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_lwyatt_ , 02 Oct 2017

I just need someone to know my story

This is a long story, but please stick with it if you can.

I am a 14 year old girl and I’ve been pulling my eyelashes ever since I was about nine years old. I remember people telling me I was gifted to have such long eyelashes. However, it was that comment that made got me standing in front of the mirror that one day, curious about my eyelashes.

I guess I wanted to see how long they really were, so I pulled one out. Then another. And another. And another. Until I pulled so many eyelashes that it had became a habit for my hand to go up towards my eyes to pull out another eyelash.

It got to the point where I almost didn’t have any lashes at all, yet I was still carelessly pulling. That was until my mom finally noticed and was aghast of what Ive done to myself. I remember her pushing me away when I wanted to hug her. Ever since then, I’ve been ashamed after every time I had an episode, only for my mom to notice and yell at me more, asking me why. And every time, I had the same response.

I don’t know.

However, after years of saying I don’t know, I finally know why.

I developed a habit when I was younger for my hand to go towards my eyes and run my fingers across the lashes. If just this was the case, I wouldn’t be pulling now because I have grown into the fact that I need to stop pulling. However, I have noticed lately that when lashes regrow, they will do so but come in a harder and overall a more coarse texture. It’s bexause of the textures of the eyelash that triggers me into pulling. And I can’t stop pulling until I know that certain eyelash that is different from the rest is pulled out.

This is affecting me in the worst of ways. If I am really determined, I will spend hours to pull out coarse eyelashes that I’ve been longing to pull out. I have been losing sleep and overall most of my time because of this. This also tends to make my eyes appear red and puffy the next day, making me look sick. And I haven’t even mentioned the bald patches.

I’ve had people notice. Beforehand I shrugged it off or tried to change the subject or excuse myself. Now I say it’s a hereditary condition where lashes fall out, or an autoimmune condition. But now that I’m in high school, I have to be careful with makeup (I have a hard time putting it on as it is). There are certain hairstyles I cant do well because it accents the bald spots, and I can’t even look my friends in the eyes anymore. I’m constantly worried that the way I look is causing rumors about me or causing people to overall see and think of me as a different person. I’m now starting to worry that if this still happens during sophomore year, I won’t get a boyfriend because of it.

All I want is your thoughts. Please tell me if your story is similar, things I may be overthinking, not thinking enough of, and overall what I can do. I’m new to this forum and I’m looking into it the best I can. But for now, for my situation, what do you think?

Thank you so much.

2 Answers
October 02, 2017
It sounds like a similar problem most of us have around here of comparing fledgling hairs to neighboring hairs and some irrational part of our brain tells us it's an imperfection, then we end up taking out the fledgling hair yet again taking several steps back over and over!

You may need to try to convince yourself every time you you touch your eye-lashes:
* If I leave it alone and stop touching it, it will grow back to being a long eye-lash one by one. Remember when people complimented you on how great your long eyelashes are? Fight compulsion with repetitiously reminders to stop even if you have to make imagery/delusion of how when you grow back those eye-lashes, you will receive great admiration for those eyelashes! Form a goal as many of us have of every day you don't pick, you log points of some sort leading toward reward, whether it be intrinsic reward or extrinsic (long term pride in your eyelashes back to their glory!).

Many of us seem to be registering a regrown short hair as an imperfection then picking it off expecting it to grow back perfect. It seems to take a lot of self talk to undo the continued self-inflicted damage.

P.S. I have long eye-lashes but I don't pick them out. My problems are mainly re-picking same spots on my head. I have received many compliments about my long eye-lashes growing up too, and I hope you can somehow motivate back to leaving them alone to let them be a source of pride again! I am perhaps not the best person to respond and I hope others with eye-lash issues respond. Best of luck!
October 02, 2017
I have a very similar story. I started pulling when I was 12, now I am 21. I have a really close relationship with my family however when it comes to my pulling my eyelashes they just can't seem to understand why I do it or how it makes me feel. My pulling can happening in multiple settings. I used to only pull during school if I felt overwhelmed or stressed. Now I feel I pull more when I'm relaxed before bed at night or if I'm reading a book. I still cannot pinpoint exactly why I pull. I know there are times when I can control it. Often my lashes will grow out all summer long, however as soon as I get back into a school schedule I resort back to pulling. I love how I look with my lashes and I feel embarrassed and ashamed when I pull, but pulling brings me a sense of relief and comfort and once I start I find it very hard to stop. I've started using coconut oil on my eyelids before bed. I have noticed the lashes grow back faster when I've used it. I still have not conquered pulling or found a way to stop pulling once I start. I also have used eyeliner to hide the fact that I have barely any lashes. Our stories seem to be similar and unfortunately I have no advice for how to stop, but know you definitely are not alone with your lashes.

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