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What It's Like Going to School With Trichotillomania

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I remembered the days I used to wake up looking forward to school, eager to make the most of everything. The days when I would slip into my leotard and tights and go to dance. The days when I would put on my uniform to play softball or soccer.

Recently, I have to drag myself out of bed and wake up every morning knowing I’ll be facing my own living hell.

Getting through the average school day was more than difficult. Being worried about what to wear in the morning was the least of my problems. Before leaving the house in the morning, I covered my bald spots, threw on some makeup and wore long clothes to cover scars. The moment I stepped on the school bus, my anxiety would go through the roof. Who would I sit next to? Is everything covered right now? Will I be picked on? Would I be tripped on the way to my seat? These thoughts would constantly fire off in my mind in a span of seconds. Walking into school in the morning was even worse. Why do I feel like everyone is looking at me? Do I look OK? Are they talking about me? Sitting in the front of my classes was dreadful. Can they see my bald spots? Are they staring at me? I hated walking through the halls and standing on the lunch line and playing in gym. I told myself  I didn’t have any friends, that I was worthless, that I didn’t deserve to live. But, I was wrong.

Remission is possible. Being able to cope with these thoughts, urges and behaviors is feasible. I know this is true because I did and I am. Now when I step into the school with these thoughts racing through my head, I choose to ignore them. I walk with confidence through the halls and wave to my friends. I participate in class lessons and school activities. I didn’t let my mental illnesses hold me back anymore. Although it may seem like I am a usual 16 year old girl on the outside, on the inside it’s a different story. Just because I have these illnesses doesn’t mean I am these illnesses. I have control over my mind, and success is incredible.

Originally published: October 6, 2016
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