Diagnosed with trichotillomania, Natalie describes how she explains her hair pulling tendencies to new friends.
Well, I had a friend who, the same friend who actually asked me about my eyelashes, I had a friend who, we went out to lunch one day and she said, “This may be a really personal question, but what’s wrong with your hair?” And I just kind of was taken aback. I wasn’t expecting her to ask me about that. I paused, and she said, “Well, you know, I just noticed that, are you sick or something, or do you have an illness that I should know about? Are you okay?” And I just said, “I pull it.” I mean, I don’t know if there is, there’s not a way to really go about telling people except just to be completely honest and just say, “Yeah I pull it,” and I just wait for that reaction like, “Okay, you’re crazy.”
But most of the time, actually, people will be concerned for you, and they are not going to look at you like you’re crazy. Actually, that’s the way I told my husband was he said, he looked at me and he said, “Didn’t you have eyelashes yesterday?” And I said, “Yeah, I did. I need to tell you something. You know, I pull my hair out,” and he was just shocked, and the first thing he said was, "Well, how can I help you? I want to help you get better."
And so when you tell somebody, you think that they are going to look at you like you are the craziest, weirdest person they have ever met, and you think maybe they won’t even be friends with you anymore, and that’s not at all how it is. In fact, I was with my husband for a year and a half before I told him that I pulled my hair out, and he was very supportive, more supportive than I thought he would be.
And you think people are going to look at you like you’re crazy, but that’s not really how it is, and he has been very supportive and ever since I told him, I have been so glad that he knows, because he really helps me too. He'll send me text messages while I am driving, “Don’t pull. Stop pulling,” and we can kind of joke about it now too, which lightens my anxiety about it.
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