Sometimes It’s Not Just Trich- Day 4 of 7 Day Trichster

I wouldn’t be sharing the full story if I didn’t focus at least one day with my own struggle with other Body-Focused Repetitive-Behaviours (BFRBs). As some Trichsters do, I’ve developed other types of BFRBs over the years. I believe my journey with BFRBs began as a young child as a very bad nail bitter, or in BFRB terms Onychophagia.

Since I began pulling my biggest focus has been hiding it. Thats not easy to do. I rarely pull in the presence of others, if I do I aim to be discrete. So as a coping mechanism, and because BFRBs of all kinds can go in hand-in-hand, I also live with dermatillomania, and cheek keratosis. Big words for other parts of my daily reality. 

It’s not uncommon to see me picking a scab on my head, I put it there. Sure it may have started as a dry spot , but it certainly won’t stay that way. Picking a scab until it bleeds, starting a wound where the wasn’t previously one, the annoyance with any imperfection. The repetition of these types of behaviours are common place in my life. Gross perhaps, but thats not the way I and millions of other Canadians see it, we can’t help it. It hurts sometimes, unlike my hair pulling. Some BFRB sufferers pick their legs and arms, the skin from around their fingers or their faces. I also pick the skin around my cuticles or my face- That is dermatillomania.

I started biting my cheeks (cheek keratosis) as a way to fight the urge to pull, on live television broadcast throughout Prince Edward Island. Sitting on stage at the UPEI Convocation Ceremony, having just botched a speech in front of thousands, I was stressed, but watched. Texts from those watching started to explode my phone:

“Why are you making that funny face?”

“Stop being odd.”

“You look funny.”

“You look weird stop making faces.”

Welcome the funny face into my world. I’m often seen with a funny face, lop-sided smile; I’m chewing the inside of my cheek. Of all the BFRBs I live with cheek keratosis is one that is most prominent as of late. I chew the inside of my cheeks, creating wounds, and sometimes it hurts , but mostly my jaw just reaches fatigue due to the weird movement.  Although I still dislike cheek biting, I feel it’s more socially acceptable, and so its become my go-to. Still painful, still frustrating, but still part of me. 

This is not a complete list of BFRBs, or the fullest of their reality. Visit The TLC Foundation for BFRBs to learn more, or check back later today for my compiled synopsis.

As always feel free to join the conversation, ask questions, like & share.

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6 thoughts on “Sometimes It’s Not Just Trich- Day 4 of 7 Day Trichster

  1. I pull my eyelashes, eyebrows and pick at my skin too. I always have red marks on my face that I cover up with concealer. I always feel like I am hiding a huge secret from the world, it is definitely stressful. Thanks for sharing!

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  2. I can relate with the cheek biting part. I do it all the time and sometimes I don’t even realize that I’m doing it. Also, I find it kind of upsetting that in a time of incredible stress, speaking in front of a bunch of people, people weren’t being supportive. You are an amazing young woman who has accomplished so much. I’m very proud to know you. Thanks for sharing this!

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    1. It was quite upsetting, even now as I look back on it. Although I suppose they didn’t understand. Thanks for sharing and for the encouragement! Nice to hear from you, hope all is well ❤

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  3. The scabs are my downfall. The pulling sensation of the scab & surrounding area is so much more rewarding. So my bald spots expand, scabs never heal, more bumps & scabs appear, more bald spots … It’s a vicious cycle. Never ending.

    I wonder if I never had any scalp bumps or scabs, would I leave my hair alone??

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