Sam Faiers has always been open about her battle with Trichotillomania and now she’s discussed it in further detail, blaming her stepdad’s prison stint as the thing that triggered her illness.
In the past, the former TOWIE star has often spoken about her obsession with pulling out her eyelashes, which is a form of Trichotillomania – a condition where someone has a constant urge to pull out their hair, eyebrows or lashes.
And on her new YouTube channel, the mum-of-one has explained how she’s lived with the condition since the age of eight, and why she has finally discovered the source behind her obsession.
In the video, Sam said: “From the age of eight, my mum noticed I was pulling out my eyelashes. It all started when a friend of mine said, ‘If you pick out an eyelash and make a wish, it will come true,’ and as an eight-year-old girl, that’s a fairytale come true.”
Continuing, the Essex girl explained: “In the last three years I’ve seen a psychologist who specializes in Trichotillomania and the story goes deeper than just picking out an eyelash and making a wish.
“I had a couple of sessions and they take it all the way back to your childhood and how Trichotillomania can come about, as it always stems from something,” Sam revealed. “When I was younger, my dad went to prison. So it all made sense…I was picking out an eyelash and making a wish for my dad to come home.
“And as a little girl, I kept doing it, because I obviously missed my dad and wanted him to come home. That is how the compulsive disorder started.”
But Sam admitted that she is still struggling to kick the habit, saying: “Now I’m an adult and I know it’s just a fairytale, but it’s gone so far that it’s a compulsive disorder and it’s so hard to stop.
“I’m still doing it so I can’t say I’ve got it under control. I’ve addressed how it started when I was younger, but I like the feeling of it. People say, ‘Oh doesn’t that hurt?’, but it’s like a comfort.”
The Minnies Boutique co-owner also divulged how the illness affected her as a teenager: “I was a really confident, loud, kid, but there was a stage – I think when you’re going to senior school and you want to look nicer and confident… inside I felt like I couldn’t properly look people in the eye, because they would say, ‘You haven’t got eyelashes.'”
Sam, who is a huge fan of false eyelashes, also told viewers how much they have changed her life. She said: “When we got to 14, I honestly think I was the first person in our year group at school to discover and wear them. I would find natural ones and cut them up to fit the shape of my eyes.
“I couldn’t believe how over the moon I was to find them and thought, ‘Wow, everyone is going to think I’ve got eyelashes,’ and I’ve just worn them ever since. Hence why I have my own range because they mean so much to me and I’ve worn them forever.”
Dishing out her own advice to others who suffer with Trichotillomania, Sam, who is currently starring in ITVBe’s The Mummy Diaries with son Paul Junior and boyfriend Paul Knightley, cited talking as the most helpful way to deal with it.
“Speaking from my own experience, I found it really helps talking to the closest people to you,” Sam advised. “My sister [Billie Faiers] and I would even make jokes and make light of it. Don’t be scared to talk to somebody, ask for help, because it really does help.”
She added: “Embrace your insecurities. You’re not the only one with the insecurity, nobody is perfect. Trichotillomania is mine and that’s me and I am who I am.”