Trichotillomania: What I Would Say To My Younger Self



A personality trait of mine which is both useful and a curse is my tendency to over-analyse and reflect on the past and present (and also over-think future possibilities). Something that I mull over a lot is my relationship with trichotillomania- which is why you can find so many whitterings and ramblings about the topic on this blog. For the most part, I see the disorder as a hindrance- an illness that I so frequently dream of being without. But, having lived with the disorder most of my life (I started pulling aged 3), not only have I grown as a person, but I have grown with trich. How I view myself and the world have, as you would expect, changed over time, and with this so have my thoughts on the disorder.

Whilst I would love to be trich-free, I've come to learn that this is probably never going to happen and have accepted myself for who I am- this includes totally accepting the fact that I will battle BFRBs for the rest of my life and likely still be wearing false eyelashes aged 80. It's not the ideal situation, but it's the one I'm faced with and I have to just get on and deal with it. Now I have finally reached that 'acceptance' stage of my life, I often think about all those years gone by spent feeding the negativity of the disorder and letting it be a detriment to the way I lived my life for so long. As someone who naturally reflects on things a lot, I thought I'd write down some of the things I wish I could go back and tell my younger self- partly as a cathartic exercise, but mostly in case it helps someone out there!


1. Sometimes therapy doesn't work, and that's OK. It may be trial and error and at least you gave it your best shot- sometimes these things just aren't meant to be. Everyone is different.

2. It's difficult, but try to be kind to yourself. Berating yourself will only negatively impact your mental health and possibly make trich worse. A little self-care goes a long way in combating the emotional element of the disorder.

3. Be proud of who you are- don't let trich force you to hide. It is absolutely nothing to be ashamed about. Trich will help shape the person you will become, and that person is awesome.

4. Ignore those who make rude comments. Or try to educate them about the disorder (if they'll listen)!

5. Most people won't even notice your bald patches or judge you so don't stress about whether your eye make-up looks perfect. People are generally very understanding and those who aren't aren't worth your time.

6. Doctors probably won't even know what the disorder is, unless you have an amazing GP. Be prepared for many frustrating appointments spent explaining the disorder and telling them that you can't 'just stop'.

7. It can take some courage, but try and be as open as possible. Talking can help an incredible amount and also promote understanding and awareness; for others and yourself. Talking about the disorder has really helped me to understand my own thoughts and feelings and how my mind works, and was one of the main steps in coming to accept trich for what it is and myself for who I am.

8. Try keeping a 'trich journal' to help pinpoint your triggers. Being more self-aware and recognising where and when you pull can help in managing the disorder.

9. Your nearest and dearest will love you no matter what- eyelashes or no eyelashes. Don't waste your time on those who aren't prepared to do so.

10. You are not alone! The disorder affects so many people and there is a whole community there for support and advice. I wish I found it sooner.

11. It's not all bad. Yes, there will be lots of upsets, frustrations, guilt and anger, but there are also good moments too. They go hand in hand, so ride the wave as best you can. For example, the feeling of having grown back your lashes is amazing. Take to good moments while you can and appreciate them.


If you could go back, what would you say to your younger self about BFRBs?





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2 comments

  1. Love this, Sophie. You're spot on. I think the disorder makes you far more open-minded, kinder and more empathetic to others. Plus, pretty damn amazing with putting on false eyelashes and using tweezers! Ultimately, they really are just hairs on the end of your eyelids, that is not to dismiss the very real distress to the person managing trich, but rather a reminder that if people judge you on them, it's an opportunity to judge whether you have room for them in your life x

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    1. Thanks Sian! Haha- trich has taught me invaluable winged eyeliner skills! And yes definitely, I'm all for educating and raising awareness but sometimes you need to evaluate whether it is worth keeping that negativity in your life xx

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