Yesterday I attempted humour. I have discovered that I obviously suck at tone. Or maybe I just have some very intuitive readers who are thoughtful and caring to no end. They are an insightful group that saw past my lame attempt at a fluffy filler post. After spending two hours working on my next installment of my Top 100 albums, out of nowhere, there was a freak power outage. I went to bed in the dark frustrated as hell. I woke up and banged out a throw away post about spooky spirits that cause me to check multiple times on whether I have locked the door. This is the type of thing that makes me laugh about myself because, darn it all anyhow, I love to laugh at myself.
When I saw the support in the comments, I knew it was time to write the post that I don't want to write. You see I actually do suffer from a condition that is treated by medicine and therapy. It is something that is not widely known about or understood. In fact I've gone to several doctors and confessed that I have a problem. Not one has offered any solution. I am sure they would have if I pressed, but I feel shame, so I don't.
I was ten years old when my battle with a disorder referred to as Trichotillomania first began. It started innocently with making wishes on eyelashes. I sat in the back of my fifth grade class and pulled out one eyelash and then another. And then another. Soon the outer corners of my eyes were bald. I would be desperate to try to grow them back but when the short hairs poked through they irritated my eyes and I needed to get rid of the new growth.
Unconsciously I moved to hair below my knees. It completely cleared my mind when I picked the hairs one by one. I would lose all track of time. When I was tired or anxious I was more vulnerable. Sometimes I did it without thinking and there were other times when it was a methodical way to make me feel calm.
My missing eyelashes and the rash that would appear on my legs embarrassed me. I was not alone in my embarrassment. My family couldn't understand why I would do it and no one even knew that it was a condition. It was considered a bad habit that looked awful. I felt more shame. I was often disgusted with myself.
When I reached my twenties, my anxieties must have been at an all time high. I no longer had any eyelashes. No amount of make up could disguise this fact. For special occasions I would buy fake eyelashes that irritated my eyes. It was the only time that I felt pretty.
Thankfully not having eyelashes must be shocking because no one would question me. One summer I decided that I had suffered enough embarrassment. I wanted to see if they would even grow back. With much concentration on making sure that any hair pulling was elsewhere, my eyelashes returned. I vowed to never let myself get that bad again. With some new gained confidence, I thought I could conquer my pulling completely. There are times that I can control it but I always fall back into my ways. I have never received treatment but I know that it is an option if I felt that it was necessary.
Right now I don't think that I would consider taking medicine to stop me from pulling out a few hairs on a bad day. I know that many others have a much harder time with Trichotillomania. The shame, disapproval and guilt are a lot to take on when obviously there is a bigger problem to deal with. Knowing that this is a real disorder and that I am not the only person that is struggling with this condition helps immensely.