As many of you will be aware, the 10th October is World Mental Health Day. In order to mark the day I have decided to create a blog series to publish in the run up to World Mental Health Day with the help of contributors with lived experience. The series will run over a few, covering a variety of mental health problems. The aim of the series is to remove some of the 'clinical' feel behind the descriptions of mental health problems and humanise it by describing how it feels to those experiencing a mental health problem. Check back to see the next part of the series; Body Dysmorphic Disorder.
Trichotillomania is an impulse-control disorder, a psychological condition where the person is unable to stop themselves carrying out a particular action. Trichotillomania is a condition where a person feels compelled to pull their hair out.They may pull out the hair on their head or in other places, such as their eyebrows or eyelashes (NHS).
"Its like a fire on your skin, it consumes and destroys every thought you have, takes over your mind until you put it out. Sometimes you're aware that the solution to the problem is what you want to not to the most. Other times the fire and response are so built in to your soul the dismay from your actions aren't known until later. It's feeling like there's something under your skin that is an itch or a tickle you cannot satisfy. Seemingly no amount of rain or sunshine or medication can put stop the burning but in time it feels like you. Your body. It feels like I'm a rude and disrespectful person when I'm fighting whilst others are talking and socialising but the pride when your fight prevails is superior to any other feeling." - Jade
"Trichotillomania is one of those silent conditions. No one really knows about it and many think it is "just a habit". But, it is more than that. It consumes you in more ways than one, both mentally and physically. Self-esteem, what is that? The feeling of looking in the mirror seeing bald patches in your hair, knowing full well it was you who created them, no matter how hard you've tried to stop yourself, is debilitating. People, innocently commenting on your newly formed bald patch on your head, just assuming it was something like hair dye and just agreeing because you can't bare to explaining it is such a consuming illness, not hair dye. Physically, being late for everything. Knowing that when you start pulling that you can't stop. The unknown being, will it last ten minutes? or a few hours? Literally only time would tell. So, next time you notice a bald patch on someone's head, then please... think before you speak. You'll never know how much self confidence someone will lose from that one comment. If we could stop pulling, we would." - Charlotte
Hopefully reading the personal experiences has helped to provide a more human understanding of what Trichotillomania is, what it means to those who experience it and how it feels.
Sending positive vibes,