and usually by the end of it I have no hairs left to pull. Back to the starting point once again.

Excersize, cleaning, toys that keep your hands busy, and some other things can be used to try and keep yourself from pulling the hair. But this is only a temporary relief, and it never actually gets rid of the urges, more of less just takes your mind off of it for a little while if your lucky.  If you’re like me though, this can frustrate you even more because you’re trying to fight the urges, and they just don’t stop. 

Is there no way to rid the urges forever? Are we all really just “stuck” with this condition for life? After having it for almost 20 years, and 99% of my life already, I can’t help but to feel that this is just something we can’t beat. I’d love to be able to say something positive here and think it will get better forever. But I have learned the hard way that nothing lasts forever. This is life.

If you’re going through this with me, let me know. Tell me how you feel, and maybe even how you beat the urges. Sometimes it’s just nice to talk to someone else who’s going through the same thing you are, and I’d love to be that person. 🙂

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–Update–
It has now been a total of 6 days since I pulled last, and some of my lashes have started growing back in again already. I have been using an eyelash growth serum lately because it not only helps cut the growth time in half, but it also makes me notice when I’m pulling a lot easier. It’s not that it hurts exactly, but you can definitely feel when your pulling out your eyelashes or brow hairs. I’ve been trying this for a few months and it does seem to work, but doesn’t stop me completely all the time. I had just had all my lashes and brows almost completely back.
They looked beautiful, but I had an overly stressful day and lost it all immediately. 😦
The serum that I have been using doesn’t hurt or irritate your eyes when you’re applying it, and it doesn’t after either, but like I mentioned it does help you realize you’re pulling a lot faster! I will continue to use this and other methods to try and beat this, but until then, if you have anything working for you I’m all ears!
This is the one that I use specifically, it’s not very expensive like some, and still gets the job done right. This one is clear and can even be worn under makeup, if left alone it will have a slight shine to it for about 10 minutes.

Until next time, keep Fighting the Pull!
—  —  — Kylie