Stigma Fighers : Jonathan Harnisch

Getting Through an Episode

The curtain opens. I am Jonathan.

I have schizophrenia.

I don’t want to make a big introduction. Perhaps some of you have read my work before. For me, schizophrenia is similar to what I have read. In the early material, from such turn-of-the-century psychiatrists as Kraepelin and Bleuler, there seems to be plenty of subgenres or comorbidities with this condition, which I have had since I was a boy. I believe my traumatic upbringing—at least for me, though not my sister, who was brought up in the same environment—likely set off my illness. A series of other, seemingly ongoing traumatic events in my adult life have created complications, as my doctor would call them. I experience manifestations of other mental health conditions from autism to borderline personality disorder, and my case, for lack of a better word, involves many symptomatic days and times, which often cycle rapidly. For example, my moods can fluctuate up to 30 times per day, with concomitant autistic experiences, and muscular manifestations and malfunctions. A significant number of the comorbidities of which I suffer, not only just happen and I deal with them, but rather they create reactions to even the simplest things.

I battle through daily life. I experience confusion with electronic devices, which is likely and appropriately a common symptom of schizophrenia itself. I may need to reply to an email and I forget how to, or I go to turn on my computer and I forget how to find, much less press, the power button. At the opposite end, on another day, or even another hour, I am capable of solving advanced logic and mathematical problems. While I often forget the simplest things, I have a photographic memory.

Let me back up for a moment… I left off my last essay, mentioning that I would be back writing during my next episode.

And I am having an episode right now.

Schizophrenia might be considered an umbrella disorder, though I am not a doctor of any kind. I consider myself an unemployed artist with a botched trust fund and a life that, in terms of conventional reality, doesn’t actually exist, so I create delusions, or in a way a double self—not a multiple personality, which is one of the myths of schizophrenia; this double reality, despite all the chaotically misfiring neurons in my brain, helps me to have experiences that replace the uncomfortable truths or situations that I prefer not to have. To exist. To be not myself, though loved ones have told me that there is a core, an “oversoul,” that is intact throughout my schizophrenic life.

My thought has trailed off slightly while I was about to write one last bit on my episode, primarily consisting of paranoid thinking that I should keep on writing through my now former episode until I could break through it. That is what I do. I archive my writing. Often, and only when I am feeling symptomatic, I go back to the categorized collected written words that I have been documenting since I was a boy so that I can see what happened through my point of view and so learn how to cope better the next time. I take my writing to my therapist, explaining what happened. I often bring up with him that my life is incredibly synchronistic with my books, which consist of a series of 36 alibis of what makes me who I am so that I can know. So that I can understand and so that I can keep going and move the hell onward as I always do.

I always come back.

My intention for this essay was perhaps that it would be another inserted chapter in my literature, my books, my documentaries, my life, my art, and my reason. But that thought has now trailed off as well… and I had only begun what I referred to as what was not my beginning, or my introduction to this piece.

What I would like to do now is simple: take a ten-minute break.

Time goes on, with people coming in and out of my office and interacting with me, communicating. My goal now is to return to my laptop and recall the 5 minutes after my last break; I mean my cigarette break when I wrote the initial thought that trailed off. Things change. Holy cow, things change.

I am back.

But I can’t stop now without completing this piece, my three-act play, my opera, where I am not the conductor but feel I should be, naturally, if I did not have schizophrenia. I was the violin section. I was beating the melodic tom-tom drum. I was the full orchestra performing live, both alone and with an audience. Together, all the musical instruments communicating with each other, creating a rusty fragmentation, if you will, communicating with me, at my core.

I’ll take a break now, and I will recap how I got through this one, this brief setback, and the five minutes that changed everything.

I know I can recall what happened. And I will. I never intentionally abandon what I am doing at any moment. Again, I always move ahead. There is at least some sun after the storm. If I can stay on track, or if not, while I still play this out live, some might be able to see the stream of thought that is my specialty, where I present a typical day living with schizophrenia. And I’ll call it a good day at this point. I can’t lose what I already have. If I do, I will grab something else and run with that.

In summary, if I am able (for thoughts still bombard my psyche, overlapping and wild) I will, and if not, I will just move the hell on. And let this go. I should have better things to do than to examine my day-to-day experiences with schizophrenia.

And you know what? Maybe I will.

However, I can’t leave anyone hanging. The show is not over yet. The chips are not down. I will simply do my best to finish on the stage, close the curtain, and become the director, the switchboard operator in my head. I have nothing to lose now. I am at war. Just not in combat; I am now in reserve. So let’s get to some meat, the heart of this, and some completion.

Something.

Anything.

It is all so confusing and stressful.

Stressful?

Damn right. But it fuels me. It fuels everything.

No matter what those 5 minutes involved, from overlapping tears and a hardcore crying spell, followed by re-centering a crooked picture on the wall, to having a can of soda and a smoke, a cigarette smoke mind you. Nothing more. I can laugh now. Maybe it doesn’t matter. My brain chemistry changed, all on its own.

I am back again. I have returned another time from within the hallways of going deep into Wonderland, and back and forth. That is something I am used to. The sun is now out, at last and at least for now. Until, well, we’ll just see what comes next.

Roll credits. Insert title card:

The End.

Fade Out.*

 

*Amendment: There is no end. I walk off stage. The seats are empty. I am back in real life. Well, sort of. The story of my life with schizophrenia continues. The curtain draws shut.

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You can also find Jonathan on Google+, Facebook, and Twitter, which is his preferred social media site. Author Jonathan Harnisch has written a semi-fictional and semi-autobiographical bestselling novel, Jonathan Harnisch: An Alibiography, which is available on Amazon and through most major booksellers. He is also a noted, and sometimes controversial, mental health advocate, a fine artist, blogger, podcast host, patent holder, hedge fund manager, musician, and film and TV writer and producer. Google him for more information.

 

Stigma Fighters : Ruby L. Taylor, M.S.W.

8 Ways To Help A Loved One With Depression

1- Allow Your Presence To Be Present

Show up and just be there – Not to make the situation better. But, to show your loved one that he or she is not alone. Your presence and you being present with them is powerful.

Sitting in the same room or next to them and paying attention to their needs is vital.

If they prefer to be alone ask them if you can just spend a little time with them.

You won’t speak unless they want you to. Silence is golden. Make sure they know you are willing and able to be quiet.

2- Verbalize Love and Support

This is really tricky especially for a depressed person because support
and encouragement is different for everyone. With that said here are some
general ways you can SUPPORT & ENCOURAGE a depressed person.

Let them know you love them and are here for them.

Ask if they would like to talk.

Ask them how can you help.

Give hugs or touches to let your loved one know you are there.

3- Write Love, Encouragement & Support Sentences

Write on a paper one line per paper and give it to your loved daily

A. “Your life will get better”

B. “Your future is better than your past”

C. “I AM so glad you are ALIVE”

D. “Yes, life is hard right now – but, it won’t always be this WAY”

E. “You will see better days”

F. “I Need You To Live”

G. “You Are Not A Burden – You Are My GIFT”

H. “How can I help You?”

Number 4 Take A Break

Caregivers need to step away for a day, an afternoon, a weekend, or a
week to be able to care for themselves – so that they care for their loved ones.

You can not be focused on your loved one 24/7 without giving yourself self care and loving. Take a morning, afternoon, or evening off. Visit a friend or
family member who makes you smile and gives you hope. Go to the spa, go to the movies, museum, park, or take a drive (whatever relaxes you and makes you happy – do it).

Number 5 Find A Support Group

Find a Support Group for yourself.
Number 6 Find Laughter & Hope in each new day no matter how hard or dark
circumstances seems.

Number 7 Use your Smope App – Sit down and Smope with your loved one. This will help, by refocusing the brain onto something positive and hopeful. The Smope App won’t be available until September 16, 2015. SORRY!

Number 8 Seek medical attention for your loved one – if you do not like the doctors and/or counselors servicing your loved one, find a new one.
Please let us know if these tips are helpful!

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Ruby Taylor is a traumatic injury survivor, depression warrior, ex-school social worker, app creator, NY Giants Fan, world greatest aunt, and the founder of Smope. Ruby is a graduate of Howard University and Virginia Union University. It is her hope to make the world a better place 1 smile at a time.

Ruby can be found on her blog and Twitter

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Stigma Fighters : Ruby L. Taylor, M.S.W.

“I Wanted To Kill Myself”

My brain injury changed me and took away my hope, my smile, my laughter, and the life I knew
The heaviness of that burden made me want to GO
The life I knew had changed so much that a darkness came over me that I could not shake
All I knew at those moments were
I can’t live like this any more
This simple truth is hard for me to say aloud, but yes, it was the truth of the matter
I Wanted To Kill Myself
Yes, that is my truth
I Wanted To Commit Suicide
I wanted to jump out my window to end my life
As I looked out my second floor window I knew that was not right
My condo was the right height
Yes, I wanted to take my own life
Yes, I had the desire to no longer fight
Yes, I had the plan to commit suicide
But I needed another plan
So, I created another plan to go higher and once I figured out how to reach the highest level
I would jump
The crazy part of having a brain injury is I could not connect the dots
Such as it would have been simple to take the elevator to the top floor
So simple for me not to live anymore
But, my brain injury, which caused my depression, also allowed me to BE
If I had the processing skills at that moment of suicidal ideation – I would have ended my life
Instead, over time life began to get better and my depression decreased
And my smiles increased
And my hope for life was reignited
I smile and thank God that at my lowest point my brain didn’t function and that it had a malfunction
And that is the reason I can write this poem and say I wanted to kill myself
But instead I found hope in my darkness and smiles in my despair
I no longer want to kill myself
I want to LIVE!!!!!!!!!!

Ruby L. Taylor, M.S.W.
Ruby is now focusing on creating apps that will help you smile and give you hope every day, using your favorite photos… Signup Now to learn when the Smope App will launch http://smope.net
RESOURCES
If you have thoughts of suicide reach out for help – your life MATTERS!
Call 24/7 1-800-273-8255
http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/gethelp.aspx
http://www.activeminds.org
To learn about brain injuries please visit
http://www.biausa.org

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Ruby Taylor is a traumatic injury survivor, depression warrior, ex-school social worker, app creator, NY Giants Fan, world greatest aunt, and the founder of Smope. Ruby is a graduate of Howard University and Virginia Union University. It is her hope to make the world a better place 1 smile at a time.

Ruby can be found on her blog and Twitter

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Stigma Fighters : Anne Goodwin

Wounded healers: from clinical psychology to fiction
There’s a vivid and visceral description of self-harm in the opening chapter of my novel, Sugar and Snails. When I read it to people who know I’m a former clinical psychologist, I’m often asked if this scene stems from my work. While it’s true that past patients and clients have taught me what it might mean to want to open one’s veins with a Stanley knife, the essence of my main character’s personality comes more from the people I knew as colleagues than those who came to mental health services requesting help.
It’s not known what proportion of mental health professionals have hidden vulnerabilities themselves. Although there is now a small trend to recruit “experts by experience” to low-level posts, the myth that service users are a different species to service providers continues to hold sway. While the separation makes sense at one level – people in crisis don’t really want to hear about the problems of the person from whom they’ve sought help – it’s bad news for society as a whole. When most of us are in denial about our own wounded minds, we need the sick to stay sick to confirm we’re not like them.

When I hit an unmanageable crisis in my own life, I stemmed my tears with the heel of my hands and dragged myself to work, unable to bring myself to cancel the clients who were barely as fragile as I was. My training and years of practice carried me through. Yet it was only when I acknowledged my need for a breathing space that I could begin to heal.

It was out of this experience of letting myself sink to the bottom, that I became a writer. It had always been an interest, but I’d shelved it in favour of more “worthy” pursuits. Now I recognised that I had to indulge my creative ambitions if I wasn’t going to self-destruct. In making up stories, I’ve found a way to be truer to my vulnerable side, without losing the professionalism I had in my former career. In fiction, I can be in touch with my most painful emotions while keeping myself safe. I can write about self-harming while keeping my skin intact.
For various reasons, I made my fictional alter ego a different kind of helping professional: Diana is a university lecturer unable to apply the lessons of her own research to herself. She’s unsettled when asked to mentor a vulnerable student, with adolescent issues too close to her own trauma buried thirty years before. It’s not only the scars on her arm that Diana wants to keep hidden, but the shame of not being the person she feels she ought to be.

Fiction is a powerful vehicle for combating stigma. In our reading, we can get close to people who, in real life, we might avoid. Diana’s vulnerability makes her a prickly character but, on the page, readers are increasingly moved by her plight. She’s never had a diagnosis and is suspicious of any offers of help. But when she finally softens, when she dares to let down her guard, she blossoms. She’s wounded, not just in her body, but in her mind, as many of us are. But wounds, if we let the air get at them, can heal.

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Anne Goodwin loves fiction for the freedom to contradict herself and has been scribbling stories ever since she could hold a pencil. During her career as an NHS clinical psychologist her focus was on helping other people tell their neglected stories to themselves. Now that her short fiction publication count has overtaken her age, her ambition is to write and publish enough novels to match her shoe size. Her debut novel, Sugar and Snails, was published in July 2015 by Inspired Quill.

Anne can be found on her blog, Facebook and Twitter

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Stigma Fighters : Bill Friday

Whispers

Brains on the bathroom floor
Gloating
Consciousness above me
Floating
Despair at life unlived
Responsibility relieved
Bucket made of bone
A sieve
Whispers of all doubt
Believed.

Copyright © 2009, 2014, 2015 Bill Friday

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bill-friday-best-faceBill Friday is a very much living Fictionary, 8 Megapixel Artist, and Bloody Awful Poet, living in Redondo Beach, California. His words and works can be found in multiple publications, and on his blog, billfriday.com.

Bill can be found on his blog, Facebook and Twitter

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Stigma Fighters : H.M. Jones

I took a bottle of pills when I was fifteen. It wasn’t the right kind, or maybe it was, depending on the desired result. But I was trying to die and I didn’t, so I guess it was the wrong or right kind of pills. I took them to drown out the guilt, the anger. I was made of anger which turned to guilt, so I tried to drown out myself. To erase the me who could not be…normal. I never told my family what I did, so they are reading it, like you, like they are strangers to me, the one who would have taken away something dear to them. But by then the guilt would have been selfishly, blissfully out of my hands.
I raised a knife to my brother. My rage controlled me so completely that I raised the nearest object I had in order to show him how angry I was. It was a knife, dangerous but not as dangerous as the person who could not register anything beyond rage. That person was poised to launch something at my best friend, my confidant, the sibling who looked so much like me we could have been twins. I dropped it, shaking, after my step-father flicked that person on the head, that annoying sting snapped her out of it, and I became me. I became guilt. “What are you thinking?” How could I say that I wasn’t thinking? She was feeling, always either feeling too much, most of it rage or depression, or too little, like falling into a dark hole and not having the energy to climb out. I took a bottle of pills when I was fifteen but not because I wanted to die. No one wants to be so angry, so empty that “the end” is the only relief. I just wanted not to be the she that terrified her family. If I had known that I could live relatively normally in the world with help of just a couple pills, two here and there, I would not have taken a full bottle of pain reliever. It did not relieve my pain, though it did gift me stomach trauma and my first self-medicated hangover, but not my last. I took a bottle of pills when I was fifteen and I survived, vomiting but alive, and I was happy, but I still didn’t realize that I needed help. I just thanked God for the vomit at my feet and the guilt riding my back. I take a couple of pills, now and then, every day, so that I don’t empty an entire bottle to make the anger go away. And I live, relatively normally and very happy to be a suicide survivor. And I thank God for a life that is manageable and even beautiful.

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headshot1H.M. Jones is the B.R.A.G Medallion author of Monochrome, re-released by Gravity, an imprint of Booktrope. She is also responsible for the Attempting to Define poetry quartet and has contributed a short story to Master’s of Time: A Sci-Fi and Fantasy Time Travel Anthology, “The Light Storm of 2015.” A bestseller only in her mind, Jones pays the electric bill by teaching English and research courses at Northwest Indian College. Jones is also the moderator for Elite Indie Reads, a review website for Indie and Self published books. Besides buying enough second-hand books to fill a library, Jones loves to spend time helping her preschoolers grow into thinking, feeling citizens of this world, run, weave, pull with the Port Gamble S’Klallam Canoe Family and attempt to deserve her handsome husband, who is helping pay the other bills until his wife becomes the next big thing.

H.M. can be found on her blog, Twitter and Facebook

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Stigma Fighters : Tom Roberts

“The person who completes suicide, dies once. Those left behind die a thousand deaths, trying to relive those terrible moments and understand … Why?”
– Clark (2001)

I cry every time I speak in public about Jerry’s suicide. Jerry was my little brother. He was 35 and left behind his wife and two little boys. His decomposing body was found in a wooded area in his hometown in North Central Arkansas. He had disappeared two weeks earlier. Even though that was in 1992, I relive the moment I heard the news every time I tell the story and choke with grief just as I did when I tried to say a few words at his funeral.

His widow told me as we stood next to the casket at the funeral home that Jerry was diagnosed with bipolar disorder a few years earlier when he was a Sergeant in the U.S. Army. He was discharged immediately without treatment and refused to get psychiatric help out of fear of stigma once a civilian.

My connection with his widow and little boys got lost in the years I was fighting my own bipolar disorder after my diagnosis a year later. I am ashamed I wasn’t there to be a Dad for those little boys. Twenty-three years passed before I reached out to their mother and my now adult nephews through Facebook. I was afraid it would be a bitter reunion, but they told me they loved me and were so happy to hear from me.

Jerry’s widow told me of her own pain over the years dealing with her husband’s suicide. She was grateful, too, I showed up just in time to help the boys as each struggled with drug addiction they used to self-medicate their inheritance of the “family curse” of bipolar disorder.

I found a treatment center for the oldest nephew. He went and got clean and then on to a successful job he loves. He had been in pharmacy school years earlier, but drug abuse ended that dream. My other nephew was recovering from heart disease that nearly killed him at 35. His heath is returning and he is the proud Daddy of my brother’s 5-year-old grandson. Jerry missed so much by not knowing what it is like to be a Grandpa. My older nephew is the proud father of Jerry’s first grandson who is now 16.

I pray that my decision to step back into their lives with my message about recovery from mental illness and fight against stigma will break the chains that nearly destroyed three generations of a family from a small down in Arkansas. I pray there will be no more suicides because there is hope now that one old Uncle found his way.

There is still one unresolved matter in our family. My step-sister killed herself five years after our brother’s death. She, too, ran from stigma rather than get psychiatric help for major depression. Her daughter has not responded to my attempts to reach out to her. I know she is bitter about her Mom’s crazy family and her grief must be overwhelming since her Mom died. My niece was around 11 or 12 when she lost her Mom, I think.

The patriarch of our family ran in shame for at least 30 years from his mental illness until his early death from heart disease when he was only 62. He had bipolar disorder, he learned two years before his death, and was near death when word came about Jerry’s suicide. Dad died three months later, but I don’t think the heart disease killed him. I think he died of a broken heart.

“Suicide creates a monstrous emotional upsurge of shame and guilt. Everyone participates in feeling responsible and even shamed at knowing the suicidal candidate. If these feelings are not healed the vampire of suicidal death can strike again and again.”
–Linda Lee Landon, Life After Suicide

“Everything…affects everything”
― Jay Asher, Thirteen Reasons Why

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Tom-RobertsTom Roberts
Mental Health Advocate

The typical Bipolar patient can sum up his or her life story in four words: lost relationships, lost jobs.
Bipolar Disorder untreated is hell, but you don’t know you are in hell. You just know that you have ups and downs. You are very productive when up and ready to die when down.

A major manic episode in June 1988 destroyed my marriage and ended my faculty position at a small Christian university in Arkansas. I left my wife of 18 years and two young children choosing instead life in Hollywood convinced I could make a living as an actor.
Less than a year later, major depression returned and I took a long, sad bus trip back to Arkansas hoping to pick up the pieces. It was all gone. I supported myself as a hospital janitor and lived in a un-heated cabin in the country. The only bright spot was getting to see my kids once a month.
It would be five years before I learned I had Bipolar Disorder that should have been diagnosed when I was 18 when the first symptoms appeared instead of 43. That, as Paul Harvey used to say, is the rest of the story.

Eventually, cognitive impairment (memory and spatial-memory cognition) , a common symptom of Bipolar Disorder, made work impossible and permanently disabled me at 60.

Now, more than 20 years after my diagnosis, I speak to groups about this devastating illness. I hope my experience will prevent suicides by those like my brother and sister who are too afraid of stigma to seek help. I am passionate about speaking to college students because suicide is the second leading cause of death among student. My recent speech to students at the University of North Carolina and Duke University was called “The Speech I Wish I Had Heard When I Was An Undergraduate”.

Tom can be found on his blog, Twitter and Facebook

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Stigma Fighters : Gia Sweeney

I have been putting off telling my story because of the stigma that I’m frightened will come along with it. The embarrassment I feel I may cause those close to me. The fear of not getting employment due to a past filled with mental illness. It’s so easy for me to put off what means everything to me. So, in recognition of Suicide Prevention Month I am going to fight the stigma using faith not fear!

My first suicide attempt was in junior year of high school. My high school sweetheart decided it was time to end our relationship and he was moving on to bigger and better. At least this is how I perceived the break up. At the same time of the break up my best friends, whom I had grown up with, decided we were not going to talk… a petty issue possibly, however, the loss of my love and my best girlfriends on top of my lack of happiness since childhood was unbearable to me. I wrote my note, put it under my bed, took my pills and went to sleep. As I woke up that next morning I was unsure of what to do so I told my mom what I had done. This would be the beginning of my growing consciousness in my misery. I had been hospitalized and when I was discharged it was recommended that I see a psychologist. He said something to me that I continue to carry with me today. He said, ” You are not living the life you want”.

As time passed I had at least three other attempts along with diagnoses of cyclotbymia, bipolar, depression, schizoaffective, eating disorder, codependent, addict, alcoholic.
I have had my fair share of hospitalizations, medications, therapy, you name it! The reason I say all this is not to say I’m any different from the next person or I have a grater war story. I say this out of gratitude. I say this because I am fortunate to be alive and be a mother, a daughter, a friend, a woman living with a mental illness, of no longer letting my illness cause me to feel shame, embarrassment, inadequacy. I am sober nine years this October alongside of working on understanding my mental health. I am so excited there is a place to share my experience and know that I am supported and all is going to be ok.
Thank you so much for taking your time to read this and through my struggles and acceptance my hope is to understand and relate to others, being the best Gia I can.
I am fighting the stigma.

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image1Gia is a lover of life, Ayurveda, dance, writing. A mother, daughter, sister, and friend.

Gia can be found on her website

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NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION MONTH: Stigma Fighters Survival Stories

Once upon a time, there was a woman who recognized a need for a centralized place where people affected by mental illnesses could come together and tell their stories. That woman’s name is Sarah Fader, and her international non-profit organization is called Stigma Fighters.

A grand community was built from such an idea that encouraged the power of community which gave real people a voice. A voice that they would not have, had the life of someone with a mental illness taken away their voice when it took their life. Stigma Fighters promotes truth and bravery and love, but it also promotes life. Life lived happily without judgment.

September is National Suicide Prevention Month, and in true Stigma Fighters fashion, it would be an honor for us to share your stories of how you or a loved one survived suicide. We will of course accept anonymous submissions, but we hope you will show your face and stand proud with us to fight the stigma of mental illness and tell the world that we are here, and we are not going away.

You can submit here before August 31. Change the world with us…

Headshot4byFSP

A Bestselling Author, NPO VP, and Psychology Today Blogger from Burbank, California, Allie Burke writes books she can’t find in the bookstore. Having been recognized as writing a “kickass book that defies the genre it’s in”, Allie writes with a prose that has been labeled poetic and ethereal.

Her life is a beautiful disaster, flowered with the harrowing existence of inherited eccentricity, a murderous family history, a faithful literature addiction, and the intricate darkness of true love. These are the enchanting experiences that inspire Allie’s fairytales.

From some coffee shop in Los Angeles, she is working on her next novel.

Stigma Fighters : Jenny Hill

I have Trichotillomania. Trichotillomania (Trich for short; also known as TTM or hair pulling disorder) is an impulse control disorder characterized by the compulsive urge to pull out one’s hair.

I’ve had Trich ever since I was either 16 or just turned 17, my junior year of high school. I’m not sure why or when exactly it started.

I pulled my eyebrows and eyelashes. Sometimes I’d pull less or more than other times. You may be asking yourself. Doesn’t it hurt? And the answer is no, it doesn’t.

For three years I didn’t know what I had at all. I merely thought it was just a bad habit. It wasn’t until three years after I started pulling that I saw an article online about an actress that said she pulls out her eyelashes and that’s when I first heard of the name Trichotillomania. Oddly enough back then I didn’t think anymore of it. I didn’t look into it.

This past February one day I decided to look more into it, because it was getting worse. So I googled hair pulling and a Wikipedia page about Trichotillomania was one of the first links that popped up. I clicked on it and read it. After that I went on YouTube and typed in Trichotillomania, curious to see if there was any videos about it. There I found several YouTubers who had videos in which they shared their story of Trich. I was so happy that I wasn’t the only person that pulls out their hair.

Trich is actually a very common disorder, yet unheard of because a lot of people feel shameful and embarrassed about it, and that’s how I used to feel as well. It’s said that 2 to 4% of the population has it, which means that 1 to 2 out of every 50 people have it. And that’s a lot!!

In April my Trich became worse than it ever has, I started pulling from my head hair as well. And now I pull from there a lot more than I do from my eyebrows and eyelashes. Infact, I’ve barely touched my eyebrows and eyelashes, because I’m trying to grow them out.

One thing I have learned along my journey with Trich is that it’s a very mysterious and unpredictable disorder. One minute you’ll have a huge urge to pull and then the next you won’t. One minute you’ll be pulling one hair at a time and the next you are pulling three or six at a time, maybe even more. It’s quite often that I try really really hard to not pull and tell myself not to pull. But the tension is so strong that I pull anyways. And when I do pull it releases that tension.

There’s sometimes when I will pull every day, several times a day. Then there’s times where I pull only a few times a day. There’s also times when I’m pull free for a few days and that’s when I’m the happiest and I truly feel on top of the world then. That’s when I know I am capable of being in recovery.

I’ve been spreading awareness for 5 or 6 months now. Slowly but surely. On social media websites such as Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. I have two videos dedicated to my Trich on YouTube one is before I started pulling my head hair and the other is an update. I hope to not only spread awareness for Trich but also other disorders as well as Mental Health in general.

I sincerely hope everyone who has read this has learned atleast a little bit more about Trich. Also please remember that if you have Trich, you are definitely not alone.

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imageI live in Oklahoma. I love reading, cats and musicals. I also love to spread awareness about Trichotillomania.

Jenny can be found on Facebook

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