Trich Stories: Jermaine

Trichotillomania and BFRBs are hard to talk about, hard to read about, and hard to learn about. Accurate information that does exist is difficult to find and frequently neglects the day-to-day challenges of the average trichster. In an effort to bridge this information gap, we're interviewing everyone we can and sharing their stories with the world. This is the first in an ongoing series of interviews.

Name: Jermaine

Location: United States

Age: 31

Gender: Male

What BFRB(s) do you have? How do they manifest? Tell us about what it's like for you.

I have trich and i bite my nails a lot. My nail biting i never really cared about. just something i did since i was 2. For me having Trich and being a man you naturally wouldnt think it would be a huge thing like it is with women. Hair is so much more an identity thing for women than it is for men. Until you want to grow a sick beard. It then becomes the most aggravating thing on the planet. You see all these guys with these cool beards and you are just like, "damn i want that soo bad." It grows for a month or two just fine and I wont pull one hair, all of a sudden bam hairs are being pulled all day for days. I tell myself every time, "this is the time I make it to the beard." but then i shave my face and the relief is overwhelming. I'm able to have my hands back.

When did you first notice your trich? Was there any specific cause?

I think i was in the 3rd or 4th grade. I used to hate when my eyelashes fell into my eyes. i thought if i gently pulled them the loose one would just come out and the good ones would stay. hahaha. years later here we are. gone to my head hair in highschool to my eyelashes early 20's to light brow and full beard puller.

What kind of puller are you (automatic vs focused)? Do you have any “rituals” when you pull?

I think I'm a bit of both. There are times when i know I'm doing it and then there are times when my wife has to yell my name to me to realize im doing it. I guess if I had to think of a ritual to my trich it would be to look in the mirror and pull the moustache hairs that arent laying down like the rest. You know the ones that stick straight out?

What is the hardest part of having trich? Is there any silver lining?

The hardest part outside of not having the look i want is the lying to "outsiders" as to why i shaved or don't want to "grow" a beard. Its also hard for me when talking to people about it cause I get the "why don't you just not do it?" speech. No silver lingings discovered as of yet.

How has trich affected you at work, school, or relationships?

It hasnt really affected my relationships or anything like that. Its hard to talk about to others though. They don't really get it.

Have you tried any treatments? What was your experience like?

No treatments. I've toyed with the idea of therapy or meds but just don't feel it'll help.

What kinds of situations make it worse? What kinds of coping strategies do you use?

During high stress moments in life or when im really nervous about something ill tear out some hairs in a heartbeat. thats standard I'm sure.

Do you think thats its hereditary or a learned behavior or both?

I see my 12 yr old play in his hair sometimes and i want to ask him if he pulls it but i dont want to "inception" the idea into him.

Even though people don't like to talk about it, body focused repetitive behaviors can be serious problems. If you suffer from one, our Slightly Robot Bracelet may help your hands keep still.

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