In July 2019, I had the honor of sharing my trichotillomania story with 2,200 attendees at the 10th annual TEDx Fargo event, one of the largest independently organized TED events in the country. My "idea worth spreading" is the genesis of working at - and with - HabitAware Keen for the past few years: the Power of Awareness, as it relates to Body Focused Repetitive Behaviors. I believe awareness is the cure for trichotillomania and other BFRBs. Read on to learn how & why.
I started a blog, Why Do I Pull My Hair Out, to share facts I learned. I searched online for a way to control my trichotillomania at home and found Keen by HabitAware, the habit-tracking bracelet. I invested in the Keen bracelets because I often pull alone. Keen was crucial to my at-home success. My Keen bracelets remind me when my hands rose, retraining my brain over time to forgo that behavior.
"The best advice I can give other kids or teenagers like me is to use your Keens to teach people so that they will learn about BFRBs and will have understanding and compassion when they come across other people with these habits. Everyone who has asked me about my bracelets has been extremely kind and understanding. I've come to accept that I shouldn't be ashamed and it helps to know that there are other people just like me working to overcome this, too."
Gessie, a 20-year-old living in New York, began her struggle with Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors (BFRBs) at the young age of 4. This is how she’s Conquering with Keen Awareness, in her own words. She's been able to stop nail biting, stop hair pulling and find acceptance with her situation. As she says, "progress is not linear...its a journey."
Conquering with Keen: Elizabeth's Trichotillomania Recovery Story
Elizabeth is a 21-year-old from Rhode Island, attending school in upstate New York. She’s struggled with Trichotillomania since age 12. This is how she is "Conquering with Keen Awareness." Elizabeth shares that the Keen bracelet "allowed me to retrain my brain to stop pulling out my hair."
Erin, a former “Married at First Sight” reality TV star, is 28 years old and lives in Australia. This is how she’s Conquering with Keen Awareness in her own words. I started pulling my hair out at age 15. I didn’t realise hair pulling was how I coped with anxiety until I was 28. That’s THIRTEEN years later!! My Trichotillomania affected me every day. Hair pulling was something damaging that I knew would make me unhappy, but I felt so much better when I did it. It was a very vicious cycle.
Little is known in mainstream culture about why people pull out hair (hair pulling disorder / trichotillomania) or pick at their skin (compulsive skin picking / dermatillomania). HabitAware helps educate others to smash the stigma. We recently facilitated a panel for parents, students and faculty to explain BFRBs.
"Thank you for your faithful emails, they are a source of great motivation for many of us. I actually think of my Keen as a "helper", a unique tool to remind me when I am slipping into my danger zone." - L.M.
"This newsletter is excellent...I credit the mere existence of this product and the feeling of community fostered by this newsletter, as two of the catalysts that helped free me from my shame and self-loathing in regards to my trichotillomania." - D.M.
"I won’t unsubscribe. You changed my life. Pull-free for almost 3 months. Thank you for all you do, I haven’t felt this confident in over 10 years." - S.M.