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My daughter has been pulling since she was 1 years old. She is 15 now. Diagnosed with Trichotillomania and General Anxiety Disorder. It's a disorder she was born with, she cannot control it, she isn't even aware of when she pulls. I understand this and accept this.
When she asks for my help, I bring her to doctors who can provide the best advice. She doesn't want medication and I'm supportive of this...I understand that her pulling is a part of her and I don't have melt downs seeing that she doesn't have eyelashes or that the top of her head is extremely thin. In my heart, does it hurt to see this? Yes...but as long as she is happy and healthy and okay with it..then why shouldn't I be?
This morning she came to me crying: the pulling is worse and now there are bald spots. She wanted help hiding it. I said okay..grabbed the brush and started pulling the longer hair over to cover it and made a pony tail. She immediately got upset with me, screaming that it was horrible, that she didn't want a pony tail, she wanted the same hair style and doing this whole dramatic act of curling up in a ball and sobbing. I told her that this was the only way to cover this and she knew it. Now she is mad at me; says I don't understand her condition. She says she wants to be homeschooled (only says that when it suits her...I've gone that route and she has refused) and that I am bullying her...because I've pointed out that she cannot continue to keep her same hairstyle as the pulling has continued. I don't expect her to stop - unless she decides to stop - but I do expect her to realize that she cannot continue to do what she is doing and not expect to roll with the changes this creates. She looks good in a pony tail...now she hates her face, she hates herself, she hates me, the world...blah blah...and now she is missing another day of school over something she has had all her life.
It may sound cold...but I don't want to hear her feel sorry for herself...Life goes on.. This is something that is a part of her. I'm not the parent yelling at her to 'stop'...I'm whispering..'accept and adapt'.. She can't keep missing every other day of school because of this... Her therapist has prescribed vitamins that she won't take, brought in foods the therapist says can help with anxiety that she won't eat, bought a myriad of hats and gloves at her request that she won't wear. She does nothing to help herself..again, fine if she is okay with all this...we love her no matter what...she could pick herself bald and I'd still love her. She is beautiful no matter what. But what do you do when your kid is screaming 'help me' and 'go away' at the same time? When is okay for me to call BS on the drama part of Trich? When is it okay for me to tell my daughter she needs to accept herself for who she is and move on with life - without being accused of being a bully or cold to her 'problem'? When she is older and working...is she going to call in sick every other day because of a 'bad hair day'? Do I homeschool her so she can hide who she is? So much sleep has been lost over trying to figure out how to make my kid happy for who she is...for 12 years..I love her, I'd die for her.. but I'm just getting tired of all of this. She has vowed to 'never ask for my help again'..is it bad that I'm sort of relieved to hear this?
As all moms do...I'll have my pity party and then pick my big girl panties up, put my smile on and deal with it. There are no trich support groups for teens here (well one doctor and he's hard to get a hold of). Of course there are no support groups for parents of trich teens...so I appreciate you listening. If there are mom's out there in my situation..well hugs, love and Blessings.