What It’s Like to Have a ‘Trichotillomania Attack’
Editor’s note: If you struggle with a body-focused repetitive behavior, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can find resources at The TLC Foundation for Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors.
Trichotillomania: An urge to pull out hair. Normally caused by anxiety, boredom or stress.
I have been in recovery for my trichotillomania for several months. Sadly, sometimes there are relapses. I notice when my eyelashes grow (I can actually feel them grow) — it hurts or makes my eyes itch when I get a new set of lashes. I normally pluck them all out so the urge and the sensory issue of eyelashes growing like cactuses in my eyes will go away. I thought the battle was over, because I sometimes only relapse with just eyelashes. Wrong.
I am having a “trich attack.”
A trich attack, to me, is when I can go from minutes to hours to days pulling unnecessary hairs from my face or scalp. I have been having an ongoing battle with trichotillomania since I was 10 years old; I am now 24. I can go months without pulling, and getting my full head of hair back is an accomplishment. I feel disappointed in myself sometimes when these urges come on full force.
My coping skills:
I love to go on YouTube and listen to different relaxing zen music, as it seems to calm my anxiety. I also have many fidget toys to keep my hands on. Sometimes though, when I feel like I am doing really well, that is when trich hits me the most. Sometimes I don’t have my coping skills around me. I am going to start to bring fidget toys around with me, no matter what.
To all my fellow “trichsters,” please know it is OK to slip up. We all done it. Just be proud of yourself and how far you came, even if it’s only a few minutes of no urges. We will eventually kick trich’s butt!
If you or a loved one is affected by body-focused repetitive behaviors, you can find resources at The TLC Foundation for Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors.
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Getty Images photo via Koldunov