The moment I discovered my first missing patch of eyebrow hair, I felt hideous. I looked down at my hands and thought, What have I done? My stomach was in knots. I thought I was going to throw up. I looked back in the mirror and thought, I am so ugly. I look like a monster.
From that very first moment I began fighting for my life to look as though I didn't have trichotillomania - and for those that have trich, you know just how impossible that can be. Not only did I pull out all of my eyebrows, I pulled out all of my eyelashes and hair from my scalp! I couldn't hide it no matter how hard I tried.
When I think back to all of the nights before school, knowing I'd have to face the students in my classes, I can still feel the panic. I can still feel the desire to simply disappear. Hoping that somehow school would be canceled so that I could have a day without someone asking, "Barbara! What happened to your eyebrows?" with a look of absolute disgust on their face. Wishing that all of my hair would magically grow back overnight. Praying I would just stop.
I can still feel the pain of looking in the mirror and hating who looks back. Knowing that nothing I do will make it look as though I don't have trichotillomania. I can try my best but it won't be good enough. Nothing will be good enough. I want my hair back.
That was how I felt on a regular basis. Every moment of my life was plagued with paranoia, insecurity, and helplessness. Can you feel the despair? The longing? Can you imagine?
It's fucking exhausting.
I realized I couldn't continue living like that. I wanted to love who looked back in the mirror. I wanted this heaviness to leave my heart because it was exhausting and I was tired.
I decided to stop calling myself ugly and start calling myself beautiful. I decided to stop thinking I was ugly and start thinking I was beautiful. You might be thinking, Okay, that sounds simple, but it was one of the hardest things I've ever done.
Trichotillomania continuously changes your physical appearance. You could look different minute to minute depending on how much you are pulling. For example, I have gone from having a complete set of eyelashes to having zero in one sitting. I have pulled my eyebrows out halfway only to pull the rest of them out the days following. I constantly look different which makes the idea of loving who looks back in the mirror incredibly difficult.
I had to look at myself in the mirror and tell myself I am beautiful every single day. Rain or shine. With or without eyelashes. With or without makeup. With or without believing it. Why? Because I need to know that every version of me is deserving of love. I can't just love myself when everything grows back. I need to love me at every phase.
It felt awkward and uncomfortable at first but eventually I started to believe it. I fully believe it now. I will never let my trichotillomania make me feel ugly again.
If you're new to my blog, please don't be alarmed by the cursing. I do it sometimes and that moment right there needed it.