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dream.try.dream.try , 09 Oct 2016

obsessed with my eyebrows, in need of support & talking to someone who understands

Hi everyone,

I'm new here, but not new to trich. I'm also living in an entirely new city as of a week ago - when I got here, I felt hopeful, and excited, and ready to start new, but I wasn't sure how my trich would play out in a new home... Well, by day 2 I was hiding in the bathroom hoping my roommate wouldn't realize that I was in there for so long - hunched over a magnifying mirror like I usually am when I'm going after a hair and can't quite get it - bleeding - and at this point I don't even remember how many hours I spent total in the last week obsessing over my eyebrows being "perfect", but I do know that yesterday, it was at least 6 hours. I did have some respite, on October 3rd, I had accidentally trimmed into my eyebrow and caused a bald spot (I have, if I let them grow, very thick, VERY long, and very curly eyebrows, and I'm a lady, I can thank my dad for that gene though) and they actually looked nice filled in still, so I felt okay, but then the next day went to town on them for some reason.... I feel like I can't even remember how much time I spent, or even what I necessarily did, I just can see the outcome now in the mirror - it's like I blacked out or something, and lost all reason....Let me just say, objectively they definitely looked better before I went after them. And that's something about this disorder I'll never understand. That cycle of convincing myself I need to pluck a hair (and then another hair), then actually getting the hair after hours of work going after it, then assessing it in the mirror, expecting to say "yes that was worth the effort" only to be disappointed by the wounds, by the time I spent, by it really looking worse actually not "better".. I'm sure everyone reading this doesn't need me to explain much further. I do this eyebrow plucking ritual convincing myself it's the right decision, that it won't look good but leaving it will look worse, and then after the fact I just wish I never had that though process at all. It's so backwards and I do not understand how someone who in every other part of their life has sound judgment just lets the denial and self-rationalization run free when alone in front of a mirror...I also have back pain and tension from hunching over into a mirror. Still feel so baffled by why that isn't enough to make me stop....

I never pull my eyebrows with my fingers while I'm out, or driving, or watching TV, or anything like that. It's very methodical, only when I'm alone, only with the right tools, and I even take a few moments to assess the exact one I'm going to get (and then sometimes repeat the cycle for another hair). I also have to wash my face 2 or 3 times after I pluck my eyebrows, and 10/10 times I do them now, I start bleeding.

About 2 years ago was when this got really bad, although I remember it all started with my eyebrows when my mom alluded to me having a unibrow that I should shave a little bit (horrible, horrible advice). Sometimes I wish my mom never said anything and told me my "unibrow" was beautiful. At this point I have literally at least twice trimmed my eyebrows down so far that they were basically non existent, or became so frustrated I plucked out every single dark hair in my eyebrows, so I basically had none... So anyway, back to two years ago-- I had always had an issue with my eyebrows, but I decided I wanted someone else to do them for me. So I found a makeup artist/wax specialist in my area, and they waxed off half my eyebrow. The worst part was, we had become friends at that point - I was seeing her for about 4 months before this incident. It truly was half of my eyebrow just ripped off - she even held the mirror close to her chest before she showed me and said, "Ok, I just need to tell you something before you look. I accidentally took too much off your right eyebrow..." So it was not just me being delusional about an issue. However, this ended up being really bad for my trich, because I trusted her with something that was supposed to help me... and she just made it worse. I'm still not over it.

The mindset that followed this was truly sad. I would think, well, yeah, I'm pulling out and attacking hairs that I don't need to spend my time on, but it's not like it's going to ever look as bad as what she did to me, stuff like that.

I definitely have perfectionist tendencies in more areas than my eyebrows. And I like that about myself - I work hard, and I like to do things well. I'm actually okay with things not being perfect, except with my eyebrows. That for whatever reason is where I just can't seem to give up the ghost.

If you guys have any tips for me, or at the very least, just a response - like I said, I'm living by myself in a new city and while I feel excited to be here and more willing than ever to try to overcome my problems with trich, I also feel really alone.

Yesterday I spent 6 hours+ pulling out numerous hairs, it started to lose that methodical nature where I assess, and consider, before I pull anything and I was just plucking and pulling somewhat haphazardly, which I haven't done in a long time - very worrisome to me, and naturally not pleased with the outcome. Today, I've plucked 2 hairs total - no blood was drawn, which sadly is a big win for me in a 24 hour period and in this state.

Has anybody had any luck hiring somebody to do their eyebrows for them? I decided to make an appointment with someone despite how horribly that went last time, because in the past, that's been what has gotten me some relief the most out of anything.

I want to go out and just be myself without shame, which I've had the joy of doing on what feels like rare occasions, but when I get like this, I just stay in my apartment and occasionally cry, I punish myself I guess and feel like I can't handle the outside world and the inevitable scrutiny. I find myself filling my head with "shoulds" and "should haves" and it drives me up the wall if I let it...

"Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your mind off your goals." - Henry Ford

I know I've seen on a lot of publications that Trich is not curable, but I still am set on being trich-free.

Thank you for reading this.
I hope someday we can all find peace.

3 Answers
Tasneem Abrahams
October 26, 2016

Hi! thank you for reaching out and sharing your experience with the forum. I hope that some of the community here will respond and offer you some words of encouragement from the perspective of someone who also pulls. As a therapist I would like to commend you for your courage in dealing with this day to day and for not losing hope. It can be incredibly difficult to move to a new house let alone a new city, even if it is a welcomed and exciting move. Stress is known to be a common trigger of pulling for many people. 

It is true that to date there is no one fix all treatment and certainly no 'cure' but there are methods of treatment that can help you manage the condition. And while no treatment is 100% guaranteed there are some folks who are able to live trich-free with the right support structures tools, skills and strategies in place. Remember that like many other mental health conditions, trichotillomania is a chronic condition so it must be managed long term. 

It is also crucial for any kind of success with managing trich that you have a support structure in place to help you through the rough times. While forums like this exist for that purpose, it is always better if you have someone you can trust to talk to about this and help you remember to implement your tools when you are going through a high pulling risk period. 

My last piece of advice to you would be to read up as much as possible about the condition. With all the new research and attention this condition is getting, there are advancements in treatment all the time so it is always good to stay in the loop with thise. You can sign up for our newsletter or read our blog, but I would also advise you to seek information for as they are a global organization at the forefront of research into all things trichotillomania.

Best of luck to you!

November 11, 2016

Today I decided to do some research into why I compulsively pull out the tiny, insignificant hairs in the unibrow area on my face/forehead. Your post made me realize something. That I'm not the only one suffer g with this condition. When you think of trich, you think of bald spots on one's head, or lesions on someone's lower face or extremities. You made me realize I do something that is obsessive.

The thing is, I have never been diagnosed. And i don't believe what ever compulsive behavior I express plucking my unibrow hairs with my fingernails is very severe, but it is getting in the way of living a normal life. The area between my eye brows is getting worse. While it doesn't look bad, I am starting to see residual evidence of my repetitive hair pulling. It's odd, BECAUSE there is barely even anything there to pluck, yet I keep doing it to get that 'one' hair (which turns into just one more and so on) and when I do I feel great satisfaction, but then a milisecond I feel regret and think why would I do this to myself?

While we don't share the same severity of our conditions, we definitely can understand each other in terms of how specific our habits are. I think we share a similar history of how it came to be as well. I was told at times (albeit rarely) that I had somewhat bushy eyebrows. In retrospect, my eyebrows are actually quite nice and full. And I'm sure yours are as well. I believe this very strongly now, yet I continue to pluck my unibrow for the very brief sense of accomplishment it brings me. The terrible thing is after its done the feeling of relief is flooded with regret.

I do it most when I'm stressed, but in different settings than you. I do it at work, in public, while I drive, the list goes on. All the while people I'm sure stare and wonder what the heck I'm doing. I would think the same thing if I were them. My intention isn't a pissing contest of who has it worst, because from your post I can see you definitely seem to have a harder time with it than I do. My intention is to express you are not alone, and to express how grateful I am you made this post. It made me feel that I'm not alone, and made me realize there's a way to get a handle of this odd thing I do.

You are the only reason I created an account and made this post (which I rarely do on any forum). If you would like to chat I think it would be beneficial for both of us to at least vent and talk about ways we have find to improve on this behavior. I would talk about it with others, but unfortunately Yours is the only post I found that is similar to the area I pick hairs from. I just can't relate to someone who pulls hair from their scalp or other areas of their body. I am not condemning it. I just can't understand other manifestations of trich than yours and mine.

Just realize you are not alone. The human brain is a very exceptional piece of anatomy, we can overcome anything if we truly want to do so.
A Dying Storm
March 09, 2017
You say trich is not curable but I believe that is arguable, I believe with the right mind frame, activities and possibly food could help you. Distraction is also the biggest cure.

I know you can't be distracted forever but it could be motivating to see yourself start pulling less and seeing the improvement. I recently saw a poster say that they mark their calendar every day they do not pull and I think that if you can get around to starting that up it could be motivation as well.

Good luck.

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