Trichotillomania is a condition in which people have a compulsion to pull out their hair. They feel an intense urge to pull out hair from their head, eyebrows or eyelashes and feel a sense of relief once they have done so. Some people pull out their hair in response to a stressful situation but others can do it without realising. I have spoken to a close friend of mine about their experience with trichotillomania and I have noticed how I was oblivious to my friend’s compulsion.
For more information on this condition click here.
1) What is the biggest misconception about OCD?
The biggest misconception is how much you actually think about it/the feeling of craving to do something.
2) What have been the most difficult aspects of this mental illness?
Accepting that there is a problem.
3) How do you feel your OCD affects you in daily life?
Other people notice it, stare and ask you why you do it.
4) What positive things can you take from your experience?
Finding a way to control something, understanding how your mind works and when you’re struggling at times you may not even realise.
5) When did your OCD become apparent, and what triggered it?
At the age of fourteen, at a friends house. I was sat in her bedroom window and somehow first noticed a split end and started to pull at all my split ends. I didn’t start it on an anxious note but it became a habit when I felt uneasy and anxious.
6) What help was available to you during crisis? If none, how did this make you feel?
I didn’t realise it was a crisis at the time.
7) What advice would you give to someone struggling with OCD?
Acknowledge it and give yourself times to feed your craving and learn to take it away so you have control.
8) Are there ways in which you manage your condition in a healthy way?
I allow myself time each day to play with my hair, but I try to wear it up as often as possible.
9) How do you feel OCD has shaped you as a person?
It makes me more conscious.
10) Do you speak openly about your mental health? If not, how do you feel people would react if you did?
Yes I have in the past few years; people don’t judge me and they help me by acknowledging when I’m doing it.