I have been pulling hair from my head for the last 50 years since I was 8-years-old because I have Trichotillomania. It’s been so long I can’t even remember how I started, but it may have been because of stress or anxiety.
For all those years I felt so physically insecure. My self-confidence was low. I was very stressed because I always had the idea that people were looking at my bald spots. I hated to look at myself in the mirror and see that my hair looked awful. I tried to cover my bald spots all the time with my own hair, so it looked weird.
I always wished I would injure my left hand so it could not reach for my head or pull my hair
I felt stressed and so ugly. I always wished I would injure my left hand so it could not reach for my head or pull my hair. I knew I was doing something wrong to myself but even though I knew it, I felt comfort when I pulled my hair. But then later I hated myself for pulling my hair and not being able to control myself and stop it.
My husband has always been a great support but I knew I was failing him. Even when he knew I looked terrible, he would be supportive but I knew inside of me that he was also very uncomfortable with how my hair looked. When someone in your life has an issue that affects their daily life and self-confidence, it affects you, too. He has always supported me but he was also affected by my condition.
I was always trying to find a hair pulling solution. I was hypnotized several times, which lasted a few years but then it stopped working. I took antidepressant medication to help with what my doctor called a chemical imbalance but at some point I needed a higher dose and didn’t want to continue. I used to wrap tape on my fingers so it would be difficult to pull my hair. I even tried wearing gloves at times to avoid touching my head. Nothing worked.
Then one day I was in my car listening to Minnesota Public Radio when I heard about Keen by HabitAware. They were interviewing Aneela Idnani, HabitAware's founder, who also suffered from Trichotillomania and had built an awareness bracelet to help people with hair pulling and other Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors (BFRBs), such as skin picking (Dermatillomania) and nail biting (Onychophagia).
I was ready to make this work and because of that, I was able to quit my bad habit
I researched Keen on the internet and ordered one. After I received it I trained it for my hair pulling gesture. Keen immediately made me aware of my movement. Every time I feel Keen’s vibration, it reminds me about my issue and helps me control it. I was ready to make this work and because of that, I was able to quit my bad habit.
After using Keen, I am much more confident. My hair looks great and is abundant. I am more confident, so much so that people notice it. They make comments on how nice my hair looks and that has helped me continue to battle my Trichotillomania. I am less stressed, and am so much happier. I can see that my husband is more relaxed as well. Now, he is the first one to tell everybody how good I look.
...try it - there is nothing to lose but a lot to gain
I have recommended Keen to other people not only for hair pulling but for other BFRBs like nail biting and skin picking. It’s nice that it was built to look like other activity trackers as it’s very discreet. If you’re thinking about buying Keen, try it - there is nothing to lose but a lot to gain. I know this product works - I am proof of that! Thank you, HabitAware, for changing my life after all these years!
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Together with Abbe Greenberg and Maggie Sarachek, of the Anxiety Sisters, and Lauren McKeaney of PickingME Foundation we recorded a podcast to share treatments for body focused repetitive behaviors like trichotillomania and dermatillomania, along with our mental health stories.
It's important that Keen fits snugly. Here's a quick guide to help you decide which bracelet size to order: