In this exclusive deal, TLC has teamed up with authors Sandy Rosenblatt, Laura Barton, and Angela Hartlin to deliver to you 27 stories from people who know what it’s like to have a BFRB. The inspiring stories in these biographical memoirs from all over the world will move you as you learn how 27 diverse individuals process living day-to-day with their conditions and learn what prompted them to bravely come forward to tell the world about their struggles.
TLC advocates for more people to be a part of the collective voices in the community that refuses to be silenced by BFRBs. From now until Jan. 27th, 2015, you can have all 3 books for $50 plus get a free awareness bracelet for a total savings of 20%! Use the code “BFRBstories” to take advantage of this rare time-limited offer and look into the minds of many others who share the struggles that accompany having a BFRB.
You don’t need to be published to tell us about your life with a BFRB. If you would like to come forward and tell TLC your story of living, fill out this form and you can be added to the list of supporters who have been inspired to share their journey with others who suffer from these conditions the world.
J-14, the number one teen celeb magazine in the USA and Canada, is known for its information on celebrities and all the hot gossip. However, the magazine also features a story on a “real girl” in every issue. In the February issue, the magazine features “real girl” Mackensie Freeman and her life with Trichotillomania.
This isn’t the first time Mackensie has been featured in the media about her Trichotillomania. In October, she was featured on both MTV and Gurl in articles about Trichotillomania. (Click the links to read the articles.) In the upcoming months, Buzzfeed and Cosmopolitan.com are both planning to run articles about Mackensie’s story. (Links will be posted when they are up)!
J-14 has been a big help in raising awareness about trichotillomania – back in 2012, they interviewed TLC member Claire Cameron about her life with trich.
So you might be wondering, “How does a 16-year-old get featured in such popular media outlets?” She asks! Mackensie contacted each of these publishers on her own – and the result is hundreds of thousands of young women hearing her story and learning more about trichotillomania and TLC.
If you’d like to buy this issue of J-14, it is on sale at popular newsstands from now until February 16th, 2015. You can buy the magazine for $4.00 at stores like Target, Walmart, Publix, CVS, Walgreens, Barnes & Noble, etc.
After you buy it, make sure to give a shout out to the magazine and tell them you like what you see, and that media covering BFRBs helps them, too!
Ruth Golomb, MEd, LCPC, is the author of The Hair Pulling Habit and You: How to Solve the Trichotillomania Puzzle, Revised Edition and Stay Out of My Hair. She specializes in treatment for Trichotillomania, Skin Picking Disorder, and other BFRB behaviors. Ruth is a member of TLC’s Scientific Advisory Board, senior faculty of TLC’s Professional Training Institute, and, most importantly, a great friend and adviser to TLC.
1. What inspired you to become so involved in the TLC community?
I started working with people struggling with hair pulling in the late 1980’s. I was invited to present workshops at the first Trichotillomania Learning Center Conference and have been involved with TLC ever since! It has been a wonderful organization from the very beginning and continues to grow and help more and more people. I am honored to have been able to be involved with TLC from the beginning.
2. You wrote “The Hair Pulling Habit and You: How to Solve the Trichotillomania Puzzle, Revised Edition.” What do you think is so helpful about the book? How do you hope it helps people?
I think this book may be helpful in several ways. First, it lets people know that they are alone; children as well as parents. Many people suffer from trich and this book, hopefully, confirms that there is a substantial number, a large active community and resources to help. Second, the book is written as a self-help book and therefore allows for people to receive help, even if they may not be geographically close to a professional who is trained and familiar with treating hair pulling. And third, this book can used as a treatment model in therapy when a therapist is interested in helping someone with trich, but does not have the background or experience.
We wrote this book hoping that it may serve to help many people in different ways. In addition to the above, I have also heard from several support groups who use this book as a guide for their group meetings! I never thought of that, but I love it!
3. What do you think is the best method (or method that works best) for those suffering from BFRBs?
Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) is the most effective treatment available to help people suffering from BFRBs. TLC has a good brochure titled “Expert Guidelines” which outlines and explains the treatments used to help people with BFRBs. In addition to good treatment, having a really good support system is also extremely helpful.
TLC has been very active in training professionals to become familiar with good treatment for BFRBs. Every year there is Professional Training Institute (PTI) which is a two and a half day intensive training program. This year TLC will expanded this important program so that more professionals can be trained. In addition, if a professional is interested in learning about treating BFRBs but cannot attend a PTI, there is an option to view an 8 hour training video. Many people have informed their therapists about these options and have initiated the process for their therapists to get the training necessary to help them.
4. What do you think the most important thing for people who suffer from BFRBs to know?
There are many important things for sufferers to know. The first important point is one that TLC shares regularly: You are not alone. Another important point is knowing that having a BFRB is not your fault. This is not a “fault” problem. No one asks to suffer from a BFRB. People either have the predisposition or they don’t. Two people can be in the same family and one will have a BFRB and the other one doesn’t. It is no one’s fault. This is also not a problem with will power. You cannot “will” this away any more than you can will your eyes to change color or will yourself to grow a few more inches. These struggles are real and will power alone will not solve the problem. BFRBs are challenging problems for many people and there is hope! Many people find that they can be helped successfully regardless of how long they have been pulling hair or picking skin. The most important thing to know? There is hope.
5. Do you think BFRBs are different for suffers in different age groups? Why or why not?
Absolutely. Every experience changes with age. Very young children experience BFRBs differently from adolescents and adults. Young children are usually blissfully free from peer pressure and self-consciousness about their appearance, whereas teenagers are often plagued with self-doubt and completely tuned into their peers opinions. Unfortunately the typical age of onset for these problems is during adolescence. It is tough to be a teenager in the best of circumstances, having a BFRB as well makes a typically challenging time even more difficult and complicated. These behaviors are tough on families too. Parents are often at a loss as to how to help their children. These difficult circumstances lead to a very complicated family dynamic. Therefore teens with BFRBs often experience shame, frustration and hopelessness about having the BFRB problem, and at the same time feel a lack of support, have poor communication and experience strife from family members. The BFRB problem can take on a life of its own and profoundly affect the family functioning. Many adults sufferers remember their adolescence as a particularly difficult time due to this phenomenon.
When a member of the family has a BFRB, is affects the whole family. Having a BFRB at a vulnerable age, such as adolescence is uniquely difficult.
Treatment is usually tailored to fit each age and developmental stage. Even though BFRBs are experienced differently by each age group, treatment is individualized to help address the particular needs of each person, and in many cases, the family too.
Written by Mackensie Freeman, a 16 year old who is a member of TLC’s Millennial Task Force, and works to raise awareness about BFRBs in the community by speaking with national media about her experiences with BFRBs. Read her story at Gurl.com here.
“My hair is scattered across my keyboard, desktop, and floor; yet, I need to find a way to continue my typing. I know what this means. This is not a hallucination. This is not a dream. This is not a random actuality. This is something called Trichotillomania.
More strands of hair fall than remain attached. Boredom. A dime-sized region of baldness becomes the diameter of a grapefruit. Fear. Relapse becomes the norm. Disappointment. A classmate finds out and questions a solitary hair spike. Humiliation.
I did not mean to pull out my hair, but I did. I do not know what I was thinking or feeling at the time, but I pulled anyway. I wish I could announce that it was an isolated incident, but it continued….”
LIFE IS TRICHY is the true story of a twenty-nine-year-old lifelong perfectionist, who struggled with the mental health disorders of skin picking, nail biting, and hair pulling. Starting from a young age, these behaviors c resulted in years spent hiding these body-focused repetitive behaviors from everyone she knew, while simultaneously pursuing a professional career in psychology – so that one day she could help others with the same exact challenges. She tactfully weaves the actions, feelings, and thoughts from years of sitting in the patient’s seat, with her professional, psychological knowledge in the clinician’s seat.
Author Lindsey Marie Muller’s personal struggle mixes with factual information to elucidate the tricky and unspoken truth about a classification of disorders affecting five percent of the population. Life is Trichy is appropriate for clinicians, patients, family and friends of hair pullers, and curious minds.
Lindsey holds a Master’s degree in Clinical Counseling Psychology, a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology, in addition to three years of doctoral level education. She currently resides in Los Angeles, California where she enjoys the perfect weather, exercising, healthy cooking, sugar-free baking, spas, and meditation. She currently works in private practice. Life is Trichy is her first publication.
Life is Trichy is available in paperback and Kindle format and on sale at www.lifeistrichy.com. A portion of each book sale will be donated to the Trichotillomania Learning Center (TLC).
Did you make a New Year’s resolution about hair pulling, skin picking, nail biting, or other BFRBs? Here at TLC, we like to focus on positive changes we can make to reduce the impact of these behaviors on our lives.
Here are five ways to get started and TLC resources to help you achieve your goals.
- Find a Treatment Provider: TLC’s Treatment Provider Referrals are updated daily -Check your region for treatment provider referrals or try an online self-help program or an app to help you track your progress.
- Take Care of Yourself : A comprehensive approach to change, including taking care of your mind, body and spirit, can help reduce BFRB triggers. Dr. Renae Reinardy explains how in this free article, Treating the Whole Person: A Personal User’s Guide.
- Join a Support Community: Join an in-person or online support group. Or, start a support group of your own! Support groups help you end the isolation caused by BFRBs, learn recovery tools, and stay motivated.
- Talk About BFRBs: Talking about BFRBs decreases the shame and embarrassment of having them. Need help talking to your family? Share this Dad to Dad video. Or print/email these FAQs to help get the conversation started.
- Share Your Story: Sometimes putting our experiences down in writing can help process emotions surrounding BFRBs. Sharing your story will also help break the stigma for others — Submit your story, essay, artwork or poem and get inspired by inspirational stories from others here >>
What goals have you set for the New Year, and how do you plan to achieve them? Join the conversation on Facebook, or send an email to email@example.com.
To peaceful hands in 2015,
Your friends at TLC
*BFRBs, or Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors, include Trichotillomania, Skin Picking (Excoriation) Disorder, Onychophagia, and other similar behaviors.
Many young people suffer in shame and silence with BFRBs – but TLC donors intervened and set a new course for one St. Louis teen. In this week’s In Our Voices, 16-year old Maddie shares her story of how support from people like you has affected her life – and inspired her to help others affected by BFRBs.
Hi! My name is Maddie. Most of you don’t know me, but I am forever grateful to you.
I am a 16-year-old from St. Louis, Missouri. I have been to one TLC Conference. I am also a part of the TLC Millennial Task Force. My journey with these baffling disorders has made me who I am today. Although every night for the past six years I prayed to God to give me hair and take away my have BFRBs, I have become thankful to have these disorders – especially when I think of all of the people that have changed my life along the way.
I began picking my skin when I was seven. I remember being in class and scratching one spot on my arm that I did not like. My journey with trich started in seventh grade.
By the time I was 15 and a sophomore in high school, I was completely bald. Everyday, I would have to take off my wig and put on my swim cap in the locker room — in front of 30 other girls! I also had to wear a swimsuit that revealed much of my scarred back. If that was not horrifying enough, the comments that came after were. But from that experience, somehow I became stronger and began to tell people about my BFRBs – my family, my friends, and even my swim coach.
Earlier this year, I attended my first TLC conference because I received a donor-funded scholarship to cover the registration costs. I didn’t know that TLC donors like you funded scholarship programs for kids like me!
With your help, I attended the TLC conference – which led me to where I am today.Because of you, I made new friends and gained a better understanding of how trich and picking affect me, and became a member of the TLC Millennial Task Force – where I am involved in planning how TLC can reach more young people like myself, improving the conference, and making lifelong friendships. I could not be more grateful!
I no longer let these behaviors control me. I am living proof that although it’s trichy, it is possible to accept BFRBs! But I know that by the end of the day, no matter what my hair and skin looks like, I will be okay.
I am forever grateful for the difference that you’ve made in life – and I hope I can continue to pay your kindness forward by continuing to advocate for TLC and BFRB Awareness.
Change is Happening!
Thanks to the TLC community, things are changing for BFRB-sufferers around the globe. It’s not easy to make progress when your cause struggles with lack of awareness, shame, and a scarcity of resources. Over ONE MILLION people visited trich.org last year — yet TLC has only 2,000 contributing Members.
With your support we can do even more.
Keep reading for 5 highlights of 2014 – and please make a tax-deductible, year-end donation so we can do even more in 2015!
- Launched the first-ever strategic research initiative for BFRBs
TLC’s Scientific Advisory Board has begun planning the BFRB Precision Medicine Initiative, a comprehensive research strategy that we believe will afford a 70% remission rate for BFRB patients within the next 7 years.
Learn more about the BPM –>
- Educated 116,000 people about Skin Picking Disorder during BFRB Awareness Week
A specific outreach campaign – targeted to reach people with skin picking disorder who did not already know about TLC – reached over 116,000 people. This campaign’s success is ENTIRELY attributed to TLC members – funding the ads, envisioning the goal, and putting it in action.
- 205 Clinicians trained in best practices treatment
The Professional Training Institute (PTI) Class of 2014 brings the total number of clinicians who have completed the in-person or DVD training course to 205! Check the TLC referral directory for a list of providers near you >>
- Doubled the PTI Faculty so we can train even more clinicians
Under the direction of Dr. Charles Mansueto the PTI Faculty doubled last year – and as a result TLC will be able to train more therapists in the best treatment practices each year, moving forward. Plans are already in the works for training in Los Angeles and New Jersey in 2015- potentially doubling the number of trained providers in the US
- Gave 800 people a chance to meet in person and get expert treatment information
TLC volunteers collaborated with staff to create BFRB events in the US, Canada and the UK in 2014. This past year we had record-participation at the Annual Conference, Regional Workshops, and during Awareness Week. We hope you’ll join us in Arlington, VA for the April conference, or at one of the regional events coming up next year.
But the needs of our community remain profound.
– Even the best treatment approaches fail to help many.
— Most pullers and pickers still suffer alone, without accurate information or support.
— There are only a few hundred experienced BFRB treatment providers in the world.
We can fix this. Please – Donate today!
If the BFRB community does not come together to support change and progress, who will?