Trichotillomania

 tiny orange mushrooms on moss in front of a crystal boulderThose are really tiny mushrooms. Tiny, orange mushrooms growing on bright green moss in front of a white quartz boulder in the middle of a forest.

You want to pluck them up, don’t you?

If you look closely at my eyebrows, they are a bit patchy sometimes. 

Guess why…

It started in medical school and gets worse when I am stressed out; a compulsion I don’t even think about. Pinch a bit of eyebrow, gentle tug, brush against the upper lip to see if I got anything, return focus to unpleasant task at hand (typically the electronic health record). Repeat if necessary.

Some people do this to the point of disfiguring themselves, even to the point of baldness. What I do is very, very mild by comparision. In fact it would probably stop completely if I retired. 

Why the eyebrows, though, I wonder? Why couldn’t my focus be on something useful like armpit hair or the bikini line or the LEGS?!??!? Hell, those pesky chin hairs, even…

So there, now you know one of my secrets.

Do YOU have an any weird habits or fixations?

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138 thoughts on “Trichotillomania

  1. Oooh I love those little mushrooms – super cute! I have a weird chin hair that is like a bit of wire wool. I tug at it when I am anxious or thinking about something important. Once it got really long! Then I plucked it because people could see it. Anyway.

    Liked by 2 people

      • Yes it is…I think you might mean “funny” as in peculiar…I don’t know; that’s how I read it.

        I remember the dirt as poverty but actually my Mother and Father had any interest in keeping a house.

        I hated it, especially the way the carpet looked and smelled when it was filthy..

        Even now my skin crawls…

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Uh, yeah, I don’t just claim neuroses because it’s trendy πŸ˜‰
    When I’m nervous, I chew the inside of my mouth, my cuticles and when it’s really bad, (like when I run out of both) ICE. I find chewing a glass of ice is the more socially acceptable, less painful route…

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  3. Eyelashes. Fortunately, at some point I think I stopped pulling them out, but my husband just informed me that I still play with them when I’m nervous. I’ve decided not to believe him.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. … and I thought I was the only one.

    My left eyebrow is significantly sparse – unfortunately only the left.
    You’re right about retirement – after I retired I stopped tugging on my eyebrow, but now the damage is done and the hair no longer grows.

    Why, oh why, didn’t someone tell me earlier?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Rocks and mushrooms, two of my most favorite things in this life. But yeah, I do the same thing your talking about but with my eyelashes. My eyelashes on my right eye usually have a bare patch right in the center.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Count me in the eye lash camp. No more, but I seem to remember doing this as a kid and would find myself looking in the mirror to see entire clumps missing, although never an entire eye’s worth thank god.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I LOVE to crunch ice. And my teeth show it. I still do it but not as often. I have four caps…. My husband likes to stroke his mustache and beard. I know he does this as a soother… drives me insane. He shaved it all off a few years ago but after everyone kept calling him “mam”…. he grew it back. He sneaks the fondling now…..LOLOLOL

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      • Amen about the ice. At one point I was crunching a couple bags of ice a week. Turns out I was one point away from a blood transfusion because of my undisclosed anemia. (Bleeding from fibroids, which a hysterectomy took care of, fortunately.)

        I console myself with the fact that at least I wasn’t eating dirt, which is another form of pica. (Consuming something that is not generally considered a foodstuff.) πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Blackhead extraction…watching youtube videos of it. I (luckily?) don’t have many on myself. I convinced myself once that I had one and then it left a huge scar on my nose. My mom was upset for weeks. (“scarring your face!”)

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Doc,
    I cannot promise my schedule will allow me to comment with every post you make, though I’m sure I’d like too. Your posts leave much to be discussed and I’d so enjoy the opportunity to converse with you over a dry martini. The prevalence of your impulse control disorder sounds mild. I guess I’m glad that it doesn’t involve any of the less common areas such as the pubic region πŸ™‚ I’m sure it will resolve itself when the real condition is managed. I think I shall post another song. . . The title says it all, though I really liked this song back in the day (still do), and I danced my butt off to it on more than one occasion. Have a nice evening.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Up until about 12 years ago chewed the inside if my cheeks and my lower lip. The chewing would cause bleeding and I had been doing hit since I was in high school. Finally one day I decided that I was going to die from mouth cancer if I did not stop. I stopped that day and have never gone back to the disgusting habit. Funny thing is that I don’t miss hurting my mouth.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I bite the inside of my mouth, but not as much as I used to. Now I try to take tiny, tiny bites. I also have to look at each of the 5 nobs on my gas stove before I leave the house and say, “off, off, off, off, off. Everything’s off, everything’s safe.” It’s my only OCD trait. Except that I keep counting those “offs” I just typed above to make sure there are five of them. omg!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Oh my god, me too!

    Not usually my eyebrows but I do that to my hair a lot! Now, I’ve sublimated the urge such that I run my fingers through my hair rather than actively pull strands, but I end up with hair strands and scalp flakes all over my work chair which can’t be brushed away with my hands, but need a vacuum cleaner on my seat!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Because I work in hospitality I always have to look presentable. So I suppress many reflexes including bending the arms to keep them straight.

    One thing I keep doing is walking around without real aim but with the sole purpose of staying busy. As long as I am on my feet I am walking around. After years of practice I have become good at it…

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I don’t do it when I’m stressed but I sometimes pluck an eyelash and rub my fingers against my lip to see if I got one. It doesn’t annoy me but it annoys the person in my life who is annoyed by every habit I have from Blogging to sneezing. Glad to know it has a name.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I used to chew my fingernails but to stop that, I now rub the tips of my thumbs with the tips of my index fingers. Looks weird but keeps me from chewing. When I was a little girl, I would twirl my hair. I think pulling on your eyebrows is interesting – mine are so thick, maybe I should try it, Beats having to have them plucked, and you can always fill them in with an eyebrow pencil.

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  16. Apart from the edible kind, mushrooms creep me out. Ever since I read about that woman who invented that mushroom suit to accelerate the decomposition of bodies I’ve wondered about those guys. I’m sure that they have some kind of hive brain – apparently the biggest organism on the planet is some kind of underground fungus connecting all the cute little guys popping out the soil a la Disney. Disclaimer: Scribbler – not nuts – I hope – Happy Thanksgiving Doc! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I like to sleep on the side of the bed nearest to the door and always shut it prior to going to sleep. I never (or very rarely) close it completely and sometimes I awake to find it open, my dog having obviously come in to check on me as I slept. Also I often return to check I have locked the front dorr! Kevin

    Liked by 1 person

  18. LOL! I am horrified when my husband pulls inconvenient hairs out – NOT IN PUBLIC! I have some incredibly weird habits but I have an official diagnosis of OCD. I have to check that I have not caught any of the cats in the door as I am closing it. Even thought I can clearly see that there is no cat, I can’t stop myself. I gently close the door and say, “No cats, no cats”, to which my horrible husband responds “No brains, no brains” or even worse he yelps like a cat stuck in the door…:)

    Liked by 1 person

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