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Little Miss Momma: I Have a Secret

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

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.

Labels: ,

128 Comments:

At June 2, 2010 at 10:02 PM , Blogger Miss Anne said...

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

 
At June 2, 2010 at 10:07 PM , Blogger Natalie said...

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.

 
At June 2, 2010 at 10:37 PM , Blogger Steph said...

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))

 
At June 2, 2010 at 10:56 PM , Blogger Alexis said...

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!

 
At June 2, 2010 at 11:05 PM , Blogger JP said...

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?

 
At June 2, 2010 at 11:06 PM , Blogger Echo @ Sweetwater Creek said...

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.

 
At June 2, 2010 at 11:21 PM , Anonymous Leanne said...

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.

 
At June 2, 2010 at 11:35 PM , Blogger Lenny and Amanda said...

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!!!

 
At June 3, 2010 at 2:10 AM , Blogger Lavarie said...

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

 
At June 3, 2010 at 4:37 AM , Blogger Heather said...

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!

 
At June 3, 2010 at 4:43 AM , Blogger Amanda @ Serenity Now said...

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

 
At June 3, 2010 at 5:44 AM , Anonymous Rebecca@This Present Life said...

Ashley, you are very brave to share your secret with us. I hope that you will be able to accomplish the change you want in your life. Glad we can all be here to help :)

Before becoming a SAHM, I worked in an adoption agency (I'm a social worker) and one of the adoptive moms on my caseload had trich. Such a mysterious disorder. Maybe if more people talked openly about it (as you so courageously have done) it might not be such a shameful, embarrassing affliction. Good luck to you and know that there are a lot of us out there sending you positive energy and support!

 
At June 3, 2010 at 5:48 AM , Blogger Amy said...

Ashley- you are and amazing woman and Mom! ((hugs}} keeping a personal secret like that can be very exhausting! It took a lot of courage to make this post and you are now one step closer to your goal! The blogging community can be such a great support group even if all of us never meet! You can do this!! We believe in you and support you through your challenge!;)

 
At June 3, 2010 at 5:56 AM , Blogger ~*Jess*~ said...

Wow, Ashley. What an incredible post. Thank you so much for sharing. And even if you did continue, we would not be disappointed. You rock, as always.

 
At June 3, 2010 at 7:02 AM , Blogger Jennifer said...

New to your blog, but must say you are an amazing person! You sound like someone who can certainly take on this challenge in your life. Best of luck to you. Stay Strong!

 
At June 3, 2010 at 8:15 AM , Blogger Angel said...

I am even more impressed by you. It took a lot of courage to write this post and I love that you did it. I hope that it was very freeing for you and that the extra support from your readers will help spur you on to conquering this. You can do it, we have faith in you!

 
At June 3, 2010 at 8:17 AM , Blogger Logan and Sydney said...

I found your blog via Ucreate and I am so glad I did. I don't think I ever noticed I had a problem but I do pull my hair out when I get stressed or nervous. It drives my husband crazy! Thanks for this post. Maybe I'll try to stop too, but the problem is I don't even notice I'm doing it. Do you break your hair off too, or just pull it. I do both...

 
At June 3, 2010 at 8:25 AM , Blogger Love Stitched said...

I am totally crying right now...

For more than one reason....

I am crying because I feel like a terrible friend!! (how did i not know this)

I am crying because you felt you couldn't tell me

I am crying because I love you!

I am ALWAYS here for you and ALWAYS will be! Thank you for sharing and for being stronger than you have ever been before!

xxoxoxoxox

 
At June 3, 2010 at 8:56 AM , Blogger Trisha @ 3 Four and Under said...

You are an amazing person to share this with the world. My husband has OCD so we know how hard it can be. Just keep working at it. I love your blog and you inspire us all.
Trisha

 
At June 3, 2010 at 10:01 AM , Blogger HunDuddle Hussy said...

can i say something without you hating our new friendship?

ok.

so when i was in high school there was this girl named taylor swatty. she had the same thing as you but as a teenager, i was clueless that there was actually a name for this disorder.

as most kids do, i made fun of her :( thats MY secret. it hurts me to say that as it probably hurts u to hear it.

she pulled so much hair, she wore a wig to school which drew attention to herself from ALL the kids making her the laughing stock of high school.

not only did she pull her hair, but she would eat the tips of it...it "bulb" i guess?

well many many many years later. she asks to be my friend on facebook. why? i don't know. i wondered the same thing.

i thought for sure it was to gripe me out and tell me how horrible of a person i was. but no. she didn't say anything about all that. all she did was leave simple and sometimes sweet comments on my status updates.

and then i realized how much of a jerk i had been to her. well actually i learned it a long time ago when my NOW ten year old son had to wear bifocals to kindergarten and was made fun of.

i hated how mean kids were. so i decided to send her a FB msg and apologize. i did. it was long. it made me cry when i wrote it, and i was ashamed but it felt good.

then i waited for her response because for sure she would remember all the hateful things i said and did and this was her moment to say everything she was thinking all those years.

but she didn't. she just thanked me. she told me how much it meant to her to hear me say that. and she informed me that out of the entire high school class (and all the fb friends from those years) i was the only one who apologized to her for being ugly.

she said she was grateful to hear it, but i didn't need to. she had forgiven me a long time ago.

*sink*

i felt like dog poo. BUT, it has made me a better person. i wanna be like taylor. she's amazing. and i love her. :)

thanks for sharing. sorry for the long comment.

 
At June 3, 2010 at 10:26 AM , Blogger Kristyn said...

I know how it feels to keep a secret. One that you are scared to share, afraid of what people will think, how they will treat you and what they will possibly say to you. Mine is not nearly as serious as yours but I still struggle with it. I have started to blog about it but I can't quite finish. I have imagined what I would say how I would explain it and yet I can't quite find the strength to post it. Thank you for posting this. It is funny how you look at a person and think that their life is perfect, and that they have not a care in the world. But we all have something. We all struggle, we all fall. But it is through the support of each other that we get the stregth to get back up. I love you Ashley. Know that you have a strong support system in your friends and family who are willing to do anything for you!

 
At June 3, 2010 at 10:52 AM , Blogger Nena Nadine said...

Thanks for sharing. I hope I will be as good of a mama as you and yours are.

I support you in your effort to stop. I just hope it doesn't cause you more stress, thus more pulling. I don't know anything about this disorder but I do know the best way (at least for me) to quit a habit is replace it with another one. A stress toy you could pull on maybe? Or maybe shave your head so there is no hair to pull on. I know, it's just a suggestion. I shaved my head once and I have to say it was very freeing.

Good luck!

 
At June 3, 2010 at 11:20 AM , Blogger Ashley @ Little Miss Momma said...

Let me begin by saying, WOW!
I am overwhelmed with emotion at the lovely and heart-felt responses I have received. This is why I love blogging--and this is why I love you all! I can't thank you enough for your kind words and your support--it means more to me than you know!

I will address a few of you individually in separate comments.

ashley

 
At June 3, 2010 at 11:32 AM , Blogger Ashley @ Little Miss Momma said...

Dear HunDuddle Hussy,

First off, I still love you, could never hate you, and you rock!

I cried when I read your confession. And let me tell you, that regardless of my disorder, I still must admit that I did my fair share of "mean" and thoughtless things as a teenager...I look back now and think, wow I sucked! Like you, I have been in touch with a few of the people I have hurt and apologized. there are still others I should reach out to.

As a leader in the Young Womens program at my church, it kills me to see how easily we tear each other down, and just how fragile these girls are. I hate myself for ever contributing to that.

Thank you so much for sharing this story. It means so much to me.

ashley

 
At June 3, 2010 at 11:41 AM , Blogger Ashley @ Little Miss Momma said...

Dear Sydney,

You are a perfect example of another reason I wrote this post--to reach out to others living with this disorder completely unaware.

To answer your question, no, I do not break off the hair as well, but I know it is a very common symptom of those with trich. I tend to pull out individual strands until I get the root and then I play with the hair for a bit before discarding it and moving on to another hair.

Like you, I often pull mindlessly, a before I know it I have pulled dozens of hairs. Although, deep down I am always aware that I am pulling and that I should stop.

I encourage you to visit this website to learn more. It is very informative and I refer to it often. http://www.ocdla.com/trichotillomania.html

Thank you so much for sharing your secret!

ashley

 
At June 3, 2010 at 11:59 AM , Anonymous Dana said...

Ashley, I love you even more than before for sharing so much. Last night when i read your blog I was overcome with emotion because Maddy had just told me of a girl that sits next to her in a class who not only has bald spots, but no eyelashes as well. What makes this girl so special is the kindness she has shown my daughter. How amazing is love and friendship to pull us through whatever we face?? Thanks for sharing!

 
At June 3, 2010 at 12:49 PM , Blogger Heather said...

You are very brave for sharing and I'd like to thank you. It's a difficult step to make other people aware when you have made a committment to work on yourself.

Good luck and best wishes.

 
At June 3, 2010 at 12:59 PM , Blogger Erin Wallace said...

Thanks so much for sharing your story. There is power in shouting it from the rooftops and just getting it out there. I hope that you feel freed by this and I will have you in my prayers

xo Erin

 
At June 3, 2010 at 3:42 PM , Blogger Christine said...

Sweetie, Your posting this prooves that you are already there. We are given certain challenges to learn to find compassion for others. Now others will come to you with their sadness and their issues knowing that they are safe and that you understand. Just stop long enough to know what your triggers are and that knowledge will lead you to where you want to be. On a lighter note, what a great, great example of a mom you have. Wesley is a lucky, lucky boy!

 
At June 3, 2010 at 4:13 PM , Blogger Lyndsi said...

Wow! You are already stronger and braver just for letting out your secret. By telling people I am sure you will feel lots of mixed emotions, but in the end you will hopefully feel like a HUGE WEIGHT has been LIFTED from your shoulders! I know you can make progress, it can only get better from here. It is SO comforting to know that the Savior has felt every pain, sorrow, heartache, feeling we feel/have felt and we can turn to Him for comfort. Thank you for sharing, you really are an AMAZINGLY STRONG woman!
On a happier note, I have ALWAYS LOVED your hair! You are also an AMAZING Mama and Baby W is SO lucky to have you as his mother. The Lord only gives us what He KNOWS we can handle! You are STRONG, BRAVE, COURAGEOUS, LOVING, COMPASSIONATE.......
xoxoxo

 
At June 3, 2010 at 6:18 PM , Blogger luv4jack said...

Ashley, I wasn't going to post this comment, rather I was going to email you. However, I too will admit my darkest kept secret. I too am a hair puller. I wasn't diagnosed until my late teens. I have trich along with other obsessive compulsive disorder tendencies. I am a very neurotic personality. I too, most often in stressful situations (though I sometimes don't even realize I'm doing even while watching t.v.). I remember laying down at night...with stressful thoughts of all the things to do, and I just started pulling. Selectively, pulling actually. I favor certain hairs over others. I favor the ones that "feel" different, thicker, courser, more spirly. And I have NEVER blogged or shared this with anyone except immediate family b/c I'm so ashamed. Ashley...here is another secret b/c you are so brave and I want to do this with you...I have even pulled hair from my legs using a tweezer...imagine? I'm literally afraid of carple tunnel. Please include me on this journey. I never even shared with my psychiatrist the true extent of my struggle. THANK YOU. Words cannot explain the emotion and gratitude I feel. I want things to be different. (Plus, I'm really sick and tired of my short spiky fly aways that grow back afterwords.) Email me if you want to chat more in depth. So encouraging that you were able to confide about this. Thank you for giving me hope. <3 Steph

 
At June 3, 2010 at 6:24 PM , Blogger luv4jack said...

And thinking back...this afternoon in the car on the way home, Jack said, "Mommy, stop picking your hair." I guess I hadn't even realized I'd been doing it (don't worry-my husband was driving)and I was mortified he noticed, and said that! I told him that mommy had an "itch". Talk about a coincidence...and this was the first time he acknowledged my behavior. I feel sick over this.

 
At June 4, 2010 at 6:20 AM , Blogger Candace said...

Prayers and power to you. It takes a strong person to deal with it secretly and to finally share with others.

 
At June 4, 2010 at 11:01 AM , Blogger Tanya said...

i think you are amazing.

 
At June 4, 2010 at 5:05 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I couldn't be more proud of you at this moment. So much of what you do and who you are make me very proud but to share this with the world in order to help you stop and to help others, makes my heart fill with pride and love. You are the most wonderful niece anyone could ever ask for. I love you sooooooo much, Auntie Bubbie

 
At June 5, 2010 at 4:53 PM , Blogger Kate said...

I had this as a child. I distinctly remember the feeling of finding the hair, always on the back of my scalp. I would search out a strand that felt different. It would always be more coarse than the rest of the hair- and I would pluck.

Thanks for coming out and talking about trich. Thanks for coming out and sharing your secret.

 
At June 6, 2010 at 9:12 AM , Blogger Michelle said...

Amazing post! We all have some sort of "secret" we deal with and you are correct sometimes accountability and disclosure of the secret helps us out. I am a relatively new follower, with that being said you should be proud of who you are. Trich does not define who you are, the wonderful mother and wife you are defines you and will help you to find strength to overcome your "secret"!

 
At June 7, 2010 at 12:46 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi! I just started reading your blog about a month ago and I was so surprised to see this. Thanks for revealing your 'secret'. Now I will to, I too have this (but I pull my eyelashes and eyebrows out). I never talk about this with anyone it is sooo embarrassing, but I live with it every day and everyone can always see right there on my face what I've done to myself. I hope you will continue to share your journey it will help others more than you can ever know....Laura

 
At June 7, 2010 at 5:46 PM , Blogger Amber and Trey Collins said...

Congratulations on this step in your life, you have support all the way out in Texas!

 
At June 8, 2010 at 10:53 PM , Blogger JessRaquel said...

From your Profile picture I would have never noticed, you have such long and beautiful hair! I don't think you have ANYTHING to be ashamed of but of course who wants to lose their hair? So I hope that you get better and someday don't have this problem!

You are very brave and should feel proud of yourself for being able to share your secret.
=)

 
At June 9, 2010 at 8:31 AM , Anonymous Pua said...

Found you through SITs.
Thank you for sharing this, I too have a way of dealing with stress that isn't the best method, but it works for me. You've inspired me to try and quit my own habit as well. Thank you! :) You have such beautiful hair too!!

 
At June 9, 2010 at 9:58 AM , Blogger Ashley @ Little Miss Momma said...

Thank you again to everyone for all the super sweet words and especially for the compliments on my hair.

But I must be HONEST--I have two whole rows of extensions to make up for all the hair I have lost.

Unlike when I was a kid, i no longer have bald spots, because I got smart and started pulling ALL OVER my head instead of in just one spot.

Over the years I have learned to hide my thinned out hair with the extensions and parting my hair just right.

Update: I want to thank each of you for giving me the strength to quit. Although i have had moments where I almost gave in, I want to let you know that I haven't pulled a single hair since the day after I posted my secret.

And thats because of YOU--apparently I care a bit too much what y'all think (lol)--which works out for the best in this case.

Thanks for making me stronger than I knew I could be!

ashley

 
At June 9, 2010 at 2:25 PM , Blogger Cheryl said...

Thank you for sharing. I'm sure you have helped many people feel not so alone. What is the behavior modification strategy? Are you supposed to recognize triggers and then try to do something different?

What a difficult, difficult thing.

 
At June 13, 2010 at 10:07 AM , Anonymous Nickie said...

My husband has also lived with this disorder since he was a child, though he isn't sure exactlly when it started. Unlike you he didn't have a loving, supportive mother who would do anything for her kids, so he didn't find out until after we were married that he had trich. His mom thought he was going bald, and accepted it as that. That alone would have been enough to make me take my child to a doctor! Fast forward many years and he meets me. I always noticed him pulling out stay body hairs and picking picking picking all the time. Since he is in the military he has almost actual hair to pull on his head so he pulls at his body hair. It used to really freak me out because it seemed so pointless and painful. (In my mind I'm thinking of getting waxed! OUCH!) When he was finally diagnosed it was such a relief for him (and me). Because of him I notice it in other people as well. It's alot more common than people would like to believe, but isn't that always the case with abnormal behaviors? My daughter is fascinated by hair and is always messing with her own, sometimes pulling it without reason. She is young still, only 18 months, but we keep an eye out because there is always the possibility in the back of our minds that she could be have the same disorder. Best of luck to you in your endeavor to stop pulling, I wish you all the best.

 
At June 14, 2010 at 4:35 PM , Blogger seemommyknit said...

This was so brave of you to post! I can't imagine how hard this must be-but you have a lot of supporters! Thank you for sharing!

 
At June 14, 2010 at 5:43 PM , Blogger Fashionista Amanda said...

Ashley!

[[[[[[HUGS!]]]]]]]]]

I admire your strength, bravery and courage to share your story with us. I can imagine how difficult that was to do. I've struggled with an anxiety disorder for many years. But I've found the more open I am about it the more un-embarassed I become which allows me to acceptance myself. It's almost like a huge wave of relief comes over me that I don't have to hide it--which is exactly what you've done too!Kudos to you, love!

Always remember you are loved, not alone and totally supported!

Love,
Amanda
P.S. Your mom is a great woman.

 
At June 22, 2010 at 8:02 AM , Blogger TRES said...

The Hussy sent me:

Thank You!! for your honesty. Like they always say, "admitting it is the first step" I hope that blogging helps you.

I am coming clean on my blog too. www.tresintraces.blogspot.com

Tobie

 
At July 30, 2010 at 10:42 AM , Blogger Maria said...

Thanks for sharing. I have never heard of that before. I love learning about stuff like this since I have a lot of different illnesses in my family. Is it related to anxiety at all or just OCD?

 
At August 29, 2010 at 10:26 PM , Blogger Sarah@AlpinePoppy said...

I hav a niece who struggles with this condition. She has bald spots on her head and she pulls out her eyelashes as well. It is heart breaking as I watch her struggle. I know that she feels alone, and she has reached out to the type of kids in middle school who accept everyone. Thank you for your post, I will share it with her, xoxoxo

 
At September 7, 2010 at 6:25 PM , Blogger Amy said...

My friend the crafter referred me to this post after I posted a blog update about my daughter. She is 5 and just started pulling her hair 2 months ago but has been a skin picker or eyebrow plucker for years. It is comforting to read your blog and know that people can live with this condition and be successful, happy, well adjusted people. I hope you keep updating your blog about your progress. Good luck to you!

 
At September 17, 2010 at 6:12 AM , Blogger Cathi/Mike said...

How appropriate that this is the first blog of yours that I've read! Now I'm a fan! I, too, have OCD, but I never knew my "habits" had a name until about three years ago. During an especially stressful time, I stumbled onto a couple of OCD, online support groups, and, while I was able to hide my rituals from others, I wouldn't want to hide my newly found health. It hasn't been easy, but it's been worth it, and I've found great, supportive friends along the way.

 
At September 17, 2010 at 6:23 AM , Blogger Dawn said...

thank you very much for this post-i just saw your tutorial on UCreate (congrats on that too-very pretty) as a mom of a daughter with ocd, i thank you for your openness and your willingness to share with others...ocd is an illness just like many others and it's terrible that it has such a stigma attached to it

 
At September 17, 2010 at 7:35 AM , Blogger Vanilla said...

Ashley,


First of all, let me tell you that you are very brave at posting your disorder.
I too, have struggled with trich for very many years. It came to the point where, not only I was pulling hair (the coarse and curly ones, just like some of your readers pointed out) but also began tweezing the "unborn" hair on my legs making open wounds that bled and that wouldn't heel for 6 to 9 months. I was ashamed of wearing skirts and my legs were all patched up with band-aids and sometimes even dressings with healing pomades. I still have these scars, although they are becoming lighter with time.

I am a psychologist and a psychoanalyst and I studied this behaviour for a long time. It's triggered by anxiety, i.e. fears that are unknown to us. Through psychoanalysis I have come to recognize the anxiety behind the trigger and this usually dissolves the triggers. Once you can name your fear it becomes less overwhelming.

I have recently found a very good psychiatrist who has helped me with it.
I am taking a drug based on desvenlafaxina called Pristiq, which is designed for OCD. I have been taking it for two years now, and at first was desperate because I found out that will probably have to take it for the rest of my life. My psychiatrist just said: "think of it as a disorder such as diabetes. People who have diabetes have to take drugs for the rest of their lives".
That has really helped me accept the good things about taking the drug.
The end result is that:

I AM VERY HAPPY! I no longer pull hair, I HAVE COMPLETELY STOPPED IT and even my compulsive eating is down to a manageable level.

I can only say PLEASE, seek a professional who help you with the right medication, because THERE IS CURE for it.
Best of luck and all the support I can offer you,
Vanilla

 
At September 17, 2010 at 12:18 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I struggled with this from 3-5th grade. I was always a nervous wreck too. I only pulled out my eyelashes. After those painful years of everyone always asking me why i didn't have any eyelashes, I finally just stopped one day. and have never pulled out an eyelash since then! Now, I just need to focus on my chin and keeping that plucked! yuck!

 
At September 18, 2010 at 5:24 PM , Blogger SheilaC said...

wOw..... you are an amazing, strong woman! I am lucky to have "met" you via UCreate....

Thank you for sharing your story, I am sure it can help so many more people out there.

SheilaC

 
At September 19, 2010 at 10:09 AM , Blogger Mrs. Blimes said...

Hi, I couldn't help but comment b/c I share you battle w/OCD and I know first hand just how terrifying and debilitating it can be. Mine began when I was 8 years old and continues everyday. Its our battle but it doesn't have to be all there is right! I posted a vague post about mine some time ago but was too afraid to go into much detail. Thank you for your honesty and courage.

You are inspiring and I love you already.

Have you read the book Brain Lock? It helped me so much with my compulsions and obsessive thoughts. It's an intense and sometimes scary read but so worth it. It completely changed my life.

Also theres a great online forum called stuckinadoorway.com it's people with all different types of OCD sharing their stories and helping one another.

My heart goes out to you; to us all.

M

 
At September 19, 2010 at 12:48 PM , Blogger Shelley said...

Hugs!!!

 
At September 19, 2010 at 4:12 PM , Blogger Franklin Fam said...

I am wondering if you wouldn't mind emailing me, I have some questions about your diagnosis. I have a friend who has some "hair loss" although I have noticed her pulling out strands of hair and doing exactly as you described "searching for the right one- pulling and then pulling again" she has many bald patches and she has been to the doctor seeking a reason behind her "bald patches" but I am not sure she is admitting to her being the culprit behind the pulling. I have NEVER heard of this before and I was in awe that you would share your journey! Would you please email me @ franklin614@gmail.com I have some questions & hopefully you could help me soundboard a way to approach my friend about this. Thanks so much and again THANKS for being so STRONG!

 
At September 22, 2010 at 7:49 AM , Blogger A Jennuine Life said...

Please forgive me if this suggestion is something you've already researched in your journey, but a friend of mine has a sister who is autistic and was pulling her hair and eyebrows. I can't remember if the hair pulling led to a trip to a chiropractor or if it was coincidental, but after being aligned, the pulling stopped. The Chiro said the places she was out of alignment would have caused sensitivity or pain in the same areas as her bald patches. Could being misaligned be tied to the behavior?

 
At October 22, 2010 at 1:38 PM , Blogger Delia said...

Ashley. Can I just say you are wonderful? You are as beautiful outside as you are inside. :)

 
At November 24, 2010 at 4:23 AM , Blogger Country Mouse said...

I admire your honesty. And you will be in my thoughts. I can certainly relate to you and your OCD. You see, my daughter, now 16 started doing this in 3rd grade due to the good ole stinkin' TAKS test! She was afraid to fail and not pass to 4th grade. So...she started pulling out her eyelashes. We tried everything! Doctors wanted her on anti-depressants, I was like "no, not my "baby"!" Then...she hurt her shoulder playing w/ her 2 older brothers. That was a God send..I took her to our chiropractor who practices alternative medicine, he noticed her problem. He said, besides "prayer", I suggest these 4 supplements for anyone w/ anxiety, depression, compulsive disorder:
GABA, 5HTP, Folic Acid, B6. He gave us a prescription on how much to take and when....2 weeks later she was back to her old self and has never turned back!!! I also take these supplements for depression and love them!!! Good luck, I'll be praying for you. :)

 
At November 26, 2010 at 9:07 AM , Blogger DELY RAZA said...

Hola soy de Perú y he leido tu secreto de sufrir Tricotilomanía es un sintoma que con tratamiento podras sobrellevarlo en tu vida, primera vez que oigo de esta enfermedad pero te felicito por darlo a conocer al mundo ya que hoy muchas personas asi como yo que no sabian de esto y ahora ya lo saben, ojala puedas leer esto y soy tu seguidora adelante mamá coraje

 
At December 3, 2010 at 1:10 PM , Blogger billiemonster said...

Somehow I missed this post until today. I'm so glad I found my way back to it. You are such a brave woman for being able to finally tell the world about your secret. Most of us could never do it. I can't say that I understand what you have gone through or that I know ANYthing about hair pulling, but ever since I can remember I've had a problem with picking at my lips. Strange, but true. Ever since I was little, whenever I was nervous, stressed, bored whatever, I would pick at the skin on my lips. So much that they'd bleed and bleed and be so raw it felt like there was no more 'lip' left. I still do this sometimes. I don't want to, but I find myself doing it without really even noticing it and most of the time my fiance points it out to me and says something like "babes, stop picking your lips." You are a strong woman for being able to write about this openly...and if you can do that, there is nothing you can't do. I'm sure you've already heard it a million times but you are an inspiration to the rest of us, truly.

 
At December 16, 2010 at 12:13 PM , Blogger Dpesanator said...

im so glad you posted this!!! my sister twirls her hair, then yanks it out. She is starting to just yank it out all together. I told my mom about this post and she showed my sis. It freaked her out, just as much as it could freak out a 7 year old. But, she has stopped pulling her hair out. She still twirls, and every once and a while she pulls out the knots, but it has slowed down. THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!

 
At December 19, 2010 at 8:17 PM , Anonymous Megan said...

Wow - what is it about fourth grade? That's when my stuff started, too. First it was grunting. Then it was hard, painful blinking. Then it was hair pulling, and finally skin picking. Fourth grade sucks. Thanks for sharing your story. I know you know you're not alone, but...you know. You aren't.

 
At December 21, 2010 at 2:17 PM , Blogger Jennifer said...

Wow, so I never really thought of this as a problem before, I pull my hair out too. Down to the root or bulb thing. I used to do it when I was younger a lot. Never enough to make a bald spot, I have A LOT OF HAIR, and I tended to do it in multiple spots. Conscious effort on my part to not make one. I didn't want other people to know I was pulling. But I did it enough to know that it wasn't normal and I have kept up the habbit off and on throughout the years. I also constantly pick at split ends and break them off. I also had a cousin who pulled her hair, and made bald spots, I think her parents knew about it though and got her help. And it was never really talked about in our family. I am so weirded out that this is an actual thing, condition...with a name. Wish I would have known sooner. Thanks for sharing your secret. I really am glad to know I'm not the only one.

 
At December 22, 2010 at 8:27 AM , Blogger Taylor @ The Undomestic Momma said...

love that you were able to share this! such an inspiration to tons!

 
At December 23, 2010 at 10:50 PM , Blogger Melissa Huish said...

Ashley, Thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing this. I just came across it today. My son also has Trich. He just turned 6. It has been a trial in our lives. He usually has a bald spot that is visible. People sometimes ask... he gets embarassed, but I tell him that I love him and its okay. He is my hero. He knows that his Heavenly Father loves him. He prays at night that it will stop... Its so hard to hear your 6 year old pleading for the help that you know you can't give him. It goes in waves, good days and bad days. Sometimes the spot almost grows before your eyes. Your post touched my heart, and I want to say Thank You! {hugs}

 
At December 29, 2010 at 8:58 PM , OpenID Cindy said...

What a brave and lovely woman you are. I know you can do it!
Smooches
Cindy
cindyapril62@aol.com

 
At January 4, 2011 at 6:40 AM , Blogger Lindsay said...

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 :)

 
At January 6, 2011 at 10:58 AM , Blogger EEMedley said...

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!

 
At January 6, 2011 at 1:54 PM , Blogger Hespyhesp said...

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

 
At January 8, 2011 at 8:51 PM , Blogger Jenny said...

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

 
At January 8, 2011 at 10:28 PM , Blogger Robin @ My Blessed Nest said...

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!

 
At January 9, 2011 at 12:01 AM , Blogger Michelle said...

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!

 
At January 9, 2011 at 7:45 PM , Blogger Chelsea said...

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!!!

 
At January 12, 2011 at 6:24 AM , Blogger Carriage House Antiques said...

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

 
At January 17, 2011 at 3:11 AM , Blogger Kat from California said...

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. :)

 
At January 17, 2011 at 1:21 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

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.

 
At January 19, 2011 at 9:56 AM , Blogger Brooke said...

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!

 
At January 29, 2011 at 6:12 PM , Blogger {:miss v:} said...

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.

 
At February 7, 2011 at 1:12 PM , Blogger The Brownings said...

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!

 
At February 12, 2011 at 11:27 PM , Anonymous Judy D said...

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.

 
At February 22, 2011 at 6:30 AM , Blogger Jbenz said...

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

 
At February 22, 2011 at 12:56 PM , Blogger Michelle (www.thereallifemom.blogspot.com) said...

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.

 
At February 24, 2011 at 2:01 PM , Blogger Kelsey said...

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! :)

 
At March 17, 2011 at 2:27 PM , Anonymous Gabby said...

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
www.lateyoungfamily.blogspot.com

 
At April 3, 2011 at 10:10 PM , Blogger Natalie said...

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))

 
At April 4, 2011 at 10:29 AM , Blogger VitaGirl said...

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!

 
At April 4, 2011 at 1:31 PM , Blogger Donnelly said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At April 4, 2011 at 1:33 PM , Blogger PaChomp said...

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.

 
At April 4, 2011 at 1:55 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

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)

 
At April 4, 2011 at 5:17 PM , Anonymous Leslie Mitchell said...

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.

 
At April 4, 2011 at 6:48 PM , Blogger Cherry Blossoms said...

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.

 
At April 5, 2011 at 10:02 AM , Blogger yarger gal said...

"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...

 
At April 6, 2011 at 10:04 PM , Blogger Jessie said...

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!

jessiebryant@live.com

 
At April 6, 2011 at 11:16 PM , Blogger Rhonda Unleashed said...

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

 
At April 15, 2011 at 10:09 AM , Blogger kittykerri said...

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!

 
At April 18, 2011 at 12:02 PM , Anonymous Val said...

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.

 
At April 25, 2011 at 3:46 PM , Anonymous Sam said...

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

 
At April 27, 2011 at 12:49 AM , Blogger Lindsay said...

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

 
At May 7, 2011 at 12:08 PM , Blogger Casey Martinez said...

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!

 
At May 9, 2011 at 11:54 AM , OpenID salonjuleen said...

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!

 
At May 21, 2011 at 9:10 AM , Blogger lostinforks said...

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

 
At May 29, 2011 at 7:00 AM , Blogger Rebeka-C said...

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!

 
At May 30, 2011 at 5:30 PM , Blogger TriGirl said...

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.

 
At June 1, 2011 at 11:10 AM , Blogger Desiree said...

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.

 
At June 4, 2011 at 7:20 AM , Blogger MehrySondy said...

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.

 
At June 4, 2011 at 9:28 PM , Blogger mrs.cordero84 said...

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

 
At June 11, 2011 at 7:07 PM , Blogger Nikki said...

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.

 
At June 23, 2011 at 9:37 AM , Blogger Tracy T. said...

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!

 
At June 26, 2011 at 8:02 PM , Blogger Tiffany said...

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!

 
At July 8, 2011 at 5:38 PM , Blogger Alicia said...

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}

 
At July 8, 2011 at 6:14 PM , Blogger Kai said...

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!

 
At July 8, 2011 at 7:38 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

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?

 
At July 8, 2011 at 9:57 PM , Anonymous Laura said...

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.

 
At July 9, 2011 at 3:08 PM , Blogger Jennie B. said...

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

 
At July 9, 2011 at 4:49 PM , Blogger B's Mommy said...

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...

 
At July 10, 2011 at 6:01 AM , Blogger Melanie S said...

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

 
At July 10, 2011 at 9:39 PM , Blogger allie-mac-fallie said...

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!

 
At July 13, 2011 at 11:05 AM , Anonymous Lindsay said...

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

 
At July 15, 2011 at 9:12 AM , Blogger She Ra Princess of Milk said...

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

 
At July 15, 2011 at 1:10 PM , Blogger Maureen said...

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!

 
At July 24, 2011 at 8:03 AM , Blogger David, Katie, Jett and Hadlie said...

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
katherineabahr@yahoo.com

 
At July 26, 2011 at 7:02 AM , Blogger SBB said...

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: shawnahulme@gmail.com

 
At July 28, 2011 at 5:11 PM , Blogger GLENDA CHILDERS said...

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

 
At July 30, 2011 at 10:49 PM , Blogger ~*~Renee~*~ said...

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.

 
At August 1, 2011 at 1:13 PM , Blogger brenna.noel said...

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. :)

 

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