I Have a Secret

I have a secret.

It is personal.

I have had this secret since I was 9 years old.

My secret embarrasses me, but I am not ashamed.

My secret is a part of who I am, but it does not define me.

I am not in control of my secret.

I can count the number of people who know my secret on one hand.

And today, I have decided to share my secret with you.

When I was in fourth grade I was diagnosed with a form of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) called Trichotillomania (TTM). Don’t be scared–I’m not crazy (not completely crazy anyway). Trich is defined as “hair loss from a patient’s repetitive self-pulling of hair”.

That’s right. I pull out my own hair.

Why would you do this to yourself, you’re wondering.

And I wish I could give you an answer. All I can tell you is that I can’t stop.

Doctors and psychologists have little conclusive information about trich, except that it is more prevalent than people realize. In fact, 2.5 million people in the U.S. have likely had trich at some point in their life. And for some reason this little known statistic brings me comfort.

As someone who has battled this disorder for nearly 20 years, I am an expert when it comes to finding others like me. I see you in malls and in grocery stores. I see you when you are driving or waiting in line. I see you carefully select a strand and pull–and then I know your secret. You pull again, because you think no one will notice–and no one does notice, except for me–because it’s my secret too.

Some of you, like me, have seen a doctor and know that what you’re doing has a name. Other’s of you are too ashamed, embarrassed, confused about this behavior–I’ve been there too.

I first learned I had trich when I was in Mrs. S’s fourth grade class. We were learning long division and I was confused–not just a little confused, confused like “I can never possibly understand this, I will not pass this class, and therefore will not move on to junior high and high school, therefore will not get into college, therefore will not get a job, and therefore will surely disappoint my parents” type of confused.

You see, I have always been a bit of a stress-case (even at the young age of nine). Any and every failure felt like the end of the world. And on that day in fourth grade, I felt like I was failing. I went home after my math lesson, went into my bathroom, locked the door, looked at myself in the mirror, and began to pull. And pull. And pull.

About 20 minutes, two very large bald spots, and a pile of hair later I realized what I had just done. Embarrassed and confused I picked up the hair and flushed it down the toilet. I couldn’t let me mom see the evidence–I feared she would be so disappointed.

Then I went to my room, crawled into bed, pulled the covers over my head to cover the baldness, and waited for my mom to get home from work.

I’ll never forget the shock on her face when she saw the damage I had done. And I’ll never forget the tears that filled her eyes when I told her I had done this to myself.

But then, being the phenomenal momma that she is, she realized she needed to show me a different reaction, a reaction I wasn’t expecting. She didn’t cry, she didn’t yell, she didn’t ask me a million questions, and she never said she was disappointed–she just hugged me. We hugged for about three hours that night, without saying a word.

The days and weeks that followed were filled with internet searches, doctors appointments, and visits to a slew of psychologists. My mom was determined to learn everything there was to know about trich–and boy did she ever.

Through her research, my mom learned all the medical, genetic, historic, symptomatic, treatment and therapy details about trich. She learned about my tendencies and my triggers. She learned about my signs and my symptoms . But most importantly she learned that this was a disorder she could not “fix” for me. There was and is no cure, no sure-fire way to combat the urge to pull. All she could do was support me, encourage me to be strong, and keep my secret.

Nearly 20 years later, my mom still supports me, encourages me and has kept my secret.

But she doesn’t need to keep it to herself any longer.

Why now, you ask?
Why am I divulging this very intimate detail about my life now?

Well, I’ll tell you why. Since fourth grade I have never stopped pulling my hair. In fact, as my life gains more responsibility and obligation and thus “stress” (i.e. having a baby), I have found that I pull even more now than ever. I pull while I feed the baby. I pull when I drive. I pull when I watch TV. I pull when I can’t sleep.

And the fact that I have kept this disorder a secret has enabled me to give it a place in my life. Because if no one knows about it, then where’s the harm in doing it.

Well, now YOU know.

So now I will have to work on stopping–or else I run the risk of disappointing you–and you all know how I feel about disappointing people I care about.

When I started this whole blogging thing I did it for one main reason–to hold myself accountable. In other words, if I am going to post it then I am sure as hec gonna do it (i.e. 5k, diet, be a better momma, etc).

So today I post my secret–as a challenge to myself. 

A challenge to stop.

A challenge to change.

A challenge to be better.

A challenge to be honest with myself.

A challenge to keep this a secret no longer.

*******

For more posts about my secret go here:

Ashley Stock
I'm Ashley. Sometimes I craft, occasionally I cook, everyday I write, and I'm always Momma. This is my blog. I keep it real while still seeing the rainbows and butterflies in all of life's lessons.
Ashley Stock
Ashley Stock
Ashley Stock

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Ashley Stock

Comments

  1. Miss Anne says:

    I could not RESPECT you more right now.
    I could not SUPPORT you more right now.

    YOU are empowering, you are AMAZING, you can/will do this.

    Thank you for sharing your life with me/us.

    Know that you are surrounded with support/and openness.

    (you have my email)

    xo

    • #foreverinvisible says:

      Hi, my name is dalia and i am 14 years old. I share the same secret as you. for me, ttm developed about two years ago. it used to be TERRIBLE, i would rip out clumps and clumps by the minute. as i got older, i realized what i was doing to myself and how it is affecting me. i look around at school, and seeeveryone with their long gourgeas thick hair. then theres me, wearing a messy bun. everyday. i still twist my hair, and pull out one peiece at a time. it has gotten better, however it is still terrible. i am on medecine for ocd. people ask me what im doing, i tell them it’s a bad habit. people notice it, people ive never met. people tell me to stop. nobody understands. i cant. i try so hard, SO hard, it is my dream to have perfect hair like everybody else. i beat myself up about this- it lowers my self confidnece x1000. my best friends know about this, and so does my family. they are there to support me, but it is still so hard. it’s so, so hard. i wold love to talk! thank you so much, you inspire me- its great to know theres someone else out there<3 and yes, i also wear extensions. xoxo

      • nina mendez says:

        I would bet money that there is something about you that those girls with the gorgeous hair envy about you….that how it always is. We always see the grass greener on the other side…when in reality, it isn’t. You should NEVER, EVER, EVER feel that you are less than ANYONE else because you are not! I am sure that because of this, you are kind, empathetic to others, considerate, and caring. And that, is the most beautiful thing that any human being can ever be….THAT is what people who know and love you will remember you as….

    • Rachael says:

      I am going through this with my seven year old right now. Which breaks my heart. Thank you for sharing this. :)

    • I have this too. I started before I was 8, about 10 years ago. The hair on my head is blessedly okay, but I have no eyelashes or eyebrows. I am the kind of girl who loves to be low-maintenance, so I hate makeup, but I put it on anyway because I want to look normal. Still, people see things. ): I really am glad to have found your article. Thank you for putting it up. It is encouraging, in a way. To know that I’m not alone, that I could someday be loved despite my problems.

      Through ten years of ruining the roots of my eyebrows and lashes, God has blessed me in that they are still recovering every month and a half and beginning to grow back. Usually they don’t last long, and I pull them out again in a moment of stress or absentmindedness, but I hope to grow stronger. I’ll pray for you in your fight as well. Thanks again (:

      • Daniell says:

        I’ve done this too since I was 13. I’ve only ever pulled my eyelashes and then I started pulling my eyebrows. Luckily the hair on my head is fine. When I was little, I had beautiful long eyelashes and I really miss them. Through five years of pulling, my eyelashes will get long, but they don’t last long. I wish they did, but for now I just put on the makeup that I never did before and hope that no one sees it. I notice myself pulling the most when I’m just relaxing, which is really annoying. The worst is probably when I can’t sleep. I pull out so much, and then have to get up and look at my eyelashes or eyebrows to see how bad I made it. When I started pulling, my mom kind of freaked out and said I was doing this for attention. which is stupid, because why would anyone pull out their own eyelashes for attention…? She never really has acknowledged it or supported me through it. I wish she did but I don’t even know how to talk to her about it because she just shuts me down. My boyfriend supports me more than she does and talks to me if he can tell if I’ve been pulling more than usual because of stress and anxiety. I’ve been setting goals for myself. Like don’t pull out anymore because you have graduation coming up, or going to see family or something. It usually doesn’t work because my anxiety is so bad.
        I love reading comments by people and others who go through this in their daily lives. I’ve always felt alone and weird until I read this post. It gives me hope.

        • Daniell,
          I’m a mom, Im 52 yrs old. When I was growing up I had a mom who wasn’t supportive about anything. She was really emotionally & verbally abusive. I remember so well how much it hurt, how much I tied whether or not she loved me to her behavior. Things weren’t always bad so it was confusing when they were.
          First thing I want you to know is that there is nothing about you that makes her who she is. You don’t do anything, aren’t the cause of why she is how she is. See just like you have your pulling that she didn’t cause and you cant just stop – she has whatever her issues are. Moms are just girls that are older than their daughters. I found out eventually that my mom had been raised by a mom who was verbally and emotionally abusive. But in their day you couldn’t, didn’t get help or talk about it. My mom grew over the years and healed some. In my late 30′s the 2 of us started healing. She was just so hurt growing up & she didn’t know how not to be like her mom even though she wanted to do better. She just needed time and for the world to become a little less uptight so she could grow. And yes, sadly some people never heal and those they effect at some point, when they’re able, have to let go of them and move on so they aren’t suffering more than necessary. My suggestion to you would be to find a friend, a mentor. A woman you respect who’s “mom aged” and talk to her. A friends mom, a neighbor, someone at church, an Aunt. You need a confidant, someone you can trust.
          Most importantly Daniell, know that you are and will be ok. EVERYONE has some “thing” that makes them feel odd, different, embarrassed, alone, unworthy. None of us are ever “the only one”. Some call it a quirk. You are not alone, you are not odd, your normal. You can work on it because it bothers you but even if it never goes away you can be ok. Your future can still be bright and wonderful. Just like you have a quirk, you also have something special about you that makes you important, worthy, needed, necessary, love-able, and one of a kind. Let your mom own her issues, you have a life ahead of you that is yours to make.

  2. Natalie says:

    Amazing post, really. You are very brave – and you are a very, very inspiring woman. If there is ANYTHING I can do to help you – to support you…I will do it. Thank you for sharing your story and trusting us.

  3. You are so brave for sharing your secret. It's great that you are reaching out to the blogging community to support you! And your mom is so amazing…what a loving response she had. ((hugs))

  4. Thank you so much for your post! My son has some major learning/social challenges and i have tried to keep it a secret for a few years. It has been exhausting and I have realized that I am not doing anyone any good by trying to hide it. Challenges or not he is a great person and I can tell you are too. I don't care what people try to portray, no one is perfect…good for you letting the cat out of the bag!

  5. Now that you mention it, I think I have seen you do that – but I never would have known! I am so impressed at your bravery. You are an awesome woman, an great momma, and a supportive wife. YOU CAN DO IT! Does music sooth you or allow you to de-stress? Bubble bath?

  6. Echo @ Sweetwater Creek says:

    Way to go, Ashley. Of course, we all support you. And I'm sure I don't have to tell you how wonderful your mother is. It's so much easier to yell (and thus, make things more difficult) than it is to help. I'm glad you've had someone like that in your life.

  7. Ashley, you're amazing. Let us know whatever we can do to help. I have friends and family that call me OCD. There's nothing specific, but sometimes I check and check and recheck things and I have to have things done in a specific way or it stresses me out. I don't tell people how it affects me on the inside. Thank you for sharing and you have my support, thoughts and prayers.

  8. Lenny and Amanda says:

    Ashley, I just happened upon your blog from U Create. YOu are an AMAZING woman… YOu have more courage than most. I know you can do this. At the very least get it to a managable state for yourslef and your family. It sounds like you have a wonderful support system. Remember to rely on those you love for help and comfort. I know that it is a humbling thing to ask for any kind of help, but you can do this!!! We all believe in YOU!!!

  9. Lavarie says:

    Ashley, you sure have me DEEPEST respect! For being so courageous, for your honesty, for working so hard on yourself… You just impress me :-)

  10. Heather says:

    I have seen a TV special done on this…it looks like a terrible disorder. I will pray that you will be able to work to conquer this!

  11. Amanda @ Serenity Now says:

    Oh, Ashley, I admire and respect you for being real with your readers and telling your story. I bet you've helped more than a few people by sharing! I am also a high-stress person (also since childhood), and I deal with my stress by eating. :s

  12. Oh my gosh Ashley. You are so inspiring! I love that you are so open on this blog. Can't wait to follow your journey! We still need to have a park date :)

  13. WOW WOW WOW. the things you learn about people you don't even know cause still shock you! I would have never noticed this about you from your pictures, but I guess its because you've learned to hide it well? I commend you on coming forward, I do think that is inspiring, and maybe helpful to those in your shoes. I pick at scabs, specially on my head. I also have a tweezers issue with my legs. I pluck hairs on a nightly basis before bed. Some are ingrown-ish and some are on my knees, its a compulsion in a way I think. So thank you for sharing. You are brave!

  14. Hespyhesp says:

    How incredibly brave you are. So beautiful (you) and inspiring (your honesty). Thanks!

  15. You really are an amazing person. Part of the appeal of your blog is that you are so real. Thank you for sharing.

  16. Robin @ My Blessed Nest says:

    I just have to tell you that as a Christian I believe that our enemy loves secrecy and darkness…it is when we bring things out into the light that he is defeated and the Holy Spirit can begin to heal and restore. And based on the many comments from others who suffer from this disorder, it seems that the Lord is already using you to minister to others. My prayer is that you will experience complete and total healing which Christ obtained for you through His death and resurrection! Many blessings!

  17. How random! I do this too! I have for years. Thanks for being so honest. Like you, I can spot a fellow "puller". It like a crazy addiction. Good luck. Hope your doing better with it!

  18. Just came across this post via your recently asked questions post…I am so amazed that you could share this! I also have trich, but I pull my eyebrows, to the point that they no longer exist. It is incredibly embarrassing because as much as I try to cover it up with brow liner, I can tell that people can tell and are confused/dont know what to think. I almost always know that I am doing it, but cannot seem to make myself stop. If I notice that it is really bad, I put bandaids on my two pointer fingers. This post has motivated me to really try to conquer this disorder…(as I pull as I type..) I am so inspired by your bravery to share and hope that you have slowly been able to conquer trich. I am tempted to write a similar post on my own blog…might take awhile to gain the confidence to do so. Thank you so much!!!

    • I came across this blog through Pinterest and somehow made my way to this page. My brother has trich and, as his older sister, it was very hard watching the hardships he had growing up. People can be so cruel sometimes. Through many prayers and by God’s grace, he now has minimal struggle with it. He is now 26 years old and serves in the Air Force. His best friend from childhood is a girl…they were born a month apart…our mothers were friends when they were pregnant…they used the same doctor…were born in the same hospital…went to the same church and school growing up. Because it is so rarely talked about and we didn’t know ANYONE else with this disorder, we found it so odd that two best friends were both diagnosed with this disorder. To this day, she still struggles with pulling. She pulls at her eyelashes and eyebrows. She actually went to a makeup artist and got some great tips on how to disguise her disorder. If you don’t know her, you would never know she struggles with it anymore…that’s how good of a job her makeup does! Just thought I would suggest the makeup artist in case you had not thought of that. Reading both your story and the blog author’s story brings back some very vivid memories of what my brother and his friend have gone through over the years. I will definitely keep you both in my prayers! Praying for you to have the strength to take it one day, one hour, one minute at a time.

  19. Carriage House Antiques says:

    Hi Hun
    After reading your comment on fb this am I was curious to read blogger comment 45 (or whatever it was)and was then curious to read the secret.
    I completely admire your courage and strength,you are such a sweetheart to share this and in what you meant to be a helpful post to you,has become helpful to so many others..I agree with Robin,and believe God will use you and your experience to help others.
    You are in my thoughts and prayers!
    xoxo

  20. Kat from California says:

    Thanks so much for sharing your secret. I lost my hair from stress and illness (I have fibromyalgia). My daughter is very stressed out and constantly and secretly dyes and cuts her hair. Recently, after getting her hair the right natural color and cut she went and dyed her hair burgundy behind my back. She is only 13 years old. Her stress is school related and I'm finally going to home school her through a program in our school district.

    I wish I could wear extentions but my baldness is on top of my head. sigh!

    You look so perfect and happy that it makes me sad that you have this problem, but I know that you will survive because you seem strong inside. :)

  21. Anonymous says:

    We all have our little odd habits I think. Not all of us are as brave as you to publish it on thier blogs but I assure you, we are out there and you are not alone.

    I don't think they have a name for my OCD but I am a "picker" not my nose but any sort of imperfection I feel on my arm or my scalp…and the more I pick, the worse it gets. Its gross but I can't stop iether.

    • You may never see this, since it’s such an old post, but skin picking is an OCD spectrum disorder, similar to hair pulling, and is called dermatillomania. I personally have OCD, but I also have some skin picking habits, and my mother does as well.

      • That is so weird I never thought of that as OCD related. I have a long history of anxiety and depression that has been a huge problem over the last 5 years. I am finally doing better over the last 9 months now that I am on the right meds but I do notice I occasionally pick at my scalp. I can usually limit it and stop before it gets bad but I go back to it for days or a week or so before I finally remind myself enough to stop. Perhaps it is part of my anxiety.
        To Ashley you should be very proud of yourself. I think admitting to others is the hardest part sometimes. With my depression I basically spent 5 years in bed with no motivation to move. It was always hard to tell people that I did nothing all day. Also hygiene is an issue in that I would only shower 2 times a week when really bad and that was a struggle. Admitting that is so hard and embarrassing. The courage you have shown with sharing your secret has inspired me and makes me want to improve even more. Good luck and thank you.

  22. That is absolutely amazing of you to share your secret. Very brave. Maybe this is the first step that had to be taken in order for you to overcome this challenge. I wish you the best of luck.

    I have a sister that has Trich. She has also fought alcoholism and drug addictions. When she was really into drugs and alcohol her Trich was worse. She has since gotten much better. Sometimes she lapses and pulls out her eyebrows or eyelashes, but she is 95% better than she was a few years ago. It takes a lot of determination and strength and I know you can do it!

  23. {:miss v:} says:

    Wow. Thanks for sharing your story. I know it took a lot of courage to post that for the world to read and it's encouraging.

    I also suffer with a form of OCD called Pure O. It flares up at anytime without warning and it's the most horrible thing to experience.

    So even though I don't pull, I know what it's like to not be in control of something that you suffer from.

    Thanks again for sharing.

  24. The Brownings says:

    Hey Ash! Thanks for sharing! I think that you are amazing! My little boy did/had the same thing when he was a baby. He would pull his hair out and tickle his face with it! It got so far as that he was bald on one side of his head for a while until I completely shaved his hair off. I got him fuzzy blankies to snuggle with and that seemed to help. Guess it's easier if you catch it at an earlier age.
    I wish you all the best and thanks again for sharing!

  25. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    I found you via the blooggy boot camp page and clicked on the sisterhood of secrets link. I scrolled down and read a few and wondered, "Is my secret here? Are there other folks writing about my secret?"

    Then, I found your secret. And burst into tears.

    I started pulling when I was 12. When I was a sophomore in college my roommate read an excerpt out of her Psych book about trich (because she thought it was weird) and for the first time in my life I knew I wasn't alone.

    Only those closest to me know my secret. I have thick hair, so I can cover it up most days.

    You are so brave to write about it. I really admire you. I have never seen anyone or taken any medications, I guess I am too embarassed.

    Anyhow, thanks for being transparent. Perhaps someday I can put it into words for my readers.

  26. >>>HUGZ<<<< you're such a strong woman, it's amazing.
    -JBenz

  27. Michelle (www.thereallifemom.blogspot.com) says:

    I am new to your blog and just found this post via your blogiversary (which by the way happy blogiversary!) This is one of the most heart felt and true post that I have ever read. I truly feel like old friends catching up…you are an amazing writer and amazingly brave for sharing this! Thank you so much for giving all of us the courage to step out of comfort zone.

  28. WOW! I'm in awe of your honesty and willingness to be transparent. You are an inspiration to all of us who ALL have little issues and skelletons in our closet. I pray that God gives you the strength that you need to be able to battle this disorder and become free! :)

  29. Hi! I've been following your blog for about a month now, and I love all of your posts. It means a lot to find this – I have the same problem (since about the 3rd grade). I was on several meds in elementary school that would make me fall asleep in the middle of class. Eyelashes first, then eyebrows, and then a little on my head (short time). Absolutely no one could help me. Then I found out I had a benign tumor in my pituitary gland when I was 17. It was removed, and we still have no idea if that had any affect on me other than weight gain. I have a lot of control over it now, but, like I said, I still have problems with my lashes. I will not leave the house without eyeliner on. I've never even had a conversation about it with my husband. I know he knows (obviously).

    So that is extremely brave of you to mention something like that. You are definitely not alone.

    Gabby
    http://www.lateyoungfamily.blogspot.com

  30. Natalie says:

    OH.MY.GOSH. I have the SAME thing!!! Mine started in 5th grade. I always wondered if it was OCD, but never went to any doctors about it…and nobody really knows about it. Most of the time I don't even realize I'm doing it until my husband gently takes my hand to occupy it to make me stop. WOW. Seriously, THANK YOU for this post! I can't believe I'm not alone. I have always dreamed about getting extensions because my hair looks so freaking thin and horrible, so I usually just have it up in a ponytail. I would NEVER have guessed yours were extensions! WOW!!! If you have time, could you tell me what kind of extensions you have? Are they the clip in kind or the kind fused to your hair??? And seriously…YOU ARE MY HERO. I honestly think you are an answered prayer. ((HUGS))

  31. VitaGirl says:

    Wow, I thought I was going to get a hair curling tutorial and instead ending up crying on my couch as I read about your 'secret'. That takes a lot of courage to share and even though we don't know each other (yet…I'll c u @ CreativeEstates) I am very proud of you! You are a strong and beautiful person!

  32. PaChomp says:

    VitaGirl's post above mine made me laugh through my tears. Thank you for your post! I admire you for your honesty and courage. The comments are amazing and very heartfelt.

  33. Anonymous says:

    Today I confess my secret to 2 of my friends, I am pledging that doesn't make me feel guilty. I think I did the right thing after they question about why do I always fix my hair in the same way.So it is not a secret anymore! :O)

  34. Leslie Mitchell says:

    This is the second time I have visited your blog and I want to tell you that I think you are extremely extremely brave for posting this. I don't know you and yet in your words I can see (read) what an extraordinary person. I actually saw a documentary about trich about a year ago and was completely amazed at the things I learned. I hope that having posted this has given you the strength to surpass this. And I'm sure you know, but you are so blessed to have a wonderful mother. Again, I admire you and wish you the best.

  35. Cherry Blossoms says:

    I am a school social worker and I have a girl that I see for 1:1 (self esteem) and she also suffers from trich. Thank you for sharing your personal secret and for being an inspiration of strength for others.

  36. yarger gal says:

    "I pull while I feed the baby. I pull when I drive. I pull when I watch TV. I pull when I can't sleep." THIS IS ME!!! thanks for sharing your story and encouraging others…

  37. I just found your blog tonight & as soon as i started reading this post i started balling! I have suffered with Trichotillomania since I was in 5th grade and I am now 20 years old. You have inspired me to love me for who i am & to keep my head held high! thank you! I pray to some day be pull free!

    [email protected]

  38. Rhonda Unleashed says:

    wow thank you for opening up to us all. i used to be a puller till one day i pulled to much and i was bleeding. atthat point i had stopped i still catch my self now and then watching tv winding up the hair. but i then stop. so best of luck your beautiful and amazing thank you for your blog , Rhonda Arizona

  39. kittykerri says:

    I found you because of Ashley(Divorced&21/IAmJustAGirl) & this is the 2nd post I've read of yours and what a powerful one to read! You are a wonderfully beautiful woman & I think it's amazing how truthful you are in sharing your story. I too suffer from a form of trich…I never knew it had a name, nor have I ever shared that before. Thank you for sharing your story, the information about Trich and for being you!

  40. I don't know when I started pulling – sometime as a child. I used to twirl my hair when I was bored and it somehow turned into that. I only pull out the course ones – I have very fine hair, so they are easy to find. I've never had a bald spot that I've known of and I've always known that I've had trich, but have never told anyone. I'm sure people have seen me pulling and know – but no one has ever said anything.
    I hate how thin my hair is, but I know it's my fault. Thanks for posting this – reading someone else's struggle and committment to recovery makes me feel less embarassed. I can beat this.

  41. I am not a Momma, I am a big sister. I found your site because I want to make cake pops at home and your recipe looked very easy and yummy. After snooping around I found this. I think you are very stong (in a lot of ways) and I hope you are doing well in acheiving your goals. I pray for God to continue to work in your life and know that he is in your corner through out your whole fight. P.S. Your sone is very adorable. :) THANK YOU

  42. What an amazing Momma you have! most parents don't realize how they react to situations can have such a profound impact on us..I need to always remember this with raising my son…sometimes NOT saying anything and just giving a hug is better than anything. Again, you are so brave and I am so glad I found your blog!
    -Lindsay]

    Delighted Momma

  43. Casey Martinez says:

    Ahhh, what a breath of fresh air. Secrets are so hard to carry…I have a few myself moreso in my marriage that are not mine to disclose at this time but, I long for the healing that comes from openness. There really is nothing to hid and nothing to be ashamed of but, yet so often if feels awkward to bare our souls…yes, some don't get it…shame on them for being so shallow but, MOST of us do. We all have our things and I think you have brought a lot of people the nudge they need to face their secrets as well!! I pray that this post set you free in a lot of new ways!! You are an inspiring person on EVERY level!

  44. salonjuleen says:

    Thanks so much for sharing. I am a hair stylist at often see the symptoms of this in my clients and I just don't know what to do, if anything! I have a health and beauty blog and I am going to share a link to this post, and hopefully it will help to spread the word!

  45. lostinforks says:

    This took a massive amount of courage, and I am so inspired by you. You not only have so many wonderful ideas you share everyday, but you battle this disorder on a daily basis; and still find the strength to raise a family, sharing your experiences with the world. One of my very best friends also has this disorder, so I have seen firsthand the affects it has on a female since our looks seem to help define so many aspects of our lives. She has also found the strength to accept this as a part of herself, and she is one of the most beautiful women I know! You seem to be handling this beautifully as well. You are a gorgeous gal!!!!! Thanks so much for sharing!! You truly are an inspiration for so many out there! ~Mandy

  46. Rebeka-C says:

    I've just stumbled on your blog and have to tell you how brave you are! TRULY!

    You have shown just how much you really want to stop and how committed you are.

    I believe in you!

  47. TriGirl says:

    I came to your blog today through a new site i follow: Life as Topher's Mama. She was saying what an inspiration you are to her. I've read two of your posts so far; this one, and the one about your dad. Both had me close to tears. It sounds like your parents are pretty remarkable people and passed that trait on to you.

  48. Desiree says:

    I think I have some form of this… never knew it had a name. I just thought it was a bad habit of mine. I don't pull out my hair, but I pull out my eye lashes and eye brows. Weird hun. Glad I am not alone.

  49. MehrySondy says:

    I found you're blog from a picture someone had linked on Pinterest about how to create wavy hair. Then I clicked on the link that said why you needed extensions thinking just maybe you have the same problem I do. I pull my hair too. I have recently opened up to my friends about my habit and it has lifted so much of the shame I felt for years. Thank you so much for sharing! It's great to know I am not alone.

  50. mrs.cordero84 says:

    OMG..!! I thought I was the only person that did this. I have soo many questions for you. I do the exact same thing down to every detail you shared with us

  51. I just found your blog today bc of Casey. Thank you for sharing your "secret". I have this disorder also, but I have told my closet friends so that they can stop me if they see me doing it. I never knew what it was called when I had the first episode in college. It went away on its own, but then reappeared a few years ago. That's when I googled it and found out it had a name. It doesn't happen all the time, but it appears out of nowhere for no particular reason. The only consistency I can note is I do it very often when I am bored. Idle hands and all that…. ;)

    It is very unusual and not much is known about it. Thank you for bringing it out into the open. Maybe some of your readers will find hope because of you.

  52. Tracy T. says:

    One of your tutorials brought me to your page and then I looked at the About Me and that brought me to your former secret. This secret reminds me of my lip picking, which is something I've done for YEARS and hope no one notices me doing. I tried stopping but it wasn't nearly as satisfying as the act is so I went back.
    How is your goal of quitting going?
    Btw, I'm going to add your blog to my google reader!

  53. Tiffany says:

    I just found your blog today thanks to your guest post on Ashley's blog. How I found Ashley's blog? An answerto prayers I think. So instead of cleaning my house I have been blog stalking all the BEAUTIFUL women you linked up in your post. Your honesty, strength and beauty amaze me! How are things going now? I hope better. Oh, and the guilt you felt over breast feeding, been there, done that, three times over,most recently about 3.5 months ago. I am in awe and am now following!

  54. hi ashley, i just made my way over via tt&j…i had to see what your secret was :) and can i just say: you are amazing for posting this deeply personal thing. where many would be afraid, you were not. hats off to you!

    i would have never known anything about this disorder until i married my husband (and into his family). let's just say there's A LOT of denial in his family and his sister is a "puller" she's in her 30's now and has been doing it for years. her eyelashes are fake. her eyebrows are colored on. my heart breaks for her because her mother (my m.i.l.) tries to HIDE EVERYTHING! make everything seems like it's alllll OK. i don't have the close relationship with my s.i.l. that i feel like i can talk to her about it. (i only found out about her disorder thru observation and my own research) anyway, you are a super strong woman…and if i ever get to that place of closeness with my s.i.l. i will show her this post.

    i hope you are doing well with your goal to stop.
    blessings to you :)
    {alicia}

  55. Ashley, like so many others who've commented, I am so in awe of you! It's HARD to open up. I know. I am a very open person. I told people I am Bipolar. It was HARD telling because that term SCARES a lot of people. Before 1993 I thought I was losing my mind. I couldn't make decisions, would be laughing then burst into tears. So MANY highs & lows … When I was finally diagnosed & medicated, I was THRILLED because for the first time in YEARS, I could control my life. Medication doesn't CURE Bipolar, but it HELPS! I'm NOT ashamed. It's a chemical imbalance in the brain. As long as I am medicated I am a totally functioning human being. I hope with all my heart that opening up to people will help you. Don't allow ANYONE who ISN'T supportive to remain around you! There are PLENTY of people – even those of us who don't yet know you – who care & are cheering you on! I think you're a WINNER!

  56. Anonymous says:

    I have a secret too. and my secret is the same as yours. Only I pull my eyelashes. I have hated this "disease" for about 30 years. I very much remember the day I pulled all my eyelashes out. It is seared into my brain. My mother however did not react with the compassion that yours did and being the sensitive, shy person who always needed affirmation, her reaction made me feel even more isolated. I've only tried once to get help from a doctor and when I brought it up he pretty much made me feel like a freak too. I've never been able to control it and sometimes I've even wished to get cancer so that I can blame my thin eyelashes on cancer treatments. Now that is messed up! I've been hiding my trich for years. Your courage is enviable. Your husband and baby are very very lucky as are you. I'd love to talk via e-mail and if you have any resources on places to get help, could you post those too?

  57. I found your blog from Tatertots & Jello and I am so glad I read this. I too have trich, and have since I was in 9th grade. I have no idea why I started and for the longest time I denied I had it when anyone would suggest as much. I thought I had to have bald spots for it to actually be considered trich. I constantly feel around in my hair for "kinky" hairs and then pull them out. After I pull all those out, I move on to any hair that doesn't feel perfectly straight. Then I play with the hairs for a little while and discard them and before I know it, I have a massive pile of hair that I've pulled out. I catch myself doing it without even thinking. I'll do it anytime, anywhere. I think the fact that I have super thick hair is the only reason why I've never gotten bald spots. Mine is so bad that I even want to pull out hair on my sisters head. I have never seen a doctor for it, but your post makes me feel better to know I'm not alone, so thank you.

  58. Jennie B. says:

    Good for you. The story of your mom's reaction brought tears to my eyes and taught me so much. Thank you.

  59. B's Mommy says:

    I will Follow You!
    I will Cheer for You!
    I am Proud of You!
    What courage you have. You have strengthen me more then you can imagine. Maybe one day I will have your guts, strength and courage.
    You are amazing & beautiful. truly thank you…

  60. Melanie S says:

    Just wanted to say a simple, Thank you for sharing. My son has a type of OCD and this post touched me.

  61. allie-mac-fallie says:

    I HAVE THE EXACT SAME THING!! and now I know you have been stalking me hehe JK! I know how hard it is to stop but YOU can do it!! :) I also shared my little secret on my blog not too long ago! You are now empowered and have more control! Proud of you!

  62. Lindsay says:

    Ashley-

    I'm in absolute tears reading this. This was the first post I'd seen from you and it totally hit home. When I was little, I would scratch my legs in my sleep until I bled, and then when I got older I started over plucking my eyebrows and then eventually pulling my hair. It wasn't until the last few years that I realized it was derma/trichotillomania(s) and they've been such a source of shame and embarrassment. Thanks to you though, I shared your post with my best friend today and opened the lines of communication about it. As with any other mental illness, I wish there wasn't such a stigma associated with it… and I wish I could write about it on my own blog. Maybe someday. But for now, thank you for such an honest piece. Really made me think hard about what I'm doing/not doing to try to work on the problem.

    Also, if you ever need support from someone else who's trying to kick it, I'm here <3

  63. She Ra Princess of Milk says:

    It took alot of time but this post helped me to write about one of my big secrets too. Thank you for sharing and giving others the strngth to aswell. You arent only helping the people who finally feel empowered to share after reading this post but the hundreds more who then come to read our posts, who arent ready to share themselves yet, but feel stronger for reading our shares. Thank you Ashley. I know youre so so busy but heres a link to my secret if you ever have the time… http://beyondtheboob.blogspot.com/2011/07/bearded-lady.html

  64. Maureen says:

    You and I share this. I know what you are going through, as I have the same disorder. I have slowly been able to stop, and I know that you will be able to as well. Hang in there!

  65. David, Katie, Jett and Hadlie says:

    Ashley,

    When I read this post I was shocked. I was diagnosed with Trich when I was little as well. My Mom shaved my ENTIRE HEAD from Pre School to 4th grade to keep me from ruining my hair follicles. It was traumatic and everyone thought I was a boy. My mom thought she was doing what was best for me. Good intentions, right?

    I eventually overcame Trich without the use of any medications or much therapy. I did move on to other forms of OCD but all were mild in comparison (and cleaning like a crazy person has it's perks).

    I am SO sorry that you are still living with this because I know how much it consumed my life. You seem like such a strong person and I know you can overcome this. I know I'm not the only one that has faith in you.

    Please keep us posted on your journey in overcoming this disorder. Also, if you'd ever like to talk I would love to share with you any helpful tricks/information I've learned about Trichotillomania. Or even just talk. I would have loved to have known someone else going through this when I was younger and have a friend to talk to about it.

    Good luck!

    Katie
    [email protected]

  66. A friend shared this post with me. I have Trich as well, and I appreciate your struggle. It is so frustrating! I hope that you are able to find a way to overcome it. I am excited to learn about what you are trying.
    I have tried so many different "solutions", including counseling and alternative therapy but as of yet I have not found one that works for me, so lately I have focused on prevention. If I can be conscious enough (which is SO hard!), I wear a hat or put on gloves when I know the pulling tends to be worst (reading, at night, when I'm nursing, etc). Sometimes they come off, and usually I don't even get them on, but when I do it helps.
    Stay positive! I have a hard time not beating myself up for my lack of self-control, but I don't think it's a matter of self-control anymore–it is something beyond me. Don't beat yourself up when you slip up–that's when I pull the worst.
    Way to own the issue! Good luck again! If you would ever care to swap experiences/need a little support, please email me: [email protected]

  67. GLENDA CHILDERS says:

    Thank you for sharing this part of your story.

    I hope that everyone who reads it . . . will make an intentional commitment to be like your mom . . . who did everything in her power to come along side you. I love it that you had that support.

    Fondly,
    Glenda

  68. ~*~Renee~*~ says:

    you are so much more amazing than you know. i am so proud of you for letting people in. congrats on the first step to getting to the desired outcome.

  69. brenna.noel says:

    I just found your blog today through pinterest. The first blog post I read was about lists (that's me too, ever the list maker) and said this tiny little phrase that meant everything in the world to me:
    "no hair pulling"
    I proceeded to tear through your blog at record speeds to identify if what you were saying was figurative, as it so often is when people are dealing with stress, or if it was the genuine, everyday phenomena that I go through where hair pulling is literal.
    And it was. and it was so freeing to see someone else who has trich and STILL pulls live such a fulfilling life as a wife, mother, and very, very creative crafter.
    I've had trich since I was ten and it too has gotten more severe as the years have passed. My mom was supportive too and tried everything to help me. She bought books, took me to doctors (who had never heard of it and studied me like a nutcase, and offered no way of helping me). I've learned to deal with it, but once in a while am overcome about having this unconrollable "monkey on my back."
    Thanks for sharing. It was very encouraging on a day that I needed it. :)

  70. By the luck of the draw I stumbled on this site. It is very good! You have made some points I was not aware of on weight loss. Thank you!

  71. What a great post. I also have TTM, and have for over 23 years. It’s something I have come to terms with in myself, and I have come a long way in dealing with the shame. However, I am still incapable of telling others. I pull mostly lashes, and I am constantly terrified that someone will notice and say something. I still remember opening a teen magazine when I was 15 and finding out that TTM existed, and that there are others like me out there. It was the most amazing feeling to find out that I was not alone, or a “freak”. I am sure that a post such as yours will do the same thing for others who are also struggling. Thank you for sharing your story.

  72. my daughter and i both have trich. i researched it as a teenager, but was also embarrassed (not ashamed), so i never sought treatment…until now. i pull AND pick, and it’s done a number on my self esteem. finally, now, at almost 30 years old, with a ten year old, i’ve decided to try and modify my behaviors, so i can help my daughter. i don’t set a great example, telling her to quit it while i lock the bathroom door and tweeze every hair out of my leg for two hours. here’s to hoping my CBT is a long-term f-i-x! thank you for sharing your story. you are beautiful in every way.

  73. Thanks for sharing your secret and it’s safe with me. It is really courageous to share this on your blog and I admire that. It’s shows confidence and support to others that’s it good to “share”.

  74. Quick postage thanks! Happy:)

  75. Really great article with very interesting information. You might want to follow up to this topic!?! 2012

  76. I honor your courage to share your story with the world Ashley. I’m sure it brings comfort to others who are walking this same path with you.
    I’m sure you’re sick of all the attempts made in the past to try to help you stop but you may consider something called brainwave optimization. Sometimes, these “urges” or behaviors that we can’t control may be caused by brainwave imbalances (from past traumas) and this process may help get your brain back into balance. If you’re interested, you should take a peek at the website to learn about this non-invasive holistic process. I know 2 individuals that got help with this there.
    I hope you find the solution to be free from this compulsion some day Ashley. Again, thank you for sharing.
    Blessings,
    Jenny

  77. I knew a girl that had TTM, and I guess I never knew why she did it until now. I know you can fight it! Just keep on trying!! Good luck!

  78. Wow. I just started reading your blog, i love how you are so honest, it is a quality that is not seen too much today. Does your son know or see you do this?

  79. Ashley– just found you through Casey’s blog. I also pull my hair, just little strands at a time instead of chunks, but it’s still a tick and I’m still ashamed of it. Since 8th grade for me. Thank you so much for sharing this, it’s so inspiring and you are so strong. Looking forward to following your blog now.

    All the best,
    Emily xx

  80. Ashley,

    I just found your blog through Casey’s and I must say how much this post touched me. I think most every person tries to hide parts of their life, and what courage it takes to share something so personal. I’m sure you have helped a lot of people by doing so!

    xo,
    Kate

  81. Stopping by from Gussy. I’m so hoping that outing yourself has been able to change directions for you! I’m from the OCD family I personally bite my nails and wash my hands. We have 3 people that do hair pulling one does eye lashes one does hair and one facial hair. Be good to yourself and find the best way to release your stress. I know it’s very hard I think you’ll be amazing. I’m going to be checking back on you!

  82. It must have felt SO good and scary all at the same time to share that. I know this was well over a year ago, but I saw it on Gussy Sews today and curiosity got the best of me.

    I also was diagnosed with OCD about 2 years ago. I don’t have Trich, but my compulsions used to control my life. You can read my story here ( http://alifeincupcakes.blogspot.com/2010/07/my-journey-with-ocd.html ) if you like. My most self-destructive compulsions were itching in one place repeatedly and especially tearing off the skin around my fingernails. I would make myself bleed daily and a few of my fingerprints are permanently gone from where I peeled back the layers of skin for all that time. My therapist and family made me wear band aids on my fingers and that made my anxiety even worse.

    OCD is a very destructive disorder and you’re not alone! (Which I realize you know because of all these 85 comments haha) Way to go for sharing your story and we can all support each other! I hope you’ve been doing well with this since you wrote the post! I’m cheering for you!

  83. Wow thank you for being a normal girl who was brave to share her secret of Trich. I have suffered with the same OCD disorder since about 1st grade, for me it personally happens more when I am trying to “hide” my stress vs. just acting like a stress case. I personally twirl multiple strands into mini knots and then pull them out. I am recently a new mother, small business owner and a major stress case. I don’t pull everyday anymore, maybe 1-2 times a month.
    Again thank you! I read about you on Gussys blog
    Sarah

  84. I just found you because of your pumpkin whoopie pies and I’m already following you on Bloglovin.
    You are brave and most definitely not alone.
    I started in 5th grade as well. Some girl randomly said “look at Chrissy’s eyebrows” in the middle of math class. I was simply doing my work. That night, I went home and pulled them all out with tweezers. That wasn’t enough. I started on my hair and every day after school, I’d lock myself in my bathroom to pull hair out, one at a time. It lasted for weeks until my Mom noticed that my hairline was a whole inch farther back than it had been. The sheer embarrassment made me quit… for a while.
    Now, I just harness it through keeping my eyebrows thin and picking at random fly-a-ways.
    I didn’t even know there was a name for it so thank you for that knowledge.
    Good luck and stay brave and wonderful!

  85. Hi Ashley! I just saw jen’s FB post (tatertots) about pumpkin whoopie pies so I clicked over to her blog & saw you! You are beautiful! The first thing I thought was “oh, I like her hair color” then I saw your secret, so of course, how could I resist not clicking on the secret and what an amazing post! You may not think so, but truley are an inspiration! Thank you for sharing :) Now I’m off to check out the whoopie pies……!

  86. You are so brave to share. I, too, can spot people with trich. Growing up the daughter of a mother with trich makes me a good spotter too.
    Because it was a part of her life since childhood, it wasn’t weird to me and I’m very comfortable talking about it.
    A few years ago a college student applied to work on a team I was leading for a summer. Trich is a huge part of her story. She was so embarrassed to share her story with me and I was so thankful that my reaction was not one of judgement but of understanding and love. She was relieved.

    Again, thank you for being brave. This has to be talked about.

    Right now I have a good friend. A guy. I think he’s heading down this raod. I’ve never encountered a guy struggling. His is picking. Picking all over. I don’t know what to do/say/approach him.

  87. Ashley,
    Thanks for your story I relate to so many of your emotions. Started OCD’s at age 4. I began pulling hair at age 12, went on for 17 years. At age 29 I found a psychiatrist who hypnotised me and reprogrammed my urge to pull with another action. Don’t know why, but it worked. My hair on the crown of my head grew back thin and white. At age 64 I still give in once in a while, but have control now for 35 years. I pray you find your key to control.

  88. love your honesty. hopefully you feel no guilt! you are who you are.. you can improve where you see needs but glad you weren’t too emberassed to share! thanks!

  89. LMM I just read your little secret entry, and I have to say thank you. I have never heard of this form of OCD but now that I have a 6yr girl, and there are so many peer pressure things to watch and be aware of, its good know about something else to look for in young girls who seem to be hard on themselves or have OCD and noone recognize it..luckily my daughter does not show these signs, but, it could be a friend or a relative who someday may, and I am glad that you shared this..your brave..

  90. I’m a relatively new fan of your site and never read this post until now; therefore not knowing a thing about your “secret”. This makes me an even bigger fan! Your bravery, candidness, and strength never ceases to amaze. We all have quirks and challenges and I can see that sharing this and other elements of your amazing life is very therapeutic. THANK YOU for this, and for everything you continue to do to help empower and change.

  91. I was referred to your site by a reader after I shared with her that I have trichotillomania… I’ve been pulling my hair since elementary school as well, and still do, despite bribes, humiliation, etc. I was diagnosed with OCD in University and found out then that my problem had a name.
    Thanks for sharing:)

  92. I was intrigued by your curling methods (got here via Pinterest) and then I was curious when I read the part about your hair extensions. I thought, maybe, just maybe, it’s because she has Trich…like me. I can’t describe the overwhelming feeling as I read the post. I’ve suffered from it since I was 8 years old (24 years). I, too, noticed that it’s gotten worse as life has gotten more complicated. Your post gives me encouragement and hope. Thanks.

  93. Jennifer says:

    I do it too and nobody understands! I’ve been doing it for almost 20 years. Started in university. I have had bald spots over the years as well and it also comes and goes with stress in my life. Very few people know about it – only those closest to me like my husband, son, sister and Mom. They all implore me to stop, but I don’t think they really understand that I CAN’T stop. The hardes thing for me is going to a salon for a haircut. Once I find a stylist I trust, I stick with her for years. but I still always feel like I need to make an excuse for the condition of my hair. I am so glad to read this and know I’m not alone! Thank you!

  94. I deal with trichotillomania too. I have ever since I was in 2nd grade. My parents did everything they could to get me to stop. It’s gotten better, but it does still happen. My hair is messed up but not extremely. Im the only one that really notices. Reading this made me very happy. (:

  95. I first started pulling my hair when I was 20. It started during a very stressful time in my life an I only pulled from the very front. I didn’t even realize I was pulling that much until I noticed the bald spot one day in the mirror. Embarrassed about it, I used eyebrow pencil to try to fill it in, but it was still obvious. I also did numerous internet searches and found a name for what I was doing. I don’t pull nearly as much anymore, but usually at least one strand everyday. I like to pull the super thick, coarse, wiry strands (I have thick, wavy hair). I search for them and separate them from the others and then pull. It’s a strange disorder we have, but I have learned what triggers it for me and I am more aware of when I’m doing it so I stop after a few so I don’t pull too much. But I still do, every day, and I probably always will.

  96. hi,

    Just came across your blog for the first time, and read this post. So I am a newbie here. congrats to you on posting your secret, I know it can’t be easy to have done. I think I may have something similar, ?? I dont pull my hair on my head but I pull out my eyelashes and eye brows. And I hate that I do it. Nobody knows but my husband. Do you know off chance if this is the same disorder type?

  97. Thanks for sharing this, you are a beautiful soul! One of my sons has this and it’s been a tough journey. Thanks for getting the word out there, we’ve had to educate many teachers and school administrators about Trich. You are awesome! <3

  98. Julie N. says:

    How has your challenge to yourself been going? My friend has the same OCD. She has and still does struggle with it. So, as I’m sure you know, you are not alone in this type of challenge! I hope you are staying strong. I just finally overcame a challenge of my own. And while it has been 3 months already it is still a struggle. Now if I could stop biting my cuticles!! I do that as often as you were saying you pulled you hair. You don’t even notice your doing it til you have a clump of hair or bleeding fingers!!! Good luck to us both! Stay strong!

  99. I have hairs that grow twisted and coarse, and are unmanageable and stick up… so I pull them.. they don’t match the rest of my hair :) its a hormonal thing, but I had a doctor laugh at me when I brought in a hair… hair, nails, and skin can reflect health.. so it may be the answer to my faltering health these past few years. He was just an old mid-life crisis man more concerned about asking how I liked it when I lived in Myrtle Beach… because.. surprise.. he played GOLF. I hope you’re able to stop pulling your hair!!! I should stop pulling mine, too, because I guess these thick hairs will give my hair volume and texture.. its just that I don’t like how they feel :)

  100. Brave, brave person telling people this. It makes you even more human and special. I just saw a photo of you that my duaghter was reading about how to make your hair wavy and I had no idea you had extensions. I just thought what a gorgeous girl, which you would be with or without the extensions/hair pulling.
    Your mum must be really darn proud of you.

  101. I came to your website through pinterest, wanting to see how to make those wavy curls. I then clicked on the link to this page and almost cried because… I suffer from Trichotillomania also. I have for over ten years.. I obsessively pull out my eyelashes. It’s funny, actually, because I don’t think I’ve ever written that down before! It’s so comforting to know that other people suffer from this awful condition. I am quite envious that your extensions hide it so well. I have invested so much money into eyeliner that I apply heavily each day to hide my lack of a continuous lashline.
    I just wanted to thank you for sharing this on here and being an inspiration! It’s such a horrible thing to admit, and to this day, only a VERY select two people in my entire life know that I pull.. If asked about my lack of eyelashes, I have my go-to lie about some hair follicle thing. It’s awful but it’s hard to admit I have such a ‘strange’ problem. It’s comforting to know I am not alone! Thank you!

  102. Samantha says:

    You are such an amazing woman, and beautiful!
    I applaud you in sharing your *secret* and working through it.
    I too have OCD, and pull the hair from the base of my head at times, but more often than not it’s my eyelashes and eyebrows that I pull. It’s awful but it’s me. I’m almost 30 and I can remember it starting in 4th grade…and just never stopped. I too remember the day it started.
    Again, thank you for sharing!

  103. You truly are inspiring. I kind of stumbled upon your blog as I saw a post on UCreate. My daughter has long hair and I thought I’d see how you curl your hair cause she’s always trying to get her’s to curl. Her’s is very different than mine was at her age, it doesn’t hold the curl like mine did. Anyways, that’s not the point. When I got to the point about you hair extensions, I got curious so I clicked on the link and read your story.You are very brave and so selfless to share your story. I think that in doing so, you are not only getting your secret out you are helping others who are also burdened with trials and secrets feel not so alone. There’s a lot of people saying positive things here.
    Good luck

  104. Thank you. I found your blog ‘secret’ by searching for trichotillomania. My 9 year old little girl has this disorder and we just found out. It is heartbreaking to me but inspiring that you grew up to be a wonderful adult and mother. I wished I would have reacted like your mom but I didn’t. I was shocked to see all her eyelashes gone. I’ve since talked to her and let her know we’d work on this together.

    Thank you again for your courage. I’ve not read all the comments but I’m sure you’ve helped more than just me.

  105. Jeez!…I was just trying to find a wavy hair tutorial and came across this! I will tell you that I too have TTM..However, I do not pull out my scalp hair…I pull out my eyebrows and eyelashes. Started when I was 10…my parents never asked me why. It was just a “weird” thing I did and would eventually outgrow. I’m now 31 and still yank every chance I get. I am an expert on applying false eyelashes and drawing on perfect eyebrows. I only apply these things daily so I don’t look strange, but I don’t hide my condition from anyone. I always make jokes about it and even let my friends pull off my falsies to see… I just figure there’s not much I can do about it, so why not have fun with it? However, what people don’t know about me is the fear I have when going to the pool or being caught without my “face on” first thing in the morning. I’m terrified when splashing around with daughter in the local pool that I will lose “my face” in the water with out knowing and just get stared at.

    Anyway..I’ve never corresponded or met someone else with this condition and it’s actually kinda nice telling someone who won’t look at you with that “What the h@#$ …?” look on their face.

    Thank you for sharing
    Laura

    • Ivy Bridges says:

      I also pull out my eyelashes and eyebrows and I have grown to have severe anxiety because I am scared to death to spend the night at a friends house, because I know my eyebrows will rub off, and I won’t dare go near a pool with other people around, and I have resorted to wear dark makeup at work so the people I interact with can’t see that I have zero eyelashes. Don’t worry we are definitely not alone :)

      • i did the same thing when i was young. i was always SO WORRIED about being at a friend’s house b/c i was worried they would wear off. once i started using MAC’s fluidline gel liner, i didn’t worry as much. i would just wake up before everyone else, and check and make sure i had eyebrows, lol. good luck!

      • I worry about the same thing, my eyebrows rubbing off when I sleep. It has effected my life because I am afraid to do certain things. It is nice to kb

        • Reply got cut off. It is nice to know there are other people like me and feel the sand way as me in this world. I always feel like people just don’t understand. Good luck

  106. Caitlin Glaze says:

    I have so much respect for you right now it is insane. After reading this I thought to myself this lady is so strong she has overcome her fear of telling people about her secret and as not ashamed of it and by god you shouldn’t be ashamed of it. It’s who you are and it makes to a strong person! Embrass it love it live it;)

  107. Ivy Bridges says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this because I have kept the same secret for almost 10 years now and I’m only twenty. It’s tough to live with and I know your exact pain and I have crawled under my sheets too many times to count. Thank you again for doing this :)
    -Ivy

  108. I found your blog via Pinterest and ran across this post. I, too, am afflicted with trich. I’ve not had a full, natural set of eyebrows or lashes since my first year of college—now ten years ago. It’s so hard to open up and admit that we do this to ourselves, especially since there’s really no way to make sense of it. Nobody *wants* to make herself look worse, but the impulse to pull is equally overwhelming and unconscious.
    I’m very proud of you for posting this, and you’ve earned a faithful follower. I very much appreciate knowing about kindred spirits out there :)

    • Shyanne says:

      I am in the same situation, it’s hard to get past the the impulse…but I have to tell myself it’s harder to draw in eyebrows and put on fake eyelashes everyday.

  109. No disappoint here…..

  110. I pull my hair too. Well I am trying to turn it into a used to. I came home one day from a party and my parents were standing at the door. The pulled my head down to look at a giant bald spot along my part. My mom took me upstairs and asked me a million questions. Most of then involved why, why, why… And I had no answer. My mother did act as if your mom did and comfort me or take me to a doctor. And we have never talked about it again.

  111. Kirsten says:

    I have a close friend who was also diagnosed with this in 5th grade. She has lots of support and has many friends helping her through it. You story is interesting to hear about another girl who has the same thing. Stay strong!

  112. My daughter has pulled her hair out since she was born. She will be 4 in 2 months and hardly has any hair at all. I have asked doctors about it and they say she’ll grow out of it and not to worry but reading this makes me realize it might be more. I never knew!! Thank you for sharing your story. It gives me something to look into and maybe understand better about my little girl.

    Robyn Reynolds

    • My daughter pulled on her hair for a couple years starting when she was about 1 til she was about 3. Her hair was already very fine and growing so slow, so the pulling didn’t help. I’d catch her doing it all the time. I couldn’t figure out why…there didn’t seem to be any good reason. She’d even pull on her hair as she was falling asleep! I took the approach of ignoring it because I thought it was just a weird phase and it would pass. Eventually I decided to do something so I decided to distract her when I saw her pulling. I wasn’t calling her out or getting mad at her, just diverting her attention elsewhere. It took a lot of effort to pay attention to what she was doing at all times but thankfully I was with her all the time so I could. The diverting definitely helped and eventually she only seemed to do it at bedtime. Once her hair was long enough to make a pony tail I pulled it back making it harder and less desirable to pull. She finally stopped.

  113. Shyanne says:

    Hey there,
    I read this and am quite shocked. I also deal with trich myself. I have for several years now and as you can understand, it’s hard to be a 15 year old girl who deals with it. I wanted to thank you for sharing.
    :J

  114. Kat Boyd says:

    You are awesome. I am so happy I was lead to your website through your curling instructions. I feel like you are a daughter instead of a stranger. I am sure you have helped so many people by revealing your “secret”. Hope you are doing well… Your newest fan.

  115. Melissa Patricia says:

    Thank you for sharing this. I have had trich since I was 4, the worst of it coming around age 7 or 8. It’s controlled my life and I despise it. You are very brave. Thank you.

  116. Tanya Bowman says:

    wow… I am so thankful I happened across this post while surfing Pinterest. In fact I was pulling my hair while I was surfing today at work. I have the same thing… no Dr. certified diagnosis… just a nosy ex-sister in law who happens to be a nurse practitioner.

    I don’t end up with bald spots on my scalp but, I do have little to no growth back in my eyebrows. I pull those the most, I also pull on eyelashes head hair and even unmentionable hair. When I was a kid I used to just twirl my fingers in my hair at the nape of my neck until I had a huge ratty nest that I would then have to pull out. Nowadays I not only just pick a strand here and there to pull out I also twist it a small bunch and tie it in a knot at the end and then tear the strands until Its small enough to just pull the knot out. I am almost 40 and have done this mostly since about the same time.. 4th grade. The ex-sister in law also tried to tell me I had some serious issues from my past I had to explore to explain it… and I say that is just B.S. its just habit or OCD I guess.

    Wow…. I am sooooo glad to know that I am not the only person with it although, unlike you I have not seen any others who do the same thing.

    Thank you for being so brave to put this out here for us others to find!!!

  117. How liberated you must feel! I just came across your blog and it brought tears to my eyes. You are a very strong and beautiful woman! Thank you for sharing!

  118. I really applaud your ability to come “clean” about your disorder. I too have a form of OCD (compulsive checking). Mine has shown up later in my life, but people don’t understand the havoc it causes your life. I’ve always been good at dealing with stress and problems, until I developed OCD I didn’t realize that I wasn’t actually dealing with it, I was just stuffing it down. So now through LOTS of hard work I am getting better. I realized recently (and sadly) I will never be fully cured, and there will be times in my life it gets better and worse, but by learning how to control it (instead of it controlling me) I can live a happier life. I have read several books on OCD and am reading one now that gave me some really good advice. Don’t try to rid yourself of your anxiety, make friends with it. I really think this was a turning point for me. I have been trying to get rid of my OCD instead of just being friends with it. What I realize it is a part of me so I need to make peace with it and be friends with it, so that when I tell my “friend” to stop bothering me it will. (instead of just wishing it would go away). I hope this helps and I really hope you make progress because you will feel like a newer stronger person!

  119. Danielle Collins says:

    You are so brave to share this with all of us. I came across your waves tutorial. I just so happen to do this same method with my hair. I was intrigued as to why you wore the extension because I have front layers that are growing out, however I really wish they didn’t exist. But I clicked your link expecting a secret beauty secret… I was so touched you shared this. I wish and hope the best for you. I hope your readers have given you the encouragement you need and hope would help you. I wish I could give you a hug. I have been studying around the clock for my finals and today was my last one. So I understand stress and disappointment. Life challenges us daily and there never seems to be enough time in the day to do everything. But I hope to one day to look back and see my stress worked it self out its not easy putting the care you give everyone and everything else, a little back to yourself. You deserve to give yourself some credit. You trying to better yourself, and finding the courage to do so by putting it out there and saying this… Says a lot about your character. You might have a long fight to get to where you want to be but you will make it. Good luck and I hope you know I am rooting for you!

  120. madison fitzgerald says:

    hi. my name is madison and im twelve years old. ive had a secret since i was 9 years old just like you. and its the exact same secret. yes,i used to pull out my hair and i to have OCD,and also ADD. i had a giant bald spot on top of my head and had to hide it from everyone. its grown back alot now but i have to hair spray it down everyday.i know how you feel and i am praying for you.

    madison fitzgerald

  121. I pull my eyelashes.I have nice ones too when I can leave them alone. I know it’s not as serious, but it still bothers me that I can’t stop..

  122. I just stumbled upon your site (was reading through your hair curling tutorial) and found this post. I’m so glad that you posted this because I was diagnosed with Trich and have been dealing with this since I was 13. My hair went from being so thick to thinning out because I pulled so often – and still do. I admire your bravery in sharing this secret because I still haven’t been able to tell my friends about this because I’ve been so embarrassed. This post has gotten me so much closer to letting people other than my parents in on my secret because you were able to share this with all of us. Thank you!

  123. I just wanted to say how much I respect you. I know you’ve heard this from a million people now because of this blog, but I needed to say it for myself. I found this just looking for some tips on hair and saw the link that led me here. I started reading your story and thought “oh my gosh we have so much in common!” I was exactly like that in grade school and have been ever since. The only difference, I don’t have trich, but I do have a secret too. One only my husband, my doctor, and a few other close friends know. I cut myself. I’m happy to say I’ve managed to go over a year now without hurting myself, but it’s still a battle, sometimes one I fight on a daily basis. So, I guess what I’m saying is: I know where your coming from. I’m so proud of you even though I don’t know you. I respect you like crazy. I wish I could be as brave as this, but currently I’m scared to even sign my email address to this. And I hope you don’t mind, but I’ll pray for you, that you’ll find whatever it is you need to overcome. Stay strong, fight on.

  124. I started doing this in high school, also as a reaction to stress. I did it absent mindedly, never realizing I was doing it. It was only when a friend pointed it out – she thought I was twirling my hair – that I realized I had been doing it. The only fortunate side for me was that I seemed to concentrate on short, unnoticeable hair, rather than longer, more substantial strands. I was embarrassed by it, but couldn’t stop. I’d literally have to sit on my hands sometimes to make myself stop, and still the urge would be beyond anything I could understand. I was a social work major in college and had to do a project on a section of the DSM (the manual therapists and people use to diagnose illness). In there, I found Trich and realized, in this crazy, oh-my-god moment, that what I’d been doing had a name.

    I learned that my triggers were stress and worry, which seems to be a common theme. I did it while I was driving and feeling anxious about crazy drivers on the road. I’d do it whenever I was fretting about something, even if I didn’t realize I was fretting. I do it when I’m bored sometimes. But I’ve gotten better at recognizing it and controlling it. Not that I’m happy someone else has this, but I’m glad to know that none of us are alone. Thank you for sharing this.

  125. Danielle Wagner says:

    I ran across your tutorial on pinterest about wavy curls. I think you are so brave for admitting your secret! My whole life I had beautiful eyelashes. I was always told when I was a kid but I never really understood. In the 5th grade I started pulling out my eyelashes and eyebrows when I was stressed, mostly because of my social anxiety. I had gotten to a point when I had ZERO eyelashes, ZERO eyebrows. Then I started at my widows peak. I pulled out all the hair on my windows peak. I kept going deeper into my hairline. My parents didn’t know what to do. My dad yelled and my mother cried. I got bangs to cover my forehead and my eyebrows. My Mother thought me how to put on eyeliner so it was less noticeable. But people would notice. My friends would ask why I didn’t have any eyelashes. They would tell me my face looks funny… Ask what was wrong with me. I continued pulling my eyebrows and eyelashes periodically until 8th grade. My mom noticed that when I had acrylic nails I didn’t pull them as bad. So for five years they paid for my acrylics. Now I’ve just finished my first year in college and I am acrylic free! I have natural nails, all my eyelashes and all my eyebrows! I wear falsies most days. And when people ask me why I wear them I say “It’s a reward for myself!”. No one ever understands my story. But I want you to know, I UNDERSTAND YOURS!!

  126. I just came across this and I want to say two things:
    1) as someone with many secrets, I applaud you for admitting it in order to hold yourself more accountable. I think that’s admirable.
    2) I’m sure you’ve done lots of research on this, but if you haven’t tried this yet, try taking NAC (N-Acetyl Cysteine). It’s a vitamin you can pick up at a VitaminShoppe or GNC. It magically helps with OCD symptoms, especially trich

    :)

  127. so proud of you. you are an inspiration for anyone afflicted with trich. you are not alone and it is comforting to know that I am not either.

  128. i suffer from OCD since i was 6. So i know what u feel, and i am w u girly♥

  129. So amazing of you to share. My heart goes out to you, and PS: your hair curling tutorial inspired me to try. I’m 28 years old and have never curled my hair because I’m daunted by the fact that I don’t know how. You are beautiful inside and out, thank you for sharing.

  130. I loved reading this. I also have Trichotillomania. I pull out my eyelashes, and have been doing it for the last 18 years. Thank you for being so brave and writing this.

  131. Brycie@Reenie Jae Creations says:

    Thank You so much for sharing this!
    I have mild TTM. I started pulling right before I turned 14, in Jr.High., and it’s continued for 13 years. Not very many people know about it. But there are certain times I have to explain “those bald patches”, like when I get my hair cut, or it shows through parts of my hair. I just explain that “it is a form of OCD and you really can’t stop, no really, you can’t stop.”
    I have gotten a bit better at not pulling as much over the years, but when I am really stressed, that’s when I pull the most, and pull and pull and pull and pull. I’ve learned to recognize when the “pull is coming on”, as I like to call it. That urge.
    You are such a brave person for sharing something so personal. Especially when there are so many people who don’t understand TTM. Thank you so so much!

  132. Hey!
    I just came across your blog by looking at a hair tutorial via Pinterest. I saw this post and wanted to congratulate you for sharing your secret. This also hits close to home because my older sister also has this disease! She had a very rough childhood and especially high school. She went through wig after wig to find one that worked well. She is 27 now and only has breakdowns once in awhile and her hair is her own! :) Sometimes she is missing eyelashes or eyebrows, but she gets through it day by day. Good luck with your pulling, I know how it comes and goes. –Lauren

  133. For the past three days, I’ve been pulling my hair more than I have in awhile. Thanks for sparing me a few minutes tonight to pull my hair back and not pull ^_^

  134. I was browsing pinterest and found a tutorial for hair that you had created. Then I found your story. First of all, I want to say thank you for your courage in posting this. I know this has opened a door for many others to live in the same honesty and transparency that you have chosen.

    Second of all, I want to say that I have hope for you and faith in what your heart desires to accomplish. My heart goes out to you because I cannot imagine the trials that you have endured because of this. I do believe that there is healing for you in the midst of this, and that what may seem impossible is possible for you. Through Christ, our healer, anything is possible. He is our hope and our answer. Call on Him and He will heal you because He loves you and it’s not His desire that one of His children would suffer. Much blessings to you on your journey!

    - Leah

  135. How inspiring! I have no secret to share but yours has touched me! God’s word says that the “truth” will set you free” I believe that by you sharing “your secret” it has set you free!! It was the denial, the secret, the fear that kept you bound! I don’t know you but I am so proud of you!! May God Bless You and continue to inspire you to be totally set free! Keep up the good work and may this never control you again!! ( :

  136. Thank you so much for posting this! I’ve had the same type of thing happening, and I didn’t know it was actually a condition till now! Growing up I would sometimes find this random (itch? pain?) coming from my eyelid, lashline. I would have this urge to pull out an eyelash because I felt that the weird feeling would go away if I could just get that ONE eyelash. But in the process I would always accidentally get like 8 of them and have this little gap in my lashline. Well as I got older, it got worse. I will just be sitting, have that feeling, and go at my eyelashes, but instead of just getting like 8 of them, I would end up with almost all my eyelashes gone. And then as they grow back, i would get that feeling again that i just HAD to pull that ONE eyelash. I’ve been trying soo hard to fight the urge every time it comes, but I almost always have to get that one. I don’t have OCD, but I did start going through major Depression in 2010, and looking back through pictures, thats when this eyelash pulling got bad. So I think it’s linked. I had no idea this was a condition until I came across a pinterest tutorial, came to your site, and you said to follow a link to read why you use extensions. I am SO glad that I did. Because now I know that I’m not alone, that it’s not just some silly habit, and it’s made me feel a whole lot better. I understand how you feel, and I know that it’s not something thats just easily stopped. I do hope that telling your secret has helped you, and it has made me want to work even harder for myself. No one knows my secret.

  137. I get it. I pull my hair when I get stressed. There is something about the sensation of the pull on the scalp that is stress releasing. Since I was a child, one side of my hair has always been shorter and thinner than the other. When it would get really noticeable I worked on the underside of my hair. I am thankful “Friends” & the character of Rachel made the layered look popular. Layers allow me to balance out the look. I have also turned to twisting small pieces of hair together before before pulling. This allows me the sensation of the pull without out bald spots. It does break the hair at the end, but then a good layering helps to disguises the damage.

  138. I have trich as well, and I don’t know if someone’s already but if you haven’t already tried it, you NEED to ask your doctor about NAC, or N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine. It’s just an amino acid and so has no side effects. It takes a month or two to start working, but it is effective for a lot of people who have trich, and it’s a miracle worker for me. I used to be surrounded by a pile of my hair by the end of the day, but now I probably don’t ever pull out more than a small clump. It’s amazing. I have to take 4-6 pills a day, but it’s entirely worth it. I would recommend it to anyone suffering from trich who hasn’t already tried it.

  139. thank you. i’m so grateful to have found your site. i love your writing, your honesty, your beauty shining through. thank you. i’ll be visiting more often…. and oh, you are so beautiful, and would be even bald dear!

  140. Thank you SO MUCH for sharing this. I’m also very, VERY open about my trich. I pull my lashes and eyebrows, though it’s much better now than it used to be. I shared my “coming out” post on my blog here: http://www.auniesauce.com/2012/02/hi-my-name-is-annelise-i-have.html

    I think you’re such an inspiration. I really admire your courage!

  141. Hi Ashley,
    I have Trich too. I’ve had it since I was 11, the summer between 5th and 6th grades to be exact. I’ve always had bald spots but it got worse as I got older and had more stress. It got really bad when I started going grey about 10 years ago (I’m 45 now). I was using wigs, hats, and scarves.

    But guess what? For some reason in the last 6 or 7 years I’ve had these 3 month phases where the compulsion to pull completely stopped and my hair would grow back in. Not long or anything. But my previously mostly bald head was covered in about an inch of hair. It felt SO good to run my hands over my new hair.

    But the best thing is that my last 3 month non-pulling phase started last March 2012 and hasn’t stopped!! Yup! I haven’t pulled for 8 months and I now have more hair than I’ve had since I started pulling when I was 11. It’s really thick too. I’ve had a couple of pull moments but I know from experience that 1 pull leads to 2 which leads to a 100 so I never let it get past 1. In fact, I’m stopping before 1 more often than not. I’d say I’ve pulled about 5 hairs in the last 8 months, mostly in the last week.

    I think I might be growing out of it. The first thing I ever read about Trich was this one woman’s experience with it and how she ‘grew out of it’ in her mid-40s. I know 40s probably sounds a bit old to you but seriously, I’m still really 17. I’ve only just begun to live and now my hair is living too!

    If you have any questions at all you can ask. Just email me. I’ve worked with many doctors over the years, tried many different meds, have researched Trich extensively, and I’ve taken note of and learned a great deal from my own experiences for the last 34 years. There are little known tips and tricks and all sorts of other great stuff I’d be happy to pass along.

    Congrats on your ‘coming out’ as a hair puller. You’re smart as hell to write about it. Don’t let the shame overwhelm you. There’s nothing to be ashamed of. It’s an intriguing ‘disorder’ of the brain that we share with millions around the world with symptoms so similar to our other Trich family members it’s incredible. It fascinates me.

    Sending you my deepest wishes for peace and joy today and everyday.
    Brigid

  142. You are such an inspiration. I have trich too, but with my eyelashes not my hair. It is absolutely miserable especially being a college girl in a sorority. For every event I put on those lovely fake eyelashes and go about my merry way and am so embarrassed when someone walks in and asks why I wear fake eyelashes, but you have inspired me to no longer be afraid of it and just to live with it and try to stop. BTW I have been doing it for 7 years… ugh maybe one day! THANK YOU

  143. such a display of courage and bravery. know that there’s no judgement… just love and support. xoxo

  144. Your secret brought tears to my eyes… It’s my secret too. I have also been pulling my hair for years, since 5th or 6th grade. I have tried so hard to stop, but I just can’t. It is so embarrassing and I wish I could just be normal and have the beutiful hair I know I could have if I just had more control. I have always had anxiety issues and hair pulling is just the main manifestation of that anxiety. I would love to know more about your journey to overcome this. You are such an inspiration to me. I can’t thank you enough for sharing your secret.

  145. I am so glad I came across your post. I am an elementary teacher (4th grade) and one of my students has recently started pulling out his hair. So much so that he has a bald spot in the back of his head in a very short amount of time. If anyone can suggest ways I can help my student cope with his worry/stress from the viewpoint of someone who also struggles with this, I would be really appreciative. Was there anything that your teachers did or could have done to help you cope with your worry and your urge to pull? I obviously want all my students to feel comfortable and safe in my classroom so anything you can offer up would be great! Thanks!

  146. angela schmidt says:

    You rock. Thank you for sharing.

  147. This is amazing! A person shares a bit of themselves and so many people flock to show their support. Warms the heart! I have read a lot of the comments, and from my own experiences in life, it is better to share and talk about the things we are challenged with. It draws support and starts to mend that secret that we thought was so horrible or embarrassing. Doesn’t matter what the challenge is. Finding others to talk about it with helps us work through it. To Little Miss Momma, good luck! Looks like you have a huge support team! I know you will have those kinda days, but I know you are stronger than you think!

  148. Thank you very much for being so brave to overcome your discomfort and free yourself of the “secret” :) I hope that many more people will be inspired to share their secret to….. It sounds like a very difficult disorder/behavior to face. Being able to talk about these things always makes it better….

    Good luck, Pearce

  149. chante pumphrey says:

    I think its brave of you to be open about it. Trust me, I know.. Ive dealt with the same problem for years. Ive went to counseling and took medicine.. it started when I was about 14-15. Ill never forget the first time I did it. But my case was a little different. I stood in front of the mirror and pulled every single one of my eyelashes out. It didnt hit me till 20 minutes later that I looked like a freak. I still do it till this day, not nearly as bad, but it still comes around from time to time. My counselor I saw gave some good advice to me, not sure if the case is the same for you.. but I pulled the hair out of my head because to me that piece was out of place or didnt belong.. but in reality by doing that I only made things worse. So true! Sometimes we dont even realize were doing it because it becomes second nature. But when it was a little worse for me back in the day, my ex boyfriend suggested sitting on my hands.. its difficult to stop and such a weird habit to have formed. I was glad to know I wasnt the only one with this problem also.. just like you, I had bald spots everywhere. Ive never pulled more than a few pieces at a time though, strand by strand.. but they created the biggest bald spots of embarrassment. I had a problem with over plucking my eyebrows too.. One day I just realized I didnt wanna live that way anymore and wanted to look better for myself.. not have to use fake hair or fake eyelashes or pencil in my eyebrows because I had this crazy problem.. I wanted to be natural and carefree and not have to worry about if a bald spot was showing.. Its hard, youve struggled for much longer than me, but if you put your mind to it, im positive that you can make slow steady changes. Relapse im certain will always happen. I went the longest without a single tug for almost a year.. but it always comes back somehow. good luck!!

  150. NO WAY!!! I live in a city of a half million, and I have NEVER met anyone with it and I’ve had it also since the fourth grade. I remember the exact moment as well. I don’t pull my hair, but my eyebrows and eyelashes. I’m now 25 and engaged. I want to walk down the aisle with real lashes. But I never tried meds and seeing a psychologist didn’t work out when I was 9. Just made me more insecure and felt like I was crazy, which obviously isn’t the case. Any advice on how to stop?

  151. Thank you for sharing your story. I hope you find ways to overcome this issue. My baby niece used to do this and the pediatrician reccomended shaving her head for 3 months. They did and it worked. But probably not a realistic treatment for an adult. I know you will find something that works for you.
    I have my own secret that I shared with you too. Thanks for inspiring me.

  152. Another Mother says:

    Thank you so much for this post. This may be what my son has. He was 5 last year when he pulled out a chunk of hair. My older son was really sick at the time and my younger son was really nervous for him. We have been to the dermatologist and he was diagnosed with Alopecia, but that never felt right and it hasn’t happened again. I’m going to look into this, as I’m constantly waiting for when he will pull out another mass of hair. Thank you again. You coming forward has helped another mother and I thank you!!

  153. Hi,

    I just randomly stumbled upon your blog off of Pinterest. I was just looking for ways to curl my hair, I am absolutely helpless when it comes to styling my hair. I was looking at your post on how you make your hair wavy and stumbled upon the link to this blog. I was in shock and amazed to find out you have the same disorder as me. I have had it since 6th grade and I’m now 21 years old. I believe I’ve told maybe 4 people in my life. Every New Years its my Resolution to stop, every time something big is coming I tell myself to stop so my hair can thicken up. But I don’t usually last past a day. It’s really nice to hear someone else has it and that its not un-normal to still have it after so many years. I’ve been dating my boyfriend for over two and a half years and imagine within the next year or two we will get engaged. All I can think about is will I be able to stop and grow out my hair in time to have beautiful hair for my wedding one day. Its comforting to see you can have extension with such little hair though. But now I’m hoping just seeing your blog will maybe spark more encouragement to try to stop, once again, with New Years in just a few days. Thanks so much for posting this blog. I plan to search around to see if you’ve updated since this post. If you haven’t it’d definitely be nice to see how you’ve come along.

    Thanks and good luck!

  154. I have never been happier with finding a website through Pinterest. You. Are. AMAZING!
    I am so proud of you for telling your Secret. I, too, have a secret. I’m sure we all do.

    Last year, I came clean to my dad and stepmother about my Bulimia, after suffering with it for seven YEARS. I am coming up on my one year in recovery, and I couldn’t be happier.

    Relieving yourself of your secret WILL help you get better, I promise.

    Much much MUCH love for you!

    -Brandi

  155. I understand your situation for years I watched my mom pull out her hair and had endless questions in high school about why my mom had to very thin spots on either side of her head. In college I started kn a different path. I dint have ttm I have csp (compulsive skin picking) its along the same lines as trichs, still a form of OCD. I pick at the skin on my arms when something doesn’t feel right. I do it mostly when I’m stressed or bored.

  156. Leah Champion says:

    I too found your tutorial via Pinterest and read your about me post. My beautiful 8 year old daughter also has trich . Hers manifested by pulling her eyebrows and eyelashes out. She started pulling last Feb during an extremely stressful 3rd grade, my mom drying of cancer, and friend problems. She has OCD tendencies also but what broke my heart as her mother was watching my strong, self confident, beautiful daughter question everything about who she was. She started therapy in March and pulled through the Summer but for whatever reason she stopped pulling in August. Just stopped one day. She didn’t want to wear her hat anymore. She has her self confidence back and that was my most said prayer for her. Thank you for sharing your secret. While my daughter has stopped for now I know it can start again. Her therapist said we could come in for maintenance and a couple of weeks ago my sweet girl came to me and said she needed to go back to therapy. We’ve always been close but I know the strength she had to come tell me. I was so proud of her for telling me her needs. Again, thank you for sharing and giving the young ladies living with trich a place to share.

  157. Obviously you’ve touched a lot of people by sharing your secret so publicly. I have had trichotillomania since the 6th grade. I was especially touched by your mother’s support and love. My mother passed away when I was in 3rd grade, and I would give anything for her love and support over the years I’ve been struggling with it. I was extremely ashamed of my trich and told no one outside of my family for a very long time. One day, I went out on a limb and told my closest friends (it’s not like I was hiding it that well, so I wanted them to understand what was going on). I was in total shock at how supportive and understanding they were. Now, though I still feel shame, it is not nearly what it used to be. I have found that being open about it takes so much burden off of me, and MOST people are very understanding (at least as much as they can be, since it’s hard for me to understand myself!). I think the more brave souls that can talk about their trich, the better. Part of what is so difficult about it, is feeling like you’re the only one who does it and no one will accept you. But the more people who know it exists and is rather common, the less weird it seems. Having trich isn’t something we want to show off, but it shouldn’t be something we’re ashamed of!

  158. I suffer from the same disorder, and have found that the more I talk about it (it’s embarrassing for me too), the more I find that other beautiful women live with this frustrating disorder. So far we haven’t found an effective treatment for it, but telling my family and friends is the best thing I could have done because their support has helped me pull less! I’m currently growing my hair out and love your blog, and it’s comforting to know that I am not the only woman struggling with this!! Keep it up the hard work :)

  159. Catherine M says:

    It must be very heavy thing to carry, specially while leaving it as a aevret, You should try doing sistemic therapy it works almost with every disorder lime this…..give t a try, I have done it with several disprders similar to this, and it has worked!!!! Brave gal!!! Two thumbs up!!!

  160. Thank you for sharing. My brother was diagnosed with a serious mental illness this year and I could not be more grateful for people like you who share their stories. I think people are typically afraid to share because of the social stigmas….with that said thank you for showing us that you can be an awesome mom and woman AND also have this thing you battle. I pray God brings you complete healing here on earth.

  161. I went through the same thing as you, with the hair pulling. I started doing it in the 4th grade, when my parents were going through a divorce, and then shortly after my mother decided to come out and say she was gay. It continued as I entered middle school because in a small town, where I grew up, being gay wasn’t okay, and being the daughter of a gay woman, was even worse! My mother use to scream at me, threaten to shave my head because it was thinning out so bad, and never once sat me down to just talk to me. As my relationship with my mother unraveled because she couldn’t understand how hard it was for me to deal with her being gay, and me just pushing her away and blaming her for my loss of friends, and becoming the bullied, it got worse. When I was 16, she finally kicked me out, and though life was rough on my own, I made it just fine. I pretty much have stopped since I was 16. Getting away from the ”cause” seemed to work, but whenever I get overly stressed (like when my husband was in Afghanistan for example), I find myself doing it again, and it takes everything in my power to force myself to stop. I usually can after a few strands come out, but when I was a kid, I went from overly thick hair, to sickly thin, with bald spots around the bottom, and where my part was.

  162. Thank you so much for sharing. Without a doubt I am sure that your story has touched so many lives and that so many more people will have answers to their unanswered questions. Thank you!

  163. Thank you for posting. I came across this from a hair tutorial I found on pinterest. I never knew this was actually a disorder, i just thought of me doing this as a way to relieve stress. I have always been very obsessive and particular about certain things, (i.e. school, and work) which is when i pull the worst. I not only pull my hair, but my eyebrows, eyelashes, and i used to cut it when i was younger. Once again, thank you.

  164. I stumbled upon your photo’s on pinterest when I was looking at your curling technique and then clicked on the link for why you needed extensions, and I am sooo happy that I found it and read it! It is so nice to know that we are not alone with all of this. Evey one has a flaw and that’s what makes us unique, it’d be pretty boring if we were all the same. I am so happy I found this, and that you shared :) Thank you for sharing your secret, and letting us all who share it with you be confident and not ashamed.

  165. I am so proud of you for standing up about your secret! I wish i had the courage to tell people my secret and stand up for myself! Thank you so much!

  166. Wow, just wow. Thank you for sharing your incredible story. You’re very brave. I don’t think that I could be so painfully honest with my readers but you inspire me!

  167. Its like you read my mind! You seem to know so much about
    this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that
    you could do with some pics to drive the message home a little bit, but other than that, this is magnificent
    blog. An excellent read. I will certainly be back.

  168. Thank you for sharing your story. I have been dealing with TTM for over 10 years. It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one struggling.

  169. Ashley,

    I stumbled upon your site from Pinterest. So far I have only read your about me section and this post and I have to say that you do in deed write like you talk. You are how I want my blog to sound. I already feel like I know you and we are friends. Thank you for sharing! You have made a new friend and a new fan from the start.

    I haven’t been brave enough to get my blog out into public yet, I am still getting things together and deciding where to start. So right now I am using my Facebook business page. I encourage you all to check it out.

    Thanks,
    Katie

    facebook.com/katiekeltnerphotography

  170. I loved reqding this, I am a Mama to a 12 year.old gorgeous girl who has been dealing with this since the agenof 6. She has pulled out everyone of her eyelashes and sits and searches for them when they start geowing in. I love her with all my heart and I know she is embarrased by it I wish I could help her more. I fwwl for you

  171. I just wanted to say that I am in awe of your bravery with being so honest and open about your “secret” that is not such a secret anymore! I don’t know how long I have been pulling my hair, but the earliest I remember doing it was when I was in high school (so about 10 years ago). I would be sitting on the computer pulling at my hair and not realizing how much hair was coming out, only to find a pile on the floor next to me! I have managed to keep it somewhat under control for the most part, but I still play with my hair a lot and will pull out a hair if it feels “dead” (aka coarse and/or wiry). I really want to stop completely, though. Half of the time I don’t even notice I’m doing it. If I get an urge to pull out a hair, I sometimes try to just massage my scalp with my fingers instead and sometimes that helps. I’m pretty sure my mom had/has the same problem because I’ve seen her pulling at her hair many times before as well, and my sister may have it too as she has had some bald spots that I have noticed in the past. It is really embarrassing, but I think if more people were like you, there would be less shame involved in this addiction and perhaps more options for help!

  172. I’ve been pull-free for a year and a half now after pulling for 12 years, but it is still jolting to stumble across anything trich-related. I came across your wavy curls tutorial on Pinterest and somehow knew when you mentioned extensions that it was because of trich. I’m glad that you were able to be open about it, for me that was one of the hardest parts. Recovery is horrible, but worth it. I hope that the past few years since you wrote this brought you luck and peace of mind about the disorder.

  173. I too struggle with this disorder, and stumbled upon this post through Pinterest. I have been pulling out my eyelashes and eyebrows for over ten years now, and while it ebs and flows, it never totally stops. I admire your strength. I love when the universe manages to throw me something like this, I will take it as support, and motivation. I thank you for that :)

  174. Thanks for sharing your story!

    I have never been officially diagnosed, but after lots of Internet research, I know I suffer from the same condition. Mine, however, did not start with the hair on my head. It started in elementary school with the hair on my legs. I can remember being in the back seat of my grandparents car and my grandmother yelling at me to quit pulling out my leg hair. Then in middle school it moved to my eyebrows. At that point, people thought I just didn’t know how to shape them right….lol! As I got older, I plucked my eyebrows to the point that they no longer grow. I am 31 and have to draw them on every day. About a year and a half ago, the head hair started. Originally, it was near my temple and wasn’t very noticeable until it started growing back. When I realized I wasn’t going to be able to stop, I moved to the left side about an inch from my ear. I have continuous bald spots there, but no one can see them. I do it at work and at the end of each day, I have to clean up the hair in the floor by my desk so it isn’t noticed. High stress days are much worse than others. I’ve started pulling my hair back in the afternoons so I don’t do it at work. But like you, I do it while I’m driving, shopping, reading, and watching TV. It’s definitely something I wish I could stop doing, but have tried everything. I even had surgery and wasn’t able to lift either arm for a week, but went right back to it. Quitting smoking was easier…

    I applaud you in sharing your secret and also appreciate hearing it from a real person and not just from research.

  175. I never knew this was a thing until I saw the movie “Young Adult” with Charlize Theron. Ever since, I’ve seen it pop up in conversations online and actually even seen people do it in public. I applaud you for having the courage to publicly address this issue, especially because it’s something that is (by nature) very personal.

  176. I just wanted to thank you for your bravery. Reading this blog post and the comments below pushed me to research what has always been something so impossible for me to admit. I have been going to a therapist for a few months have been diagnosed with another form of OCD. Had I not read this, I would never have known that it was something that other people have. I had no idea other people had the same problems that I do, so thank you for being amazingly courageous enough to tell people about this.

  177. You are beautiful. :)

  178. I want you to know that by sharing this, you’ve helped me to put a name to something that has been plaguing me for 15 years, and I thank you.

    I’ve dealt with shaming from my friends and my parents, who didn’t know that this was actually… something.

    Thank you so much for sharing this. Seriously. You’ve lifted a weight off my heart.

  179. You are amazing!! I feel like you are my friend and that I should be proud of you because of your courage.

  180. I have to say that you are definitely one brave girl to let the whole world know your secret. Almost 15 years ago I used to teach a girl who always wore her hair tucked up in a baseball cap all of the time. I was confused because I had known her since she was a little girl and she always had beautiful long blond hair. Then one day her mother told me why her daughter always wore the baseball cap. It was to hide the bald spots from her pulling out her own hair. I do not fully understand this disorder, but I do have compassion for people with it. I hope that you find the strength to overcome it.

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  183. God bless you Sweetie… I’ve just prayed for you… I too have a form of OCD and I k ow how helpless and anxious you can feel! I wear this ring I bought at church, it is engraved with a scripture: 1 Phil. 4:6-7…be anxious for nothing… It helps to look down and see it, throughout my day. It’s healing to “come out” as it were and share your “secrets”… Good for you! You’re already doing better than you know!

  184. Jordynn says:

    Hi, my name is Jordynn and well I’ve never been to a doctor or anything but I’ve done my fair share in research and well I know I have this. But, I don’t pull out my hair, I pull out my eye lashes… It sounds like we are a lot alike, I’ve always gotten super stressed out like it sounds like you do. Just sucks there is no cure. More power to you tho dear, lets just hope they come up with a cure soon!

  185. Becky Stone says:

    Ashley………
    A friend of mine sent this link to me today. It could not have come at a better time!!! As I am reading your beautiful words, not only am I bawling, I have my headphones in at work listening to Worship music on Pandora and the song “I Surrender All” is playing.
    I am a fellow “trichster”!! I am 38 and have been pulling out my eyelashes and eyebrows since I was 5! It has no doubt been a long 33 year struggle. Like you, I have tried so many times to “just stop” as everyone tells me. As you know it is just not that easy.
    I lived with this disorder for 14 years before the same friend that sent me this link handed me a copy of Cosmo with an article in it about Trichatilamania. I was completely mesmorized by the article and read it over and over for days in awe that there were others out there that suffered from the same issue, I was not alone and I was not a “freak”. For all of those years I lived in complete embarrasment and shame. When I was little my mom thought I was doing it in my sleep so she would put mittens on my hands and tape them up so I couldn’t pull. I knew when I was doing it, I just couldn’t tell her. I was ashamed and embarrased and had no idea how to make it stop. I would pull while I was trying to go to sleep, when I was worried, when I was alone in my room playing Barbies, it was constant. I would always sit in the back of the room at school so I could pull and hope no one would see. As I got older my friends finally started questioning why I didn’t have eyelashes and eyebrows. For years I lied and made up some pretty crazy stories as to why. When it was time to start dating I was afraid for a cute boy to look me in the eyes because I didn’t have the gorgeous long, mascara laiden lashes that all of my friends had! When I was in my 20′s I FINALLY “came out of the closet” with my disorder and started to tell EVERYONE that would ask. My closest friends knew, my family knew and were used to it, but outsiders would stare and some would even come out and ask. Little kids most of all would notice, and with their sweet little innocence that had not filter would say “why do your eyes look weird”? There came a point in my life, especially now, that I am finally able to be at peace with it and even joke about it and call myself a freak of nature! LOL!!!
    I too notice when I see someone with no lashes or eyebrows. So many times I have wanted to reach out and talk to them about it but I am afraid that they may be in the “insecure” phase and get embarrased like I did. Every time I read an article or watch a 20/20 speical about our disorder it brings me some relief that I am not alone in this “perfect beauty obsessed” world.
    I have had many years of practice to draw my eyebrows and eyelashes on each and every single day!! I have it down pat and could probably draw them on without looking! :) I would love to know how much I’ve spent on eyebrow pencils and everyliner over the years!!
    Recently I decided to get permanent makeup tattoed on. After it healed and finally looked somewhat normal I wondered why in the world I didn’t do it a million years ago when it first became popular!!! It has cut my getting ready time in half!!! :) Praise Jesus for that!!!
    Even though I still pull on a daily basis, I try SO SO hard to catch myself and distract myself with something else! I have been to therapist, I have taken a million meds, I have tried buying myself Latisse thinking if I spent that much money to grow them back I wouldn’t pull……..nothing has worked!
    I have chosen to just live life and quit worrying about what I look like to everyone else!! This is me, this is who I am! We only get one shot at life and it is way too short to worry about something so menial when there are others out there suffering from things that are way worse than what we do!!!
    Your story is an inspiration! You are a gorgous soul inside and out! I will be forever grateful to my friend who sent me your blog!
    Love,
    Your new biggest fan :)

  186. For so long I have always thought I was just quirky cuz I will pull and twirl my hair. My hands are constantly in my hair and stress only makes it worse. People tease me about it all the time, I just tell them most of the time I am not even really aware that I am doing it, my hands just go there. Thank you for sharing this. Its nice to know that I am not the only one out there–feeling a little less crazy now.

  187. I’ve been struggling with Trich for about 25 years. Thanks for being brave enough to share your story.

  188. Liana Stieh says:

    I too!!! I was 8 years old. The specialists all say it definitely has something to do with puberty. Seems to be a consistent age. Congratulations on your challenge. It works!! I did the same challenge when my father passed in 2007! I have been free from the pulling since then!!! You can do it!!!!

  189. Oh my. I just came to the site to see how you curl your hair. Now you’ve made me cry! While I don’t have trich, I was diagnosed with OCD as a young child and it’s never ceased. The way you described your math class was the daily battle I had! I would sit and stare blankly at the problems while my head filled with what a failure I was becoming because I couldn’t figure any of it out. I surely wouldn’t finish school, or go to college, or get a good job. I’ve never heard of someone else understanding that EXACT feeling. Now that I’m twenty and a senior in college, math doesn’t seem like such a big deal to me, only because I don’t have to deal with it often. It was enlightening to read this page and more of a relief than I had expected to come across, to be honest. Thank you very, very much for sharing your story with us.

  190. Becky Ethington says:

    GOOD for you! I am proud of you and I don’t even know you. What a tremendous thing to do. I wish you all the best.

  191. You are so awesome and so is your Mom! I’ve never dealt with this issue personally but I have my own thing of course. It takes courage to ‘come out’ like you have. I hope your life is going well :)

  192. Wow. I am blown away. I’ve been struggling with Trich and Derma for my whole life, it feels like. This is the first time I have EVER read a blog post about it. You are wonderful.. I started crying as I was reading this. Your mom is phenomenal… thank you for giving a voice to this horribly secretive disconfirming habit.

  193. Your hair curling tutorial was on Pinterest and as I was scrolling through I was interested to know why you needed hair extensions, and I’m so glad I clicked to find out. I also have Trich, but it feels very weird to me to say that, because I always assumed I just did a really weird thing. Mine isn’t my hair, it’s my eyelashes and eyebrows. I’m 21 and since I started pulling it was only my eyelashes, then became my eyebrows as well when I was about 19 or 20. I am literally trying not to pull them as a type this. I don’t have much to say, other than that it feels really good to know that there are other people who do the same “weird” thing as me, and that there is actually a name for it. That way when people ask me why my eyebrows/eyelashes are gone I can stop making things up. Thank you for sharing your secret, it seems like it has made more people than just me feel better. :)

  194. I am so blessed to know you’re secret. While I don’t know you I know the power that bringing light to dark places. I am so happy you had the strength to do this. Its huge! And I will hope and pray that your vulnerability is honored and does lead you to growth and accountability. You go girl! Rock it.

  195. nina mendez says:

    I cannot stress how incredibly brave you are. We always try to hide our so-called flaws for fear of what others may say or think and yet, here you are, posting in on the internet….BRAVO! Your post has reached so many people who will now have a better understanding of this condition and will probably speak to others about it….they may reach out and tell someone who has this condition how beautiful they are or talk to their children about it and their children will understand a be a little kinder….all because you had the guts to say, ‘this is me’. I commend you!

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  197. I want to thank you so much for sharing this. It is beautiful. I’ve suffered from OCD since before I can remember (literally; my Mom tells me how I used to adjust things to be perfect when I was a toddler). Learning to be open about it and manage it had been a life long process. It’s hard to talk about because so few people understand. It’s worse for me when I’m stressed too (which is always! Thanks, OCD! Haha). So I don’t know you but I’m very proud of you for sharing this and you hopefully are too. I believe Your strength and openness prove you will be an amazing Mom and I hope you believe that too. Most ppl try to hide their perfections. Nearly impossible for me as I have a lot of facial ticks these days. But I work somewhere without cubicles so I can’t hide my secret anymore either. Thanks for reminding me I don’t need to be ashamed and that I can use my open environment as a reminder to try to be strong and control myself (I do the facial ticks really only at work when I’m focused on work and not paying attention to what my body’s doing), and that I’m not the only one out there. :) bless you!

  198. Hi! I saw your hair curling technique on Pinterest and then read about your “secret.” My mother told me that when I was 4 I started pulling my hair out. My father had just been killed very violently in front of me by a drug addict that was in need of money. I don’t remember doing this to myself. She took me to doctors. I vaguely remember the shrinks lol You are such a beautiful and obviously talented woman. I wish there was a cure for you and others like you and the thought of doing this to myself has always remained mainly because I have had the thought pass through my head, what if I just plucked this hair. It takes great restraint to do something else and leave my beautiful brunette strands right where they belong. I still aggravate my mom. My bad habit is constantly twirling my hair around my fingers over and over and over and braiding and unbraiding my hair. I do this watching tv, in the car, at restaurants, and now in school. I am 40 and decided to go back to college and it is very stressful. As a matter of fact, one of my classmates has numerous conditions, OCD being one, and she laughs at me each time she catches me in the library twirling over and over again. I then laugh at her as she sits with me and presses the center of a Disney World pamphlet she has folded in half over and over. One of her non self destructing behaviors. The world holds all types. The brave share their “secrets” and through that , many know that they are not alone, they are not different, someone out there gets it.

  199. I have this too, and by looking at all the above comments we are certainly not alone! You are very brave, I could never have the courage to announce this and I commend you for that!

  200. Glad you made this post. I have dermatillomania and it pretty much can take over your life. “Just one more pick”. “Just one more minute…”Sometimes I have to avoid looking in mirrors or I will attack my face.

  201. Thank you for posting this. I don’t have trich, but it is so beautiful to see all these people who do have it coming together and sharing their experiences and showing one another that you’re not alone. You have done a big favour for many of these people in posting this and showing that it is absolutely nothing to be afraid of.

    Keep smiling everyone :)

  202. How amazing & brave of you to share this.
    You are a beautiful woman & although I am new to your blog, I’m already a fan!
    Happy New Year!

    XO

  203. I just stumbled across this and your story and mostly your bravery to reveal your secret is inspiring. It looks like you posted this in 2010, and I am wondering if you have had any success!? God bless

    Janelle

  204. Great post. Thanks for sharing your secret. Just wondering, if you will share, have you been dx with OCD? My niece is 9, started pulling out clumps, then strands of hair on top of her head. Her mother tried everything short of medication. Finally she made my niece wear a hair net around the house and a handkerchief at school. Seems like things are going well. She has been not wearing any hair “protector” for about 4 months.
    Curious has your hair pulling always been there. Where there times in your life when you didn’t pull? If you would share if medication helped? I appreciate your openness, willing to share your secret, and in turn help others!

  205. Its always heart warming and gives me hope when I see people who have trich come out publicly about it. You have no idea what it does to public awareness in general, thanks alot for this. And good luck in the challenges. Wish you all the best.

  206. Hi Ashley,
    Thank you so much for this post. I am a high school English teacher and my students always do a huge final project on a topic of their choice. Last year, one of my students did her paper on Trich, because she has it. She used her paper to share her secret with her classmates, and she came back to school the next day with her hair buzzed. Her classmates were all so supportive, and I am so excited that I stumbled upon your post because now I can share it with her.
    Thank you for being an inspiration! My student could really use a role model like you to show her that she can be beautiful and strong with Trich.
    Take care,
    Shana

  207. Hello, my name is Christi. I have never been diagnosed with what you speak of but I am a puller. I don’t pull my hair, unless it’s gray, but I do pull my eyebrows and eyelashes (no one knows this secret of mine, not even my parents). My parents noticed my facial hair started missing when I was in 2nd grade. I went to a ton of doctors and was diagnosed with every hair loss disease out there… but trech. My parents stopped taking me to the visits because no one knew what was wrong, all the treatments never worked. So they stopped. When I got in 7th and 8th grade I became very embarrassed because all the girls were wearing makeup, had beautiful eyelashes and such and here I was. I felt like an ugly duckling. My mom finally let me wear makeup at the end of my 8th grade year. I have lined my eyes with black and put mascara on what little lashes I do have to give an illusion of lashes. It helps me feel better about myself. I have tried to stop pulling, I have gone 6 months at one time. But something always happens and I start pulling again. I wish you luck, I have confidence that you can stop. Knowing there are other women out there that pull their hair comforts me. Makes me feel like I am not such a weirdo after all. I will try to visit your blog more often and hold myself accountable, with you, and stop the pulling. I will try to find a different method to deal with the stresses of life. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for posting this. THANK YOU!

  208. Your mom is so great. I struggled with anxiety my whole life, but I never had any symptoms that I couldn’t hide – and hiding them felt like the most important thing in the world. My mom didn’t notice any of it until I told her as an adult, so it felt like a blow from nowhere. Your mom’s reaction is so inspiring, and I’m sure it’s part of why you’re such a great mom too (the other part just being your inherent awesomeness, of course).

  209. I came to your blog through a buzzfeed post which linked to your post about curling your hair. You then linked to this post about why you need hair extensions. I had started my “surfing” looking for hair and makeup tutorials to prep me for an interview tomorrow, and how completely random is it that I came across you and this post because I too pull. Like many commenters here I pull my eyebrows, and occasionally eyelashes. Rarely does the hair on my head get pulled because I was “blessed” with naturally curly hair and to touch my hair when curly usually results in a big poofy mess, but when I straighten my hair then I pull that too. It’s always the eyebrows first for me though. I’ve never “officially” been diagnosed, and I even saw a psychologist a few years back about this who basically just told me to stop, that I had complete control over this, and to stop. I have never met or encountered another woman with this issue, and seeing other comments from those saying they usually know they are doing it but can’t control the compulsion makes me feel so much less alone. I started around the age of 6/7. I started what my loved ones call “drawing them (my eyebrows) on” about my sophomore year in high school because I got tired of people asking if I had cancer or if something was wrong with me. Little kids would come up to me in public and ask about my lack of eyebrows. It was so embarrassing. Occasionally small children will still ask about them even with the makeup if they get really close to me, but now that I’m a few months shy of 30, it upsets me much less. Mine too is stress related. I’ve always been anxious ands onetime who worries. I wish there was some treatment, hypnosis, or something for this. Between having to create makeup eyebrows every morning and tackle naturally curly hair, it’s pretty much impossible for me to be a low maintaine (aka shower and go) kind of woman. I had heard of people pulling out their hair but never have I found anyone like the commenters here pull eyebrows and eyelashes and it’s comforting to know there are other women out there who deal with this. Thank you so much for sharing your secret and bringing all these people together to speak about theirs as well.

  210. I stumbled upon your website through pinterest and here I am– I share your secret too! I’ve been struggling with trich for 10 years now. And as I write this, I have just realized that I have pulled for this long..definitely not the best feeling in the world..so I shed a few years while thinking the ups and the downs are so draining and sometimes it feels like there is never an end to pulling. All of my family and friends have been very supportive of me over the years, which I’m very grateful for. While it’s awesome having such amazing support, it still doesn’t fix the problem. But like you, I try to hold myself accountable for my hair pulling by sharing my secret with other people. I like to use it as “educational” talks because I think people need to know about trich and know that it’s more common than people think. My hairdresser says that she knows a handful of her clients that have trich. According to her, we are her favorite clients because our hair (or lack of hair) has so much personality! I find this to be touching because of the acceptance and absense of judgment. Like any other person with trich, I, too, hope to one day have the hair, eyelashes, and eyebrows that I either used to have or have always wanted. Over the last few months, I’ve been working really really hard on not pulling out any hair. Of course, it’s nearly impossible since there still is not a day that goes by in which I haven’t pulled. There have been days that I’ve said I haven’t pulled but the truth is, I did pull… It just wasn’t as excessive as other days. I find it comforting and also impecable timing that I’ve found your blog because these last few days have been rough. It goes from not paying attention for a few minutes and accidentally pulling, to realizing what just happened and continue pulling anyway. And of course continuing to pull just opens the gates to pulling ecessively and finding it difficult to stop. As you have probably experienced before, so much guilt and frustration settles in after a major pulling session(s)..that’s where I’m at right now. My short run of “success” has again become an “epic fail” when I found myself pulling the other night…hair, eyelashes, eyebrows…the works! I shouldn’t beat myself up over being diappointed over my relapse but I was going for a really good streak there for awhile! All it takes is a couple minutes of not paying attention and BAM!-back to ground zero. It’s back to baby steps of accomplishments and short term goals and hoping for a longer run of no pulling this time around. Have any methods/ideas that have been successful for you? Us trichsters gotta stick together!

    Sorry for the long comment..guess I had some stuff I had to get off my chest. Only fellow trichsters TRUELY know what each other goes through.

    Brianna

  211. Thank you for being so strong and open. I felt like I got a sense of what you were feeling; you told your story so beautifully. Your mom is an angel, I really love her reaction and the support she has given you. What a lovely relationship! I wish you strength in your battle with this :)

  212. That’s awesome that you are taking control over your own life! Good luck and I hope your story helps other girls understand they aren’t alone when dealing with life’s curveballs.

  213. I’m glad you were able to share your story. Sounds like you’re an amazing person. I’m wondering and I’m sure someone has probably mentioned it to you but it could be diet related. Mainly gluten which can cause serious personality and OCD behavior. I’m not an expert; just a mother of 4 who had a daughter who picks at her head until she is bald in that spot. After testing her with a naturapathy we found out that she had a gluten, dairy, and yeast sensitivity. We’ve changed her diet and she is making improvements. We couldn’t be happier. I hope you find peace.

  214. Hi! I’ve been reading your website for a long time now and finally got the bravery to go ahead
    and give you a shout out from Houston Texas! Just
    wanted to mention keep up the fantastic work!

  215. Jennifer Pavuk says:

    I don’t have what you have. But I have something that makes me feel like you do. And now I feel that if you can do it so can I. If someone can pull through something that makes them feel different and crazy and come out stronger on the other side. I can too. I have Borderline Personality Disorder, and I don’t even fully know what it is yet. But I aim to find out and lose weight and be a good mom, like I hope I can be.

  216. I only stop by to tell you that you are not alone,and to thank you for shearing your secret. I have a two year old whit Trich. Yes,she is very little. You can imagine how we felt when we realized about it, she even pulled her hair while she was asleep. It was really nerve-wracking,because she wasn’t able to talk about it. It’s been a year now since all of this started and she has come a long way. Her hair is starting to grow, she stoped the constant pulling and we as a family learned a LOOOOOT about trich and most important about her and her need’s.
    So,Im telling you : YOU CAN AND YOU WILL DO IT! ;)

    (I hope my writing it’s not to crappy,english it’s not my native language.)

  217. There’s something about someone sharing something deep from their heart that allows others to feel safe. Thank you for sharing your heart. You are awesome!

  218. Four years later and still an incredible post. I can relate in the non-hair-pulling version. The worse the stress is, the worse the compulsion.

  219. Thank you for sharing about having trichotillomania. My 14yo son has had it since he was 9. Not many people know about it or understand it. It’s nice to see you sharing these hair techniques! You are wonderful!

  220. Bethany says:

    So happy I stumbled across this post. I was diagnosed with this in 2nd grade and for some reason when I got to high school I stopped most of my triggers. I wish I could share how I did, but one tip I do have is to re-direct the hair pulling into tweezing out leg hairs–they will be shaved off anyway! However, it is really easy to get carried away so I will only do this in my free time, for example in front of the tv. It helps to get the urge out of the way and I don’t beat myself up afterwards because it doesn’t effect my image, also I don’t have to hide the bald spots. And if a friend catches you, just say you forgot to shave a spot ;) I actually find it really meditative and now that I don’t fight the habit, I can stop the behavior at any time.

  221. About 2 months ago , for the 1st time that I can recall, I learned the word trichotillomania & here you are, sharing that you struggle with this. We all have our struggles, we all have our thing. Thank you for this post & helping us all be a little more ok with our thing & more importantly for helping those who also struggle with trich. Some days my own things make me feel defeated. But typically after sleep, the new day brings me a refreshed sense of wanting to try again. Keep trying. :)

  222. Holy! I was checking out your tutorial (thanks to a buzz feed list) and saw the link you posted about why you have extensions. The “why i have them” part was intriguing to me, and I had a feeling you might be someone else who has trich. Super cool. I’ve had trich since I was a kid and wear extensions full time now too. Super awesome to see such a gorgeous, body-positive chick talking out about this. Kudos!

  223. Greta Skinner says:

    I too have trichotillomania.

    I didn’t realize that you have it too! I don’t feel so alone anymore.

    In fact, I feel empowered.

    Thank you.

  224. Wow, hi Ashley, I found the link to your blog from reading a post by Erin over at Living in Yellow. Anyway, I had a neighbor and we grew up together (but separate?), she was a year younger, and we weren’t friends, but we rode the same bus on our way to middle school, and I knew of her throughout HS. I never knew what she had, and how she lived it, but I knew something was off, and she had/has the secret you just revealed about yourself. As I read your post, I kept thinking about her. How brave of you to share. What an intriguing way to express your OCD and how you coped and remain strong in handling that obsession. I think we all have our little or big but quirky tendencies. Anyways, thanks for the courage to share! Maybe you’ll visit me one day: Her & Hair
    -Amber

  225. I have to say, I just found your blog tonight and it lead me to this entry. You posting this to be a challenge to yourself is great but just from reading your story, I feel like a couple or so of your goals/challenges may need to be adjusted just a tiny bit…

    “A challenge to stop” Obviously stopping is an ultimate goal, but you have been doing this for a very long time. How about working on one day at a time?

    “A challenge to change” Change is a big word. You may need to change how you handle stress so you can handle pulling better, but as you said, this does not define you.

    “A challenge to be better” Each day we should all work at being better than we were yesterday. But just know your OCD is a disorder and does not mean anything is wrong with you as a person. We all deal with our issues but you sound like you are very strong and have done so much and inspired so many people. It doesn’t get much better than that!!!

    “A challenge to be honest with myself” Honesty is the best policy and if we can’t be honest with ourselves, then can we really be honest with others? Good challenge here, one I think will be easy for you, 

    “A challenge to keep this a secret no longer” I think you sort of already met this challenge… GOOD FOR YOU!!!!!

    Stay strong and take it one day at a time…from a person who lives this kind of advice every day. I deal with being bi-polar and it is a day to day battle. Some days are easier than others, but just like with you, some days may be harder and you may slip, but just dust yourself off and continue working on your goals. As long as you’re trying, you can never truly fail.

    This post makes me very proud of you!!!!!

  226. When I get super stressed I pull my eye brow hair..

  227. I don’t have a lot to say, I came across this page from Pinterest, but I have this problem too. It started around the third grade I think. It’s gotten better over the years, but I know it’s like a ticking time bomb, it’s only a matter of time before I pull again. Everyone asks, “Why can’t you just… Stop?” But no one really understands it’s honestly not that simple. It’s like your mind slips into another psych so suddenly, as crazy as it sounds, YOU’RE not in control anymore. I’m engaged to the love of my life and the plan was just to keep it a secret and hope he never notices. But your post has given me the strength to tell him and hope for the best. Thank you for your inspiration! Good luck :)

  228. flyaway4221 says:

    Thank you so much for sharing, all of you! I was diagnosed in 5th grade and 15 years later I haven’t stopped…I have gotten more sneaky about it though, I pull hair out from all over my body, my head, my eyebrows and eyelashes, my legs…ANY hair that is dark! No one understands, my husband is the same way…just stop doing it! (don’t they think that we would if we could?) I am so thankful that people like you guys are brave enough to come forward and share so people like me don’t feel so alone. Bless you guys for being BRAVE!

  229. I realize this is an old article but i thought i would post in case it could help someone. I too have been diagnosed with OCD and over the past 7 years I have been able to stop pulling out my eyebrows and scratching my skin til it bleeds. I know not everyone is interested in medication, but it has certainly changed my life. Most people are unaware that I have any disorder at all unless I tell them. I have gone from doctors telling me I should just go on disability to people not having any idea i have issues. It did take a while to find the right combination for me, but when i did, everything changed. For me, i’m on 200mg of Topamax and 150 mg of Effexor a day…..i used to me on Paxil instead of Effexor but after about 4 years it stopped working. The Effexor seems to be working now. Anyway, i just thought it may help someone like it helps me daily….i know what a struggle it can be. God bless.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Carrie, my super hot stylist, was a great sport about having the entire experience documented. Here is the FULL scoop on my hair extensions, and my coloring process. If you’re new here, I need the extensions because of this. [...]

  2. [...] Secret EXPOSED April 27, 2011 By Ashley @ Little Miss Momma * 228 Comments I posted my secret nearly a year ago. I made myself vulnerable. I put it all out there, in hopes that the exposure [...]

  3. [...] up about 25% of my hair.  They don’t add any length, but they add volume.  Read this, if you’re new here and wondering why I need extensions. I take the first chunk of hair, [...]

  4. [...] am the momma who revealed her biggest, most personal secret –on her [...]

  5. [...] I Have a Secret: And if you’re feeling really brave, you can try writing out your secret.  You know what…you should try this even if you never share it with another living soul. I can testify to you that there is something truly relieving and uplifting about putting the words down on paper. And if you do decide to share it over the Internet, you may be surprised at how many lives you are able to touch. [...]

  6. [...] thinning patches of hair represent the nights I lay awake pulling while I worried about little guy and his sleep condition–because when you love someone, you [...]

  7. [...] in the room with her {just what I want to be compared to}. thinks it’s really hard to break a bad habit. has decided to reduce the T-Day stress and order my Turkey from Honey Baked Ham this year. [...]

  8. [...] inspired you to share your secret with us? I heard an amazing bit of advice at my first blog conference. That which is most personal, [...]

  9. [...] extensions are actually shorter than my real hair, so they just make my hair thicker to help hide my secret. What kind of camera do you use? If you read this post, then you’ve heard that I know nothing [...]

  10. [...] A post sharing my deepest, darkest Secret. [...]

  11. [...] She is SUPER talented, PLUS, she is real and she talks about real issues. Have you read her post about her secret?? [...]

  12. [...] of its awesomeness, I can wear my hair down in public without the stress of people staring at my secret.  For some reason, since becoming a Momma, I never ever have my nails painted. I think [...]

  13. [...] been a long time since I updated you on my “hair” situation. I suppose I’ve felt like I couldn’t come back to you until I had good [...]

  14. [...] as a real job when people ask. I have hair extensions. They make my hair thicker, not longer. And this is why I need [...]

  15. [...] the very first time in my 28 years) take the necessary measures and dedicate myself to eliminating this toxicity from my [...]

  16. Dr. Rashmi Patel

    I Have a Secret – Best Of, live – Little Miss Momma

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