I am part of a few online communities for folks with BFRBs, specifically trichotillomania (hair pulling). I also attend monthly meet-ups with other hair pullers, nail-biters and skin-pickers in Minneapolis. Over the years, friendships have formed within these groups and I’ve noticed something interesting: even though we’ve all found a different way to deal with our BFRB, it seems there are a few different general mindsets for viewing BFRBs – some are healthy & some not-so-much!
Many of the older trichsters I’ve talked with are kind of just over it. They don’t acknowledge their BFRBs existence in their life, simply ignoring the bald patches that result from their pull sessions, for example. They are complacent – neither attempting to stop pulling, nor attempting to hide it.
I’ve seen so many people share their stories of despair and points of no return. They let their battle with trichotillomania and other BFRBs consume them to the point that it is all that they can think about. They berate themselves, knock themselves down and have succumb to the impossibility of embracing positive change.
Most BFRBers in the online communities share their tips for hiding their trich from their loved ones and co-workers. The most common methods are using make up, wigs, certain hairstyles and using fashion accessories like hats to cover up any damage. Before HabitAware, this is most definitely how I dealt with my trich, namely using an eye pencil to cover up any bald areas within my eyebrows. What I realize now is that covering it just doesn’t solve it.
One of the more positive methods I’ve seen is people sharing their tactics for replacing the BFRB behavior as soon as they notice it. The main goal is to keep the hands busy doing something else. Many use fidget toys. Other BFRBers engage in very creative and artistic endeavors such as coloring, knitting, painting, and writing.
And lastly there are those with BFRBs who really want lasting change and are ready to face it head on. This group takes active steps to get help from experts and finds creative ways to actively manage the triggers causing their BFRB. This could be reducing their stress/anxiety through diet, sleep, exercise or meditation. Those who face it seem to have a good attitude, knowing that though there might be bad days, there will most definitely be good days.
You have a choice in how you deal with your BFRB. We’re your #1 supporter when you are ready to face it and replace it.
~Aneela, Trichster & HabitAware Cofounder
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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.
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