Archive for Guest Blog

Guest Blog: Brittany

Guest Blog: Brittany

Hi, my name is Brittany Kihl. I will be 23 in 9 days, have a part-time job, go to school full time and have a disorder called Trichotillomania. As I am typing now, just typing down just information about my story about dealing with trich, I have to pause and stop and go back to typing every few minutes or so. Why am I stopping so much, making it impossible to focus and finish typing what I have written down to send to you? I am sitting here focusing on searching for the “perfect” strand of hair to pull out and chew the root off. Trichotillomania effects me everyday with almost everything that I do or try to accomplish or focus on. I can’t just watch a movie, do homework, hold hands with my boyfriend, without fighting with my self in my mind to resist the urge to want to attack my head with my tweezer like fingers.
I first had an encounter with pulling my hair out when I was 12 years old on Halloween night. Standing and staring at myself in the mirror, I felt a a huge emotion rush over me. That emotion I would consider in my later years to be a form of depression. For some reason in that moment I took a huge amount of hair at the top of my head and pulled it completely out. My initial thought was that I didn’t think it would come out of my scalp that easily. When I realized what I did, I ran down the stairs to show my mother what I had done to myself. She didn’t seem to find it to be a problem and ignored the issue. Later that night I pulled two more huge clumps from the lower left and right side of my head. I have pulled almost every day since then.
It was a lot harder to hide my bald spots and habits when I was younger. I didn’t find a system to the method of my madness yet. I would pull from anywhere and for long periods of time with no control or emotional stability. I would color my hair, find constant ways to update my hairstyle, use bandannas to shape my hair to cover the bald spots on the sides of my head. My bald spot that was bad back then and to this day is the worst is the spot on the top of my head where peoples parts from there hair usually end. When I was younger I would have to bunch a group of hair together and create a small ponytail and tie it back with a small rubber band. I was made fun of a lot because of this and it made it hard for me to meet new people and trust them. This condition in high school made me have low self esteem which in return affected my grades and many other aspects of my life. I always wanted to talk to a psychologist or a counselor for this. But the people I opened up to about Trichotillomania didn’t seem to find it to be a problem that money should be spent on.
Once I started college, I started questioning the habit and why I do it. What can I do to stop myself? For my English class I had to do a research paper and I chose to write about Trichotillomania. Through research it helped me understand that I was not alone. Also that there are types of therapy used to help reduce trich and or get rid of the disorder completely.
Now I have taught myself different ways to deal with trich. I use habit reversal training, a stress ball, and most importantly trying to keep a health positive mindset. One of the key points in all the research I have done is to think critically about where you do it, what you are feeling when you do it, why you are doing it now (stress, habit, depression, anxiety) and tying to stop yourself from a long picking session. There are ways to stop yourself or get yourself out of a picking situation. Sometimes I straight up yell at myself out loud verbally. I learned yelling by putting myself down was not successful. But yelling with words of encouragement or a joke always helped me step back from the situation. Jokes are good and so is a sense of humor, its okay to laugh at yourself. I keep a stress ball my boyfriend gave me in my car because driving is where I pick my hair the most. Finding people who you can confide in and our supportive is a huge aspect of helping yourself with trich. My boyfriend and sister are very supportive which is helpful in keeping me positive. I am going to be getting another stress ball to have in my room because that is the second place I pick my hair the most. Also, if I am home and I have the urge to pick or I do pick and I feel I am going to pick for a while, I go and wet my hair. Because when my hair is wet I can’t pull one strand at a time. Another idea I have tried is removing myself from whatever situation I was in and going and doing something else for a couple minutes. For example, if I am sitting doing homework and get the urge, I will get up and go wash my hands. Or I call my boyfriend or sister and try to talk about it and wait for the tension to pass.
I am by no means cured from this disorder completely. But I choose not to give up either and let it run my life. I help myself by talking to others, I created a Trichotillomania Facebook page, do research, and try out new scenarios that can be beneficial to stopping the urge. I want to work towards a long term goal to finally end my battle with trich once and for all. With a positive mindset, people that stand behind me, and determination I will one day be free. Anyone who suffers from this you can do it too! We need to stick together and help each other by talking and building support and strength. My email is alicerose44@yahoo.com if you want to talk. I would love for anyone to use my email as a source to write to me if you need someone to talk to or just feel that you are not alone. My name is Brittany Kihl and one day I will be free from Trichotillomania.

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Guest Blog: Sophie

Guest Blog: Sophie

Below is a guest blog from our photographer friend Sophie who is starting to generate buzz in the trich community.

I am entering my senior year at the School of Visual Arts in
Manhattan, majoring in Photography. This summer I began taking sketch
comedy classes at the Upright Citizens Birgade theater in NYC, and in
the Fall of last year I was a Photography Department intern at
Saturday NIght Live. People know me as being very outgoing and funny
so when I decided to document my struggle with Trich, people were so
surprised by how well I hide that part of my life. I think it is
important to not be afraid to come out and tell people that you have a
disorder. Everyone has their own struggle and this is ours.

As a part of my Senior Thesis project, I would like to photograph
people with Trichotillomania or
Dermatillomania in order to raise awareness for the disorders. I
myself, have both disorders, and have been struggling with them for
about 12 years. Unfortunately, I was not diagnosed with the disorders
until 8 years in, so I just thought I was a freak and the only one in
the world who was suffering from this weird habit. Now there is more
information available online, but whenever I search for images of
Trich, they are always really frightening images. I would like to
change the perseption of the way people look at us and our disorder
and I would like to photograph people in a beautiful way, but still
acknowledging the fact that they suffer from Trich or Dermatillomania.
I have already been photographing myself for 3 years, and now it is
time for me to branch out and learn about how others handle the
stressful life of a “trichster.”

I am looking for people who aren’t afraid to tell their story (through
photographs) and want to assist me in spreading awareness for the
disorder. Men, women, and children of all ages are welcome to contact
me! I am located in either the NYC or DC/MD/VA area. I will be
working on this project for at least the next 6 months. Please e-mail
me at Sophe89@gmail.com if you are interested or have any questions!
You can see some of my self-documentary work at:

http://www.behance.net/gallery/Trich-or-Treat/3785672

Thank you!

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Lashes

Lashes

Here’s a blog sent to us by our friend Lashes.

The hardest thing I ever did was admit to myself that I was a hair-puller.

At first I was convinced it was a bad habit, and in a sense, it really was. I told myself I could stop whenever I wanted to. I just didn’t want to badly enough.

Then came the day when I was exhausted. I was tired of being obsessed with being obsessed. Constant checking and checking. Is my hair in place? Did my eyeliner smudge?

I would observe people from a distance and wonder what it felt like to be them. How it felt to rub your eyes when you’re tired, or let your hair down.

I look at people who complain about thick cuticles or a pimple, and wonder what it’s like to be within the extent of those worries. How easy and simple it must be to lead a life where the worst case scenario is a zit on your nose.

Eventually I discovered that there was such a thing as hair-pulling, and it wasn’t
just some freakish habit I concocted. I was relieved because I wasn’t as isolated as I thought, but now I had an excuse to do it. I have Trichotillomania. And while grasping a freshly torn hair between my fingernails, I would justify my pulling because now it was a disorder, not just a bad habit.

This was accompanied by a willing sense of weakness. I would like to believe that this is out of my control, and every frock I pull forth is a result of an illness in my mind that is beyond fixing. And I don’t know if it’s the years of failed attempts, or the episodic waves of baldness, but any hopes existing or prior have been drowned out.

A full head of hair and thick eyelashes equate to utter and complete happiness in my world. Forget huge mansions and private jets. How can people not see how easy it is to be content? I can’t even fathom the joy and calmness of rolling out of bed without a second thought. I have never learnt such an emotion.

All the black pencils and eyeliners, the fake lashes, the weird hair-dos. I wake up every morning to change myself; to change what I look like. I am guilty of fooling the world and ashamed that I have to do it. Ashamed that I don’t give myself any other choice.

I am kind and generous. I never judge people and I never put anyone in a position to feel uncomfortable. Yet my face doesn’t reflect any of that. All it shows is a self-infliction of ugliness.

This is not who I am.

And I don’t understand why this is who I have become.

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Katherine’s Video

Katherine’s Video

Hey everyone, check out this video Katherine posted!

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Guest Blog: Myra Harman

Guest Blog: Myra Harman

My name is Myra Harman. I’m 17 and I’ve had trichotillomania for several years now. I made my own group on Facebook called the It’s Just Hair Movement. I live in North Eastern Pennsylvania and I enjoy activities in the arts. Check out the link below to the facebook page!

http://www.facebook.com/groups/195558500573557/205621189567288/?notif_t=group_activity

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