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Why I Need Compassion When I Relapse From Trichotillomania

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Today, I relapsed from Trichotillomania.

Trichotillomania is when you pull out your own hair. It is classified as a psychological disorder on the obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) spectrum.

I was up all night due to my rising anxiety. I was watching YouTube, when 30 minutes later, I noticed piles of hair all around me. I have managed to grow all my hair back, and now I’ve messed it up by pulling chunks of it out of my scalp. I told one of my close friends I was having an episode and started to video chat her, which seemed to help. I finally mustered the courage to tell my mother, who has a hard time accepting trichotillomania as a real disorder because she loves my hair.

I realize it is a struggle to have a relapse, but it is part of recovery. Society judges the way we look based on how the way we should look. But, it is OK if you’re missing little pieces of your hair, or if you don’t have any eyebrows or eyelashes.

I’ve been struggling with my trichotillomania for over a decade, and medicine or therapy doesn’t quite cut it. Please do not use phrases such as “please stop pulling your hair out,” or “you will never get a job or friends with missing hair,” or “girls aren’t meant to be bald.”

It hurts. Those phrases make us want to pull even more. I urge you to learn more about trichotillomania and body focused repetitive behaviors. That way, others will be more informed and compassionate toward relapses.

I am a beautiful, strong, fighting, funny, and lovely individual human being. Please give me love rather than judging my bald spots.

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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Thinkstock photo via amoklv

Originally published: September 7, 2017
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