I was diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) around the age of 9. About a year later, I began pulling at the hair on my arms when bored in class. I was unsure why, but the act of pulling gave me temporary relief. I gradually started obsessing with pulling my eyebrows out, and the urge was especially strong when I was sitting in a classroom. I gripped my eyebrow hair between my thumb and a pencil eraser, pulling multiple hairs out at once. After pulling the hairs, I examined them and occasionally chewed on them. The pulling provided temporary relief from anxiety. But oftentimes, I continued this behavior until my fingers were sore and I realized half of the hair in my eyebrows was gone.
When I was a preteen, I was diagnosed with trichotillomania (pronounced trik-oh-till-oh-MAY-nee-uh), also known as trich. Trichotillomania is a body-focused repetitive behavior (BFRB) that gives some people strong urges to pull out their own hair. No hair is sacred: Hair from the scalp, eyelashes, beard, legs, arms and pubic area can all be pulled out.
"The urges to pull the hair are intense, therefore, causing hair loss and distress," explained