Trichotillomania - Did you ever seek medical help?
Lucinda and four of her Trich clients discuss what help has been available from the medical profession and their experiences of talking to doctors.
Transcription of Conversation - Trichotillomania - Did you ever seek medical help
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I didn't actually go and see my doctor but I did go and see a Trichologist because my mother was worried and she said we'll go and see a Trichologist, so I went; didn't tell them that I was pulling my hair out, I just thought that maybe he had the magic cure or something, so I went to see him and they did not know that I had Tricho.
How old were you?
I was about 17, 18.
And still no knowledge?
Still no knowledge and I never spoke about it. I thought that I was the only person that ever did it so I wasn't going to own up and say I'm pulling my hair out. You know, so I went to see the Trichologist and they did not know at all. And they couldn't do anything.
Yes, anyone else have any experience with a doctor?
I've had some good experiences with doctors...
...and some not so good ones.
Interested in both
When I first went to the doctors I was about 11 I'd say - my mum took me and she obviously knew what was happening so she explained to the doctor and he didn't know what it was, he said it was Traction Alopecia, which is of course a different thing, and there was prescribed something to stop making my head itch, but it wasn't itching, I just wanted to do it anyway. And I then just refused to go again - I think she finally dragged me back when I was about 16, and they'd obviously done some homework and they knew what it was and they prescribed a different type of tablets, and some more effective than others and that was a great help, and then when I was about 19 I went to another doctor, just a GP a different one and he was absolutely fantastic, very understanding, willing to discuss what I'd like to do about my treatment. Told him about the Lucinda Ellery consultancy and what I was having done here, and could I get time off work and this kind of thing and he said that as far as he was concerned it was a hospital appointment so he gave me doctor's notes to have time off work to come to London and get my hair done. So he was fantastic.
You've mentioned that you thought you were the only one.
Absolutely, I was the only person in the world that pulled my hair; I was 13 or 14 years old in the early 70s, we didn't have computers, we didn't have the resources that the internet gives us today to allow us to research these problems. I was absolutely the only person on the planet that did this weird freaky thing.
How long did you think like that for?
Probably about 15 years, easily 15 years. And it was only by chance, I think it was a magazine article where I saw something which sort of touched on the subject, and I nearly fell off my chair thinking 'Oh my god, there's someone else out there who's doing this weird freaky thing as well' and that was a real shock, you know spending 15 years is a long time to think you're on your own.
I definitely thought I was on my own because also going to an all-girls school, everybody else has got beautiful hair, you know how competitive teenage girls are with their hair, the longest, the thickest, the blondest, the darkest, all that sort of thing, and I was definitely the only girl in the school who had almost no hair, and I certainly felt the only one in the world. Probably for about I'd say for at least 20 years if not longer.
That's a lot. What about you Angela?
I never spoke about it, at all, and I thought I was the only one...
...until 6 years ago I thought I was the only one that did it.
A quarter of a century
It's more than that, 30 years, over 30 years that I never spoke about and I thought I was the only one that did it, and I was the freak.
What about you T, you should have a different experience I hope.
Yes, very much so, I probably thought I was the only girl who pulled out my hair for maybe about a year, or maybe not even that because my mum saw Lucinda, I think it was on a TV show somewhere in the summer holidays, saw it on a daytime show, and she just said right, there we go, off we go down there, obviously other ladies do it, I'll get you sorted.