Meet Saralyn, a Fourth Grader Raising BFRB Awareness

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Saralyn, a 4th grader, gave a presentation to her classmates so that they could better understand trichotillomania and how it affects her.

I want to share the most amazing event in my Saralyn’s trich journey. Saralyn recently started 4th grade at a new school. This was a big step for her as Saralyn has anxiety along with trichotillomania. Her new classmates would often ask if she is a boy because her head is shaved. She was always picked last in gym class and would hears the whispers of the kids about her bald spots and she is sick and tired of it all!

Saralyn didn’t want to hide having trichotillomania anymore. It was weighing her down so she asked me (mom) If she could tell her class as a whole. With help from the school administration and her guidance counselor, Saralyn gave a presentation on trich during an assembly of sixty 4th grade classmates — and she ROCKED IT!!!! The teachers came to me afterward with tears and said they wouldn’t be able to be as courageous as my daughter. I’m so full of admiration and awe! For the first time I feel like she is stronger than I and she may well beat this beast!

How did she put her presentation together? Her guidance counselor researched TTM and found most of the answers from The school nurse shared her points of view from a medical stand point. Together they all came up with a little power point presentation. First, Saralyn did an activity to get her peers’ interest. We broke into groups:  All females on one side and males on the other. Then all right hand users and lefties. Another break down of eye colors, etc. Saralyn explained that we are all born with different traits and that all traits were unique. Kids sat down and again and they were asked if anyone had a habit. One sucked their thumb, another bit his nails and so on. Saralyn (on the microphone) said one of her traits was having trichotillomania. She read a little paragraph about trich being a medical condition and that there was help for kids like herself. Next she showed the video, Straight from the Heart,  so her class could hear from other trichsters and their social fears. Afterward, Saralyn opened a question and answer session. The children asked if it hurt to pull. Do girls AND boys have TTM? Is it contagious? The last one wasn’t a question, rather a statement: a young boy shared that sister has trichotillomania, but she got help and no longer pulls! That made Saralyn especially relieved.

Saralyn and her momSaralyn  told the kids that they can ask her questions whenever they want. She explained  that they can even help her! She said she doesn’t realize she’s pulling or picking, but if they witness it whether it be at lunch or in the halls, they can kindly remind her to put her hands down. I’ve never been so inspired and proud of my girl.

Since the assembly Saralyn has walked lighter and has less anxiety. She’s smiling and no longer begs for me to let her stay home from school. Saralyn says she would encourage others to speak at their school because if you understand BFRB and if you’re open to educating others, your life can get better.

If you are interested in giving a presentation at your elementary, middle, high school or college, TLC’s Millennial Task Force has put together a how-to kit  – complete with FAQs and handouts. Learn more here –>

Thank you!
Jennifer Balzer and Saralyn Bradley

#ThisIsMe – BFRB Awareness Week 2015

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Hi, Friends,

Happy BFRB Awareness Week!

I’ve been so inspired by all the amazing shares posted by the TLC Community as part of the #ThisIsMe campaign over the past few days.  I realized I should really do one myself.

This became one of my weekend projects for Awareness Week.  (Along with composing my annual Friends & Family fundraising letter.)

My whole family got into the #ThisIsMe project – my sweet husband, Chris, doing the filming and my two daughters as helpers.  Audrey  (age 7) even grabbed an ipad and filmed her sister Dorothy (5), doing her own “ThisIsMe”.   Then Audrey wanted to do one herself.  My girls don’t (yet at least) have BFRBs, but they are learning all about them.  And they’ve clearly already watched enough YouTube videos to know the vlogger rap.

These are our results:

Jen #ThisIsMe



I hope you’ll grab a few moments before the week is over and share your own #ThisIsMe.   I can’t wait to watch it!

Thanks to everyone who is posting and sharing BFRB news this week to raise awareness of hair pulling, skin picking and all BFRBs.  Together, we are truly making change happen.

Love, Jennifer

p.s. For old-school, long-format sharing about trichotillomania… my documentary Bad Hair Life is still available through TLC!

This is We!
This is We!

58 Stimulation Substitutes and Behavioral Blockers for BFRBs – Or “The Great Big List of Favorite Fiddles”

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Dr. Fred Penzel's

If you are seeking some new sensory substitutes to help with managing body-focused repetitive behaviors, such as trichotillomania, skin picking disorder or compulsive nail biting, look no further! TLC Scientific Advisory Board member and BFRB-treatment expert, Dr. Fred Penzel, shares his list of favorite fiddles and sensory tools to help manage BFRBs.

What are your favorite tools? Tell us in the comments below!

  1. Brush or massage your dog or cat.
  2. Practice origami.
  3. Learn how to knit, crochet, quilt, embroidery, cross-stitch, needlepoint, or sew.
  4. Play a musical instrument and/or take lessons
  5. Pull out threads from a piece of loosely woven muslin cloth or cheesecloth.
  6. Play with Silly Putty™ or better still, try Theraputty™, which comes in several different levels of firmness and comes in larger quantities (can be purchased on the internet).
  7. Use various types of brushes. This could include hair brushes, mushroom brushes (extremely popular among my patients, found in kitchen stores, and used to clean mushrooms), toothbrushes (natural bristle or nylon), nail brushes, hair brushes, massage brushes, makeup brushes, scrub brushes, shoe shine brushes (the soft kind, used for buffing), or paint brushes. Those who like to stimulate their cheeks or lips with hairs they have pulled sometimes find they can get the same type of stimulation with fine-tipped artists’ brushes. Some like to pull the bristles out of inexpensive house painting brushes. Plastic surgical brushes, which are used by medical personnel to scrub their hands have very fine bristles and come in one or two-sided versions (also widely used for training purposes in occupational therapy sensory integration programs). Animal curry combs or brushes are another type of substitute you might take a look at. Check out pet stores or equestrian supply stores. Breaking the heads off toothbrushes will give you something that is quite small and can be hidden in your hand. There is also a small paintbrush that fits over your fingertip, called the FingerMax™.
  8. Make or buy jewelry, such as bracelets or necklaces with beads and objects that have a lot of texture and that are very tactile. For the bracelets, try using ones that are elastic.
  9. Gently scrub the areas you tend to pull from with a loofah (the rough fibrous shell of a gourd, available in most drugstores) used for scouring your body, if you tend to pull while in the shower or bath. It comes in the form of a mitt, or in its natural state.
  10. Use various types of small dolls to stimulate your hands. This is especially true if the dolls have textured surfaces or long hair (plastic Troll dolls with long hair are one popular type)
  11. Koosh Balls™ or other feathery, rubbery type toys
  12. Squeeze a spring-loaded hand exerciser.
  13. Handle a piece of velvet or some other textured fabric
  14. Play with feathers or get a feather boa.
  15. Handle a textured pot scrubber (Dobie Pads™ are good)
  16. Pipe cleaners, which come in many different shapes and sizes (many folks especially like the extra-large and fuzzy type)
  17. Play with a strip of the hooked half of Velcro™
  18. Rub fingers lightly on extra fine sandpaper (be careful to limit this)
  19. Try stringing beads, or even try using a bead loom you can use to make colorful beaded bands.
  20. Pop the plastic bubbles in bubble wrap. You can also buy a small hand toy known as Electronic Bubble Wrap that won’t waste plastic, or get a Bubble Wrap App for your phone.
  21. Cuddle a furry or velvety stuffed animal (popular with both adults and kids). As a plus, some have whiskers or are filled with plastic beads for further tactile stimulation.
  22. Make a bracelet with a type of hardware known as ‘toothed lock washers’ [also known as star washers (they have spurs that stick out)]. You can buy two dozen of them and string them together on a piece of string or a shoelace.
  23. Use small toys such as a miniature Slinky™, or little plastic soybean (edamame) toys (also known as Bandai Edamame Soybean Pod Key chains) that squeeze the little beans in and out of a plastic pod and are very tactile.
  24. Carry rubber bands, paper clips, or a string of worry beads to play with. One version of this is a Tibetan Buddhist mala, a type of rosary, used to count mantra recitations while helping to focus awareness and concentration.
  25. Manipulate dental floss or fine nylon fishing line with knots tied in it. Dental floss can also be a good substitute for those who like to bite on hairs, chew them, or pull them between their teeth.
  26. Break or twist yarn or lightweight sewing thread – this can be satisfying to those who like to break hairs after they are pulled.
  27. Chew sesame seeds – good for those who like to bite or swallow hairs or the bulbs at the ends.
  28. Eat and crack sunflower or pumpkin seeds (in the shell) to stimulate both fingers and the mouth.
  29. Eat strong mint candies, or those with a strong sour fruit taste as another way of stimulating the mouth. Chewing gum (sugarless, such as Trident™ is best) can also be helpful.
  30. Chew pieces of gummy bears.
  31. Chew on pieces of uncooked spaghetti.
  32. Try using an athletic mouth guard, to help block chewing or biting of hair, skin, or nails.
  33. To prevent pulling arm and leg hair, simply wear clothing with sleeves and/or long legs around the house. These can be lightweight items.
  34. Draw or doodle on a pad with a pen or pencil, especially while talking on the phone.
  35. Play a very engaging video game with a controller that requires both hands, or if playing on your phone, again, be sure to use both hands.
  36. Get hair samples from wig makers who often have leftover long hair, if only the real thing will do for you. Either you, or they, can bind them into small hanks.
  37. Wear and manipulate a spinner ring.
  38. Play with rubber cement, rubbing it between your fingers.
  39. Apply Elmer’s Glue to your hand and pick it off.
  40. Experiment with different types of gloves. For around the house or when sleeping, one good type is a white cotton dermatological glove, found in drugstores. It is cheap, lightweight, won’t make your hands perspire, and is soft and comfortable to wear. It is generally used to keep medication from rubbing off hands or getting on other things in your house. When you are in the car, you might make use of perforated leather driving gloves. They cover your fingers completely, and won’t make your hands too warm. One plus is that they will give you a better grip on the steering wheel. One other type of glove is that used by pool players. They cover your thumb, index finger, and middle finger, but leave your fingertips free for things like using the phone or computer.
  41. Try using a type of dust mitt that has a microfiber side, and a yarn-duster side.
  42. Find a toy known as a Hairy Tangle™, which is very textured and can be twisted into many different shapes.
  43. Look for plastic spaghetti-like toys.
  44. Cover your face with a cosmetic mask.
  45. Another useful toy is a textured, spiky, squeezable ball known as a Nubby Ball™.
  46. Handle Kinetic Sand™ which is specially treated sand that is very tactile.
  47. Weed the garden (seriously).
  48. Use Tippi™ rubber finger tips used for counting money or going through stacks of papers. They cover the ends of your fingers, and are also very textured, which is a plus.
  49. Try using the B2R app (Breathe to Relax)
  50. Handle a Buff Puff™
  51. Use a massage brush.
  52. Play with a wide tooth comb.
  53. Cover your fingertips with a special knuckle band-aid, or try using surgical tape.
  54. Cover your hand with a bath mitt or glove.
  55. Play with a feather boa.
  56. Apply Lacrilube™ to your eyelashes to make them slippery.
  57. Handle differently textured pieces of yarn.
  58. Get a set of acrylic nails

Fred Penzel, PhDFred Penzel, PhD, TLC Scientific Advisory Board Secretary
Director, Western Suffolk Psychological Services
Huntington, NY

Dr. Fred Penzel is a licensed psychologist who has specialized in the treatment of Trichotillomania and OCD since 1982. He is the executive director of Western Suffolk Psychological Services in Huntington, Long Island, New York, a private treatment group specializing in trich and O-C related problems, and is a founding member of the TLC Science Advisory Board. Dr. Penzel is the author of “The Hair Pulling Problem,” a self-help book dedicated exclusively to trich, as well as “Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders: A Complete Guide To Getting Well And Staying Well,” a self-help work covering TTM and other O-C spectrum disorders. Dr. Penzel is also a frequent contributor to TLC’s newsletter InTouch.

Four Ways You Can Make A Difference During BFRB Awareness Week

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You already know that increasing public awareness of body-focused repetitive behaviors is critical to ending the shame and isolation felt by so many hair pullers and skin pickers. Did you know that awareness is also the key to fueling more research and better treatments for all affected?

Adding YOUR voice to this cause will make a real difference – the time to act is now.

Here are four great ways you can have an impact during BFRB Awareness Week  – Oct 1-7!

1. #thisisme – A BFRB Awareness Campaign

#thisisme is a way for the global BFRB community to reach out and show the many faces of BFRBs – our real lives, passions and struggles.

What do you want the world to know?

Make your own #thisisme video or image >>

2. Act Locally: School and Community Outreach

Give an educational presentation about BFRBs at your school, faith, or community group. TLC has created a toolkit to make it easy!  Learn More >>

Order TLC Awareness Kits and mail or deliver them to  local schools and colleges, clinicians, dermatologists, or cosmetologists, Send the brochures anonymously – or sign your name to the cover letter – it is your choice!

3. Create a personal fundraising campaign 

If TLC has touched your life, please help us do the same for others.

Launch a fundraising campaign and encourage your friends and family to support TLC’s work. We’ve made it easy to share your story – and your cause — with your loved ones.
Create your own fundraising web page >>
Reach out by mail or email: Download letter and email templates >> 

4. Share, Share, Share!  
BFRB Awareness Week, Oct 1-7, 2015
Follow TLC on social media – and share BFRB facts and information with your friends all week long!  Click the links below  to find TLC on your favorite social media channel.

Rookie Researcher : Aggressive Recruitment (Part 4 of 8)

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Running a research study is a lot like starting a band. You start with an idea (usually that idea is ‘I should start a band’). You persuade some of your peers to join you – in my case, I had Ally on bass, Carrie on guitar, and Renee on drums. You take your time setting up, practicing, making sure everything is up to snuff; we did about 2 months of prep work tuning our tasks, seeking permission for the questionnaires we were using, reading journal articles til the word ‘trichotillomania’ looked like no more than a jumble of Latin stems.

The next step was, of course, finding an audience. No one wants to be performing for their grandparents when they could be playing Madison Square Garden (sorry grandpa).

Even in such a big city, it’s beyond difficult to find people open to admitting they battle trichotillomania (OCD, too) – I know I felt all alone in my struggle for many years. Which is why my biggest worry was simply that no one would show up to participate, and in order to quell that worry, I had to overcompensate. Our strategy to advertise and attract people was “aggressive recruitment”, and here’s what it entailed :

  • Telling EVERYONE we knew. This was mostly me, since I was always looking for an excuse to bring it up into conversation. I can’t say how many people were internally begging me to shut up about it, but every once in a while, someone would say, “my roommate does that” or “wait, there’s a name for that ? I totally do that…”. A couple participants were people I recognized, and a few more were friends of friends. On a campus of over 20,000 people, word of mouth is a powerful thing.
  • Incessant emails to the freshmen. Our Intro Psych student pool uses a system called SONA to sign up for research credit. SONA is an almighty pain to maneuver, but it did bring us about half of our participants, so it was worth the hassle. One of the nice things about SONA was that, aside from the fact we could pay these students in credit instead of cash, all students took our questionnaires at the beginning of the semester and we could reach out specifically to the ones who were eligible…every week.
  • Flyers, flyers everywhere. Every bus stop and coffee shop, every bulletin board and naked wall. I designed an exquisite flyer with pull-out tabs, and everyone on the team scoped out the ones en route to their classes. One of my favorite pieces of news would be the excited “Someone took a tab from the flyer !!!!!!!!” text with way too many exclamation marks. There was even one flyer that, over time, lost all its tabs to curious passersby, and we were all ecstatic !
  • Clinician cold calls. These were my ultimate least-favorite strategy, and I don’t think we got a single referral this way. Nobody in Syracuse treats TTM, and very few treat OCD. The list I put together from the Interweb was realistically useless, and with my dismal phone anxiety, we hardly called half the numbers on the list. The only good thing that came out of our cold-call stint was that I found out exactly how bad of a telemarketer I would be.
  • Listservs. This was the equivalent of sending a “reply all” message to a few thousand kids. The psychology kids, the neuroscience kids, the pre-med kids. Everyone acts like they don’t read those mass emails, but they do; this worked like a charm.
  • Crashing Lectures. Timid, neurotic me never expected to do this, but to my surprise, I reached a lot of people and also got to skip a lot of class, which was always nice. I’m sure my professors also liked having a 10-minute break from teaching (you’re welcome, professors). I can’t say how many times I was referred to as “that girl who talked about hair pulling in my class that one time”, but it was a great icebreaker – especially when a cute Scandinavian boy revealed that he would much rather be doing research like me than continue at his current job, nude modeling for the art department. My adviser walked by at that exact moment and heard the whole thing…mortified doesn’t begin to cover it.
  • TLC. I can’t deny that TLC was a big, gigantic help. After putting our study on their website, sending out a mass email, posting social media blasts, referring us to the Syracuse BFRB support group, and all the other things they did that I am ever so grateful for, we started getting emails from all kinds of people interested in the study. In case you don’t hear this often enough, TLC, you’re awesome.

One of my biggest points of pride about this study is that with all the work we did to make sure we were heard by thousands of people, we took the first steps to building a small local community of people with BFRB’s. They came from the university and the city alike, young and old, armed with stories of downfall and recovery. Something I absolutely adore about this community is how eager everyone is to participate in research. You all know how important it is to make advances in the field and how much it affects your future treatment. Trichsters are on the cutting edge of science, you should never forget that.

My duty was to be as loudmouthed as possible, at the very real risk of being annoying, in order for a small handful of people to feel important and special, and contribute to something bigger than themselves or their BFRB. We wanted our audience to climb onstage with us for the encore, and they did just that.

Miss the other installments of Rookie researcher?
Read Part 1 –>

Part 2 –>

Part 3 –>

imageKimi Skokin is a recent graduate of Syracuse University, studying psychology and neuroscience. She attended her first TLC conference in 2015, both as a puller/picker and as a student researcher. Her interests include Hello Kitty, Kurt Vonnegut, and teaching her peers how to pronounce trichotillomania.

Secrets from a TLC Professional Member and Former Trichster

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Hi Colleagues, can I let you in on a couple of secrets?

Having just returned from the 2015 TLC conference and completing the Professional Training Institute (PTI), I can tell you both are not to be missed! I have been a therapist for more than 30 years and the PTI training was one of the best investments I have ever made in terms of time and money spent. The TLC conference was all I had been told it would be: informative, humbling, cathartic, a life changing experience. If you are a professional with the slightest interest in treating BFRBs, you owe it to yourself, and your clients, to attend the next PTI training this fall and the TLC conference next spring. You won’t be disappointed!

Cathy is a graduate of the TLC Professional Training Institute (PTI).
Cathy is a graduate of the TLC Professional Training Institute (PTI).

The other secret is personal and until recently, I hadn’t shared it with anyone in nearly 45 years. I have Trichotillomania.   My ”habit”, as my family liked to call it, started at about age 7 and stopped when I was 13. I only pulled my eyebrows and eyelashes, never from my head. My brows and lashes grew back, but they did not look the same. Gone were the long lashes and thick brows I had inherited from my mother. I have no idea why, but I have not pulled in a noticeable way since puberty.  This makes my Trich experience somewhat unusual, but what is not unusual is the almost daily urge and desire to pull, which never goes away. Such is the power of this disorder!

Growing up on a cattle ranch in rural Missouri, I can assure you Trichotillomania was not a topic people discussed over their biscuits and gravy at the main street cafe on Saturday morning!   I can say with certainty, nobody in my small town had ever heard of it. On the other hand, if I had been a cow and developed Bovine Trichomonasis, (yes, there is such a thing), the veterinarian would have been summoned, and, in no time, arrived to fix the problem.

Trust me when I tell you cattle were worth a lot of money where I came from and usually received the best care available. Alas, I was not as lucky as the cows. Instead, I made the trip to town to see the family doctor who informed my mother he had no idea what was wrong with me, but I should stop it before I lost all of my brows and lashes! That was the treatment plan-just stop it! (Bob Newhart couldn’t have said it any better than our doctor did that day). Sense of humor aside, it was devastating to find out I had a strange disorder the doctor didn’t know anything about. I will never forget hearing my mother tell my father “it” doesn’t even have a name, but if I chose to stop I could. The shame of it was unbearable.

I was in college before I came across the word Trichotillomania. I couldn’t pronounce it, but oh the relief to know it was a real condition! Coincidentally, I discovered TLC at the same time and promptly called for information. The TLC materials arrived within a week, but when I opened the packet and started reading, I was overcome with a profound sense of shame and self-loathing like nothing else I had experienced before. I couldn’t file that information away fast enough!  It stayed in the back of the file cabinet for 15 years until it was “rediscovered” during a move to a new office.   Immediately, I went from the file to the TLC website and there it was: professional training was being offered in 2 months in one of my favorite cities no less. This time there was no hesitation and no feelings of shame, I would definitely be there. Since completing the PTI training in 2014 and putting a professional listing on the TLC website, I have watched my practice grow by leaps and bounds! The best part however, is how much I enjoy the work. I have not felt this satisfied with my career in a very long time-maybe ever. I can’t thank Charley, Fred, and Renae enough for giving me the knowledge and tools to launch this new chapter in my life. A big thank you also goes to the TLC community for giving me the courage to share my story.

Cathy is in private practice in Woodbury, Minnesota. She is also an adjunct faculty member at the University of Minnesota where she encourages social work students to learn about treating BFRBs. Contact Cathy at or

Rookie Researcher : The Team (Part 3 of 8)

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Rookie Researcher 3 : The Team

Being a college student, one gets a lot of proverbial hat hair. If you’re making the most of your college experience (or in my case, if you’re trying to rush to graduate a year early in order to save yourself 60 grand), you’ll be so busy, you’ll need to schedule your bathroom breaks and deep breaths several days in advance. Here are some of the hats I wore my final semester of college : student (or as some of my professors would prefer, smart-ass), research assistant at the VA, volunteer at Planned Parenthood, library worker, tutor in two places, lab coordinator, magazine editor, friend/classmate, and oh yeah, investigator of a research study !

Coming into college as a hardcore introvert, having to work with people in many different contexts on a daily basis really toughened me up. In order to succeed, you have to learn how to lead, follow, and work side-by-side with others, while still continuing to do certain things on your own. So many hats. In research, everything is collaborative – this is why most labs have an organized hierarchy of full professors, assistant professors, postdocs, grad students, undergrads, and that one guy who’s always in lab but never really does anything. My study had no such structure. The thought of having to bear the brunt of this project all by myself terrified me, and I knew I needed to assemble a team.

This team was assembled on merit, but what happened next can only be described as serendipity. I first reached out to Carrie and Ally, who I had worked with the previous year, then to round out the group came Renee, who I’d worked with at the VA. I basically hand-picked the hardest workers I could find, so I got lucky that they all agreed. We were all business, at first. I was pondering how in the world I could get these three bright girls motivated to learn more about TTM and OCD – these were two tiny clinical populations, both surrounded by a heap of stigma. My motivation was intrinsic, but I was afraid their’s wasn’t. But I suppose I became so open about my personal struggle with trich (I had just come off a four-month pull-free streak, when a falling out with a friend led to an ugly relapse), that the admissions came shortly after, all within the same few weeks :

“Oh yeah, I have OCD. I count my steps. It used to be much worse, but I still do it.”

“Oh yeah, I had to take time off from school to get treatment for my OCD.”

“Oh yeah, I used to pull out nearly all my eyelashes when I’d get really stressed.”

I was floored. What are the odds ? I’ll tell you – if the established prevalence rate for TTM is about 4% (1 in 25, for now), and the prevalence rate for OCD is around 1%, the odds that our merry band would all have history of OCD or TTM is 0.000016% (you’ll have to double-check my math, of course).

I will always propound that psychology benefits from case study, especially the scientist’s. My experiences with TTM are a major asset in my career in research – I know which questions remain unanswered, how to explain a scientific idea to someone in a relatable way, and how a participant might want to be treated during the course of the experiment. The whole setup of my experiment was deliberate, designed to help myself, really. Maybe by approaching my battle from an empirical standpoint I could make some sense of what was underlying these uncontrollable behavior patterns I’d had for almost a decade. I’m not sure when it became apparent to me that this was a community project, not a Kimi project, but it’s not about me anymore. It became about being around to give directions, to ask the tough questions, to point out a participant walking through the door and say, “You see ? You are not alone.”

It’s easy to tell someone that they’re not alone, and another thing to gather proof. One of my favorite moments was driving to Liverpool, the four of us, getting ready to share our stories to the TTM support group there. Our arcs were all similar – we’d had our low points where it all seemed hopeless, then stasis, and now some kind of upswing. We were girls who had spent all our lives isolated from others with our same problems, who’d beaten infinitesimal odds to come together and prove to one another that we weren’t alone. And because of our shared struggle, we made one hell of a team.

Miss the first installment of Rookie researcher? Read it here –>

imageKimi Skokin is a recent graduate of Syracuse University, studying psychology and neuroscience. She attended her first TLC conference in 2015, both as a puller/picker and as a student researcher. Her interests include Hello Kitty, Kurt Vonnegut, and teaching her peers how to pronounce trichotillomania.