“I live with Trichotillomania and Dermatillomania . I didn’t always compulsively pull the hair out of my own head, eyelashes or eyebrows.
As a child I had long flowing and perfectly curled white-blonde hair. It was gorgeous, until I turned twelve. I still remember the day my hair-purling started.
Sitting on the couch at my grandmother’s watching a boring television show no doubt I came out of a trance and noticed a pile of hair sitting beside me. That feeling, one of fear, shame and guilt is one I’ve grown accustumed to. I’m good at hiding, for me mental illness looks normal.
There are days I don’t leave the house through lack of confidence, and panic in the reality of what I live with, but mostly I look fine. Fine, but hiding bald spots, hiding scars, hiding pain.
Trichotillomania is classified as a Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviour presents itself following stress or trauma, this was not the case for me.Trichotillomania brings with it much confusion, a feeling of shame and immediately a desire to hide. I tried hiding what I was doing from family, but couldn’t, but successful in hiding from the public and friends.
Many people wth Trichotillomania hide, we feel shame so we learn to draw eye-brows, wear fake eyelashes and cover bald spots with the expertise of hair dressers and skilled make-up artists. It wasn’t until recently that I began speaking out about my struggles with BFRBs and it’s been both liberating and terrifying at the same time. There’s a sadness in learning many friends, family and those close to you are hiding too. Everyday I cope with Trichotillomania, everyday I hide it too.
Hiding has become the biggest part of living with Trichotillomania, but it’s also a coping mechanism. A desire not to show my bald spots also means I won’t pull at my hair in public or around those I love. No one likes to see scabs and scars so I hide those as well. Hats, braids and buns are some of my favourite ways of hiding whats going on underneath my thinning hair. Talking about my struggles through my blog TimeToTalkTrich.com has also become a method of coping. Yet sometimes an opportunity to just sit, reflect and allow the urges to play themselves out is just what my brain needs. ”