In this blog post I will be responding to a question from my guided journal, My Trichster Diaries. Please feel free to share your answer in the comments below.
Like many people with trichotillomania, the places where I pull from the most haven't necessarily changed, but I've focused on different places at different times of my life. I've consistently pulled out the hair from my eyebrows, eyelashes, and scalp but I want to break it down by age so that I can paint a clearer picture.
Age 10: Eyebrows
This is where it all started. Pulling out my eyebrows with my index finger and thumb until they're sore and until my eyebrows are completely gone. I remember finding tweezers behind the bathroom mirror and sitting on the sink for hours or until someone from my family noticed I was gone for too long.
Ages 11-12: Eyelashes and Scalp
Without any eyebrows to pull, I had to find a new location. I first fixated on my eyelashes and once they were gone, I moved straight up to the very front of my scalp. This was the year of eyebrow pencil, fake glasses, and thick headbands. I would do anything to hide my trichotillomania from my classmates.
Ages 16-17: Eyebrows, Eyelashes, Scalp, Bikini Line
This was the age of my first relapse. No area on my body was safe. Although I didn't completely pull out my eyebrows, they were so thin it was obvious I was over plucking them. Luckily, a lot of girls did that in the early 2000s. My eyelashes were completely gone again but this time I had black liquid eyeliner to help me cover it up. I stopped pulling from the front of my scalp and instead moved to behind my left ear. At one point I had a bald spot the size of my hand. This was also the age where I found that I could tweeze hair from my bikini line and as a result I could leave my eyelashes and eyebrows alone.
Age 18: Scalp
Freshman year of college I had one moment where I was pulling so much behind my left ear that I had a new bald spot. It grew back pretty quickly.
Age 25: Scalp
Once again I remember being drawn toward the area behind my left ear. I created a new bald spot that lingered for a while. I had to take extra care when getting ready in the morning so that my regrowth wouldn't show if I was wearing my hair down. I had to use bobby-pins to cover up my bald spot when wearing a high ponytail. Half-up-half-down hairstyles were never considered.
Ages 28-32: Eyelashes and Scalp
When the pandemic hit, I started pulling out my eyelashes again for the first time in over 10 years. I was teaching virtually so it wasn't obvious to my students that anything was missing. Once I went back into the classroom I wore fake eyelashes so that no one would notice. My students noticed the fake eyelashes of course but they loved them because they thought that I was just wearing makeup now like the other teachers. It was common for teachers in my school to have beautiful lash extensions so I fit right in. I still pulled from the area behind my ear but my eyelashes being gone really forced me to work on my self-image. I needed to feel beautiful with or without my eyelashes. That took a lot of work.
Current Age (Still 32. I turn 33 in May of this year): Scalp
I didn't write eyelashes because I haven't pulled almost all of them out since October 2023. They've been growing back and I haven't been focused on them at all. Besides, being happy that they're there. I still pull from the area behind my left ear in addition to the mid-scalp area and the crown. There aren't any visible bald spots in those areas but a clear indicator to me is seeing the little regrowth hairs coming in.
If you were to create a timeline of your experience with trichotillomania, what would it look like? Do we share any similarities? I'd love to hear it!