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I’ve had Trichotillomania for a long time now, and let me tell you: it freaking sucks. Pulling hair out because of stress, boredom, insomnia, OCD tendencies (such as one hair being a slightly different color or thickness), and not having a cure? It’s exhausting. And discouraging.
Trichotillomania is also a tricky beast because you always have your hands with you, there are mirrors everywhere, and staying out of the bathroom forever is impossible because we all have to pee at some point.
I have had such crazy lows because of this mental illness. I haven’t been able to hold down a job. I’ve shut myself off from a lot of activities and opportunities and people because of it. I have zero self-confidence because of it. My depression wins more often than not because of it. And many days, it’s hard to get out of bed because I feel like there is no point to anything. My brain tells me I’m a failure and I’m ugly and I shouldn’t even try.
But in a weird way, I think I’m finally coming to terms with my Trichotillomania. I’m not in denial about this illness anymore—I’ve told everyone in my life about it and have received such wonderful, encouraging feedback! And I’m done trying to cover it up or feel ashamed; it’s part of me and I’m learning to live with it. I don’t look like Kim Kardashian or have Rapunzel’s hair... and honestly, that’s okay.
Because the real me has a shaved head and the real me is doing the best she can.
I don’t hate myself anymore. I’ve realized this problem isn’t something I chose and it’s not a discredit to me that I’m dealing with it. Yeah, I have bald spots on my head and no eyelashes. I’m not perfect. But who is? I didn’t wake up one morning and decide to have Trichotillomania and then try to ruin my life. It’s just something that happened, and it set me back, and I’m dealing with it.
I feel stronger. As a person, I mean. While I may not look in the mirror and love what I physically see, I look in the mirror and know that I am a fighter, that I’ve been hurt and haven’t given up. I see someone I’m proud of, actually. I know I am more than what’s just on the surface.
My Trichotillomania will never go away; I know that. And I might never be able to grow my hair out again. Six years ago (or even one year ago!), that thought would have caused me to burst out in tears. "I might never have my curly hair again?" But now I know if that happens, I’ll be ok. I have a good life. People who love me for who I am inside. I’ll be fine without my hair.
To anyone reading this who has Trichotillomania, know this: you will survive. Hair isn’t everything. It really isn’t. I know how impossible the battle feels; there have been countless times I would’ve given up if someone hadn’t come alongside me and encouraged me to keep going. Whether you learn how to overcome your urges to pull hair or you don’t—it’s okay. You are beautiful inside and out, and the people in your life who matter know that! You are doing the best you can. I haven’t figured out how to stop pulling my hair out yet, but even if I never do, I’ll be okay. And you will too!
We can do this. We are beautiful people because we are fighting and we are strong.