All my life I’ve been told time and time again ‘everyone has some kind of mental illness‘, ‘so many teenagers have anxiety and depression‘, ‘hey I’ve got anxiety too!‘. Yet all through high school I failed to meet anyone who was having the same experience as me. I would watch presentations and talks from people who claim to suffer terribly with anxiety… which seems impossibly contradictory. How can that be if they’re confidently and calmly speaking in public?! “I have anxiety,” someone might say as they boarded a bus or walked through a crowd, sat in a theatre or attended a party, all with complete confidence. Even ‘they’re struggling inside’ couldn’t convince me. When I was younger, getting on a crowded bus and walking into cinema was enough to give me a panic attack, and the pure fear and sickness I’d feel was very much visible in my shaking and sweating. I couldn’t believe the statistics I saw, because I never met someone as anxious as me.
Trichotillomania is always something I’ve had a really hard time talking about. Mental health is becoming less and less stigmatised by the day, and that’s only because people are willing to discuss it – but it’s never easy. I’ve suffered a lot because of trichotillomania – I’ve been mistreated by friends and family because of it, never mind strangers – and that means opening up about it makes me feel pretty vulnerable, based on previous experiences. But people need to talk about trichotillomania, because it affects up to 4 in 100 people, and that’s quite a lot. Continue reading