In the past I have discussed my having a condition called Trichotillomania (an impulse control disorder characterized by the repeated urge to pull out scalp hair, eyelashes, facial hair, nose hair, pubic hair, eyebrows or other body hair, sometimes resulting in noticeable bald patches). Last night, on an episode of 20/20, they discussed Trich on their Medical Mysteries installment. I was surprised to find out how much more common it is than I ever thought. I was also shocked to hear some of the same thoughts and feelings I have had about this for so many years. Things I have never even spoken of because of it sounding so very strange. I am very lucky in the fact that I do not have a severe case of Trich. I have never pulled out the hairs on my head, thank God!! My main focus was always my eyebrows. There were times in my life when I would have half of an eyebrow or be covered in bloody scabs. Once the scabbing happens, I become obsessed with picking those as well.
At one point in the show last night, the expert Doctor being interviewed said something that really hit home. She said that Trich patients will find themselves spending hours picking at that one hair they feel just does not belong. That is exactly how I have tried to explain it to my family – with no success I might add. Family, friends, teachers…they would always just hit me or tell me to stop…yell at me, make fun, act disgusted, etc. It honestly made me want to pick more. I have pulled out my eyebrows since I was about 16 years old. I was an obcessive scab picker long before that.
Right now, I am putting Mederma on several spots on my face where I picked and picked causing scars only several weeks ago. When I wash off my makeup and look in the mirror at all my scars, I am disgusted and very sad that I will always be marked up. I will never feel comfortable leaving the house without makeup.
I am very glad this is being discussed. I hope that the media continues to shed light on this strange problem.
Below I have given links to some videos and the story posted on the 20/20 site. I think you might find them very interesting, especially if you know someone with this condition. Even more so if you have it yourself.