Do You Paint Those Eyebrows On?

Do You Paint Those Eyebrows On?

What is trichotillomania... and is it contagious?
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I can't remember the exact day or age when I first pulled my own hair. By 12 years-old, I was picking at my eyebrows and eyelashes at least once a month, and my pulling increased as I grew older. I didn't pull enough hair for it to be noticeable to others, and I did it almost subconsciously and it happened anytime I was stressed. At an early age I self-diagnosed myself with depression, but of course I tried to hide my feelings from my family and especially my friends.

It was only near the end of high school that my trichotillomania had worsened. I used eyebrow pencils, eyeliner, and eye shadow to construct eyebrows for myself. My eyelashes were non-existent. It was getting harder to hide my daily struggle. You ready for some embarrassing high school selfies?

Evolution of my high school eyebrows. You can see that my selfie-game improved, but I also tried to both go with a more "natural" thin eyebrow look. I finally went from my actual eyebrow shape to a more arched shape as I would pick more and more away.

Trichotillomania, or "trich" for short, is a disorder characterized by compulsions to pull one's own hair, usually from the head, eyebrows, eyelashes or any other part of the body. Once thought of as a type of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, it's now seen as a body-focused repetitive behavior (BFRB), similar to nail-biting. Some people who suffer from trich may also suffer from clinical depression, general anxiety, or trauma. Some develop trichotillomania at an early age, but grow out of the behavior once they leave childhood. However, many will struggle their whole lives with their behavior. Pulling can be triggered by stress or trauma, and just like any other bad habit, it can be difficult to control or quit.

Not me, but a very striking image of someone with trich and how they cover their pulling.

When people who have trich pull hair, usually there is a buildup of tension, and then a relief of this tension when the hair is pulled and a sense of euphoria. This pleasure is temporary, however, as feelings of shame, guilt, or depression can follow quickly after a pulling session. Due to these feelings, most people with trich will hide their behavior with makeup, wigs or bandannas.

There is no official "cure" for trichotillomania. Since it is tied to other illnesses, the recommended action is to treat the illness or problem that is causing the behavior. For those with clinical depression, pulling episodes may occur cyclically at the same time as prolonged episodes of depression often do. Those with anxiety may pull or pick during a panic attack or directly before or afterwards. However, "no cure" shouldn't mean "no hope". There are many ways to manage hair-pulling and to gain control over compulsive behavior.

1. Research trichotillomania and understand the reasons behind it. If you believe that you have trichotillomania, I suggest you research and read as much as you can about the disorder. One great website to look at is the Trichotillomania Learning Center, which gives a basic overview of the disorder and offers lots of resources for both those suffering from trich and for their family and friends.



2. See a doctor or therapist. Even if you don't have depression or anxiety, seeing a therapist or behavioral specialist will help you understand your behavior and help you determine why you are picking or pulling. Learning more about yourself will give you an idea of how to control and manage your behavior. If you are diagnosed with depression, anxiety, or another mental illness, going to regular therapy or taking medication may help reduce your pulling and allow you to have more control over your behavior.

3. Determine when you are most susceptible to pulling episodes. Do you pull in the morning, or right before bed? Do you pull more in your bedroom or watching TV on the couch? This information is key to changing your behavior, so be aware of when you pull!

4. Track your behavior by counting every single hair you pull. In your phone's notes, track how much you pull each day, and if applicable, if anything stressful occurred that day to cause you to pull. Make a reminder or alarm so you remember to track this each day. Each time you go through a picking or pulling session, try to count as you go, or save the hairs and count after. If you have an area where you typically pull (like your bedroom), put a physical paper calendar on the wall and make a tally mark for each hair you pull so you can track your behavior visually. You could even download a journal app like Grid Diary where you can customize quick, daily journal questions so you can record how many hairs you pulled, how you felt, and other personal information.

5. Limit how many hairs you pull. If you pull 20 hairs each session, limit yourself to 10. Slowly cut down on your behavior instead of stopping cold turkey - you don't want to end up back tracking. This
will take patience and determination. Continue to decrease your pulling number. You can even decide maybe you'll only pull on a certain day each week or month.

6. Create realistic goals for yourself! Make sure to make SMART goals: Specific (what do you want to accomplish?), Measurable (how much?), Action-Oriented (what will you physically do to achieve this?), Realistic (is the goal realistic in the amount of time given?) and Timely (by what date do you want to achieve this? How much time will it take?). Start with small, achievable goals and then once you meet those, create new goals. The best way to see your progress is to continue to track your behavior. Remember to REWARD YOURSELF when you reach your goals! For examply, if you limited pulling 10 hairs each week and you met your goal, reward yourself with seeing a movie with a friend. Rewarding yourself after you achieve your goals will encourage you to move forward!

7. Grow longer nails or get acrylics. Since 80 to 90% of adults with trich are women, I thought I'd share this tip, although guys, don't be afraid to try! Personally, I've found that longer nails or acrylics prevent me from pulling because it is more difficult to get a hold of smaller hairs on the eyelashes and eyebrows. This is more of a costly alternative, but for me it has been a great solution. The longer the better! Treat yourself with a manicure and see if it will help you.

I prefer either very long and boxy or pointed. I can barely hang on to an individual hair with these!

8. Join a support group online or in person. Find others who are going through similar things as you. Examples are Reddit groups like r/Trichsters where you can feel free to anonymously interact with an online community of other people with trich. However, you may feel more comfortable in other groups on different websites or in-person support groups recommended by your therapist. You can share your progress with these groups, be inspired by their successes, and learn new tips and tricks!

9. Have friends and family keep you accountable. Inform your friends and family of your goals and ask for their support. Having other people to cheer you on and build you up when you're going through a tough time can make trichotillomania more manageable. I've found it helpful to have my friends gently tell me to stop if they see me picking or pulling when I don't notice myself. You'll never realize how much help your loved ones can be in your life until you tell them about what you're going through!

My Mom never can resist calling me out when I start to pick my eyebrows. Although it sounds like nagging, it's a super helpful way to keep me aware of my behavior. Love you, Mom!

10. Here's a challenge - go a day without your disguise. Take off your bandanna or hat and clean all your makeup off. You don't have to leave the house, but I challenge you to be completely "naked" and without your cover-ups in front of a family member or friend that hasn't seen you that way previously. The people who truly love and care about you will still find you beautiful, with or
without hair.

After some eyebrow re-growth. No make-up, people! :)

11. Treat yourself to FUN cover-ups. for those days you want to cover up, be bold! Buy a crazy hat, fun head scarf, or funky bandanna in a bright print. Draw your eyebrows big and bold, and experiment with different colors, like purple, pink, or blue. Buy eyelash extensions. Be the unique and beautiful person you are by stop trying to appear "normal" - your trich is your normal.

12. Try some natural remedies for hair growth, like coconut oil. Taking action to help regrow your hair will give you more confidence and encouragement to manage your pulling! Click these links to try home remedies that can promote hair growth for your eyebrows and eyelashes.

13. You're going to mess up, and that's okay. Don't beat yourself up for pulling. Each day is a new day - just remember to relax and remember that no matter what, you have the support of loved ones. Continue to focus on your own natural beauty and strength, and continue to look forward instead of in the past.

14. Remember to love yourself. You are a beautiful human being. Everyone has their quirks and odd behavior, and this makes you unique. Don't let the label "trichotillomania" define who you are - it is just one part of your personality and IS your normal. Don't compare your normal to another persons normal!

15. Change your perception. There is real power in positive thinking. Whenever you feel guilty or ashamed, try to change your negative thoughts into positives. Your pulling can seem and feel like a daily struggle; but instead of focusing on your guilt, focus on your goals and happiness. Change your perception about both your behavior and yourself. Learning the act of self-love is a whole other article to be written, but is vital to building your own inner confidence and motivation to move you through your life's journey.

I struggle with controlling my trichotillomania every day. I draw on my eyebrows each morning, but I try not to let my trich stop me from jumping into pools and taking risks. Learning to manage and control trich is difficult, but extremely rewarding.


Be confident. Be positive. Be loving to yourself and others. Find your own inner strength and remember to never give up on yourself. With these tools, I know you'll be able to handle anything life throws your way - even a few stray, pluck-able hairs.

Cover Image Credit: celebritiesinnate.com

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Everything You Need To Know About BANG Energy Drinks

Say goodbye to your favorite pre-workout drink.
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BANG energy drinks from VPX Sports are the hottest new products for athletes everywhere. On every can, you'll find their catchphrase "Potent Brain & Body Fuel" and it gives you just that. Clean energy, laser-sharp focus, and no sugar induced crashes are just a few of the reasons these bad boys are flying off the shelves faster than retailers can keep them stocked. Haven't heard of them? Sound too good to be true? Let me answer your questions.

What is it? It's an energy drink that's kind of like your typical Red Bull or Monster. It's a perfect substitution for pre-workout supplements or coffee.

Who's it meant for? Anyone! A better question to ask is, "Who isn't this drink meant for?" On the can, you'll find a recommendation for no one under the age of 18 to consume the drink. You also may want to steer clear of it if you're sensitive to stimulants like caffeine.

What's in it? BANG energy drinks contain zero calories, zero carbohydrates, and zero sugar. But what you can find are BCAA's, CoQ10, creatine, and copious amounts of caffeine. These are things athletes often take as supplements.

What are BCAA's? BCAA's are Branched Chain Amino Acids. They are known to stimulate protein synthesis, increase muscle function, decrease your soreness after a workout, and even aid in repairing damaged muscles.

What's CoQ10? Coenzyme Q10 is found in the mitochondria of your cells and sparks energy production. It helps produce energy your body needs for cell growth and maintenance. People often take this as a dietary supplement when they feel tired or lethargic.

What's super creatine? Creatine does a great job in enhancing athletic performance by aiding growth of lean body mass (AKA muscle). When you take creatine orally, the amount in your muscles increase and helps regenerate ATP more efficiently. According to the nutrition label, this so-called "super" creatine is bonded to Leucine to make Creatyl-L-Leucine. On SupplementReviews.com, a VPX Sports representative allegedly said the following about the Super Creatine in the drink:

"The creatine in there is actually something very special...it is the world's only water stable creatine. It is Creatine-Leucine peptide. Think of this...if you mix creatine in water, it sinks and if you mix leucine in water, it floats....if you combine the two into a peptide, it creates a water soluble and water-stable form of creatine. It also has a fatty acid chain that makes it easier to cross the blood brain barrier. The focus of the super creatine is not for muscle function, but for cognition...by combining this form of creatine with caffeine, it works synergistically for mental focus."

How much caffeine is in one can? In one can of BANG, you'll be blessed with 300mg of caffeine. This is the equivalent to over three cups of coffee.

Is that even safe? Yeah, it is. In order for the caffeine in the energy drink to be lethal at any capacity, I would have to drink 30.7 cans.

So, what are the downsides? There are two things that come to mind. One is that consumers have no idea how much BCAA's, CoQ10, or creatine is actually in the drink. It could very likely be trace amounts too small to do anything beneficial. Two, BANG energy drinks do not go through the FDA approval process.

Is it really that good? Well, out of 113 reviews of the product on Bodybuilding.com, there's an average 9.6 overall rating. Most reviews comment on the quality of the energy, the cognitive focus, and the non-existent crash once the drink wears off.

What kind of flavors can I get? There are currently eight BANG energy drink flavors on the market: Black Cherry Vanilla, Cotton Candy, Sour Heads, Star Blast, Blue Razz, Champagne Cola, Power Punch, and Lemon Drop.

Where can I buy BANG energy drinks? You can find BANG energy drinks at Amazon, your local GNC or Vitamin Shoppe retailers, Bodybuilding.com, VPX Sports' website, some gas stations, and privately owned retailers.

How expensive are they? This depends on where you make your purchase. The cheapest place to purchase your BANG energy drinks is at Bodybuilding.com for about $2.00 per can. You can find similar prices on Amazon and at your local retailers. The energy drinks are most expensive through the VPX website where you'll pay about $2.75 per can.

How does BANG compare to other energy drinks? I'll give you some data on nutrition facts and you can make your decisions based on that:

16 oz. BANG: 300mg caffeine, 0g carbohydrates, 0g sugar.

16 oz. Monster Energy (regular): 160mg caffeine, 54g carbohydrates, 54g sugar

16 oz. Red Bull (regular): 160mg caffeine, 56g carbohydrates, 56g sugar

16 oz. Rockstar (regular): 144g caffeine, 54g carbohydrates, 54g sugar

Cover Image Credit: Youtube

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11 Ways To Deal With Two-Faced People

Because you can't always cut them out.

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Since entering college, it seems like it's been one train wreck after another. The past year has given me several blows––with family, finances, personal health, and family well-being. The Lord is helping me deal with a lot of obstacles right now, and I'm trusting Him to carry me through to the other side.

With everything going on, it's safe to say that I have little to no room for disingenuous people in my life. You know who they are. The two-faced individuals who have nothing but smiles, friendship and understanding for you to your face, but the minute you turn away, they're spreading lies and rumors like wildfire. They laugh at you when they think you aren't looking.

There are articles and tips spanning the internet on how to cut toxic people out of your life, but sadly, that's not always an option. So what do you do when you have to grit your teeth and bear it?

1. Take stock of who you can trust

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When dealing with people who can't seem to give it to you straight, it's best to lean on those who do. Maybe it's a small handful or even a single person, but they can make a world of difference for your mental health.

2. Put your faith where it belongs

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I put my faith in God, my family and my friends. It's not always easy, but it's comforting when you don't have it in yourself. Not everyone is going to understand or support you, and that's OK. You don't need them or their approval.

3. Limit your interactions



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Maybe they're family, a coworker or a classmate––you can't always get away. Be that as it may, you can limit your interactions. If you don't have to speak to them, don't. Go about your business as best as possible, then move on when you can.

4. Keep your guard up

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People will have a field day making assumptions about you. Most times, they don't realize how hypocritical this makes them. That's their problem to own, not yours. Although you don't want to keep walls up in every part of your life, it can occasionally be a healthy choice. It's best not to invest trust or emotions into those who will double-cross you.

5. Don't forget to stay positive

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When people drag you down, it's hard to shake off their grasp. It's amazing how free you can feel when you don't let them get in your head. Don't let them dim your light!

6. Let your actions speak for themselves

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Circumstances can arise that hinder your performance or attitude. That's life, it happens! Don't feel bad for not being a robot––perfectly tuned to everyone else's expectations. You're human. You may not be perfect, but you can do your best. This may not be enough for them, but it is for those who care about you.

7. Avoid stooping to their level

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Sometimes the best way to fight back is to rise above it all. Seeking revenge and copying their actions does nothing but make you like them. Be better than that.

8. Try not to take their words to heart

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This is the hardest. It's so much easier to let the lies get past your guard than the truth. Let those double-crossers do or say what they will––that reflects on them and who they are more than anything else. You can't change who they are, but you can control your reaction.

9. If you're comfortable, confront them

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If it's something you feel safe doing, confront them. You don't need to be aggressive, but you can be honest. Tell them about the rumors circulating. Tell them how this makes you feel. Remind them that you once put your trust in them, and they betrayed that trust. After that, the ball is in their court.

10. Laugh it off

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You don't need to convince anyone of your value if they refuse to see it. Mark it up as a good story to tell, a lesson in toughening your skin and move on. The people in your life should feel lucky to have you in theirs, and if they don't, they don't need to be a priority.

11. Be patient

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Find comfort in the knowledge that you aren't the only one who sees both of their faces. If they're double-crossing you, chances are, they have done it and are doing it to others. They may be fooling some, but certainly not everyone.

Cover Image Credit:

Chester Wade

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