Nobody understood me
I’m Annette and all through school I pulled out my eyelashes. I started on my fringe, and ended up pulling out all my hair before long. I wore a wig for most of my life, which resulted in me being withdrawn and upset at work. I missed out on promotions because of lack of confidence.
I didn’t understand why I had this strange compulsion and the more I pulled my hair and eyelashes, the less I liked or understood myself.
I had endless eye infections so my mum took me to the doctors but even they could not work out what was wrong with me.
When I asked my sister, “Why do I pull out my eyelashes?” she just laughed and said “Because you’re a sicko”.
I started to draw on my eyebrows when I was just 13. My family never understood why. Nobody understood, not even me, but I was the only person who knew I was pulling. Plucking and pulling.
I so needed to talk to someone, so one day I pulled my best friend aside and told her “I can’t stop pulling out my eyelashes and eyebrows”. Next day everyone was laughing at me behind my back and I lost my best friend.
I never told anyone after that and whenever I went out I would have to spend ages first getting my waterproof make-up exactly right.
I’d been pulling for 25 years when my kids insisted we get an internet connection at home so they could do their homework. When everyone was out, I started learning to use the computer. The day came when I typed “help me stop pulling out my eyelashes” into Yahoo and came up with this website. I decided to try coaching. I didn’t think it would work for me, but I knew I needed to tell SOMEONE, anyone … I just needed to talk. Pull free just didn’t seem like me, so I told my therapist I didn’t care if I became pull free or not, but I just wanted to talk about the guilt and the shame of lash pulling.
I emailed her every day and gradually I started to understand the disorder.
That was four years ago and I haven’t pulled a lash or hair in four years. Sometimes you just have to act spontaneously – we trichsters think things through too much.
I’ve recently been promoted and would never have DREAMT of applying for such a high-powered job until I started the 40 day intensive course to stop hair pulling; this is the highest I can go in my current field.
Pull free IS who I am. Trichotillomania was just a disorder, it was never ME.