How To Tell Someone You Have Trichotillomania
Having the talk.
It’s what many trichsters, including myself, have feared for years. Telling someone you have trichotillomania isn’t like telling someone you have a cold. Despite the fact that trichotillomania affects 1 in 50 people, not many people know about it. If they do know about it, they probably haven’t heard it by it’s name, trichotillomania.
How do you tell someone you pull out your hair?
This week, I’m breaking down some tips that have helped me over the years share my trichotillomania with others.
Who Should You Tell
You get to decide who you want to share your trich with. It can be as few or as many people as you want (if you’re under 18, I would recommend telling at least one parent/guardian). I’ve been pulling for the past 21 years. Until 2 years ago, I’d only ever told 7 people about my hair pulling. Now, I have the talk at least once a week.
When it comes to deciding who to tell, go with your gut. You don’t owe it to anyone to tell them you have trichotillomania. If your gut is telling you you shouldn’t tell someone, don’t feel obligated to share.
Have Information on Hand
Sharing with someone that you have a seven-syllable disorder that ends in “mania” can be daunting and overwhelming. If you find yourself stumbling over your words or having difficulties vocalizing what you want to say, have articles or videos on hand that break down some of the basics of trich. Here are a few articles with some basic facts about trichotillomania:
Remember You’re in the Driver’s Seat
You get to decide how much you want to reveal about your trichotillomania. Just because you tell someone you have trich, doesn’t mean you need to tell them where you pull from, how often you pull, how big your bald spots are, etc. Set boundaries ahead of time of how much you want to disclose, so that you’ll feel prepared if questions arise that make you uncomfortable.
Handling the Naysayers
When you tell someone you have trichotillomania, they have the right to respond in whatever manner they want. Whether they want some quiet time to process or immediately give you a big hug, that’s up to them. If you find that the person you’re telling is not supportive of you and your trichotillomania, know that is not your fault. Their lack of support and compassion is 100% on them, and not on you. There are people out there (including me!) who love and support you, with or without your trichotillomania.
Practice, Practice, Practice
If you already have someone whom you trust and knows about your trich, try practicing your “I have trichotillomania” talk with them. Just starting the conversation is oftentimes the hardest part, so practicing your first line or couple of lines can help you feel confident about having the talk.
If you don’t have a friend or family member whom you can or want to practice with, practice in front of a mirror. (For years, my bathroom mirror has been my practice buddy, so don’t worry - you are not alone!)
Go with Love
Whenever you decide to have the talk, know that I, and so many other fellow trichsters, are here supporting you and sending you all of our love. Make sure to be kind to yourself before, during and after having the conversation. As always, if y’all have any questions, leave a comment or message me and I’ll be happy to answer them!
Above all, remember… You are not alone on your trich journey!