Trichotillomania Means You Don't Have Eyelashes

Trichotillomania Makes Me Want To Pull My Hair Out, Literally

When anxiety manifests itself...physically.

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Something that many people don't know about me is that I suffer from an impulse control disorder. Trichotillomania, to be specific. You've probably never heard of it, but if you have I commend you, as you're one of a rare few.

You probably could infer what an "impulse control disorder" is from the name alone, but what is Trichotillomania? (Or as many of us with it call it: Trich.) "Trich" is the almost incessant urge to pull out body hair. Some pull from their scalp. Some (like me), pull their eyelashes and/or eyebrows. Some pull their arm and/or leg hair. Some even pull the hair down there.

Yeah, it ain't too pretty.

For me, it comes in waves. While Trich is an impulse control disorder (meaning, no matter how much you don't want to do something, you really, and I mean really, can't fight the urge), it also is an anxiety disorder. I've had pretty bad anxiety my whole life, like probably the worse-than-average kind. My Trich flares up in times of stress, specifically when I'm studying for a test, doing homework, etc.

The evil thing about the condition is sometimes you'll start to pull hairs without even thinking about it. Trich's subconscious nature is what makes it such a monster. Like, you could be writing an essay in deep thought, and then be unknowingly pulling out your eyebrows at the same time.

I've had Trich since as far back as I can remember. It was a lot more noticeable when I was younger, but I can't say that it was necessarily more serious back then. I'd say it's about the same, as I write this missing about half of my right eyebrow (which is conveniently covered by my bangs.)

My Trich used to be much more noticeable, as for the majority of my childhood... I. Didn't. Have. Eyelashes.

Despite the fact I had a thick monolid and had the "Oh, I have short eyelashes because I'm Asian," excuse, I still was often questioned about my eyelashes or lack thereof. "Why don't you have eyelashes?" or "Where are your eyelashes?"

It's fair to say that up until a few years ago, the word "eyelash" was a trigger word for me. I hated the word. It made me feel everything that I associated with my disorder and having no eyelashes.

Shame. Embarrassment. Resentment. Ugliness. Weird. Unnatural.

I always wanted to stop — trust me. But stopping was and still is easier said than done. I had a few reasonings back then behind why it was so hard to let them grow back in. One was that if I did decide to grow them back, I was afraid I'd look drastically different to my friends and family. I'd always hated unnecessary attention — I'd do anything to avoid a personal "spotlight," even if that meant being eyelash-less for half of my childhood.

The second reason was the fact that I just couldn't help it. I'd go, say, a week without pulling. I'd be extremely proud of myself. I could see my little black eyelash buds peeking through, and would start to feel a bit more "normal" looking...almost pretty. But then, I'd be in bed one night, thinking about school, or drama — something a bit stressful. Back then I didn't have any good stress-coping mechanisms, so my one solution would be to pick and pick and pick until there was nothing left.

It felt so relieving at the moment. As if every eyelash I pulled removed one of my problems or stressors. But soon after the fiesta, I'd come to realize what I had just done. I'd reach my hand up and feel my bare eyelid and tears would come to my eyes. All the progress I had made toward "having eyelashes" again would have been erased in that split second. And to top it all off, yes, my real-life problems would still be there, except I didn't have a way to make myself "feel better." I still remember that empty, disappointed feeling I'd get in the pit of my stomach.

This cycle continued for five years, until the eve of my 11th birthday. I remember this night specifically because it was when I finally conjured up the courage to "tell" my mom about my problem. She obviously knew I didn't have eyelashes. But I had to verbally tell her in order for me to feel a sense of allowance to let them grow back in.

To me, telling her would be the only way I could "solve" the issue, cause I was too scared to do it on my own.

It probably took an hour to tell her. As I mentioned before, "eyelash" was a trigger word for me. I just couldn't say the word. I couldn't even write it down. But after many sobs, and charade-like questions around the topic, my understanding, and wonderful mother figured out what I was so upset about. She gave me a long hug and told me to try letting them grow in again.

And so I did. I was finally given the green light I'd been waiting for, for five years.

While I may have eyelashes today, my condition still lives on. I still pluck when I get anxious, when I need to do something with my hands, or when I'm bored. My Trich has mostly moved to my eyebrows, which has made the prospect of growing out my bangs (that I've had since middle school) a bit uncomfortable. But regardless, I actually am beginning to grow them out. I've come to realize that hiding my sparse eyebrows will only make my journey with Trichotillomania more cumbersome.

I wish I could end this article with some epiphany or deep moral lesson that I've come to learn from having Trich. But to be completely honest, I'm still in the heat of it myself, and am still learning how to coexist with it.

This condition is not curable, so like all my other flaws, I'll just have to learn to accept it as part of my imperfectly perfect self.

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PSA: Keep Your Body-Negative Opinions Away From Little Girls This Summer

But our own baggage shouldn't be shoved on to those we surround ourselves with.

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It's officially swimsuit season, y'all.

The temperature is rising, the sun is bright and shining, and a trip to the beach couldn't look more appealing than it does right now. This is the time of year that many of us have been rather impatiently waiting for. It's also the time of year that a lot of us feel our most self-conscious.

I could take the time to remind you that every body is a bikini body. I could type out how everyone is stunning in their own unique way and that no one should feel the need to conform to a certain standard of beauty to feel beautiful, male or female. I could sit here and tell you that the measurement of your waistline is not a reflection of your worth. I completely believe every single one of these things.

Hell, I've shared these exact thoughts more times than I can count. This time around, however, I'm not going to say all these things. Instead, I'm begging you to push your insecurities to the side and fake some confidence in yourself when you're in front of others.

Why?

Because our negative self-image is toxic and contagious and we're spreading this negative thinking on to others.

We're all guilty of this, we're with family or a friend and we make a nasty comment about some aspect of our appearance, not even giving a single thought to the impact our words have on the person with us. You might think that it shouldn't bother them- after all, we're not saying anything bad about them! We're just expressing our feelings about something we dislike about ourselves. While I agree that having conversations about our insecurities and feelings are important for our mental and emotional health, there is a proper and improper way of doing it. An open conversation can leave room for growth, acceptance, understanding, and healing. Making a rude or disheartening remark about yourself is destructive not only to yourself, but it will make the person you are saying these things around question their own self worth or body image by comparing themselves to you.

My little sister thinks she's "fat." She doesn't like how she looks. To use her own words, she thinks she's "too chubby" and that she "looks bad in everything."

She's 12 years old.

Do you want to know why she has this mindset? As her older sister, I failed in leading her by example. There were plenty of times when I was slightly younger, less sure of myself, and far more self-conscious than I am now, that I would look in the mirror and say that I looked too chubby, that my body didn't look good enough, that I wished I could change the size of my legs or stomach.

My little sister had to see the older sibling she looks up to, the big sis she thinks always looks beautiful, say awful and untrue things about herself because her own sense of body image was warped by media, puberty, and comparing herself to others.

My negativity rubbed off onto her and shaped how she looks at herself. I can just imagine her watching me fret over how I look thinking, "If she thinks she's too big, what does that make me?"

It makes me feel sick.

All of us are dealing with our own insecurities. It takes some of us longer than others to view ourselves in a positive, loving light. We're all working on ourselves every day, whether it be mentally, physically, or emotionally. But our own baggage shouldn't be shoved on to those we surround ourselves with, our struggles and insecurities should not form into their own burdens.

Work on yourself in private. Speak kindly of yourself in front of others. Let your positivity, real or not, spread to others instead of the bad feelings we have a bad habit of letting loose.

The little girls of the world don't need your or my negative self-image this summer. Another kid doesn't need to feel worthless because we couldn't be a little more loving to ourselves and a lot more conscious of what we say out loud.

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My Hair Journey After Box Bleaching My Hair

Although it may seem cheap and easy, the reality of box bleaching your hair is disastrous. Professionals, this article is dedicated to you.

nadoty
nadoty
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In 2017, I made the disastrous decision to box bleach my hair that I am still paying for today.

It seemed cheap, easy, and was something fun I could do at midnight. Little did I know, this would be a choice that I would still be regretting to this day. Besides the awful reality of box bleaching your hair, such as the chemicals in store hair dye already being disastrous for your hair, if you don't know what you're doing you not only run the risk of damaging your hair, having your hair fall out, but could also seriously hurting your scalp.

Follow me on my hair journey over the past two years and use this article to look back on if you're ever bored and in need for a change. Wait to go to a salon!

May 23rd, 2017.

Nichole Doty

I like to call this moment the calm before the storm. Back in 2017, I had long dark hair. I loved my hair and was very proud of how long I grew it. This is the longest my hair had ever been at this point in my life, and I absolutely loved it.

July 31st, 2017.

Nichole Doty

This was the day that everything changed. I made the terrible decision to not only box bleach my hair but to add box pink hair dye on the underneath of it. Not only did it look terrible, but it was also an irreversible decision that was made that I would have to live with for the next few years to come.

August 12th, 2017.

Kasey Bauner, (kasey_bauner via instagram), who works at Jay Marie Salon and Spa in Schereville, was able to save my hair in a beautiful way.

Nichole Doty

HALLELUJAH! My hot mess was fixed! Through hours and hundreds of dollars later spent at the salon, they were able to salvage my hair without shaving all of it off!

December 9th, 2017.

Nichole Doty

A few months later, after some length came in, that's when the roots started to appear. After the first glace at the outgrowth, I knew that I would have to keep chopping my hair until the roots fully grew out.

January 5th, 2018.

Nichole Doty

This was the first big chop I had to do since the box bleach disaster I did to my head. I knew that I didn't want to dye my hair back to its original color, so this began my repetitive cycle of hair growing out, getting a drastic chop, and growing it out again.

July 5th, 2018.

Nichole Doty

In July, my hair started to show more length since I had to originally chop it. My roots were starting to come in the dark so I had to try and wear hairstyles that would discretely cover how much my hair had grown.

August 31st, 2018.

Another big chop when school started in the fall of 2018. There's something so disappointing about having to keep growing out your hair just to chop it, but unfortunately, that's what I signed up for when I got myself into this mess.

November 29th, 2018.

At this point, my roots looked terrible. From the back of my head, the roots were growing towards the middle. I had to keep reminding myself that I couldn't see the back of my head so I could gracefully ignore how terrible it looked. Aside from this awful outgrowth I had going on, the color in my hair was starting to settle into a yellow mess.

January 31st, 2019.

Nichole Doty

As if I didn't learn my lesson from the first time, I started to experiment with different colors. I used the L'Oreal Colorista Semi-Permanent dye. I will say, though, this really is the most Semi-Permanent dye I have ever used as it would fully wash out in two weeks without any traces of color left behind.

April 25th, 2019.

I felt as though if I added different colors to my hair it would make the roots look more natural. As it did, I do NOT recommend the Kiss Tintation hair dye. This was the most patchy dye I have ever used, although I did love the blue.

May 12th, 2019.

Nichole Doty

As of just a few weeks ago, my hair was a big green mess. The dye would not leave my hair, so I started to panic that I really messed up this time. I could no longer wait at this point as I felt the frantic need to chop my hair.

May 23rd, 2019.

Nichole Doty

Here we have it! At the end of my journey thus far, I have managed to almost have all of my natural colors back! Although there are some green strands still left behind, I am mostly back to a full head of hair being the same color.

Overall, I want this article to serve as a warning to those who are like me and don't think through decisions properly. I'm the type of person when I want something I want it at that exact moment no matter what. My rash decision has led to poor self esteem and issues throughout these past two years. Am I being dramatic? Maybe. Maybe I'm like you who feels as though your hair is a big part of your identity and who you are as a person. Thank you for following my hair journey and remember: ALWAYS think through big decisions properly and wait to go to a salon to get your hair done!

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nadoty

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