Post # 1
This past week, I don’t know what triggered me, but I just started pulling at my eyelashes. I usually do this in short periodic bursts where I will just pull at my brows and lashes until they are extremely patchy. I used to pull hair from my scalp when I was a child, but now it’s hair on my face.
It’s a compulsion, and I feel so horrible just sitting at my desk doing nothing but pulling — and then I just feel horrible about myself.
Every time I do this I try to tell myself they won’t grow back, so that I scare myself to stop. But they always do, and then I rip them all out again.
I used to have full lashes. Thick long lashes that everyone would think were fake lashes. My best feature were my eyes, and now I have sparse strands. I just don’t look like me anymore. I just don’t see anything beautiful now.
I hate looking in the mirror. My confidence is down the drain. I feel so ugly because I don’t look like myself when I do this. I feel so absolutely flawed and really embarrassed to even tell people that I pull out my eyelashes. I have to lie, say that I rubbed my eyes too much because of allergies, or that the eyelash curler (which i don’t even own) pulled out my eyelashes.
I hate people looking at me, I can’t look anyone in the eye for fear they will see the patches. If I don’t cover up the patches, people comment. I am embarrassed for people to look and see the obvious penciling of my brows, that just don’t look natural at all.
All I can think about is people staring. Staring, staring, staring. Seeing the patches. Seeing my flaws. Seeing the ugly patches.
I just feel so ashamed of this…
Post # 3
So sorry to hear this. I’d suggest buying a spinner ring from eBay or etsy. I havent tested it myself but I know that others find them really useful for keeping hands busy. Also, it’s really important to determine what triggered this episode so that you can avoid it or overcome it next time.
Post # 4
@Dogsbody92: Thanks. I have tried different “fidget” items such as rings, stress balls and even trying to play solitaire to distract me. Half the time I don’t realize I am doing it until I take notice, and then when I try to stop it’s really difficult and the damage is already done.
I do believe it is anxiety related, as I do have anxiety. However, I have not been specifically anxious or upset about anything when it happens. Often when I am deep in thought I will do it(often not related to anything stressful, just thinking about future goals such as eating macarons in France). I’ve been doing this since I was young, and I still don’t undrstand when and why I do it. =/
Post # 5
I have a friend who struggles with this along with OCD. She is on an anti-depressant which helps a lot. Have you spoken to a doctor about this? They might be able to help.
Post # 6
@sailor_girl: I have told my doctor, and he believes I am alright for now, as it doesn’t impair my daily life in general. He says that if my anxiety increases and moods overall drop significantly, we can look in to treatment.
I guess reading my post, it would sound like I am extremely depressed and anxious about it. Rightfully so. I really do feel this way. Right now I am very upset about it, as I just pulled out my eyelashes. This overwhelming sense of anxiety and depression occurs after the initial pulling, and when I look inthe miror I am upset. I feel like a horrible person who has no control. I feel like a monster.
I do see the light and the end of the tunnel eventually. Maybe it’s because I am generally an optomistic person. I just get upset most days when people get close to my face, because I am so embrassased. I feel that is something I personally need to get over, something a doctor can’t really fix with medicine…
I just feel this drop in my mood, and right now I just feel so horrible and ugly about doing this…
Post # 7
@xoxocheri: Wow, no offense to your doc, but it really sounds like this is affecting your daily life. I think you should speak to him again or maybe see a psychiatrist.
I don’t mean to push you on this, but my friend was *miserable* for years before finally getting the right treatment and meds she needed and now she’s *so* much healthier emotionally. I hope you’re able to find some help too.
Post # 8
I’m sorry you’re dealing with this. I have a minor form of Trich (except with my eyebrows) and it sucks. The spinner ring was a great suggestion, I may try it myself.
Post # 9
@xoxocheri: go talk to a counselor or a psychologist – even if its just once or twice, it could TOTALLY help! Why not, there’s definitely no harm!! I’ve heard great reviews off of hypnotherapy also for this type of stuff – but youd best be sure to find someone reputable in your area, there’s some shady ducks out there!!
Post # 10
just giving hugs- i never pulled my eye lashes but when i was stressed i would tweeze the hell out of my brows- i started brow tinting and using serums to make them grow back
Post # 11
Did you speak to a psychiatrist or a medical doctor? If it is bothering you, it is worth doing something about. Just because someone on the outside doesn’t see it as seriously impacting your life doesn’t mean it’s not. A doctor should not just say it’s fine.
I have OCD and used to pick at my skin a lot (dermatillomania). I’d have scabs all over my scalp and shoulders. Now my shoulders are splotchy looking because of all the scars. I had a lot of other problems as well so I’d been in therapy and on meds for a long time. Eventually the urges to pick went away. But I know how you feel. My parents would always have to tell me to stop picking on myself because I wouldn’t notice I was doing it. Even when I did notice, I couldn’t stop myself.
I think you should look into starting therapy. There may be things that are bothering you that you just aren’t aware of. Having a good therapist to talk to can really help. I’d say that is really what helped me most (more than meds). Learning how to identify your feelings and work through them, instead of them sitting below the surface and resulting in the picking, is very helpful.
Post # 12
Thanks for the suggestions everyone. I think I may go talk to someone.
However, it is pretty difficult to convey feelings over the internet, and it does sound like an extreme situation… But most days I don’t think about it, and most days I don’t have people in my face. In this regard, I don’t walk around feeling anxious about this issue. It’s the out of sight out of mind sort of thing.
Maybe because of my anxiety, but when there are many people around (like a social gathering) I can’t help but think of my insecurities and magnify the fear and stress associated with them- which would make it understandable for why I suddenly start thinking about my eyelashes and brows (or lack of)…
It’s trying to control this anxiety when these feelings surface, and that’s the issue. I think I will try to see someone about my anxiety first, as I suspect that it is the main trigger.
Trichotillomania is still something most doctors don’t understand, I find.
I have found luck in growing my lashes and brows back with castor seed oil. Maybe it’s why they eventually grow back.
Is it okay if I delete this thread?
I feel a bit embarassed to have it up, now that I think about it. I just really needed some sort of reassurance, some advice.
Many have you have given me that. I will go see my doctor when he is back from vacation, which should be next week or so.
Here’s a picture of what my lashes used to look like, and what they look like before I just pulled out more today… They were already fairly sparse, they look worse than that picture now.
Post # 13
I used to do this. Meds won’t help. It’s aboutcontrol or lack thereof. I’ve posted before that I suffer from extreme OCD. The only thing that worked for me was to find something else to obsess about. I began pulling apart yarn. Eventually I no longer felt the need to do any of it. I would try talking to a counselor who specializes in anxiety disorders. The average therapist isn’t trained to deal with high anxiety ppl and just dismiss it with a prescription. I hope that you find relief.
Also throw away your tweezers. It also helps to grow your nails terribly long so that you can’t pick anything out. I truly do empathize as I did this for the better part of 15 yrs.
Post # 14
I know nothing about Trich nor do I know anybody with this condition but I do have OCD so I can feel your suffering. Have you thought about wearing False Lashes? That way you are aware of touching your lashes when you are subconsiously plucking away. Maybe that will remind you that you are doing that to yourself so you can focus your need to do that on something else- like the spinner ring the bees have mentioned. Best of luck!!!!
Post # 15
@Glenda_the_good_witch: Thank you! I felt relief to know someone else (directly but indirectly) understands/had this. I don’t know anyone else here who has it and sometimes it makes me feel like no one truly gets this.
I will look in to talking to someone about this.