I've noticed that most of you on here are very young (teens, 20s), so my story may or may not be helpful, and could possibly even be upsetting, for which I apologize. =/
I pulled out all my eyelashes sometime around the 4th grade and have never stopped, and my eyebrows disappeared by high school. I have no idea why I did it; it was purely just an OCD thing, even though I literally don't have any other OCD tendencies at all, except nail biting? I basically saw a lash or eyebrow hair out of place and then all of a sudden they were all gone, and then a pure habit formed in the process. It really freaked out my mom though! It wasn't until I was in my 20's that I realized other people did it too, and it even had a name, but at this point, for me, I see no reason in even knowing WHY it happened, why it continued to happen, or why I can't stop it from happening b/c, for the most part, the existence of the habit is no longer an issue for me - there are other important things in life to be concerned about, like the success of my marriage, the future of my company, or whether or not my dog is happy lol.
For many years I was pretty upset about my pulling obsession, but I've always been pretty stoic about it - it is what it is, and it's not like I had the option to hide all my life - after so many years of wearing makeup to hide it, at this point I wouldn't feel normal w/o makeup anyway; my habit honestly stopped bothering me many many years ago, and it honestly does not affect my day-to-day life at all. Overall, I consider myself pretty darn happy and very content in life. I experience anxiety, but I've never felt I had "anxiety issues", and I have certainly never had anxiety about anything that was bad enough that I felt the need to see a therapist about it (except that one time I saw a therapist about 10yrs ago... when my "friend" threatened to go public about the fact that I had herpes and I had a mini nervous breakdown - see, there ARE worse things in life than lash pulling LOL!) And I've never been on antidepressants (except for a couple of months when I was 18 - my first love broke up with me and I was so upset that my mom thought I was going crazy and forced me to see a therapist, who then put me on Paxil, but I took myself off the meds almost immediately lol); Point is, even though my habit might not be "normal", I've always considered my anxiety levels "normal" and have never really had any major issues with the habit, or otherwise - it's just a habit of pulling my lashes; I'm not trying to downplay other people's anxiety, but it as any different than biting my nails, only more noticeable, obviously. I only feel the need to pull the occasional eyebrow hair now, but they have never grown back fully and I'm so used to drawing them on that I don't even think about it anymore; even if they were full, I would still have the habit of drawing them on anyway. lol
Now I'm 39, and I don't even notice how often I pull them out - at this point, pulling them out on occasion is really no different than anything else I do in my morning and evening bathroom routine; shower, groom, pull stray eyelash/eyebrow hair, moisturize, apply makeup, blowdry hair, etc. (I only wear brow and eye makeup to bed, which most people would agree is weird, but, again, it is what it is) I've been married for 6yrs now and sometimes it really sucks to have to worry about my husband ever seeing me without makeup on, but somehow I've miraculously managed thus far to NEVER let him see me without makeup and he's never questioned anything! It honestly hasn't been that hard as we both happen to like complete privacy in the bathroom! LOL! There are literally two people who have ever seen me w/o eye and brow makeup - my doctor and a makeup artist I once saw! Call it luck, or an amazing ability to control my life, who knows! But, again, I somehow deal with it with very little anxiety over it - at this point, it truly is what it is, so why be upset about it? =/
These days, I don't even know how often I pull my eyelashes anymore, but it seems like I don't do it NEAR as often as I used to, and I rarely even think about it anymore - this is probably b/c I don't think they are even growing anymore - I honestly don't know; the bottom lashes are very thinned, but otherwise look somewhat normal, but I have NO lashes on either of my top eyelids - if/when I notice the ones that do manage to come in, they get pulled out eventually - and it's purely habit at this point. Luckily, eyeliner has hid this well enough that I don't have any anxiety over being in public, except maybe when I am going swimming, which is rare, or might be going some place that doesn't allow me to "freshen up" as often as I normally do, like camping, or a day at the amusement park. But I always carry a mirror and my makeup with me everywhere I go. And again, all the stress related to making sure I always look "normal" went away YEARS ago - I have such a routine now, and am pretty much always prepared for any situation, so I just don't even get stressed about it.
But now, I have a stye, for the first time in my life, which, in itself, is a complete miracle that this is the FIRST time in almost 30 YEARS of pulling that I've ever had one! LOL! And I'm really worried about putting makeup on my eye! Somehow I completely lucked out and my husband had to work out of town, so I was able to spend my entire day at home with no makeup on to let it heal a bit faster; luckily my own work schedule is super slow right now as well (My job bounces back and forth between working from home 2-3 days a week and/or travel to different sites that I manage the other 2-3 days a week - the fact that I happen to work from home periodically is probably another reason why I have very little anxiety about my lack of eyelashes and eyebrows; again, I have been very lucky in life).
So I have two questions:
(1) How do ya'll deal with hiding a stye without makeup?? My stye is under my eyelid and it was lanced by my doctor yesterday b/c the pain and swelling had me really worried. Now the pain and swelling is almost gone, and it is draining quite rapidly, but I'm still worried that wearing eye makeup will cause it to come back. I know I can't get away with not wearing it for as long as the doctor recommended - a full week?! - but I am only applying the eyeliner to the outside edges of my lids, instead of the inside and outside edges, with hopes that this will at least decrease the likelihood of it getting in my eye. I've never had any noticeable issues with eyeliner getting in my eyes, except for liquid eyeliner, which is exactly why I don't use it - but it'd be foolish to think even pencil eyeliner never gets in my eyes. lol My eyes look a bit weird b/c I don't look like my "normal" self, but it looks "normal" enough for me to go out in public - again, I have to live my life so it is what it is.
(2) Has anyone in here been lash-free for 20-30 years and had their eyelashes grow back?? Like I said, I made peace YEARS AGO with the fact that I would live the rest of my days w/o lashes and eyebrows, and would have to do what it took to keep myself looking "normal" in all kinds of situations, but I'm just curious if I can ever expect them to grow back if I consciously make the decision not to pull them out anymore. Again, I don't think mine are even growing anymore, at least in certain spots for sure, but I'm curious if anyone here can relate to having this habit for as long as I have and/or having gone as many years w/o lashes?
Best of luck to all of you who are suffering from this horrible issue!! I know I have been VERY LUCKY to have not dealt with many of the downfalls of this habit, but I also know one's mindset is everything in life! I'm not encouraging anyone to give up the fight, but acceptance is the first step to changing ANYTHING! What you resist, persists - Accept what is, let go of what was, and have faith is what will be!!