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"I read that already"

Small details have been changed to protect the anonymity of those involved.


One of the scariest things about publishing The Trichster Diaries wasn't that strangers would read it—I was hoping they would! It was that people who already knew me would read it. I spent my entire life trying to hide the fact I had trichotillomania but here I was telling everyone, "I have a chronic disorder! I wrote a book detailing my life with it! You never knew! Surprise!"


I quickly got over that fear and was instead impressed by how many of the people who already knew me became trichotillomania advocates themselves. I can't tell you how many phone calls, text messages, and Instagram messages I received. They noticed someone pulling at their job and wanted to know the best way to support them. While watching a television show they noticed a character pulling and wanted to know if I'd seen that episode. There was a character in a book they were reading that was pulling, had I read it? They noticed trichotillomania everywhere and began to see that having trichotillomania was more common than they thought!


This flood of trichotillomania awareness and knowledge also seeped into my fiancé's world and that is where this moment is from...


As siblings grow older it is rare that they find themselves spending a lot of time together. Between college, relationships, work, moving, and more, it seems like you only see each other during holidays, if that. So it's easy to miss the little things, like a sibling subtly pulling out their hair.


He had been home with his family for the last few days and was overjoyed to be able to kick off his shoes and relax a while during the holiday season. Time with family always reenergized him. His sister arrived home for winter break this afternoon and he was excited to hear how her freshman year of college was going.


He heard giggles coming from the living room and decided this was a perfect moment to catch up. As he walked through the kitchen, he could see the back of his sister's head, and something caught his eye. Her hand kept coming up to the crown of her head. Up, down, up, down, up, down. What was she doing?


As he walked closer it looked to him that his sister was pulling out her hair. He continued to silently observe her behavior, doing his best to wrap his head around what he was seeing. Why was she pulling out her hair? Has she always done this? What should I do? Do I tell her to stop? Thoughts were circling his mind. He couldn't figure out what to do so he turned around and went back into the kitchen. They could catch up another time.


In bed that night he decided that he would talk to his sister about her hair pulling tomorrow. He knew what hair pulling was because of Dan's girlfriend but he had to Google the pronunciation so that he wouldn't botch it when he brought it up to her. What if she doesn't know what trichotillomania is? What if I'm the first one to tell her? Will this upset her? This could be a delicate moment for her. He wanted to treat it carefully.


During breakfast he kept sneaking glances at her trying to see if she had any noticeable bald spots. Nothing that he could see. She didn't seem to be pulling at the moment but every time she raised her hand he thought it was going to go to her scalp. Do our parents know?


It wasn't until after dinner that he found her alone in the living room scrolling on her phone. Once again her hand was going up to her crown and down again. Up, down, up, down, up, down. Okay, this is it. He mustered up the courage and walked toward her.


"Hey, so this is going to sound weird but I want you to know I have the best intentions, okay?"


"Don't be weird. What's up?" she said as she rolled her eyes.


He took a deep breath and it rushed out almost all at once. "So I noticed you were pulling out your hair and I know someone who does that. She wrote a book about it. It's called The Trichster Diaries and she writes about moments of her life with it—trich, um, trichotillomania? That's what it's called. I don't know if I'm saying it correctly."


"Oh, yeah. I read that already."



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