How Trichster Got Rid Of Her Mania

This content will be shown before all post

How Trichster Got Rid Of Her Mania 

For more than 20 years, Aneela Idnani Kumar pulled out hair from her eyebrows and eyelashes. Embarassed by this behaviour, she’d apply make-up to cover the gaps in her brows, to put up a facade. It was only after her husband accidentally discovered her condition that she started on the road to recovery. The 36-year-old tells Marisha Karwa how she put trichotillomania behind her.

 
alt MARISHA KARWA | Mon, 8 May 2017-06:26pm , DNA
http://www.dnaindia.com/health/report-how-one-trichster-got-rid-of-her-mania-2431161

I knew it wasn’t something I should be doing. But I didn’t know how to stop it.

When I was 12, I remember seeing a video in elementary school about microscopic living things. There was a segment about tiny mites that live in eyebrows and eyelashes. It grossed me out beyond belief and brought attention to this area for me. I started pulling at my bushy eyebrows and went from beautiful, thick, long lashes to nothing.

The act of pulling was in a weird trough between pain and pleasure — pulling felt good, though there was a little physical pain sometimes. The resulting baldness always felt bad. But I want to caution against using the term self-harm. Psychologists do not consider engaging in these behaviours to be self-harm. (http://www.bfrb.org/learn-about-bfrbs/tools-a-info-for/for-teens-youngadults/teen-faq#a15)

Looking back, I think I had a predisposition to trich. As a child, I used to twirl my hair a lot — a common precursor. I believe the hormonal change at puberty, along with the stress of my father’s sickness (he had leukemia) triggered the onset of my hair pulling.

And I was always pulling. I didn’t ever mind that I was in public. I figured most people weren’t paying attention to me anyway. People didn’t really notice that my lashes were missing — it’s such a subtle facial feature. Even though I could tell people sensed something was “off,” they could not pinpoint what or why. Friends noticed the less bushy eyebrows, but I would use an eye pencil to fill in. I remember sneaking away to the bathroom in college to apply makeup.

I didn’t share this secret because I felt ashamed for doing this to myself. There was already so much going on in life between school and my dad, it felt insignificant at the time. I didn’t want anyone to worry. I lacked self-confidence so I would often picture people reacting negatively (if they found out) — jeers, sneers, pointing, laughing. I thought my friends wouldn’t want to be friends anymore and would consider me to be very weird.

For the better part of my teenage and adult years, I felt ugly and guilty. But I put up a good façade, even getting compliments for my make-up. The trich peaked after a breakup, which sent me into a depressive spiral. Around the same time, I had also gotten Lasik eye surgery, so I no longer had eyeglasses serving as a barrier. It was a free fall of pulling. It was then that I finally Googled hair pulling and found out it was a disorder, with a name, and that I wasn’t alone. I still remember that day – sitting at my desk in a group area at the office. No one else was in and I was crying hard.

Unfortunately, the “newness” of the disorder means there has not been enough research to truly understand its causes. One therapist-friend, Dr. Christy Garner, later explained the concept of epigenetics. She described how we all have the gene, it is just a matter of “how turned up the volume is” on the gene. She said, hormones, brain chemistry, the environment can all alter the gene “volume.”

I was really good at hiding trich. My husband, Sameer, whom I met in 2006 and married in 2010, found out about it in 2013. He only found out because one morning, I just didn’t get my make-up on in time. He was very supportive. He started noticing more when I was doing it. For example, if we were on the couch watching television and I started pulling, he would gently take my hand. He never made me feel like trichotillomania made me less of a person.

It was also after Sameer found out, that he encouraged me to go to therapy. I found therapy to be very helpful in working through many of the “traumas” in my life. It made me realise that everyone should have access to mental health care, not just physical health care. I saw my doctor, on and off, from January 2014 through December 2015.

Sameer finding out also allowed me to open up about the disorder. I once said to him, “I wish I just had something that notified me.” We are both love gadgets, so we knew it was technically feasible. This is how the Keen by HabitAware was conceived. The idea hinged on the fact that the hand was in the area of the pulling (or other BFRB). The goal is to catch a user before they pull or pick by shifting the conversation in their head away from “pull, pull, pull” to “oh, my hands aren’t where I want them to be…let me grab my squeezy ball”.

We knew from the beginning that a smart bracelet would make the most sense but we first tested with “low fidelity” ideas. One prototype we made was a slap bracelet with bells on it paired with a chunky blinged out bracelet. Another prototype used magnets. It took about 2.5 years of R&D, testing and development to bring Keen to market. We began shipping in March 2017 and have been blown away by the positive response.

Incidentally, I had another peak of pulling during maternity leave after my first son was born. Here again, I think hormones coupled with the stress of being a new parent and the boredom of being home alone with a sleeping baby and no work to do triggered the pulling. I didn’t relapse after the birth of my second child just about a month ago! I think this is because of Keen, as well as knowing a little more about what to expect as a parent and not really having time to be bored as I continue to work on Keen/HabitAware from home.

I have now put trichotillomania completely behind me. That is not to say that I don’t have urges, nor is it to say that I have stopped pulling. What it means is that trichotillomania no longer has a hold on me. In using Keen I have tremendously heightened my awareness of my urges and pulling. I pull every now and again but if I do, I do not beat myself up over it. I am not of the “pull free” mindset. Those that strive to be “pull free” have an all-or-nothing mentality about their pulling. I believe, after seeing it happen time and again in closed facebook groups, that leaving no room for error can be devastating. It causes a vicious cycle of stress and anxiety. So I allow myself that leeway to be human and make mistakes now and again.

Somewhere along this journey, I’ve developed a stronger sense of faith. My advice to anyone suffering from a BFRB is simply this: be brave and share and open up about having this disorder. As one friend put it, “the world did not end” when she took her hat off in public for the first time! It is only with your voice that we will be able to lift the stigma. You don’t have to be suffering. You have a choice to take control of this disorder, rather than letting it control you. That choice lies in a willingness to change and awareness.

Trichotillomania
Is it possible to FIGHT Trichotillomania?!?! Yes!!! Please view hair regrowth and testimonies here!

Meet the Expert

Charlene BlacerCharlene' clients are privileged with her trademark's "secrets" for vibrantly healthy, growing hair. Her knowledge of extension, hairpiece application, scalp, hair follicle treatments, coverage for bald spots, thinning hair, and individualized hair monitoring is unsurpassed by her colleagues.

She works with anyone in need of serious hair to those who desire fuller, healthier, longer hair.

Hair and scalp health is her primary goal. She created the best scalp, hair follicle and nutrition based treatments to achieve her trademark full, healthy mane that her clients are known to have.

Her clients don't suffer from the usual damage and matting that plagues most hair extension wearers. As a hair restoration specialist, she saw the damages caused by improper installation and maintenance.

Her methods of proper application have been able to restore the health of her clients' natural hair, resulting in hair that grows in stronger in 1-2 years; result that is unheard of with hair extensions.

MORE ABOUT CHARLENE BLACER:

Charlene Blacer is a hair health growth expert specializing in cosmetic hair augmentation. Having a very reputable online business, her credentials include:

More Press

Most Notable Press

Celebrity Clients included a

  • Bollywood actress, singer, dancer, who appeared in BravoTV.
  • A daughter of a legendary famous athlete, who testified that her glue adhesive installation is by far the best she's ever seen and tried! And she paid Charlene full price!

More Specialties

Exclusive Dealer to Invisible Solutions: One solution stands out by being almost invisible. Micro Point Solutions® featuring Cyberhair® by exclusive dealer, Charlene Blacer, a Pennsylvania based Hair Loss Solutions Specialist, has solved the problems of other hair extensions. Known as the "healthy alternative to hair extensions", Micro Point Solutions® offers patented options for fine or thinning hair.

More Solutions: Great Length Human Hair Extensions, EuroLocs Reusable Strand Extensions, No Bump Sewn In Weaves, Hair Barriers for Trichotillomania

Press:
2014 BeautyLaunchpad
Winner 2009 Moms on a Mission StartupNation
Featured in Pocono Record 4x

Freelance Specialist will service at your Salon or mine!

Although Charlene is a licensed cosmetologist and can perform all cosmetology services, she prefers to focus solely on hair extensions and hair loss solutions as a hair health and regrowth expert.  She invites partnership with your favorite salon or primary care facility to provide for you her consultation and speciality services.  Please have your favorite salon or primary care facility view this website.  Charlene believes that team work specialists achieve the best results!

If you do not have a favorite salon or primary care facility, Charlene will recommend a salon she freelances at.

History

Established in 1992.

Started career in 1991, as a hair extension assistant for New York City's elite clientele; Charlene Blacer furthered her hair extension passion combining her Registered Nursing education and began a Hair Health Growth Expert business.  She works with anyone who are in need of serious hair repair due to everything from poor hair extension application, malnutrition, female pattern baldness, chemotherapy, alopecia, over processing and trichotillomania (obsessive compulsive pulling of the hair). She also works with those who simply desire fuller, healthier and longer hair.

Read her online reviews!

This content will be shown after all post


Leave a Reply