A highlight from Trichotillomania

Mentally Yours


So welcome to mentally yours, because there's multiple of us today. Shall we start just by doing a little bit of an intro that we send dress and just so everyone listening knows whose voice belongs to who? Yes, sure. I can start. I'm Louisa, I have a weird German half Scottish accent, so I'll probably know who I am when I'm talking. Hi, I'm Jess. I'm from London. Perfect. And we're talking to you guys today about trick tiller mania, which I always stumble over even though I've written it and said it so many times. So we'll start with Jess. Because you have lived experience of trip to Romania. Can you tell us a bit about what that means for you and kind of how your journey with trick to the main I told you guys, how it started? Yeah, so my experience with the condition started when I was very young. I don't remember exactly how old I was, but probably around 7 or 8 years old. I started to pull out my own eyelashes. And this wasn't something that I really had control over and it wasn't something that I could stop doing. It was very much compulsive behavior. And this is something which lasted for all of my childhood and into my teenage years and then as I got older, I was just putting out my eyebrows as well. And then gradually, that kind of spread to have other parts of my body. And now I'm 26. So this has been going on for a very long time now. When it started, were your family kind of aware of what was going on where you keeping things secret? Yes, so my family noticed that I was having blood chunks of hair missing from my eyelashes and from my eyebrows. But yeah, all they'd really say to me is I'll stop doing that or you need to tie your hands together or wear gloves. They want particularly sympathetic. And it's difficult. I feel like a lot of people listening their family will have had really similar reactions, which is like, you're just biting your nails like gross habit or stuff like that. And it's difficult to explain to you for like, I'm not doing this deliberately. It's not as simple as just stopping. Did you notice that you had any kind of triggers for when your trick became worse? Or was it just kind of a constant thing happening? So I think whenever I was stressed or anxious, that definitely made it worse. So I think at university, it got very bad when I was stressing about deadlines and work, and even now when I've had a very stressful day, I will often wake myself up in the night by pulling her. I think that's because all about the stress and attention from the day kind of manifest itself at nighttime, things like some conscious behavior. It's really frustrating, isn't it? When you're doing really well at not doing the behavior and then you are asleep and it's happening as well, because I have the same as a dermatillomania, which is skin picking, and I will do the exact same thing, where it's like, oh, smash it. I've not picked it all and I'll wake up and I'll be like, I've scratched myself to shit. Over the night. Yeah, exactly. It's so frustrating when you wake up in the morning and you pretty much reverse like three months worth of progress, whilst you've been asleep and there's nothing you can do about it. So how'd it been during the pandemic? I think in the pandemic, it's been less stressful in terms of not having so many social situations where I feel like everyone's kind of staring at me and not having to cope with that side of the anxiety around it. Obviously, now we're going back into the social situation. So I happen to kind of deal with that again. But it was also hard spending more time by yourself means there's more time for you to kind of engage in a pulling behaviors without people watching you and judging you for. I definitely noticed that as well. Because I remember in the midst of lockdown, I actually wear a piece of owl. Dumb to the mania, which again is kind of the skin picking side of body focus repetitive behaviors. And then Sony who said that it became a lot worse in lockdown just because there was more opportunity to do it because usually when we were in the office and, you know, out and about, you're less able to be like absent mindedly picking. So it's really interesting where it was kind of this double edged sort of yes, it's getting worse, but also you're right. There is less of that anxiety for people can see the results of it. Yeah, but I mean, for people who have boredom as a trigger or stress or anxiety to trigger that was certainly plenty of that around over the past couple of years. How is it impacted your life? One of the major areas in which is impact in my life has probably been relationships because I'm very, very conscious of not letting people stare at my face too much or like look too closely at me. I feel very awkward when I'm in more intimate social situations, so I think that's made it very hard to build relationships. I'm just always very on edge and worrying about what people are thinking about my parents and not wanting people to see me without makeup. What kind of support have you received for or have you pursued professional treatment? No, I've never had any professional support or treatment for it. I think that's just very little. There's very few resources out there. Which kind of leads very neatly to Louisa with notch, which is kind of on the you explain it better than I do, but are kind of banned that vibrates and kind of trains you not to do these behaviors. Let me say can you talk to us a bit about what inspired you to create this company? So I've been working in the healthcare industry for a long time and I think it's really interesting to explore opportunities how technology can help improving your health at home. So, you know, going to a therapist is finding the right therapist is really tricky. Seeing finding help out there is challenging. And I think I sort of like the whom I find the home care aspects or treatment options really interesting now that are arising with a lot more opportunities in the tech sphere. So having your little gadgets or your smartphone are apps that can help you with managing your own behaviors. So I'm really interested in the health health tech aspect of it and also just exploring the mental health area as well because I know that there's not an area in the healthcare and sector that's not very, you know, there's still a lot of taboos attached to it. We sort of at the start of the pandemic, we had this idea about having a wristband that could help developing a wristband that could help you with behavior change or help you with stopping to touch your face. And then we sort of looked at the potential areas of application and then started doing our research and when this wristband could help. And then kind of also became more I learned so much about trick and derm and BFRBs that I didn't know before. And it was only through the sort of the research that I also became much more aware of my own history and I've been skin picking all my life and my mom and my sister. You know, they do it too. And it really annoys me with them. And I had no idea I was never, you know, I'd never put a name to it, but accepting or finding out more about fear for abuse and being able to frame it for myself was really helpful. So then I also started developing a personal interest in the product and finding a solution that I then found out affects so many people. I had no idea that it was a thing and that it was so big. What was it like to realize that I imagine it must be such a kind of relief to go like, oh, I'm not. But only person doing this. I think it was really helpful for me personally because it's kind of a behavior that's annoying that my partner would often point out is I can't stop picking and then so now

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