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Trichotillomania: The Compulsion to Pull Out Hair and Eyelashes

I have battled trichotillomania for many years and like to write about my struggles to raise awareness and help others suffering like me.

My trichotillomania—pulling out my eyelashes.

My trichotillomania—pulling out my eyelashes.

What Is Trichotillomania?

Here's the obligatory, easily understood definition for those who don't know what trichotillomania is:

Trichotillomania (I prefer "trich" or "trichy") is a strong, often uncontrollable urge to pull out your own hair.

Pulling out your hair is the only factor common to every person diagnosed with this disorder. Often, the disorder is self-diagnosed, although sometimes it is diagnosed by a medical doctor or a psychologist.

The symptoms vary greatly among those diagnosed. I pull out eyelashes, eyebrows, and all short hairs that I consider "out of place." Some people pull out scalp hair. Some use their fingers while others use tweezers. Some just pull their hair, some rub it between their fingers, and some eat it (that one's called trichophagia).

The causes also vary. It usually begins in childhood or adolescence. Pulling often occurs when we are anxious, concentrating, looking in a mirror, or just plain bored.

My Name Is Lashes, and I Have Trichotillomania

(Hi, Lashes.)

As I said, I pull out my eyelashes and eyebrows. Sometimes little hairs on my stomach or on one of those gross moles or "beauty marks" that grow hair. I go back and forth between using tweezers and using my thumb and middle finger.

I'm writing for a couple of reasons. First, I want to share my own experiences to show that I and fellow trichsters are not alone. I also hope that by paying attention to myself and chronicling my actions, I can become more aware of when I pull and eventually decrease the compulsion. Finally, and most importantly, I want to start a discussion based on experience and suggestions that can help all of us trichsters find solutions together! Yay for boundless idealism!

So, feel free to comment. Post responses, suggestions, rants, whatever will help either you or someone else deal with trichy a little better.

A couple of small steps for trich, one giant leap for trichster-kind.

People with trichotillomania tend to spend a lot of time looking in mirrors.

People with trichotillomania tend to spend a lot of time looking in mirrors.

Becoming Self-Aware: The First Step to Freedom

I think that one of the most important ways to deal with having trich (or any kind of disorder) is to be aware of the ways it affects you. I've made some discoveries about my trichy tendencies.

A while ago, I was doing some reading (one of my biggest pulling triggers) on the couch in my apartment. I was eating Cheez-Its out of the box in a very repetitive way. Hand goes in the box; hand goes to my mouth. Lather, rinse, repeat. When I had finished the box, I realized that I hadn't pulled any hairs out since starting to eat the crackers. Maybe the cheesy goodness was distracting me, but I think part of why snacking seemed to replace the pulling was because of the repetitive nature of it.

Pulling out eyelashes, for me, is a repetitive action. I pull, look at the hair, rub it between my fingers, flick it away. Pull, look, rub, flick. Over and over. Sometimes, like when I'm snacking, the repetitive hand movements of pulling are temporarily replaced. I think this may be a key to helping combat my pulling compulsion. Maybe not eating constantly, because that's not much healthier than pulling out eyelashes, but doing something that keeps my hands busy.

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Read More From Patientslounge

I've found the simple act of changing my environment sometimes works to stop or at least delay pulling—especially if I'm in the middle of a pulling spree. For example, when I'm pulling eyelashes, sometimes I get up and take my contact lenses out. Other simple suggestions to stop pulling could be:

  • Sitting up if you are lying down
  • Filing your nails
  • Putting on a ring
  • Changing your hairstyle
  • Putting on hand lotion
  • Taking a shower

Pulling is all about the repetition and the monotony. Break the pattern and take control by changing something that you can control.

Break the pattern by filing your nails.

Break the pattern by filing your nails.

Know Thyself

I'm not much into biblical allusions, but I am into pithy aphorisms that give great advice. "Know thyself" is excellent advice for trichsters. You have to be self-aware and recognize your triggers for pulling to be able to overcome them.

For me, I know that when I lean my elbows on a desk, table, or any flat surface that I'm using to read or work, my hand is at just the right position to reach my eyelashes. And that's a bad thing. So I try to read leaning back with my arms stretched out. Just to be safe, I'll put something small in both hands to try to distract them from the compulsion to pull. I wouldn't have been able to find these tricks if I didn't know myself. Preventing myself from starting is much easier than trying to stop in the middle of a pulling spree.

A True Compulsion

Maybe others with trichotillomania will identify with this, and even if you don't have trich, you may be able to understand compulsions. We all have our little quirks.

What do I do with the hair once I pull it out? I put it in piles. Sometimes the pile goes on my desk, and I see a nest of tiny, spiky, black lashes in front of my computer. Sometimes I let them fall into the binding of the book I'm reading for me to find later. When I pull in front of a mirror, I put the sticky end of the hair follicle onto the wall or door and make a vertical pulling pile.

I have certain spots where I always pull. Trichsters are nothing if not creatures of habit. I make giant piles of lashes and eyebrows, the remnants of multiple pulling instances. The piles are like memories of me, evidence that I was there. Maybe it would be better for my health if I just scrawled, "LASHES WAS HERE" in big letters.

Part of my trich is an obsession with everything being "right." In that way, I do see a resemblance to obsessive-compulsive disorder. I pull new, tiny hairs because they feel stubbly and like they don't belong. I feel the tiny hair, either with my fingertips or because my eyelid itches, and I really, really, really want to pull it out. It doesn't "feel right." In my mind, it doesn't belong.

The piles are part of the obsession with feeling and looking right. It's hard to explain. I want everything in its place, or more specifically, in the right place. It doesn't "look right" for a random eyelash here, an eyebrow there. The forlorn, fallen follicles (I love alliteration) need to stay together.

This is my attempted rationalization.

Piles of hair equals "LASHES WAS HERE!"

Piles of hair equals "LASHES WAS HERE!"

Not Everyone Will Be Understanding

I tried to explain some of my internal reasonings to a psychologist once. In reference to one particular rationalization, I said, "I guess that one makes a little more sense."

His insensitive, abrupt response? "Well, none of it makes sense to me."

That was the last time I went to see him.

I guess I understand now what he was trying to do. He was trying to show me that, for all my rationalizing, trichotillomania isn't something that's rational. It isn't something I should make excuses for, and it isn't "normal" behavior. In fact, it's destructive behavior. We have hair for a reason.

But he could have been a little more sensitive. Find a therapist or psychologist who is understanding, helpful, and works well with your personality. There are really good ones out there.

Reactions to Trichotillomania

Most of my friends have been supportive. The most common reaction I get when I say I have trichotillomania is, "Huh?" When I explain what it is, most people are initially fascinated and have never heard of such a disorder existing. After a moment, though, most people remember someone they know who has no eyebrows or who pulls out their eyelashes or hair.

Some of my closer friends who know about it yell at me or hit me when they see my hand moving towards my face because they know it's often subconscious for me. Sometimes I thank them for it, and sometimes I get angry. Maybe it's because I'm embarrassed at being caught. I know they are just trying to help.

The person in my life with the reaction most upsetting to me is my mother. She doesn't nag me or yell at me about it, but she sometimes talks to me about how sad it makes her that I pull out my eyelashes. That makes me feel worse than if she would nag me or tell me I'm ugly without eyelashes (okay, that would hurt, too). She constantly urges me to see a psychologist, saying that I can't just pull out my eyelashes my whole life. I tell her that obviously, I don't want to do it, but some people DO have it on and off their whole lives. That doesn't mean I'm not trying to stop pulling or at least reduce it. Sometimes disappointment and sadness hurt worse than shock or disgust.

Trichotillomania Resources

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

Comments

48 on January 24, 2016:

I've been pulling since 5th grade. It's still embarrassing. I now wear false lashes and I hate it. I've used Vaseline, gloves keeping myself busy.. they grow back and I pull those also. The doctors I've gone to could care less. Reading these different posts is scary, because I have been through a lot as well. Hopefully this will help us all. Prayers going up blessings coming down. We can do it.

Johne690 on July 22, 2014:

Im not that much of a online reader to be honest but your blogs really nice, keep it up! I'll go ahead and bookmark your site to come back later. Cheers ggdgafcbbega

Not alone on June 22, 2014:

I am currently 24 years old and live in Minnesota. I started pulling out my eyelashes when I was in fourth or fifth garade. I remember the first time I did it, I was sitting in my room, crying cause my parents were arguing on the phone (they recently divorced) and I felt like everything was my fault. I pulled them all out in one sitting. I didn't realize what I did, until it was to late.

Still to this day, I still pull out my eyelashes. For some reason it is just the top lashes. I also have started to pull at my eyebrows.

Some things I have done include, tattoo eyeliner, and getting fake nails. I used to wear eyeliner to help blend in the baldness from having no eyelashes but now I have tattoo eyeliner.

Sine I pull with my pointer and middle finger, I have found that when I get fake nails put on, it makes it difficult to pull. It also helps my realize when I start to pull.

I am so glad others pull eyelashes. It makes me feel so much better. A lot of relief has just been lifted off my shoulders.

Julie on January 22, 2014:

Hi, my name is Julie. It's comforting hearing I am not alone in my self destructive situation but it also hurts seeing how many other people struggle in this way.

I am 19 and I can't exactly remember how or why I started pulling my eyelashes but I believe it has been 4 years now and it just is getting worse. It started with tiny gaps on my eyelashes and then continued to my eyebrows too. Now I cannot even remember the last time I've had lashes on my lash line (except for the corners) and my eyebrows are so thinned out and have multiple empty patches, I cannot get up in the morning without drawing my face on.

Can anyone give advice not only on how to overcome this, but also on how to hide these bald areas, and also increase the growth for these spots?

Personally I've found that consistently massaging olive oil on my eyebrows stimulates growth a little faster than Vaseline or doing nothing

rumrunner on August 17, 2013:

I have a friend who does this to his eyebrows now he does his beard and head.is there anyway to help him he is very strong willed and I want to help him,please respond

terryjaz121224 on June 04, 2013:

I pull my pubic hair and my armpit hair out. I have it so bad that i will will ask my female friends to pull on it.[ just armpit hair]..It droves me crazy when I can not find someone to pull on my armpit hair. I would love the talk to people just like me, I am on facebook terryjaz121224@yahoo.com

Anon on January 23, 2013:

I am 29 years old and have been hair pulling for over 20 years. I can't remember the exact age I started - I think around 7 or 8. I can't remember any particular event that triggered it.

I was staying at my grandmothers for school holidays when I started. I didn't really know what I was doing. Every day I would lie upside down on her couch and pluck hair out of my scalp - strand by strand. It didn't really hurt and I remember quite enjoying the sensation. I also enjoyed the little clicking noise it would make if I pulled the hair out just right - with the full root attached. I would then pull the root off and flick the hair away.

I continued this when I went home and would do it in secret. My parents eventually caught me because they would find little piles of hair everywhere.

I have continued pulling ever since on and off. When I was about 22 I started plucking armpit hair with tweezers. I actually consciously decided to start doing this every time I got the urge to pull hair from my head. I figured - hey I don't want hairy armpits so I may as well pick it out and save the hair on my head! The problem is that now I kind of alternate between head and armpits.

I have never sought help for this but since reading various blogs online tonight I am going to make am appointment to speak to someone.

Wish me luck!

Lindsay on October 07, 2012:

My name is Lindsay and I just wanted to share my story with all of you. I have suffered from Trich for 16 years and I am 26 years old. It's been quite the roller coaster with this disorder, I have a lot of ups and downs. Just when I think this is gonna be the last time... Bam! It starts again and very heavily. I wear a bandana to hide the shame I have in myself. With my disorder, I pull the hair and eat the root only. I recently underwent hypnosis and I had quit doing it for a few months. My hair was long and beautiful; I thought I was cured so I quit listening to my recordings everyday. As soon as I quit listening to them, the urge came and I started pulling again. Will this vicious cycle ever completely go away for me so I can feel beautiful again? Maybe one day there will be relief for us all. Good luck to you all!

PearlJammer on October 04, 2012:

I know this is a super old thread, but I had to add my two cents. I'm 33 and I'm an eyelash/brow puller for 10+ years. Your hair WILL grow back. It does seem to take longer than it used to. After a year of pulling out all of my eyelashes I DECIDED to let them grow back. It has taken 3 months.

Now that they are back, the new madness begins. I must look at the lashes constantly. I let myself pull on them but not pull them out. Once I have pulled off all the mascara, I must reapply and start all over. Eventually a lash comes out and I must jump up and run to a mirror to inspect the damage. And then start all over. Ugh. It is exhausting. How long will it last before, in the midst of a pulling spree, I decide that I already pulled out so many, might as well go ahead and finish the deed. And then it starts all over. 3 more months of REGRET and waiting at the mirror, inspecting the most minute appearance of a hopeful follicle...trying to ignore the itch and not go after the weird one with tweezers and allow the less than perfect to regrow. I will again obssessively admire what should always be there in the first place, and ... start all over. The Never. Ending. Story of a Trichster.

Since I am pretty good at drawing on eyebrows, I don't really worry about growing them back. However, I believe that if I did gain enough self-control to grow those back, it would not take long. I have pulled ALL my eyebrow hairs out for 10 years and they continue to grow. God made us with eyelashes and brows for a reason. Our bodies WANT to protect our eyes (not to mention protect us from looking like freaks for the rest of our lives).

I would also like to speak about Latisse. I have been using it for about two years now and what I have noticed and that it does NOT make my eyelashes START to grow faster. I mean, it WILL take at least 2 months to develop new hairs in the follicle. But as soon as I can see the hair, Lastisse DOES appear to speed up the growth at that point. Does it help keep or develop viable follicles as we constantly ravage them? I don't know. But aside from growing lashes, applying the Latisse is aalso a nice diversion or ritual to add to your effort of not pulling.

Good luck and God bless you....and me too :)

Latisse from UK on September 09, 2012:

I noticed that some people have mentioned the use of Latisse. I am a doctor and have found that Latisse can help people that pull out their eyelashes sporadically. If you have been pulling them out for a long time and the hairs are not regrowing then the lashes might not respond to Latisse I am afraid.

Source:

https://www.mylash.org

GladICanRelate on June 17, 2012:

im 13 and ive been pulling my lashes out since the 6th grd. so probly bout 2 years. its aweful and i always feel like im a weirdo or a freak cuz of it. before i strted wearing makeup it was really bad cuz people noticed more and always asked me what happened? when they asked me i culdnt think of anything to say so i got scared andd upset and wuld walk away. its not as bad as it was wen i started.my eyelids used to b completely bald but now r almost fully grown back. but i still occasionly pull them and now have 1 small bald spot on each lid :(. i ussually do it wen im watching a movie or bored. so today i decided tolook it up on google and was so relieved to fiind that im not the only one. and reading many of te stories from people im happy that i can relate to people with out them judging me. im wrking very hard to stop pulling for good. i wear lots of liner and mascara on the lashes i do have now and it wrks pretty good.the bad thing is i dont barely tell anyone cuz they willl judge me about it like few people have in the past. the only people who know r my mom and my dad. they were always yelling at me to which only made it worse. but now ive stopped mostly and so have my parents yelling. but thanku guys so much for sharing ur stories and i hope u guys make it through.. stay strong everyone .i will too. this deffinitly doesnt make me feel alone anymore :)

mandypoole from UK on June 09, 2012:

I used to have this disorder and for me it was to release stress. I was suffering from severe OCD and depression, plus I was being bullied at school, so all these factors contributed to the way I was feeling. I used to lie in bed and just find myself yanking my hair out and I found that it was strangely comforting. Even now, on occasions, I find myself pulling my hair out, but its rare these days and I can recognise that its because I'm feeling very anxious about something. Great hub x

Aryn on May 29, 2012:

Im 14 and i've had tricho for 2 years now. I've been trying to stop but its hard. Ive known about what i have for months now but is so weird to me still. My mom dad & sister know but when my friends ask me why i have no eyelashes i lie and say that a weird drug a docter gave me made the fall off (which is the made up part) when i had a bad bike (yes the 1 u pedal) accident. My friends don't notice though. Only 5 people in my 8th grade class know about the lie. They all said they didn't notice until someone else brought it up or i took my glasses off. In addition to pulling my eyelashes i also "shape up" my eyebrows, and pull the hairs on my arms and stomach. Ive come to terms with it but im not gonna expose myself to school ridicule. My mom ALWAYS asks me why i do it but i don't think theirs a deffinate answer to why we pull honestly. Its just normal to our brains and it may or may not be for stress relief (for me its not its just an sort of unconsious "habit" if u will) even though i wouldn't anounce to the world that i have tricho i feel it makes me different from the social norm and even though i would love for my eyelashes to be fully grown back like how they used to be i know that others my age can learn from me and ditto.

Katrina on May 23, 2012:

I had the same problem until just recently. I used to pull out my eyelashes until I had none, and would wait for them to grow back to do it again. I started when I was 8 because the girls at school made fun of my thick eyelashes. I am now 22 and have recently bought the product lilash. It has made it so inserted of it feeling relaxing to pull out my eyelashes, it made my eyelids very sensitive to pull. O now have full eyelashes again just months after starting. They also have a similar product for eyebrows

Lori on May 14, 2012:

My situation is the same as Claire's. I am 32 and have been picking my eyelashes since 5th grade and still am. I too use eyeliner to hide it or so my face doesn't look so bare, but it does get old wearing it. I know i'll never be able to stop. Mine too is a stress reliever and my eyelids itch a lot and it makes me want to pull them especially when they are coarse. Don't know what to do to stop.

Anonymous on May 08, 2012:

IT CHANGES WHAT YOU LOOK LIKE, NOT WHO YOU ARE .

this is primarily for those with low self-esteem because of this. It is a ruthless disorder, but don't feel like you need to be sad. You don't.

JK on May 03, 2012:

I had no idea this was a condition/mental illness. I guess I have this. Started pulling eyelashes at age 7, now 40. Only one person mentioned itchiness. I have really bad allergies and always attributed it to that. It feels so good to pull them out because my eyes itch so much. I notice that if I don't wear my contacts or makeup, I leave my eyelashes alone longer. I hate that I do this! I do worry because of my age...if I don't stop now eventually they won't grow back! I've always wondered if prescription eye drops to prevent itching exist but I'm too embarassed to ask my doctor. Heck, I rarely see my optomitrist because I have to plan so far ahead to make sure I have lashes. This condition sucks!

Mck on April 29, 2012:

Hi there I have been really all of the above comments over te part two night as I have a habbit of always playing with my eyebrows I don't tend to pull them out I just get my finger and rub then and get the hair under my nail (if that makes sense) I don't no I have found myself doing A lot laterly when I'm a work when I'm watching tv and I have noticed it everytime I do it I stop then 20 seconds later I notice myself doing it again... I notice

Most of your comments above are posted two years ago of you have the same problem is there anything you may be able to tell me as to how you stopped yourself from doing this??

sharon on April 21, 2012:

i am glad that i came upon this website. I am 45 years old and have been pulling my hair out since i was 17. i have a bald spot on top of my head and i have been wearing my hair in a bun since i was 17. i do not know what makes me do this. i am so glad that i am not alone. now, i am trying to find out about hair regrowth ways to grow my hair back. i am getting older and my hair is thinner and i do not want to be bald anymore. if u have any advice on hair creams for hair regrowth i would

appreciate it very much. anybody in the same boat?

mom on April 19, 2012:

thanking you so much for telling your story. Im a single mom an my son has just started to pull out his eyelashes eyebrows an has started recently to rub his hair out. He also has ADHD which his doctor says could be the cause of it. Im trying to find ways now that would take his mind off of doing such but I must admit that it is very hard. I hope you will continue to post more information about the condition.

Deanna on April 06, 2012:

Im 17, and I to have come to the realization that I have trich, only one my best friends and my mother knows this. I was shocked and I was ashamed. I am currently trying to tell my other best friend but she wont listen. It's hard because my mother is a recovering addict, and has been sober for 2 years and she also has 2 mental illness's due to trauma in her early years. I'm going to see a doctor and hopefully I'll get help. At times I don't even notice I'm doing it. I'll wash my hair and notice it comes out quite often, I've been diagnosed with stress. When my mum went to rehab in 08 that's when it all started.

marisa on March 30, 2012:

Hi im marisa im 13 years old and i couldn't believe when i read this i could relate to it a lot.My doctor tolled me about this medical issue but i didn't quite understand it completley, what i do is i pick out my eyebrows. i barley have any and i have to use an eyeliner pencil and shade them in. its really stress ful because i wish i could stop but its just too hard because for more than 5 years my hands always need something to do. also because my family and friends always make fun of me that i don't have any eyebrows. i should feel ashamed because im doing it to myself but im thinking i need to talk to a council about some of my issues. anyways thanks for this article i feel that im not the odd ball in this world does has a habit of picking hairs. thanks so much . i pray that i will stop .

Fae on December 02, 2011:

Thank you SO much for this! I am 12 and i have this to, i never really thought of having it i just thought it was a bad habit until i started looking online and found out that my habit was a medical issue. i diddnt even know! And i allways tel lmy friends my eyelashes are short but i hate seeing EVRYONE else with these long, beautiful eyelahses, i let them grow otu but then i pull a few of the when they don't feel right. EVREYTHING you said in this was EXACTLY how i feel!! And i cant wear false eyelashes because i cant put them on and ime afraid people will know, my mom is just as bad, all she does is scream at me about pulling thme but that just makes me pull them more!

Natalie on August 08, 2011:

Hi everyone i am 16 years old and i also have trich. ive been mostly pulling my eyelashes for ablout 5 years. i go though patterns when i wont do it fro a month then i will come back and pull them all out. i have pulled pieces of hair out of my head but nothing drastic. I want to stop and show everyone my beautiful eyelashes but it is just so hard for me!

if anyone has advice PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE email at lmunro69@gmail.com

thanks for everyone's support!

Courtney Gritman on July 22, 2011:

I pull out my eyelashes too, and its nice to know that im not the only one in the world that has to hide it with eyeliner :)

Kai on July 08, 2011:

I started pulling when i was very little. i would pluck the little hairs off my knee and i didn't think anything of it. now i am 14 about to enter highschool and it is controlling my life. most people wouldn't suspect i have this disorder. i have outstanding grades. im thin pretty ect. i don't know why i like to pull my hair out. it might be stress it might be bordum. i have two bald spots of the right side of my head that i go through jurastic measures to cover up. my parents know about this. so they sent me to a therapist to get help and i have been going for about a month. needless to say, the pulling has calmed down a little bit. but i still pull. eyelashes, scalp, pubic, toes, fingers, eyebrows. anywhere. i have gaps in my eyelashes and i cant wear makeup for another two years so there is no covering it up. i also suffer from excessive sweating which just adds more stress to my life. for the LONGEST time i thought i was alone, weird or the only one who had it. and when my parents found out i cried myself to sleep because i was so embaressed. i didn't ask for this condition and its very hard to cope with. my goal is to have completely stopped by my 2nd year of highschool. resisting the urge to pull is inevitable. i cry just thinking about it. i see all my friends with perfect long hair and it makes me so jealous because that is something i want. i want my hair to grow and i want my beauitful eyelashes back. *sniffles* i pray for the best and for all of you because I KNOW how it is.

You are not alone..

Jackie on June 29, 2011:

I am 22 years old and have had trich for around 12 years. I feel so much better knowing that I am not alone and that others are dealing with the same issue I am! Good luck to everyone trying to overcome this disorder! I need it too!

Esther on June 22, 2011:

now, i know that everyone has said this, but i am so grateful that this page is here. i thought that there were almost no other people who have this.

i haven't fully tried this yet, but i got a calendar, and hung it in my bathroom.

Every time that i start going for my eyes, i stop myslef and put a little mark. every single day i do that, no matter how many times.

I hope this will work, but you have to give yourself an incentive.

for example, after two weeks of not doing it at all, buy yourself some grow long mascara, speciffically designed for growing the eyelashes.

after 4 weeks of not doing it. you'll see HUGE improvement, and go buy yourself some REAL mascara, all different kinds, and just go crazy. spend 50 dollars on mascara. if you spend a lot of money on it, then there is a higher chance that you wont slip up again and you will try harder to keep them. also, if your young, don't use your parents money, save it up for yourself, so it makes a bigger impact on you.

then, after 2 months, your eyebrows shuold be back too, and go get them done PROFFESIONALLY in a real salon. you'll see how beautiful you are and love it soo much.

then just don't slip up.

stay true to yourself and remember who you are and how beautiful you look.

if people cannot except you the way you are, then screw them.

you are NOT "weird, or gross" you are yourself and you have confidence.

don't ever give up

ameliejan from Alicante, Spain on June 08, 2011:

I'm so glad to have read your experience and seen all the comments of people you've helped by writing this hub. I don't think I even knew this condition existed before.

Heather on May 10, 2011:

Okay so this is intense, I totally didn't know this was an actual thing like the above comments have also said. I am 18 years old, I think I started pulling my own eyelashes out when I was in my freshman year of high school. I wore mascara and for some reason in class I would have my elbow on the desk and I guess just took the mascara off my eyelashes and every so often I would get a few eyelashes with it. It freaked me out when I was doing it because I love eyelashes, they're beautiful looking. Time went on and when I was finally in my senior year of high school, I did not have any eyelashes. One of my friends finally said something to me saying, "Whoa, why don't you have any eye lashes?" I told her I don't know... and kind of walked away because it's embaressing and I didn't want anyone knowing about it. More people started to notice and started asking me about it and I just stuck with the same reaction. I have been trying to grow them back now, and I believe I am on my 3rd week. I am doing amazing with it.

HOW TO STOP:

I keep myself active. I go running a lot, I clean, I do yard work, homework, anything like that. If I get online or do anything like that I will look this page up and it gives me the motivation to stop.

I have been doing amazing and it is nice to know I am not the only one. Pleasee share more stories, I wish everyone else the best luck. :)

Email me if you have any questions. heather@richesons.com

Lothea on May 02, 2011:

I want to know how to stop. Because I can't imagine not being driven insane by feeling the tiny hairs where they shouldn't be...and the worst is, once you start pulling the hairs that actually are in the "wrong" places...they grow back black and coarse...and that doesn't help with the really wanting them gone.

That problem is that I think I am developing carpal tunnel or something like that in my dominant hand because I pick so much. Bored, stressed, anxious...you know the feeling...I am able to make one small thing right in the world, and I feel a little better. It is nice to know that I am not crazy, but that doesn't help me stop. How do I stop? Other then laser hair removal..I'm sure I'd just find some thing else to pick at.

Is it weird that I think trich is way less gross then biting one's nails?

Diamond on April 14, 2011:

Hey there people

I'm 15 and Ive been pulling my eyelashes out since I was about 9. My mom used to tell me that when I was little I would pull my hair out of my head so I guess Ive had Trich for a long time. Ive noticed that I pull out my eyelashes when Im bored

Harriet on March 28, 2011:

My daughter has trich and it is one of the most difficult things to deal with. I know that I need to support her and build up her confidence, but find it very hard to stay positive. We have tried psychologists, medication, hynotherapists etc without any success. Trich is something that has an enormous impact on family life - it affects not only the person who has trich but all the family members. As a mom, I feel so incredibly helpless when I see my beautiful daughter pulling out her eyelashes and eyebrows. Sometimes I want to shout and scream about it; other times I just want to sit quietly and cry about it. Thank you to all the people who are so brave to share their stories.

Brinafr3sh from West Coast, United States on March 19, 2011:

Father in heaven I ask in Christ name that you give us all strength to stop this bad habit and replace it with good habits and hobbies. No more "idle time" , Trichotillomania we must fight it.

Nameless on March 06, 2011:

Hey. I suffer from that the same way you do. I pull,look,rub,then flick. I hate it when I pull them cause I know that I don't want to do it but it happens anyways. I went to a hypnosis and that didn't work. I've been devastated. I've been pulling them f

JC on March 06, 2011:

I have been pulling my eyelashes for 28 years and head hair for 3 years, I have occassionly stopped for a few months at a time and have had such lovely long eyelashes, and no bald spots on my head and then it all goes wrong and I pull them out again. My 'trigger' is boredom and tiredness so I try to keep my hands busy when Im sitting watching tv. I wish there was some kind of research into this condition as it seems there are so many people out there who have trich. Ive been married for 6 years and my husband hasn't seen me with no makeup on as I feel so disgusting. But I feel things will make itself right one day, I just have to keep hoping.

Lisa on February 06, 2011:

Well I am 45 and have been pulling, plucking and tweezing since I was a small child, I think it started with me pulling the razor stubbly hair out of my moms legs, she didn't mind that I did it, like it felt good to her, I think she may have had trich also. I started excessively plucking my eyebrows at 13, all these years later I have sparse to nonexistant eyebrows. I relax by plucking hair out of my legs at night with tweezers. Sometimes I pick my hair out of my head one at a time, I find the just right one, ones with a lot of texture that doesn't fit in with the rest of my fine hair and make piles of hair, sometimes I pluck out my eyelashes if I'm stressed. I never knew it was a disorder or had a name. It's been my dirty little secret for most of my life that I would be embarrased to tell anyone about. I only pick if I have privacy. Now I've started to pick hair on my face, even if it's not long enough to pluck, I make a bloody spot trying to get it out. Does anyone else with this disorder have a problem also with picking at the skin on their face, I pick at my skin and even my family's skin if I see a blackhead or pimple I have to get it out. Does anyone else do this? OMG, I have a disorder, I just thought I was weird.

Ciesca on February 04, 2011:

Its hard.. so hard. I remember i had to go on a church trip with about 10 different girls and i bought a tube of mascara as a sign of hope that one day maybe i can start wearing mascara again. They all looked at me in disgust. I was 5 or 6 when i first started picking at the ones on my fingers, then it became my toes, then i shaved them off, and went through high school without a care, only sometimes if an eyelash would flip over on its own and cause pain, I'd actually save it for later when could pluck it out in anticipation of the pain. now im in my 3rd year of college and it wasn't until i started working part time around guys that found it kool to call average sized woman fat, that i started officially pulling out my eyelashes. Apparently guys it had to do wit the endorphin that the body releases to comfort pain. We actually LOVE these endorphin more than the next normal person, so we mentally crave them all the time as opposed to only when were hurt. Even when were not anxious, or depressed, we could even be happy and wanna pluck. that's because were considered endorphin junkies. I'm gonna try this thirty day challenge, and i encourage you to try it to, try going exactly thirty days without giving in to an impulse no matter how good our body and mind tries to sway us how it feels.

Julia Anthony on January 25, 2011:

As a current college student, I find my trich to be "flaring up" if you will. Some times have been better than others in terms of the amount of pulling; it's like it's always there, a some days it's worse than others. I've been pulling since middle school: everything from eyelashes and eyebrows to the hair on my head to pubic hair and arm hair. It most often happens when I'm stressed, which is often, and when I am studying, which is also very often, or watching tv. I recently go a boy-style hair cut in hopes of reducing the urge to pull. It worked, but now I'm back to eyebrows and eyelashes.

It is amazing to be able to read all of your stories and not feel so alone and embarrassed. I hate the way I look because of it, which increases the stress and the pulling- seems like a never-ending cycle.

Thank you for sharing your stories. And I agree; it really is mind over matter. Only problem is when your mind isn't in the right place.

Daveyrey on January 22, 2011:

I pull my left side of my fringe out.. Im 19 now started sucking my finger and twirling my hair from a young age then i started too find that boring and didn't even realise but id been pulling out the front of my fringe, it feels so nice when lots come out, then i started scrapen were the hair used to be digging my nail into it almost feeling the urge to stick a nail into that place where I pulled my hair out, ive a path on my fringe for years and each year it gets bigger, i feel ye people i feel ye haha

Sheila on January 16, 2011:

I have been tweezing out my eyelashes for over a year. I was doing it every single day but finally quit when I kept seeing pictures of myself and how horrible I looked without eyelashes. I looked like my eyes were bugging out. So, I quit. Then I got laid off from work and started again.

clarabella on January 10, 2011:

I'm 32 now but i was around 8 or 9 when i started to pull my hair out. I remember at the time i had been getting a lot of styes on my eyes, i read in a magazine that they were infected eyelashes and if you pulled out the eyelash the infection would clear up. This was the beginning. I now have no eyelashes, very few eyebrows i pluck my arms, legs, face, head, fingers, toes, pubic area, you name it i pluck it, if it feels different or looks out of place i can't resist it. i try but it takes all of my time not to then i give in anyway. i want to stop i also pick my skin and bite my nails. it has also gotten to the point that it's not only me i pluck but my boyfriend too if he has an odd hair i will pull it out he often shouts that it hurts but i wonder why cause it never hurts me when i do it to myself. i am going to tell my counsellor when i see her next hopefully this will start my road to recovery.

Shyne on January 09, 2011:

i'm 15 years old and i've been pulling out my hair for about 6 years now. i have never told anyone about it but my friends and family have obviously noticed. its really embarrasing and no matter how hard i try i can't stop. i decided to check on the internet about it and wss shocked that there is something called trichotilomania. i didn't realise there was so many people with the same problem and i'm kind of relieved that there is. i still have no idea how to stop before i have no hair at all... goodluck to all you peoplez going through the same thing

Joyce on December 30, 2010:

I've had trich since I was maybe 10? I'm 15 now. No one I've told about my condition really understands it. My counselor told me that she would honestly never be able to understand it, as she deemed that removing a part of yourself over and over again just seemed to be a violation against nature. My mom doesn't believe that it's a real disorder and often makes fun of me about it. My dad just think's it's another 'phase' that I'm going through, and this'll all go away once my 'grades pick up'. My little brother says that if I want to stop, I will. But it's not that easy at all... I've already been conscious about this for awhile, which is why I told my counselor to begin with, but it's so hard to stop. Although I don't actually get a feeling of enjoyment, in its own way, it's very satisfying, and I don't know why, but I don't like it either. Sometimes, I won't even know it's happening until I look at the ground and I see the hair. It frightens me, I had a bald spot when I was 12, and it didn't really cover up until I was 13. Sometimes when I'm in class, I notice how people stare at me because my hand is always up in my hair. To an outsider, it might look like I'm concentrating really hard, but the closer you are, the more you notice how I ALWAYS have my hand in my hair, and then I'll feel around, then pull. It becomes routine. This has even gotten to the point of where it's affecting how I do in school. During tests, I'll normally space out and start messing with my hair, then I'll be so occupied with that, while putting off my test, I won't finish the test, or it'll be so rushed that it looks like I didn't study at all. While I actually spent hours studying, ( the hair piles up then too.) I pluck my eyebrows, but that's just to shape them, I've never done anything to my eyelashes, but I can't deny that there's an urge to... but it actually hurts, as opposed to hair and eyebrows.. I can't tell any of my friends because I know they won't understand even though they say they will. They're not going through this, and they all have beautiful hair that they're proud of, they won't understand. I just wish I could stop, it's too hard though..

worried on December 19, 2010:

I feel so scared that this disorder will be passed to my son just as my once beautiful eyelashes were. He is almost 2 now and the other night I caught him pulling his lashes as he watched cartoons. It made me furious and I slapped his hand and gave a stern No. I have been pulling my brows and lashes for about 15 years. My mother has no lashes and once had a bald spot on her scalp. I remember helping her put a cream on her scalp when I was younger. Truthfully I feel so lost in this depression from trichs results and severely affects my mood. I have felt suicidal over it and recently stopped wearing contacts to use my glasses as extra camo. I am going to give the calendar idea a try. Wish me luck.

ami sirekia on November 22, 2010:

i have been suffering from trichotilomania for some time now as well. i think i've always had it but not so noticeable. i tend to pick at my eyebrows and eyelashes. then i need massive amounts of make up to try to cover how much hair i've pulled out. my psychologist gave me a rubber band and said that as soon as i felt the urge to pull me hair to flick the band on my wrist. i got to admit, it has the same sensation. i really didn't hold on to that though because keeping a rubber band handy can be a little weird. i haven't done it in a few weeks but i'm starting to notice that high stressed situations and depression triggers my compulsions. i wish there is something i can say that helps, but the only two things that have helped me is the rubber band from my psycholigist and prozac from my psychiatrist.

tayloray on November 20, 2010:

I've suffered from this condition since about the age of 14. My family situation changed and I was really stressed. One day playing in my hair, I bagan to scratch an intense itch. I felt the urge to pull the hair in that spot and they came out. Though I was shocked, I felt really good about making that itch stop. I played with the hair and closely examined the cool, sticky hair follicles attached to the hair. Eventually I began to use tweezers. I would sit in front of the mirror and pick out every spot that I thought itched, then I would stick the hair to the mirror and eat the sticky hair follicles. Eventually I was completely bald before I graduated high school. I used hair pieces to hide my compulsion. It felt so good I didn't want to stop. Currently, I pull my hair(bald), eyebrows(only enough to arch them myself), pubic and underarm hair. I often pull my friends' hair, although i'm arching their eyebrows in the process. I feel that I can manage the eyebrow, pubic and underarm hair pulling but not the scalp hair. I've developed scabs and sores on my scalp. I pulled my hair so intensely that now I am growing white hair on my scalp ( i pull that too). I get a strong sense of relief when I pull my hair. I really want to stop but my life is so stressful that I feel it's the only thing that keeps me from going insane.

S on November 04, 2010:

I am 16 years old and junior in high school. I have trich. I'll start at the beginning.

When I was in 7th grade, I was having a very stressful time. Boy problems, friend problems, family problems, you name it. I was always a tomboy - I have an older brother, practically all male cousins, a dad, and a tomboy mother - and I never really felt 'beautful' like my friends. I never liked to brush my hair or keep it neat. My mom would have to nag me in the morning to comb my hair so it didn't look like I had a 'rat nest' on the top of my head.

Even though I was very selfconscious about my messy hair, I had no motivation to brush it or keep it neat. And I have no idea why. Lazyness, maybe? I don't know. But, anyway, despite my constant messy hair, my relatives would always say, 'Oh, her hair is so thick!' and 'Oh, her hair is so beautiful!' And I would think to myself that they are lying.

One day, and I DO remember the day, I was in my bedroom working on some homework. And I kept thinking about all the girls with pinstraight, shiny blonde hair and how beautiful they were, and how my hair was so ugly and messy and thick. And I thought to myself that maybe I could make it less thick. So, I started pulling.

And, surprisingly, it didn't hurt. If felt kinda good.

A few days later, my mom noticed a bald patch on the top of my head and questioned me about it. I also have mild plaque psoriasas, so I just blamed it on that and that I had been scratching at the spot due to a psorias.

But before I knew it, I was pulling the hair from my scalp like crazy. As I examined the hair more closely, I began to run the root over my lip and bite down on the root, then toss the hair aside. Some people have written that they make piles with their hair, but I never really did that. I was ashamed of myself and didn't want to look at them.

But as ashamed as I was, I couldn't stop. Normally my 'pulling episodes' occur at night, when I'm alone in my room or when I'm on the internet. The worst time for pulling occurred in 8th to 9th grade. I've had to part my hair on the side of my head to cover up bald spots, and I coat the top of my head wth hairspray so the wind can't blow away the wispy strands that somehow manage to cover the tiny bald spots.

Most of my middle school life and high school life has been awful. I was invited to swimming parties, but had to decline. I would tell my parents I didn't want to go, and then lie to the friend so asked me and say I'm going out of town, or something like that.

My parents have questioned me about it, because it is noticable. It makes me feel extremely guilty when I lie to them and tell them 'It's just because I'm brushing my hair too hard', or 'I have a psorias there'. One time my mom bought me vitamins because she thought I was lacking something. Then another time my mom told me she wanted to take me to the doctor and see what was wrong.

Needless to say, I was MORTIFYED. I could NOT have anyone know that I pulled my hair out. Eventually, after a 2hr emotional breakdown, I told my mom that 'I do it.' That's all she could get out of me. I still couldn't flat out say that 'I pull my hair out.'

She never questions me about it now. I don't know whether to feel sad that she's not seemingly concerned, or happy that I don't have to deal with constant nagging. (She's not the most understanding person. And don't even get my started on Dad.)

I take a psychology class in school, and lately we've been talking about mental disorders. We talked about OCD and stuff and I wondered... Did I have that?

See, I had always been fearing to Google 'hair pulling', or, 'why do I pull out my hair?' I was afraid. VERY afraid. So for 4 years, I didn't. But yesterday, I did.

And I self-diagnosed myself with trich. I started finding these websites, these support groups, these stories, these articles and all this stuff about people with the EXACT SAME THING I'M GOING THROUGH! And as I was reading some of these things, I got tears in my eyes. I was not alone. I was not the only one out there who had this. And this whole time, this entire four years, I thought I was.

Tomorrow, I am planning to talk to one of my friends. I am going to tell her about this. Learning about this disorder and knowing that I'm not the only one going through this has made me feel so much more at ease, and I haven't pulled since last night. That's about twenty four hours, just so you know! I honestly, truly belive that I am no longer a depressed individual, nor am I suffering from anxiety. I believe this hair pulling has become a habit. I am going to try to make a deal with my friend. Give me some time to try to solve this on my own, and if I can't do it by, maybe the end of the school year, I will go seek professional help.

I know speaking with my friend tomorrow will be the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. I feel so guilty and ashamed of myself. But I also know that I can't do this alone. I can't do it without support. And I WILL get through this. I'm not going to let this beat me. I am stronger than that. That's how I was raised.

My heart goes out to all of you with this disorder, especially those who had suffered for much longer than I have or who have it more severely. I think in order to beat this, you have to believe that you can beat this.

I'm using all my willpower and trying my very hardest to stop pulling. I have senior pictures coming up this summer, and I really want to look pretty. Oh, and I also want to get a decent haircut. And be able to go swimmming.

Oh, and thank you very much to everyone who posted their stories. Like I said, it is SO comforting to know I'm not alone. Trich isn't going to take over my life anymore. I am in control. I can do this. And you all can, too. :)

bb on October 24, 2010:

i have been doing this for about 4 months now and its really getting out of control my mom just found out and took me to the hair dresser to get it cut a little my hair use to be soo thick and beautiful and now its not i pull under neath like above my ears and anovr my neck so its ambersing to put it up

Deann on October 21, 2010:

Is "Know Thyself" a biblical allusion? Do you think this because it uses an outdated case like the King James Version of the Bible does?

Cindy on October 10, 2010:

I started pulling my eyebrows when I was in 3rd grade. The year when the taas test played its role in my education. (Texas Assessment of Academic Skills) After eyebrows were gone I started on my eyelashes. I would go into trances while reading, homework, watching tv. Over 17 years of waking up, drawing brows, and putting dark eyeliner on. Years of frearing sleep overs and swimming afraid the my makeup would come off. I know everyone feels the same way and maybe even worse. God. elementary and middle school was a nightmare of namecallings and beeing an outcast. My biggest fear was my little sister following my bad habits. heh when I caught her trying i got on her case so bad.. High school was better. Make up was better. lol Iam now 23 and still pull. I still use pencial and eyeliner and am so tired of it. XP I have thought about tattoos..but I don't like the fake look to them. But, i kid you not, I found an amazing site. (http://3deyebrow.com/services.htm) Iam still not 100% sure about trying this. Like 93ish%. But I haven't felt this hopeful in having eyebrows in like..sophmore year. I have tried to stop, made and broke a lot of promises, wished on stars and candels.Its hard, its a habit.

Lmendel530 on October 03, 2010:

I have been pulling my hair since I was in 3rd grade, I am finally seeking cognitive behavioral therapy as I've done research and that's supposed to work the best...also there's a great meetup group on meetup.com for everyone with trich in nyc. Definitely check it out!

hmoore456 on September 19, 2010:

So I stumbled on this site! And found that I am not alone! I am 28 years old have pulled out my eye lashes for over 10 years now. WOW, it has really been that long! I finally decided to seek hypnotherapy because medication and conventional counseling were not working. I discovered that my pulling is from deep seeded issues with my mother. I discovered that my whole life, my mother has used guilt and "playing the victim" on myself and my sister to get us on her side of the divorce. My pulling is how I subconsciously deal with the feeling of being pulled between parents. Keep in mind that their divorce was 21 years ago and my mom still uses it as her outlet for feeling miserable in life and wants me to feel sorry for her.

So after my hypnotherapy session, I felt great. I didn't have the urge to pull. I grew my eyelashes out and kept them! I bought a brand new tube of mascara and had wonderfully beautiful eyelashes for about 3 months until...my mom called me and told me she was going to be in town for a weekend and wanted to stay with me. Two days later every single eyelash was gone! The anxiety of having my mom in town with her pity me comments and no one loves me attitude was just enough to push me back over the edge.

My sister, by the way, has not spoken with my mom in over a year because of these same issues. So now I am at a cross roads. I now know what makes me pull but how do I continue a relationship with my mom without wanting to pull every time she is around? I know my mom has her own issues, she is an emotionally immature adult who doesn't realize her own issues are hurting her children. I think more hypnotherapy sessions along with conventional counseling sessions may help me deal with my mom and how to keep a relationship with her without jeopardizing my self. Hope this can help anyone out there with the same frustrations. Ask your self why you think you pull and chances are you are probably right! I always knew deep down that my mom was a major issue in my life and her parenting was more about manipulating the situation to make her the victim, Not doing what is right for her children.

whowhatwhere on September 16, 2010:

well... i'm not sure if it's trichotillomania, but i have a weird thing about the texture of my hair. i will pull out an individual hair that i've found has a unique or interesting texture to me, and i usually run it through my fingers multiple times, sometimes as well as through my lips. it fascinates me if i can look at it from the top to the bottom and see if it goes in a curl (my hair is a wavy texture, so full-on going-in-circles curls aren't particularly prominent). i'll only pull out the hairs on the very top of my head, which are usually the most interesting, texture-wise; for ones from underneath my hair, i usually don't pull them out since they're long enough for me to run through my lips. i know it's like... really creepy-sounding and weird, but it is what it is.

Katie on September 04, 2010:

I've had this for as long as I can remember. I pull only my eyelashes but it has caused me to be addicted to eyeliner, like most of the other comments have said. I'm getting married in less than two months and at the time being, I have most of my eyelashes. Stress however, is one of my triggers and wedding planning has been stressing me out. Pray I can keep my hands off them long enough to be beautiful on my wedding day.

Rebecca, I'm sorry to say that this condition can be inherited because my mom had it too. I didn't find out until later that my mom would pull from her head as a girl.

Rebecca on September 03, 2010:

Hi all. my heart breaks to read all of your comments, I have been dealing with this disorder since I was about nine I am now 34. for me it is mainly pulling the lashes of my lower lids but it started with my head hair, I think I mostly have it under control after years of mental battles, thank god I don't have any bald patches on my head but the lashs on my lower lids are none exsistant and when they do grow back the just fall out with out even any pulling. I have 3 children and have recently noticed a bald patch on my 6 yearolds head I questioned her gently and she said she had pulled it out, I'm very worried about this and am bringing her to my GP soon, but this also poses the question is this condition heredity?

TrichStar on September 02, 2010:

I have pulled my scalp hair since I was 7 years old.

It has been a lifelong battle. An embarassing and tormenting one at that. I am 33 now. I have not pulled in almost a year... Whoo Hoo... but am now faced with a new and sad reality! MOST of my hair has grown back and is so beautiful... but the very top of my head about the size of a tangerine has no hair. I still wear a wig... sometimes 24 hours a day depending on the situation... (which by the way... was how I stopped pulling) I just didn't allow myself access to my real hair anymore. I also kept my head fully shaved. I would rather suffer with the fact that wearing a wig is hot and uncomfortable rather than continue to pull... and it is the ONLY thing that worked for me. I still play with my wig hair, but I don't pull it out because it doesn't achieve whatever it is that I am looking for.

Anyhow, I got into a habit where I never really looked at mirror without a hat or wig on, because it was just SO depressing. Now that I have stopped, every day I look to see growth... and it's not. It has been over 7 months since my hair started to fill in on the rest of my head. I try so hard to not get discouraged, but seriously... I'm not sure how I can handle finally overcoming this life battle, and still having to deal with the reprecussions from it. All I have ever wanted was to be somewhat "normal". Ya know... dive into a pool, stick my head out of a car window, go on a rollercoaster or even have my boyfriend play with my hair.

Has anyone else had the same experience? Does anyone have any suggestions? I look forward to some feedback from someone, anyone who can relate.

TrichStar on September 02, 2010:

I have pulled my scalp hair since I was 7 years old.

It has been a lifelong battle. An embarassing and tormenting one at that. I am 33 now. I have not pulled in almost a year... Whoo Hoo... but am now faced with a new and sad reality! MOST of my hair has grown back and is so beautiful... but the very top of my head about the size of a tangerine has no hair. I still wear a wig... sometimes 24 hours a day depending on the situation... (which by the way... was how I stopped pulling) I just didn't allow myself access to my real hair anymore. I also kept my head fully shaved. I would rather suffer with the fact that wearing a wig is hot and uncomfortable rather than continue to pull... and it is the ONLY thing that worked for me. I still play with my wig hair, but I don't pull it out because it doesn't achieve whatever it is that I am looking for.

Anyhow, I got into a habit where I never really looked at mirror without a hat or wig on, because it was just SO depressing. Now that I have stopped, every day I look to see growth... and it's not. It has been over 7 months since my hair started to fill in on the rest of my head. I try so hard to not get discouraged, but seriously... I'm not sure how I can handle finally overcoming this life battle, and still having to deal with the reprecussions from it. All I have ever wanted was to be somewhat "normal". Ya know... dive into a pool, stick my head out of a car window, go on a rollercoaster or even have my boyfriend play with my hair.

Has anyone else had the same experience? Does anyone have any suggestions? I look forward to some feedback from someone, anyone who can relate.

Crisitna on August 02, 2010:

Hey everyone who has Trich or who is possibly reading this comment right now. I'm Cristina and I have Trichotillomania. I'm 14 years old and I have pulled my eyelashes along with my eyebrows now for a year. Before I realized I even had Tich I was just a girl that was called a "cancer patient" by her mother and made fun of by her siblings because she looked "different". Now before I start my little story I want to thank the website,Profoundpuns + all the comments above with all my heart for helping find out what I have. My number one reason for pulling my eye lashes is cause they felt like needles growing out of my eyelids and would cause me a great deal of pain. Or because I was bored or either staring in a mirror.My places for my eye lashes and eyebrows where//and ARE my mirror,wall or desk. My tweezers are my only thing to relief and joy.But what joy is there when you have no more eyelashes for people to comment on or to envy. It's rather embarassing if you ask me. You have a HUGE gap for people to notice. Now I secretly use my sister's eyeliner and color in the gap so she doesn't notice. If she notices then the next thing thats gonna happen is she'll start laughing at me,call me ugly then tell my mom. Ugh honestly shes the last person I want knowing.I hate how family is suppose to accept you for who you are even when you're the most flauwed they just can't do it. They laugh cause more pain.Make fun of you. Call you ugly or something worse than that like cancer patient. But anyways thats not the point.The point is Trich is a bad thing to have.But most definitely it's a hard thing to stop. When you're pulling and analyzing by moving it around on you'r fingers..YEAH YOU'RE GONNA DO IT AGAIN! When you get the urge grab something and distract yourself instantly. I have the urge right now but i've done my damage today. Guess I gotta keep using my sisters eyeliner. Hopefully you all and myself will soon break from this. Don't give up or give into the urge. Just keep doing something other than plucking. I hope all of you break from this and realize that your beautiful even without eyelashes or eyebrows.PERIOD.

Thanks again everyone~Crisitna

Trichlover on July 25, 2010:

Hi everyone,

I've had trich since I was a kid. It started when I was 11-12 and now I am 27.

I can't tell you the exact reason why it started, but at osme point in 9th grade, I had no eyebrows. I used to use my black pen to color in the missing spots.

For a kid it can be embarrasing and stressful to deal with a disorder which is truly brought on by stress.

I have been through a degree in psychology and then to med school.

Those of you with a very sever disorder, please so try and talk to an understanding therpaist or adult about it. There is no use devling into the past as to why it has started.

What is more important is understanding what triggers the behavior and how you can recognize when u are about to do it and interupt the cycle.

We are anxiety prone people, u just have to accept that about your self. Work on finding ways to lower your stress, and when you do get stresses and fall off the bandwagon, finding a pile of hair next to your hand, don't freak out.

It's no big deal, you just start the process over again.

A) Work on reducing the stressors in your eviornment.

B) Learn to recognize how beautiful you are WITH your hair. That will mentally motivate you to work on changing your behaviour.

C)Recognize what triggers the pulling.

D)Start working on behaviors you can do to modify the pulling.

E) again, think about how beautiful you look like with your hair, and how you feel when you look in the mirror and there is no hair.

No matter what ! Don't give up, it's an ongoing battle. If you fall off the bandwagon, get right back up and start the cycle again.

15 years after i started, I no longer have spots missing from my eyelashes and eyebrows, I do have days where i will pull out 3-4 lashes, look at them and think to my self, what am i doing, time to do something else.. I LIKE MY EYEBROWS! what did they ever do to me..

ALWAYS ACCEPT yourself and your faults, but try to change those behaviors that make u the least happy in the long run....

Hope this has helped.

Thank you for startign this blog.

John on July 06, 2010:

I just came to this hubpage and was so impressed by this great support system... I felt like I should share too (for all interested and myself).

I've only been pulling my hair for 2 years but it's something that' I've been very embarrassed about ever since I realized that I was powerless to control it. It all started during a very difficult time in my life… which was only made more difficult by trich. I began by pulling out my eyebrows, but I would only pull hairs that I thought improved my appearance (an unusual kind of manscaping?). But of course this turned into a habit and led to me pulling my eyelashes, facial hair, and pubic hair as well… Before long I could feel which hairs were “inconsistent” with the others and single them out. I gained a lot of short-lived satisfaction doing this, but immediately felt regret. Realizing that I was getting nowhere armed with only will power, I went to a psychiatrist. I felt that, if nothing else, it would help me to stop if I just told someone about it. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case and only led me into deeper issues. Long story short, I was diagnosed with ADHD (because I have always been the kind of person that does well in school but can never pay attention or finish assignments on-time; I’m what you’d consider a very lucky student). The thought was that solving the underlying issue related to a lack in motivation (leading to stress in my academic life) would help me to stop the behavior… Well, since then I have rejected my diagnosis as it has done me no good, and I’ve come up with one of my own (with some help from online resources).

Trich is something you do often non-consciously to give relief from stress. It fills a void somehow, the trick is figuring out what that void is. Perhaps it’s trouble at home, at work, or even in the bedroom… take a hard look at your life and figuring out what causes you stress. From there I think it’s important that everyone begin their journey of relieving that stress logically.

I’ll use myself as an example. I have always been lacking motivation in the classroom like I mentioned before. However, the issue is much deeper than that; more along the lines of-- I don’t know what I’m working towards. How can I motivate myself when there’s nothing to look forward to? Another issue is that my religion has deviated a bit since Catholic school, but my parents aren’t aware of it… A third issue, is my disappointing love life, riddled with awkward breakups and embarrassing hookups; it’s been over 5 years since I had a steady girlfriend. Just considering these 3 examples it’s very reasonable that a person’s mind can compensate through the stress by developing a new and unusual habit. It’s just unfortunate that the habit itself causes even more stress! But by figuring out ways to solve the real life issues that cause the stress I believe we can all be on our way to gaining control once again.

Since figuring out some of these issues, I’ve found something I feel passionate about, dropped subtle hints to my parents (yea, I know), and been looking for a relationship (unfortunately for me I’m extremely picky, which I think is related to a mild issue with perfectionism, which some of you may also share?). Basically, it’s time to be brave, like many of you posting on here, and face the issues in our lives head on. From there it may be necessary to implement other treatment techniques but I’m almost certain square 1 should be putting our shameful feelings related to trich aside and focusing on where your stress comes from (besides trich haha) and doing what you can to remedy it.

If anyone wants extra support or just to talk, you can email me at: johnnyriesling@gmail.com

Rachel on July 05, 2010:

I had no idea how large this was, and how so many people deal with this or are affected by it at the same time. Good hub, very good

http://www.hairextensiondeals.com/

SummersFate on June 29, 2010:

I am 17. A junior in high school. I started pulling when I was 11 or 12. I have Trich. I have never had the urge to pull out the hairs on my scalp though. I started with my eye lashes. I too, just like a lot of the other submitters, do it when I and bored, angry, or anxious. I remember that during my 8th grade year I didn't have any eye lashes because I continually pulled them out. And once they were all gone, I'd tweeze out the new hairs that were growing in because I didn't like the way that they felt. Some time after that, I moved on to pulling out my eyebrows too. When ever an eyelash or eyebrow hair felt like it itched or like it was too big for the hair follicle, I pulled it out. I used my fingers for the majority of my eyelashes and I used tweezers for small eye lashes I couldn't get and for my eye brows. I was very suicidal all through out my middle school years up too my freshman year in high school. I stopped cutting and subsequently started abusing pills instead. It was either in my 8th grade year or my first year of high school I started tweezing out vaginal hairs. I’d take out the small hairs that could be counted as a happy trail. And then I’d pull out the hairs out side of my bikini line. And then when ever I had an in-grown hair, I’d dig into my skin until I found the hair and was able to pull it out. I think that I started this habit because I’d stopped cutting. After that I moved on inside of my bikini line and removed hairs from there too. I mainly focused on in-grown hairs. But if a hair didn’t look right to me I’d pull it out. If it didn’t feel right I’d pull it out. I hate body hair as it is so I liked being able to pull out the hairs that I hated so much. Every once in a while I’ll even pull out an in-grown armpit hair. As I got older I decided that I could just shave away all the hairs that I wanted to stop pulling out. But the hair does grow back. And I’d be right back to pulling out the new hairs that were still kind of under my skin. I found it exciting to look for the hairs that I could pull out and felt victorious when I achieved at pulling it out. I’ve kept all of this a secret since I started. I’ve just recently been able to tell people about my eye lash and eyebrow habits. When I was younger kids at school would notice that I was missing eye lashes and or some of my eyebrows and would ask me about it. But I always denied knowing what they were talking about. I don’t think that my parents knew the extent of how bad it was. Because they had to known something when I’d show up with a chunk of my eye brow missing. Haha. Ya know? I normally pulled or tweezed right before I got into the shower in the morning. My parents would ask why I took hour long showers. I took hour long showers because I’d be tweezing out the hairs on the inside and outside of my bikini line for the first half our. And by the time I realized that I’d been doing it for a long time, half an hour would have passed and then I’d have to jump in the shower to get ready for school. I never told them that though. lol. Right now I have a small section of my eye lashes missing from my right eye. And all of my lashes on my left eye are shorter then they should be. I have devised this tactic that kind of works for me on preserving my eye brows. I have shaped my eyebrows to the shape I want them. And when ever I feel the need to pull out my eyebrow hairs, if I can hold off long enough to get to my bathroom, then I just pull out the hairs that are new coming in around my shaped eye brows. I don’t know. It works better for me then anything else I’ve tried. I think it’s just the satisfaction of being able to decide which hair I want to take out and which one can stay in. I also wear a lot of mascara. So when I do feel like pulling out my eye lashes I can pull the mascara off of my eye lashes. As long as I don’t look at my fingers, I can lie to myself and think that I pulled out an eyelash and not just my mascara. I tweeze out the hairs on the inside and outside of my bikini line more then anything else now. It’s the most publically unnoticeable habbit of the three I have. I have pictures of myself where I’m missing chunks out of my eye brows. It doesn’t really bother me but it’s kind of unnerving to know that I can’t help doing it. I want to stop. I’d like to stop. But it relieves stress. Calms me down some. I don’t keep the hairs once I’ve pulled them out. I either sweep them down the drain of my sink. Or when I’m tweezing vaginal hairs, I place them on a piece of toilet tissue, and then when I’m done looking at what I’ve done I ether flush it or throw it away. I felt bad for reading everyone elses stories and not sharing my own so there it is. I hope that it helped in some way.

Quitter 23 days now on June 23, 2010:

It's been 23 days and I'm still going. My bald spot is growing hair, I will let it grow!!! Although I've had a big temptation to "pluck" I haven't.

Quitter 16 days now on June 17, 2010:

I never knew what I had was called TRICH. I started pulling out my hairs about 3.5 years ago. It started when I felt these weird hairs that felt out of place, after that I pulled whatever felt short, thick, etc. After I got my hair cut, my hair dresser noticed that I was balding... that was a major wake up call for me. I have not pulled in 16 days... a few times a day I feel my hair... and remind myself I've gone this far, that I have to keep going. I looked online to see if my hair will grow back, that is how I found these posts. For those of you who have had this problem for years & years, take it one day at a time. Thank you for sharing your stories.

AnonymouslyJodi86 on June 02, 2010:

I'm very sorrry your father is not around more often, he seems like he would be a much better support sysytem, and I'm also sorry about your mothers ignorance about the fact that Trichotillomania is a real medical condition. After a while it becomes a self soothing habit and you become almost unaware of what your doing when your hand goes up to your head to pull. I understand where you are coming from with your mom, I was 17 when I first started pulling, and at 24 I still have a major problem. I was so scared to admit to my parents for so long that I was actully pulling my hair out that I let them believe for a while that it was actually falling out and went through extensive medical testing, even a biopsy on my scalp. My mot