Apparently, Dermatillomania as a name, is being phased out. The new name: Excoriation disorder - is now being enforced. Furthermore,...
I am seriously concerned with this take over of BFRB’s in our community and TLC (Trichotillomania Learning Centre) rebranding.
Well, more about dealing with it, and growing with it, and surviving it.
The thing about being a “trichster” is that while growing up, when I didn’t know a lot about it, it was hard to deal with. Especially with some family members asking you why you just couldn’t stop. I like to think of it like I couldn’t stop pulling my hair out any more than someone could stop being gay. That’s a poor analogy, considering the fact that I consider myself to be pansexual, which to anyone with a black-and-white mindset is “queer”. I just call it being me. Sexuality is not a disorder, no matter what spot on the spectrum you are. Anyhow, my point is the feeling is the same. And that society has this terrible habit of making those of us who are different feel shameful of this difference. Trichsters should not feel ashamed. We should not feel bad about this because it is not our fault. None of it is. It’s something I have to keep reminding myself.
I’m the type of trichster who has been through the depression, the self-hate, the self-harm, the self-doubt, the anxiety, the fear, and have come out the other side with coping mechanisms. I cope by keeping my hair short. I still have moments where I pull, and on a day to day basis, especially when I’m work, I’ll pull an eyelash or an eyebrow hair without thinking. I still have major motivational issues when I’m not at work, and I procrastinate like nobody’s business. That’s not to say procrastination is a disorder, but with the motivational issues that tie-in to depression, it’s a part of the compound that makes up for how stressed I can sometimes get.
However, I feel that I have weathered the majority of the storm, and have come out stronger. That’s not to say that it’s all sunshine and rainbows. If you have followed me here for any length of time you have for sure seen one of my posts that are depressive in nature.
The other major side-effect of having Trichs is that I have a major fear of rejection. Like TERRIBLE. There’s also a little bit of otherness, that I may cover at some point, to that feeling, but the bulk of it is because of my disorder. Like I’m afraid that people will look at me like I’m a monster when they know I have the disorder. That feeling has waned the stronger I’ve become, and the more confident I have become. Taiko has been a major influence in the confidence arena that singing and having a great voice never could. But it’s still there, licking at the edges of my anxiety when I meet knew people. It’s not like I wear a badge stating that I have a disorder, but having short hair like I do makes people look once at you and judge you just by merit of being a woman and having short hair. It makes it harder for me to find someone to be with because of that fear, and the certainty that because I am who I am, have the disorder I have and do not look like what society portrays as what a woman should look like, they will not want me.
And therein lies my biggest problem with being a trichster, pathetic as it may be. It’s not the hair-pulling, it’s not the depression, or the anxiety, but the fact that no one will want me. As a lover, as a partner, as something more. Online dating is the worst for this. I had one guy ask me if my short hair meant I was a lesbian. Needless to say he didn’t last a single night. I’ve kind of lost interest in online dating because for the years that I had been in it, most everybody wanted the lie. And to get any attention, you had to sell yourself, which I am not very good at. It seemed so fake to me. And I could not make myself be fake about it. At all.
Fundamentally I know that there is someone out there who will want me. It won’t ever be love at first sight. It’ll be the culmination of years of friendship that will eventually turn into something else. Or at least that’s what I suspect will happen for me.
Anyhow, I’ve had some fun times with being a trichster. One time, after learning that trichotillomania was some sort of genetic mutation, a friend of mine said, “YOU’RE A MUTANT.” And if you’ve ever been a fan of Marvel, or DC, X-Men, or any other superhero-type story, you’ll understand. We had some great times, making up stories that I was the hero of. Super strength and the spectacular SHINE of my bald head were my special talents.
The best thing in the world is when you find people who like you, are comfortable enough with you that they can joke with you about what you have.
The thing I’ve discovered about trichs is that it is the perfect storm. It seems that thanks to a genetic mutation, when you have depression, impulse control and OCD in one brain, it can trigger that mutation. I don’t even know if that’s scientifically correct, but it sounds right to me. But these 3 things just seem to boil together inside of me and here I am.
If you’ve made it to the end of this and you suffer from this disorder, or any disorder, know that tomorrow will be a better day. That’s what got me through. That tomorrow something could happen that you might miss if you let go. I know. I had a father who was gay, and tried multiple times to kill himself because of his depression, and multiple other issues with accepting himself before he died in 2008. My point here is that tomorrow is always a new day. You can move forward. Keep going.
That’s what I learned. That’s how I survived the darkest four years of my life. Of course, leaving the support system I had was not the best idea, but I had to survive it to realize that. However, I know that I have to keep moving, keep going, because no one else will do it for me. Know that it will make you stronger when you make it through, when you accept yourself as you are. Acceptance is key.