Hair-pullers: Suffering in silence

BOSTON — When I was in high school, I never left the house without a pair of tweezers nestled comfortably in my purse. The fear that I would need them but that they wouldn’t be there greatly outweighed any anxiety or embarrassment I felt regarding the reason for carrying them; all that mattered was that they were easily-accessible when I felt the urge to pull.

In tenth grade, I was diagnosed with an impulse-control disorder called trichotillomania, commonly referred to as “TTM” or “trich.” This psychological condition is described by the American Psychiatric Association as “the recurrent pulling of one’s own hair with the potential for considerable hair loss.” As a 15-year-old struggling with depression, social anxiety, and a group of friends who related to and supported her destructive behavior, a diagnosis like this was not particularly surprising – I actually sort of wanted there to be something wrong with me so that I would have a reason, an excuse, to feel what I felt and do what I did. Continue reading

Radical transformation

BOSTON — Most college students live in fear of the dreaded ‘freshman 15’; however, during my sophomore year of college, I experienced the opposite with my ‘sophomore 110’.

RT1 The most popular unhealthy college activities include excessive drinking, late night junk food, pizzas, fast food, and ‘café runs.’ Despite the common misconceptions about gaining weight in college, there are ways to avoid temptations and maintain, and even create, a healthy lifestyle.

The majority of college students experience anxiety over exams, all-night drinking binges, and trepidation about classes, but I experienced euphoria in a form I had never known before. In my first month of sophomore year, I weighed in at 260.5 pounds. By second semester, I had transformed my life by dropping 110 pounds in a mere five months. Continue reading