What is Trichotillomania? - My Hidden Struggle

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I suffer from Trichotillomania, commonly known as Trich.

What is it?

Trichotillomania is an impulse control disorder that causes people to pull at their hair, resulting in them pulling out their eyebrows, eyelashes, head hair and/or body hair and causing damage to their skin and hair follicles.

Many people who suffer from Trich do it because it relieves stress and anxiety and can become an addiction. It's closely related to OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder).

I didn't even know I had Trichotillomania until I googled 'Why am I pulling out my eyebrows and eyelashes?' I thought I'd just developed some weird habit that I couldn't shake, that was, until I realised it's an extremely common disorder that affects hundreds of thousands of people. 

My Story:

I can't put my finger on what triggered me to start pulling out my hair, but I found that I always did it when I was lying in bed at night, watching a TV show on my laptop and I suddenly started pulling at my eyebrows. It started with just a few stray hairs here and there but then I couldn't stop myself pulling more and more hairs out. Over the period of a week, I'd pulled almost all of my eyebrows out and left myself with about 5 hairs. It looked horrible and I felt horrible. 

Then I started pulling at the other eyebrow, and the same thing happened. I tried to stop myself but when I wasn't looking in a mirror, I couldn't see the damage I was doing. It felt almost like a stress reliever and the more I did it, the harder it was to stop.

After a while I turned to my eyelashes. Now, I didn't worry about this at first because I usually pull some mascara off my lashes at the end of the day when I'm taking my makeup off, but I started feeling the need to pull a single eyelash out, and then another one, and then another one.

A few weeks later I had no eyelashes at all on one eye, and very few on my other eye. I couldn't bare to look at myself in the mirror. I was horrified at what I'd done but yet I'd keep trying to find more to pull when I was in bed at night. 

It was a terrible cycle that I couldn't get out of. When I was anxious I would pull. When I was stressed and overthinking things I would pull.

How to stop Trichotillomania?

Trich is known to be a mental health problem and the proper advice in beating trich is to speak to a healthcare professional or counsellor to address the issue and find a way to stop you from pulling your hair out. 

You can speak to a licensed counsellor online here at BetterHelp if you're dealing with Trichotillomania or any other mental health issue: Speak online with a professional at BetterHelp

BetterHelp is the largest online counselling platform worldwide and if you're in need of advice and guidance, talking to someone is the first step in beating trich.

  • Distraction 
  • Distracting yourself from the urge to pull is a great way to stop trichotillomania. Using a stress ball is a great way to distract yourself and give your hands something to do other than pulling. Grab one here: Anxiety Stress Ball

I still suffer from trichotillomania occasionally but I've overcome the worst of my habits. I did so by seeing the progress in my hair growing back. I had no eyebrows or eyelashes for about 3 weeks and then I started to see them growing back and was so relieved. I was proud of my progress and after seeing the damage I'd done, I knew I didn't want to go through that again and so I resisted the urge to pull my hair.

My hair finally grew fully back after about 6 weeks and I realised that if I hadn't of stopped pulling, I may have done irreversible damage and my hair might not have grown back, and that thought alone stopped me from pulling so much. There is no quick fix to trichotillomania but it is something that can be beaten and you don't have to suffer in silence. It can be a form of addiction and it's important to seek help for any addictive behaviour.

Hair pulling is something that effects so many people worldwide and there's no need to be ashamed of it. Please speak to a doctor or counsellor if you're finding it difficult to deal with and know that you're definitely not alone in this.

Living with Trichotillomania isn't permanent and it doesn't define you. You will beat this, trust and believe in that.

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  1. What a fabulously honest post 👍🏻 I hadn’t heard of this but suffer with anxiety so can relate to some degree . Well done for sharing your story I’m sure it will help others

  2. Thanks for being so honest and such a good post. I’ve heard of it before but never knew how it starts and the severity. Keep writing and I hope you have a great 2018 🍷🍷🍷🍷😊

  3. This is a beautiful post! I'm so glad there's awareness being brought to this mental health disorder that I and so many others I know struggle with. If you ever would want to be a guest blogger on Rose-Minded let me know! www.rose-minded.com/mental-health-bloggers

  4. I also suffer from anxiety as well as Fibromyalgia , so I can also relate to a certain degree. One of the many reasons I love Blogging!


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