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Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviorss: The

Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviorss: The "Frozen" Analogy

January 17, 2023

Any Disney fans? Any Disney haters? Maybe this article will help you appreciate the movie Frozen in a new way

the cast of Disney's Frozen

I love the idea that fantasy is a way for us to look at our problems and see them from another perspective, whether it's a literal story of "slaying a dragon" or something more complicated, like having to relearn something we love.

So I'll describe BFRB recovery, through the story of Disney's "Frozen" - and you might already get where I'm going with this.

 Elsa, scared by her ice powers and her parents calming her from a distance

A little girl, Elsa, has ice powers and doesn't know how to control them. Her parents are scared of her for her differences, and they have no idea how to help her. Because her parents are scared and confused, so is Elsa. She locks herself away in her room, refusing to see anyone because they might realize she has magic powers. She wears gloves to help her control these powers, but the magic still seeps through. 

Now, imagine this through the lens of trich, or derma, or nail biting:

A little girl, Elsa, pulls out her hair and doesn't know how to control it. Her parents are scared of her for her differences, and they have no idea how to help her. Because her parents are scared and confused, so is Elsa. She locks herself away in her room, refusing to see anyone because they might realize she has Trichotillomania. She wears gloves to help her control her urges, but the condition still persists.

As long as Elsa tries to hide these powers, she's depressed. She pushes people away, fearing they'll get too close. She holds herself to strict standards, berating herself for any slip-ups. She is terrified to become queen, something that she might genuinely enjoy, because she's afraid of being seen by others. 

Sound familiar? 

So, Elsa becomes queen. Her usual tactics of seclusion no longer work when she's got too much on her plate. What does she do? She runs away from responsibility and decides to "let it go", explores her magical powers, and for the first time in a long time - tries new ways to express her magic.

 Elsa exploring her powers freely for the first time

Let me make it clear: I'm not advocating dropping all responsibility to run away and embrace your BFRB. 

What Elsa does in this situation is give herself the permission to ACCEPT and UNDERSTAND her powers. Just like how in our BFRB recovery journey, we can't change what we don't know. We have to grow our understanding of our BFRB, and stop looking it as something we need to push down, but something we need to keep in mind - something that we carry with us, and can use to our benefit.

Elsa's ice powers, yes, froze things. When she was scared and angry, she'd make sharp, freezing icicles that were seriously dangerous. When she was happy, she'd make silly snowmen. How she felt affected her powers tremendously.

Our BFRBs have unwanted side effects. We have bald spots, scabs, infections, brittle nails, etc. But they also are signals that our body needs something, and how they express themselves is a reflection of how we feel inside.

What do you think? When I made that connection, I honestly learned to appreciate Frozen in a new way myself (I don't love the movie, but Love Is An Open Door is a classic). Are there any other stories you found yourself relating your BFRB to? Let me know!




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HabitAware Keen Sizing Guide

Not sure which size is right for you?

It's important that Keen has a snug fit on your wrist. Here's a quick guide to help you decide which bracelet size to order:


Keen2


Sporty Keen (original)