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Who have you told about your trichotillomania?

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.

This question would be insanely long to answer now that I've told almost everyone in the whole world! Just kidding, kind of. Instead I will share a memory that stands out to me that I may not have shared before.

This is a memory of someone laughing at me after I told them about my trichotillomania. Before you feel sorry for me or angry at them just know that it was a response I enjoyed. For a long time I felt that whenever I shared about my trichotillomania people would feel sorry for me, pity me, and/or become embarrassed for me. That sucked! It made me not want to tell anyone. I didn't want to absorb those feelings in addition to all of my own baggage that came with having this disorder. So when they laughed, I did too.

Meeting for Worship

To set the scene for this memory I have to tell you a little bit about the school I went to from grades 1-12. Yes, I went to the same school almost my entire life! It was a quaker school and once a week we did something called Meeting for Worship. If you're unfamiliar with quakerism and Meeting for Worship, no problem! Read this from my school's website! But to simplify it as much as possible, you sit in silence for 40 minutes either by grade, division (lower school/middle school/high school), or if it is a special moment, the entire school.

As a child, I dreaded Meeting for Worship for a few reasons: I was scared my stomach would growl, I was scared I would make any noise at all prompting people to look or laugh at me, and I was bored. As a teenager, I learned to enjoy the break within the week but I was still a teenager so I was bored and wanted to text people instead. Teenagers are the worst aren't they?

During a Meeting for Worship in 11th grade I was sitting next to one of my best friends, someone notorious for making me laugh at the worst times, and I had a feeling she would mess with me. She loved to do that and I loved it about her. How could you have a bad day when you were laughing the entire time? But like I mentioned, Meeting for Worship is silent. Dead silent. And even though I was an annoying teenager I still didn't want to get in trouble after it was over. So I tried to keep my eyes forward and ignore her as best as I could.

During that time in my life I was pulling a lot. I had recently cut my hair shorter because I was missing so much on the left side, I was wearing thick black liquid eyeliner to cover up the fact I had absolutely no eyelashes, and I had the thinnest eyebrows imaginable that I would sometimes try to pencil in, without success. I someone trying really hard to hide their trichotillomania. The issue with my disguise was that from the side you could tell I was missing my eyelashes.

As we sat down on our benches, my friend to the left of me, I could see her gaze travel around the room. It was a thing people would do to pass the time. Find someone to stare at, lock eyes, and make funny faces to try and make them laugh. Sometimes you'd accidentally lock eyes with a teacher and they'd give you that knowing look and a slight shake of their head as warning. I didn't care if anyone looked at me as long as they weren't looking at me from the side and noticing things I didn't want them to notice. That's when I felt the gaze of my friend settle in on me. Great, I thought.

I didn't want to get in trouble so I tried my hardest not to turn my head to look at her. After a few moments, she gave me no choice. She was completely facing me and if she didn't stop people would soon notice and maybe then they'd start looking at me too. She really was a pain in the ass. So I turn and look at her, smirk already on my face, and she mouths, "Where are your eyelashes?" I must've made a funny face because she instantly starts silently laughing. Once she starts I start so there we are trying our best to stay unnoticed by teachers while we are cracking up and covering our mouths. After I get myself under control I mouth back at her, "I pull them out" while also giving her the hand motion that translates to "leave me alone." There is absolutely no way I can share about my trichotillomania in the depth that I would want to during Meeting for Worship. We continue to laugh, tears running down our faces, and eventually catch our breath.

After Meeting for Worship ends we are dismissed and start heading to our next class. I wonder if she will approach me and ask me questions about what I told her. I spend the next class period thinking about what I will say if she does.


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