Hi, my name is Chelsea. I am 31, married, a mother of 4 precious children, a Christian, a tutor, and former teacher. I have a hard time defining myself as I am so tempted to focus on what I have or am lacking. I have suffered from low self-esteem and have been working on framing things in a positive light as I have learned that the way we think plays a huge role in mental health.
In the past when meeting a new therapist, if asked to describe myself I would focus on my perceived flaws as someone who has trichotillomania, generalized and social anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, and postpartum depression. A long depressing list by which I used to be defined. Now, although I still have many of the same issues, I see myself as much more than a broken individual. My new positive outlook gives me hope and leads me to focus on the good in my life.
I started pulling out my eyelashes and eyebrows when I was 6 years old. Within a year, my pulling was very obvious and I became ashamed, but was unable to stop even though I tried. Around age 16 I began pulling my hair and soon developed bald patches that became increasingly difficult to hide. In these 25 years I have tried many things to stop pulling, but nothing has worked. I have had a few short remission periods, but for the most part have pulled continuously. I have learned that trichotillomania does not define me, but is simply a part of me. Even coming to this level of acceptance, I still long to be pull free. I want the time back I take pulling, trying to resist the urge, putting on makeup, and hiding my bald patches.
My reason in creating this blog is to express my struggles and progress with trichotillomania as well as provide information and support to others with this disorder. As an introvert, these are things I struggle to discuss with others and feel more comfortable writing about. My hope in writing this is that at least one person will be helped, uplifted, or motivated by my experiences. I know there are many support groups online with this goal. I frequent many of these wonderful sites and only hope to add my perspective and experience to the continually growing online community of trichsters.
We are finally in a time when BFRB (Body Focused Repetitive Behaviors) are getting some much needed attention and research. As a research junky, I have turned my focus to recent findings about trichotillomania and other BFRBs. I will post my personal experience based on my findings and document useful information. I am working to piece together seemingly unconnected studies and summarize these findings. I don’t think there is a cure for trichotillomania, but I do think there are certain factors that can impact recovery. I had given up hope of ever being pull free after 24 years of pulling. I now have a renewed determination and I plan to document my steps I take to recovery.
My struggles have shaped me into the person I am today. Therefore I do see a purpose, but I also desire freedom from this world of which so many are unaware.