Last year we announced the launch of our bi-annual trichotillomania scholarship award, in which we would be awarding one student a scholarship to the value of $500 towards their studies in June and December each year. Applicants are required to submit a 400 word essay explaining the impact trichotillomania has their study efforts. We are pleased to announce the first winner who has requested to remain anonymous. You can read the winning essay below:
The winning essay
Getting through life with Trichotillomania can be hard. Learning to believe that you can reach your dreams while having Trichotillomania can be even harder. When I was 12 years old, I started pulling out my eyelashes. In the years that followed, I started also pulling at my eyebrows and hair. Eventually it got to the point where I had to shave my head completely because I didn’t have enough hair to even attempt to cover up the bald spots. My family, as well-meaning as they were, thought that scare tactics would help me stop. As I entered high school, they warned me that kids were cruel and that I would never find friends or a boyfriend as long as I pulled my hair out. As I approached my high school graduation they warned me that adults were even crueler, and that I would never be able to find a job. And for quite a while, I believed them.
After graduating high school I decided to take some time off before going to college. I claimed that I just needed time to think about what I wanted to do, but honestly I was just scared. I was afraid that my family was right, and that even if I got a college education I would be unemployable because of my Trichotillomania. I felt defeated before even starting, and when I found a job at a local grocery store I was so thankful for the opportunity that I put college on the back burner for five whole years.
In that five years, a lot of things happened. I learned that my disorder did not stop me from being a good employee. I learned that relationships with other people were easier to form when I stopped assuming everybody thought I was weird and broken. Most importantly, I learned that in the end, the only thing stopping me from achieving my dreams was my own self-doubt. I allowed myself to be suffocated by fear. After realizing this, my Trichotillomania has stopped having such a horrible impact on my life. Before, my Trichotillomania had made me weak. I was timid and fearful, and my self-esteem was very low. I never applied myself, because I felt that the odds were already stacked against me. But once I let go of the stigmas that I feared everybody else was holding, I was able to begin building myself back up. I finally had the confidence to enroll myself in college and try to make something more out of my life, because for the first time ever, I believed I could.
Thank you to all who entered!
We received an overwhlming response to this competition and were humbled by the many touching essays we received. Thanks to the brave young student who shared their inner most fears and thoughts with us to help spread awareness about trichotillomania. We wish you all the best in your studies and your journey to recovery. Our next application deadline is 21 June 2016. Could you be the next featured essay on our blog and the recipient of a $500 scholarship toward your studies?