It has been a little over 6 months since Doesn’t It Hurt? Confessions of Compulsive Hair Pullers has made it’s debut. Yesterday, I was sent a wonderful photo from someone who had purchased a copy. She and some of her fellow students were doing some research on trichotillomania and were using the book. After she sent me her photo of the group posing with the book, it dawned on me that the book had made it all the way to Scotland. Immediately I was lit up and excited. It had me curious where else in the world has the book made it to. That is when I came up with the idea of having a contest. (more…)
Kicking Trichotillomania’s A**- Free Excerpt from Doesn’t It Hurt? Confessions of Complusive Hair Pullers
KATHERINE, LATE TEENS, NEW YORK
No matter how well I write my story I’ve come to the conclusion that a person cannot fully understand trichotillomania unless they’ve laid in bed at 2 a.m. covered in hair, painfully aware of their throbbing scalp. However, it’s crucial for those suffering from trichotillomania to talk about their experiences, not only to educate society, but also to help other trichsters feel less alone.
Trichotillomania is about so much more than hair, or lack thereof. It can be socially crippling and certainly emotionally exhausting, and yet, I wouldn’t trade my experience with trichotillomania for the world. Like many sufferers, I started pulling my hair out at the peak of adolescence. I can vividly remember the first time I pulled out my hair. Of course, I could have been pulling before this point unconsciously, but I’ll never know for sure. I was around twelve years old and heading to Florida for a vacation along with my mom, younger brother, and close family friends. It was supposed to be a relaxing and fun-filled week with friends and family. I don’t remember a single detail of the vacation except that as each day went by the spot where my hair parted grew thinner and thinner. Right before vacation I had gotten bangs for the first time and bleach blonde highlights. I was standing in front of the illuminated mirror looking at the small imperfections on my skin and examining my bangs thoroughly to see if all the hairs were even in length. Suddenly I noticed one dark hair, which was slightly longer than all the others, and promptly plucked it from my scalp. Little did I know that I had just started something that would change the course of my life forever. (more…)
Depression and other forms of mental illness are not to be taken lightly.
For many of us who currently suffer or have suffered we are the walking wounded. We have seen and felt things that others should never have to endure. Some of us carry trauma that has not fully been released. (more…)
The Power of Stories
Whenever I discuss the book I wrote and compiled, Project Dermatillomania: The Stories Behind Our Scars, one of my staples is to say, “By skin pickers, for skin pickers.” But what does that really mean? I was talking to a friend of mine and she helped me see that’s probably not enough to just throw around that little phrase. And thinking about it now, it’s not particularly fair to the diversity of the skin picking community, nor is it fair to everyone who contributed a story—the people that make up the heart and soul of this book.
I find it difficult summing up anything though, because I always feel like I’m missing some piece of it. I guess by saying “by skin pickers, for skin pickers,” I had hoped to create an idea of what the book was about and cover everything I meant to say about it without actually saying any of it. Somehow I hoped that that would suffice to sum up a collection of written and visual stories from 20-50 year old people who all share the same disorder. But in all honesty, there’s more to the book than that. (more…)
To purchase your copy please visit: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00J4PGTZ2
My First Trichotillomania Study with American University and The Behavior Therapy Center of Greater Washington- Part 3
PART III: Treatment
We used the SCAMP model to choose which interventions could be most beneficial to me. Below is what we mutually agreed upon, after much exploration.
1. HIDE THE TWEEZERS AND MAGNIFYING MIRROR
From the beginning, one thing I made clear was that there was absolutely no circumstance under which I was going to get rid of my tweezers. While I know ridding myself of them seems an obvious and logical choice, I also know I like thin eyebrows. To me they represent some sort of security blanket. I was convinced I could lessen my pulling and hang onto them at the same time, and David was completely understanding and supportive.
In fact, he offered that perhaps I could both keep them and find a way to not use them as often. After a long conversation and options offered, I agreed to keep them (along with my magnifying mirror), but make them less readily available. I thus hid them in drawers or cabinets, behind things. If I did decide to go for them to pull, there was time built in to have a conversation with myself. “Do I really need to be pulling in this moment?” (more…)
My First Trichotillomania Study with American University and the Behavior Therapy Center of Greater Washington Parts 1 & 2
Part I: The Journey Begins
In April of 2013, I attended my first Trichotillomania Learning Center conference. I knew I’d attend a few sessions about treatment options for trich, which made me feel … complicated. While a very large part of me has accepted that I have trich, there’s still a small voice that thinks it would be nice if I stopped. It may be the voice of me when I was a young girl, the one who was bullied for looking different from other children.
Still, even as an adult, I thought, why not learn all that I can? Perhaps I’ll find something that will work for me. Besides – if nothing changed, I’d be in the same place in which I started. What did I have to lose?
I attended a few sessions on The Comprehensive Behavioral Model (ComB), which intrigued me; I took quite a few notes. As I listened to Dr. Mansueto discuss the topic, I got pretty excited. In particular, I liked that while it sounded like a lot of work, it was actually doable. Even more thrilling was the fact that his office, The Behavior Therapy Center of Greater Washington, was a mere 15 minutes from my home. I decided in that moment that I would call his office upon my return, to begin the therapy.
I called to make an appointment within a day or two of the conference ending. However, I was sad to learn that there was a long waiting list. I actually dropped the idea of being seen when I learned this.
Then, about a month later, I was on the TLC website when I noticed they had an advertisement for a new study. As fate would have it, it was for the ComB model, and would be held at Dr. Mansueto’s office with American University. (more…)
Last year brought the trichotillomania community Mrs. America contestant Mrs. Josie Sanctis. She did an amazing job helping to spread awareness throughout the country with her platform as trich. 2014 has the potential to have another wonderful woman in the Mrs. America pageant who will have TTM as one of her platforms. Heather Meyer who is now the reigning Mrs. Southwest Colorado will competing in her statewide pageant this April to become the representative for Colorado in the Mrs. America competition. Not only is Heather a beautiful woman, she is a mother who has her master’s degree in counseling and psychology. I am so honored she took some time to answer some questions for my blog. Thank you Heather for putting yourself out there to help spread awareness and be of support for those who desire it. (more…)
Statistics show that 1 in 50 Americans have trichotillomania. However,
the real number of those with trich may be much higher. Many people are too
embarrassed or ashamed to admit they pull their hair, and go to great lengths
to hide their behavior from family, friends, and medical professionals. (more…)