This is Personal
Starting HabitAware has been a very personal journey. Here’s is part of the story. Over time, I will write more about how the idea to help one person evolved.
I started hair pulling in my teens, around the time my dad fell sick with leukemia. In my twenties I learned that my condition had a name – trichotillomania - and that I was not alone. But I still felt alone + ashamed, so I hid behind eyeliner and fake lashes.
Three years into our marriage, my husband, Sameer, finally caught me without my cover up make up on. I could not lie anymore, I could not hide anymore. And most importantly I didn’t want to live in shame anymore.
I showed him how I pulled when I was frustrated, stressed anxious, and even bored. I confided how I didn’t realize I was pulling until the hairs wound up between my fingers. Even as I watched them fall onto my keyboard or the floor, I would still keep pulling. I shared how difficult it was to stop, even once I knew it was happening.
As a tech lover, I told him how I wished I just had something to alert me when I was engaging in the behavior so I would know. I thought that if I knew I was doing it, then I would be able to stop.
With his love, support & desire to help me, Sameer & I set out to make a device to help me break the trance of pulling and become more aware. Because when I have the presence of mind to pause and reflect, I can choose not to pull.
HabitAware has already helped me so much in a few short months. I am convinced it has the power to help others that are ready to take a positive step forward. I hope you will join me on this journey of awareness.
— Aneela Idnani Kumar, Co-Founder
Also in HabitAware Blog: Soul Fuel
In this guest post Dr. Richard Lopez, Cognitive Neuroscience, PhD, looks at how how behavior change research can inform the management of body focused repetitive behaviors. The article also highlights how HabitAware Keen2 delivers evidence-based behavior change strategies. Perhaps one day this system of behavior change can become an official treatment for trichotillomania (compulsive hair pulling), dermatillomania (skin picking) and onychophagia (nail biting).
When I was a kid, stepping on extra crunchy leaves, sticking my bare hands in snow, playing with bubbles from a bubble bath, were all little things that I’d look forward to. I just wanted the satisfaction that only certain textures could bring. I annoyed so many poor kitties and puppies for the chance to shove my face into their velvety soft fur. Every time my parents got a package, I begged to shred the packing peanuts apart, or pop all of the bubble wrap. And honestly, when confronted with these objects, my impulse control was really low.