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My Secret EXPOSED

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Little Miss Momma: My Secret EXPOSED

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

My Secret EXPOSED

I posted my secret nearly a year ago.
I made myself vulnerable.
I put it all out there,
in hopes that the exposure would give me
some control,
some resolve to stop.

And it did.
For about two months.
But then I got comfortable,
and I started to pull again.
A lot.

And for the past few months
I haven't been brave enough to talk about it again,
to appear weak
or fragile
or even worse...
like a failure.


You see, for years
I have always been smart about my pulling;
carefully selecting hairs that no one would miss,
that wouldn't alter my hair style,
that wouldn't result in a bald spot.
And sure, my hair was thinner
but my extensions could hide that for me.
It was my little secret.

But this time has been different.
This time my pulling is obvious.
This time I can't hide the damage I have done.
This time, people are noticing.
And this time I am mortified.

Those closest to me,
have very cautiously,
and very sensitively,
and very nervously mentioned
and ever so slightly alluded to the fact
that they can tell I have been pulling more than usual.
I notice them trying to disguise their glances at my thinning hair.
But I catch them looking,
and then I see the worry on their faces,
and it breaks my heart.

I think for the most part I have been in denial,
focusing my attention on my busy toddler and his sleep condition,
or my husband and his recovery,
all the while telling myself,
Oh, it's ok, I can stop tomorrow--I have control.

But I never stop tomorrow.
And I don't have control.
And it's time I admit that.

So as much as this kills me,
and trust me, it does,
I feel the need to take drastic measures,
in my second attempt at resolve.

My first post revealed my secret,
but now it's time to expose it.
No more hiding behind a mask of what appears to be thick flowing hair...

Because this is what I let you see:


But, upon closer inspection this is my reality:

I don't even have the nerve to make the pic larger.

And it makes me sick to my stomach.
Makes me feel weak.
Make me feel like a disappointment
to those who believe in me.
Makes a girl who needs to be in control
feel like she's losing it.
And that scares me.

I hope I didn't freak you out too much.
Can we still be friends?

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226 Comments:

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At April 28, 2011 at 6:39 AM , Blogger Laura said...

real friends-- even those that you've never met, would never let a "secret" like this ruin a friendship. Stay strong-- you CAN control this-- it may take time, but you CAN DO IT! :)

 
At April 28, 2011 at 11:16 AM , Blogger Bonnie B. said...

I think you are very brave!!!
When my 15yo was about 7, she started pulling her eyelashes and then her eyebrows. almost completely gone. the very worst part? i didn't even notice, until she brought home her school pictures and some family member pointed it out to me. i felt horrible. i took her to her pedaitrician. he told me she had trich. he put her on lexapro to help with whatever anxiety she was having. it helped. she'd still pull occasionally, but if i said something she'd stop. after about a year, we took her off. she's been great since then. That's not to say she won't ever start pulling again. but it helped. have you ever been on meds? good luck. you're in my prayers!

 
At April 28, 2011 at 11:27 AM , Blogger Wani said...

We all have things that we do to deal with stress. I'm a stress eater. Trust me, its obvious to the world. My weight has yo-yo'd back and forth from obese to the awful "morbidly" obese over the past few years. Its not easy to share intimate details of our inner selves. I will be praying for you.

 
At April 28, 2011 at 12:23 PM , Blogger Tessa said...

You are still beautiful, and a better woman than I. I pull from my face and hide it with makeup but not well :(

 
At April 28, 2011 at 12:30 PM , Blogger Cynthia and Co. said...

We all have secrets however most of us aren't brave enough to share them openly as you have done . You are a strong young lady and an inspiration to your bloggers...young and old. Hugs to you.

 
At April 28, 2011 at 3:23 PM , Blogger Karina Wetzel said...

{{HUGS}} Ashley, You are amazing, and by being YOU, you inspire me to be a better person! I hope that you continue to be yourself, as I love reading your blog and getting inspired by you :)

PS: I wrote a post today about one of my secrets that I've had for a while that I overcame. and The only reason I did was because you inspired to get my feelings out there and to be thruthful!
Here it is if you want to check it out: http://karinaschallenge.blogspot.com/2011/04/thoughts-for-day.html

Thanks,
Karina

 
At April 28, 2011 at 4:42 PM , Blogger Cherry Blossoms said...

No one would ever want to stop being your friend because of this. You are a beautiful person and remember true beauty comes from the inside. And remember we need to go thru weak moments to only become stronger and healthier. Sending a hug your way!-Heidi

 
At April 28, 2011 at 6:47 PM , Blogger michele8 said...

Wow!
You are an amazing person, inside and out.
xoxoxo

 
At April 28, 2011 at 7:41 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everyone has their weaknesses. I admire you so much for your courage to share yours. We all have things we are working on. Praying for strength for you during this time - and know that I'm praying for strength to conquer my weaknesses to! I've learned recently that most of the battle is admitting and deciding to do something about it. You have greatness in you and I know you have the strength to conquer this for good! I know you are an inspiration to so many! *Hugs*

 
At April 28, 2011 at 8:09 PM , Blogger Fernanda said...

I know that we have never met and that we may never meet...but that doesn't mean that I don't care about you...I actually follow your blog daily because I think that you are an amazing woman! Your problems, worries {I have a little boy too}, and dreams are all real...like mine! We all have things that we are embarrassed to show to others and even to admit to ourselves...but you are BRAVE not weak. Yes, you might have had a set back...but you are a strong woman and you will come back again! look at how many people wrote on your post...you inspire us all in one way or another...so just keep on fighting because you CAN DO IT!
Love, Fernanda

 
At April 29, 2011 at 9:04 AM , Blogger Kristen said...

You.Are.Fabulous. Period.

 
At April 29, 2011 at 11:26 AM , Blogger Val said...

Ever since I read your first "secret" post, each time I start to pull, I think about you and stop. I can't thank you enough. I can only hope that it sticks! Sharing your story has made a difference in my life and I hope it does for you too.

 
At April 29, 2011 at 4:04 PM , Blogger Holly Kolvig said...

Absolutely we can still be friends!!! Your posts make me appreciate you more as a friend!!!!

 
At April 29, 2011 at 10:37 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Part of me feels like I shouldn't even comment on so personal a post since we don't know each other. But I feel the need to give you a great big HUG! Kudos to you for putting yourself out there for the world to see. By admitting your personal struggles, you are showing so many girls out there that it is normal to not be "perfect"--that the truth is, none of us are.
I can't imagine how hard it must have been for you to admit your struggles. I, too, have secrets I have no intention of sharing because of shame or guilt or what have you. You are a brave girl, and I am sure you will be blessed so much because of your willingness to be REAL. XO

 
At April 30, 2011 at 8:41 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

i do understand. i have never been diagnosed with trich, but i've been pulling since high school (i'm now 28.) i pull around the front of my face, so i try to pass it off as having heavy bangs, but i would never choose my hairstyle. i pull excessively on one side, so i don't like to wear my hear down, and when i wear it up, it is difficult to manage all of the breakage in the front. i sometimes wonder if i'll ever get past this, but it is so encouraging to read your post and know that i am not alone. thank you SO MUCH for your honesty!

 
At April 30, 2011 at 5:03 PM , Blogger HettyA said...

It takes a super strong woman to even reveal something like this! :) you're amazing! You've got a bunch of people behind you and supporting you for real! <3

Our friends mom has been going through the same thing for years, she recently started using a product that her son introduced to her and it has made some amazing results, she came over one day just jumping for joy at how happy she was. If you ever are interested I can see if I can find the info for ya!

Either way you're beautiful and genuine!

 
At April 30, 2011 at 8:39 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

This post makes me want to be your friend even MORE than I did before! Lots of love from the East Coast, beautiful Momma!

 
At April 30, 2011 at 8:46 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

Oh and I meant to say that I just read about Baby W's sleep apnea issue! My Dad lives with a severe case of Apnea so I know all about how this looks and sounds when they are sleeping. It is an incredibly scary thing to witness them gasping for air. I am so glad you were able to discover this early though and learn and help him accordingly. My Dad went for YEARS not knowing what it was or how to treat it.

God Bless Baby W and his awesome (very attentive) Momma!

 
At April 30, 2011 at 9:08 PM , Blogger KK said...

You are amazing.

 
At May 1, 2011 at 7:51 AM , Blogger K :) said...

you are brave and lovely. to reveal your most intimate secrets will certainly bring you some freedom from it all. take care of yourself.

 
At May 2, 2011 at 2:49 PM , Anonymous Elise said...

Wow. Thanks for posting. I do the same thing and my family (and me) thought I was crazy. It's nice to know that I am not the only one working to control my pulling.

 
At May 18, 2011 at 10:36 PM , Blogger Sierra said...

It's taken me a long time to respond to this, I read it the very day you posted! But I haven't had the nerve, so I respect your courage. I don't pull my hair, but I also am to scared to post on my blog that in the middle of the day, I might have a panic attack. I don't want people to look at me differently. Or for my friends to realize that if I get unusually quiet during the conversation, its cause I'm fighting to keep breathing evenly. It's mostly when I'm feeling to stressed, or like I'm out of control. But I have perfected hiding it. Hang in there and you can move past this. Everyone has their thing and acknowledging it is the most important part because that's when you can move forward, and you not only have acknowledged it, you shouted it out to the world. Good luck :)

 
At May 19, 2011 at 10:26 PM , Anonymous kst said...

I just stumbled across your blog yesterday. I was in bed reading your blog when I noticed the "I Have a Secret" post, so naturally I was intrigued. I clicked on the link. I started reading and was shocked. I couldn't believe it. I started to cry. I couldn't believe that THAT was your secret. That has been MY secret for over 20 years. I too suffer from Trich. You are incredibly brave. Unlike you though, I never told anyone. I suffered with this for 20 years in complete silence which only made the pulling worse. Not a soul in the world knew my secret until I told my husband 2 years ago. Since the day I told him, I have not pulled a single hair from my head. I would not say I am cured. I don't think the urge will ever be completely gone, but I do know that I am much happier now that much of my hair has come back in. That is what I have to tell myself every time I get a hold of one of those bumpy hairs. "It's not worth it!" I still do not have the courage you do to speak openly about it. Just know that you are definitely not alone. Your openness and honesty is truly amazing. It is an incredibly difficult disorder to deal with, but you have done it once, and you can do it again. Never give up hope.

 
At May 29, 2011 at 3:47 AM , Blogger melissa said...

Weak? Hardly. It takes a strong person to post things they are ashamed of. I think any true reader is going to adore you no matter what. My mom does this too so this would not freak me out. I STILL wish I knew you in real life!

 
At June 25, 2011 at 5:24 AM , Anonymous Bells said...

I do the exact same hair pulling! I try to find the frizzy hair I feel does not belong, and I feel the BIGGEST sense of satisfaction when I do it. :-(

 
At July 10, 2011 at 9:24 PM , Blogger sequins and superheroes said...

ashley,
first things first: wanted to start by introducing myself. (as best as i feel comfortable with here.) i'm a twenty-something, mom, sister, friend, & brand new blogger. so heygirlwhatsup?!
so here goes, although i checked the dates on both your trich posts & realize they are older posts, i know that no part of your pulling is "in the past" so i had to reach out.
ive had trichotillomania for 10 years now. gosh, amazing to me how difficult that sentence was to type. in fact tears are streaming down my face right now. sometimes its difficult for me to understand why even talking about my pulling brings out such an emotional response in me. & like you said, my pulling has never stopped.
my pulling is slightly different than yours, i rarely pull hairs from my head. i pull MOSTLY my eyelashes and eyebrows. ive had patches missing, entire lids of hair missing, and my eyebrows are so patchy and thin that i fill them in heavily daily. i wear heavy eyeliner and fill in my brows even if i'm running to the grocery store for eggs. its confusing, its scary, its embarassing, its..
and there are those people in your life that you let close to you that notice this habit overtime. ive had boyfriends tell me to "stop, youre SO crazy", i've had friends hit my hand away as if its as easily quit as biting your nails. what does this do? just makes me more aware of when i'm around them, to be more secretive about it. instead of "helping" me, it closes me off to them in a small way.
i also am a person who deals with anxiety & am a "stress-case" (love how you put that). i also have seen the correlation between my most difficult/stressful times in life and my increase of pulling. sometimes you pull more, sometimes you may notice you're pulling less, but EVERY DAY YOU PULL.
ive done research on it(finding out what i did had a name was.. comforting AND shocking), ive looked up support groups online, ive talked to counselors & psycologists about it, and know now that it is a physical manifestation of extreme OCD. needing to be in control is a huge part of who i am and yet, i cant stop, & i am afraid to say out loud that i'm scared i never will.
this has been a very difficult comment to post. i cant even explain why i keep having to stop because i'm sobbing. yet at the same time i can say that and i think that you understand. i guess i just wanted to thank you SO much for sharing such an intimate part of your life with people you dont know & let you know how incredibly brave i think you are for sharing this. you should know that you DO have incredible support here and i'm more than happy to jump on your support bandwagon.
love love love <3

 
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