A Quick Trichotillomania Update



It's been a while since I've written a more heart-felt, personal post about trichotillomania and the day-to-day struggles of having it, mainly because there hasn't been much to report on. I had been bald for a while and was in that awkward in-between stage of just waiting for the lashes to grow back through- until then, there's not much you can really do! I've also sort of run out of inspiration with regards to writing openly about trichotillomania; my more rambly posts are quite well-received but I'm in a place where I just don't know what to say about the disorder anymore. Any post ideas that I do come up with seem too specific to my experience of the illness, and, as we are all aware, trichotillomania affects people differently- there is no universal experience of the disorder and I want others to be able to relate to what I'm writing. So, instead of having a theme for a post, I thought I'd just chat a little bit of how my trich has been recently and random things I've been thinking- hopefully it'll generate some sort of conversation as I'd love to know how you fellow sufferers reading this deal with the disorder in your daily lives, and what kind of stage you are at with trich too.


A couple of weeks ago, it finally happened. After a couple of months waiting for my lashes to grow through (I swear it was prolonged more than usual due to the fact I've run out of my trusty RapidLash serum), they finally appeared! Once they start poking through, I'm quite lucky in the fact that they grow very quickly- it's just the initial stage of waiting for them to show their face in the first place which seems to take forever. That feeling of having a flutter back is absolutely second to none- yes, there may have been a tiny gap, but they were pretty much all there and I could wear mascara! The joy of brushing that wand through a lid of lashes that are all your own is incredible. In the morning, I was just wearing mascara alone as my eye make-up- no need for any eyeliner or false lashes for the first time in ages, and although it looked weird for me initially (my eyes seemed so naked without liner!), I was so damn proud of myself I didn't care. The fact that I could go out baring my own lashes for the world to see made me feel incredible. Not only that, it gave me confidence I hadn't seen in ages and made me like the way I look. In my mind, no eyelashes means I look ugly, but stick a few hairs on my eyelid and my perception of myself completely changes! It's silly to think that a few hairs can make that much difference to your self-esteem, especially as they don't really make that much difference to the way your face looks (again proving that a lot of how we see trich is in our own minds!).


Fast forward to last weekend- I was already bald. I had a small gap. I kept touching that gap and feeling the lashes on either side of it. Those lashes felt out of place. Those lashes got pulled out. Gap got bigger. Repeat cycle.


Just when you think there may be light at the end of the tunnel, just when you feel good about yourself and start to actually like yourself, you remember that you have trichotillomania. There is seemingly never a final, happy ending with trichotillomania- you're always aware that the momentous feeling of joy is fleeting, that it won't last and is bound to catapult you into self-hatred and frustration any time soon. You're always on edge, waiting for this to happen deep down somewhere within you, yet you are so overcome with happiness at having lashes in that moment that you almost forget about the 'bad times' that will soon come. I always get so blissfully ignorant at the true nature of the disorder and get so caught up in celebrating my lashes growing back through that I bury the true reality that I know it won't last because I don't want that negativity to spoil 'my moment'. I want to be proud of myself, I don't want the fact that really I know it won't last to put a downer on my happiness. In doing this, it almost makes it even more painful when I do slip up and eventually pull again.


I know that I shouldn't beat myself up over pulling out all my lashes within a couple of weeks of them growing back as it is just how the disorder works. I can try my hardest but I'm probably always going to cave in some way, no matter how big or small. But I am so frustrated with myself each time it's hard not to be so disappointed. I wanted to cry once I'd done it and caught a glimpse of my bald, red eyes in the mirror. I was so happy- why would I jeopardise that for myself?! Why would I choose to make myself so upset and hate the way I look!? The thing is, I get torn between accepting that it is my choice and that I am willingly doing this to myself and saying 'I can't actually help it' and denying total responsibility. I still don't know which it is, or whether it is a complex blend of the two which probably makes the disorder ten times more confusing and difficult to deal with.


I guess I will just have to wait another two months for my lashes to grow back and hope they last a little bit longer than 2 weeks before I inevitably rip them all out again. I know it's feeling the lashes and finding ones that feel odd, out of place, to curled, too thick that triggers me into pulling them, but somehow I just can't break that cycle and drag my hand away from my face to start with. I'm tempted to look into different therapies, particularly Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, again to see if they will help, but part of me is worried they will be a waste of time...again. If you have had any positive experiences with therapies then please do let me know as I'd love to hear first hand how they worked for trich and if they worked well! For now, I'm just going to have to keep riding the up and down waves of trichotillomania and try not to hate myself for having it!


If you have trichotillomania, how have you been getting on with it recently?



Pretty and Polished

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7 comments

  1. I relate to this post so so much. It's so frustrating and you know you shouldn't be hard on yourself, but having those lashes there really do make you happy and it's so devastating when you pull them out again. I've started not feeling bad about it, and accepting that it's not my fault. I have found that it lifts a weight off your shoulder. And I've tried to not think of myself as ugly without lashes, because life is too short. Thankfully we do have the lashes and the liner to cover it up and make ourselves look and feel better! So sorry to hear that you pulled them out again though, I remember how happy you were with having a full set. Lots of love, g bear xxxx

    www.gbeauty.co.uk

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    1. Thanks Gweni. Each time I think I'm going to accept trich and not let it bother me it still just frustrates me so much that I pull again! And yes, plus they'll grow back at some point, it's not the end of the world xxx

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  2. So nice to hear someone suffers with this in a way similar to me. I've had trich since i was 9 or so and I don't think I've had lashes in around 3 or more years. It's the biggest burden ever and the hardest thing to break. Seeing your success is motivating. We just have to try not to feel 'the odd ones' and I'm sure we'll be able to move forward. Thanks for the inspo!x

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    1. That's it...but how to stop feeling the odd ones to start with?! Perhaps one day we'll be able to get rid of it for good x

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  3. Just wanted to thank you for sharing your experiences, you are so brave! There are only 2 people that know about mine (probs heaps more that have noticed though as I don't wear fake lashes) and I wish I didn't tell them because they don't understand. I often come to your website because it really helps me knowing there are others like me and I feel exactly the same as everything you write about! Hang in there, one of my first memories is pulling (I'm almost 31 now) but I really truely believe we can beat it one day! x

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    1. That's such a shame that you wish you didn't tell them. I think it is a difficult disorder to understand unless you either have it yourself or have really spoken in depth to that person about it. I'm so glad you've found this site useful...and yes, positive thinking- maybe one day we will stop pulling! x

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  4. I am 21, and have only had Trich for about a year and a half. I still don't know what exactly triggered it. My doctor recommended Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, but it is so expensive, and I don't know if it will even work. I had a very bad episode in may this summer, and pulled out every single last eye lash. And I hated myself after because I have yet to see them fully come back. They will grow back a little, and then I will pull them right out again.
    My family, bestfriends, and boyfriend know about it, but none of them understand it and they say things like "Why don't you just stop" and "it's just a bad habit, you can break it." But its more than that and your article about how not to talk to someone with Trich helped me a lot.
    One thing I have found to help is exercise but I can't do that all the time. It is a struggle, and I am so glad I came across your site because it has helped me so much to read other peoples journeys. So thank you for sharing all of your stories, updates, and everything else!

    xo

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