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I had Trichotillomania.

Posted by on Mar. 15, 2015 at 2:57 AM
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This is the first time I am admitting this "publicly", but iI am not ashamed.  I started pulling my hair out when I was about 14 and it continued until I was 22.  I always kept my hair long and wore it in a ponytail to hide any bald spots.  Eventually, I started pulling out my eyelashes until I had none.  I wore thick black eyeliner so no one would notice.  I am still surprised even my close friends didn't know.  (I recently told 2 close friends.)  Then I progressed to my arm and leg hairs then my brows.  My brows were insanely thin.  I cried many nights to stop because looking for hairs to pull was consuming my nights.  I would look all over my arms and legs for what seemed like hours to pull hair out, most of the time with tweezers.  When that was not enough, I started obsessively cutting my toenails until they were sore and bleeding.  This went on from about age 17-21.  Not sure if there is a name for that, but I eventually just forced myself to stop.  Sometimes I would slip up, but now I have no compulsions.

I didn't learn that it was linked to PTSD until I was 21.  I decided to try to conquer it on my own.  I started shaving my arms and started getting my brows waxed.  I have since be able to not act on the compulsions.  I haven't really thought about it until a few days ago, when I accidentally pulled out a few of my lashes that I was trying to get unstuck from excessive mascara.  It was challenging to not give into the compulsions, but now it doesn't affect my life.  I have thin lashes, but I don't ever remember having thick lashes.  I still shave all hair below my neck and have a strong distaste for body hair on myself and my partner.  Hairy chests and backs are just not something that I can stand.

My back story:  My whole childhood was very traumatizing to me.  My mother changed boyfriends sometimes weekly.  I have no idea who my biological father is.  The only long term boyfriend she had raped me from age 10-15.  When I was 8, I was diagnosed with cellulitus on my ankle.  It progressed to osteomylitis when I was 9, which resulted surgery.  While I was in surgery, it was discovered that I had bone cancer.  Because of the treatment, I lost all of my hair.  I spent several months alone in the hospital with visitors only a handful of times.  My mother was never around during that time, even on my birthday.  The rapes began when I was released from the hospital.  I remember her boyfriend  threatening to cut my PICC line (telling me I would bleed out and die) once if I screamed.   I was diagnosed with PTSD when I was 15 and still have some problems now and again, but thankfully it doesn't affect me on a daily basis.  I have not had contact with my mother since I was 15.  I am completely "normal" in most ways, but events of my past have definitely shaped who I am.  It makes me sad that my younger self resorted to such measures to cope with great internal pain.  I am a nurse now and have a wonderful son who will never have to feel the pain that I had to go through.

Not sure why I am posting, but I just felt like typing this out.  The last month has been really hard on me trying to dig up old court papers, so I could finalize my nursing license.  (I have 2 lifetime restraining orders against my mom and her ex.)  So, I have had to deal with some old emotions I haven't felt in years.  I look back and sometimes am amazed how much healing I have accomplished.  Hopefully this will inspire someone else suffering to get help.

by on Mar. 15, 2015 at 2:57 AM
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