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The Promise I Made Myself on Rosh Hashanah About My Trichotillomania

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Hello! My name is Maddie, I am 18 years old and “I don’t play by the rules of the game.” Trichotillomania, or trich, is the compulsion to pull out one’s hair, without the intent of self-harm. Before I was clinically diagnosed, I did everything in my power to hide the damage.

About three years ago, I slowly started to open up about my journey in hopes that it could help someone else. I went to my first TLC Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors (BFRB) conference four years ago in Los Angeles, and have been hooked ever since. After that conference I joined The TLC Foundation for BFRBs’ Millennial Task Force and am now their intern. But something never clicked. I still felt so much shame in opening up when others around me seemed to do it with ease. Seven years of pulling and three conferences later, I am now opening up about my disorder.

I have done things over the years such as updating my Facebook cover photo to a BFRB Awareness Week one, and I wrote my college essay on trich, but never anything like this. I believe that over the years, I have mastered the art of hiding.

One would think since I’m so involved with the foundation, “coming out” would come easily, and should have happened a long time ago. Well, no. It did not.

It is a new Jewish calendar year, and I have a resolution: I am going to accept to the best of my ability. That means I’m going to love and accept myself as well.

So here I am, during BFRB Awareness Week and the week of Rosh Hashanah: I have trichotillomania.

For those of you still in the BFRB “closet,” just go for it! It is never too late to be make a change, help someone and end stigma!

Before, I did not know my name and I did not play by the rules of the game. I am now proud to say, “I now know my name… (and) I’m trying to find my way.”

Originally published: October 5, 2016
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