Tuesday Jan 24th 2017.
Today I saw a fellow 'trichster' and it was distressing.
I have been struggling with trichotillomania and other manifestations of OCD for years. This is the first time I am explicitly saying it in the open. It's both nerve wracking and freeing at the same time.
I can feel people be uncomfortable around me when I snap and pull my hair in class, but frankly, I brushed past it because they weren't enduring the struggle of unintentionally, yet actively balding themselves. Especially during exams, I notice professors double-take and triple-take the sight of my forming a hill of hair around my seat. I sit strategically in order to accommodate to this mental health obsession. You wouldn't believe how much it affects a person to do this sort of thing.
Especially after seeing another girl pull her hair, I couldn't take my eyes off of what she was doing and I felt a pressure to intervene. I wanted to tell her that I struggled with the same mental health problem, but I was scared she would be embarrassed or misconstrue my intention of bringing the problem to her attention explicitly. I myself have never been interjected during my pulls, in fact I had to expose my own problem in order for people to notice my problem. I saw her peer around if people noticed her destructive behaviour, I was frozen when I saw her pull. It was my first time seeing another person pull before my eyes.
Telling someone in this situation to 'just stop' or 'forget the habit' does not work. It is something myself and others will have to work on for a long time.
If you see another student on campus acting erratically or oddly like myself, please respect that everyone has a different struggle. Though it is endearing to be confronted, today I learned that everyone handles their mental health problems in different ways. My careless style very much varied from her 'paranoid' and secretive approach to pulling in public.
I am happy to be in contact with The Tipping Point and I strongly encourage others to open up as well. These things need to be discussed. Especially at school. Pulling can affect school work, and school work can affect pulling.
From your fellow UBC trichster.
If you or someone you know can relate to this story, feel free to contact me or message me on Facebook.