Stephanie lives in Colorado and has had Trichotillomania for 40 years. This is how she’s Conquering with Keen Awareness.
When I was about 7 years old I started pulling out my eyelashes and eyebrows. During times of stress, it was always worse and really became noticeable once I started high school. I enjoyed a busy life with a lot of activities but often also felt a lot of stress during college and into my career. I would sometimes pull out every single eyelash and nearly all of my eyebrows. My family would tell me I looked like I was in chemotherapy and I wore makeup all the time.
I was constantly checking mirrors to see if my makeup had smudged and I avoided activities like swimming and camping – anything that might require me to go without makeup on my eyes. When I had to have close contact with people it was hard to keep eye contact and I was constantly thinking, “I wonder if they notice?” Job interviews and dates were particularly stressful. I don’t think I let my BFRB limit me but it was something that I always wished I could change about myself.
Over the years I looked for many hair pulling solutions. In my 20s I tried medication for OCD which didn’t work at all and then some behavioral therapy specific to Trichotillomania. Nothing worked for any amount of time. A few months ago, I was reading The Washington Post and came across an article about Keen. It was really well written and described exactly the issues I had. I immediately went to the HabitAware website and read about the company and what it offered. I was definitely willing to take a chance on this new product. I ordered two awareness bracelets and set them up.
I started wearing my HabitAware bracelets and immediately found they were very helpful. After about two weeks I was hardly pulling out any hair at all. After 3 weeks, my lashes and brows had begun to grow back in. I was so happy – I thought after pulling them out for so many years they might never come back! After about a month, I stopped wearing the bands on a daily basis and just wore them when I knew I’d be in a situation that typically triggered my hair pulling.
Now that my lashes have mostly grown back in, I am more confident and don’t worry about putting on eyeliner just to step out of my bedroom. I feel more confident and less distracted in my face-to-face interactions. I still have some days where I pull out lashes but just knowing that I can start wearing my Keens at any time keeps me on track and lowers my stress levels when I slip.
I highly recommend Keen by HabitAware to anyone suffering from BFRBs, including hair pulling, skin picking, and nail biting! My advice to someone who just received their Keen is to really keep at the fine-tuning and make sure to wear the bands during times that you know will trigger your habit. Just the action of clicking the bands on my wrists is very calming.
I thought that Trichotillomania was something I would have to accept and live with for the rest of my life. I can’t believe I was able to retrain my brain and break free of it after just a few weeks with the help of Keen!
Stephanie, the HabitAware team believes it and believes in you!! Thank you for sharing your story of how you conquered with Keen!
love, strength & awareness,
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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: