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Child mental health

11yo DD pulling her eyelashes out.

6 replies

strugglingwithmaths · 20/06/2017 09:25

Does anyone have any experience of this? I think it's called Trichotillomania.
She's done it about 4 times now- the first two times she was just sitting watching TV and pulled her upper eyelashes out. She was sitting 11+ exams at the time so I put it down to stress and they grew back just about. She can't remember when she did it for the third time.
Yesterday after being shouted at by a teacher and having an argument with a friend she pulled her lower lashes out.
She's generally a very confident child- sings in public, lead in school play etc. There's been some friendship issues this year and she's been magnificent- picked herself up and went out and made new friends (which in year 6 is hard). She passed entrance exams for a few schools and is going to a different school to all her friends, and she's competing in a few sports tournaments in the next few weeks so there has been a lot going on. Whilst she's confident she's also very emotional and cries/shouts/ strops very easily.
Initially I admit I was baffled and a bit irritated but then I remembered that I pick and pull at the skin on my fingers- I have to have false nails otherwise I just can't stop. I'm worried that this behaviour is on the same spectrum and that it's my fault.

Things I've instituted are: 1) diary so we can track what she's doing/ feeling when she does it; 2) expensive eyelash serum; 3) I've bought a very fine brown mascara that you can't really tell she's wearing but makes her eyelashes stiff which feels different if she touches them; 4) if she manages to grow them back I've said she can have her ears pierced!

Does anyone have any experience if this? What worked? What triggers it? What can I do to help her?

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strugglingwithmaths · 20/06/2017 12:53

Anyone?πŸ˜ƒ

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CoconutGal · 20/06/2017 18:45

I'm afraid I might not be much help here but I didn't want to read & run. My brother used to do this when he was in his pre-teens/teens. He had other complications but it was stress related & he struggled with school. I think for him it was a case of trying to find ways to de-stress without taking it out on us all. I don't know what my mum did to make things better or easier because I'm 5yrs younger than my brother but I do know, now he's a happy, hardworking, lovely man & im super proud of the person he's become. Smile All the best with your DD, exams can be stressful as well as growing up in general but by the sounds of things, she's got a fantastic mum to fall back on. Flowers

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strugglingwithmaths · 20/06/2017 21:36

Thank you coconut. That cheered me up. πŸ˜€
I think stress is a trigger sometimes, but she needs to find other ways of managing it. I sent her in today with an elastic band round her wrist to ping when she starts to pull.... fingers crossed we can nip this in the bud. She's really upset today as she has the induction day for her new school on Friday and she looks a bit unusual. I've told her to say it was a sports accident.... 😟

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LittleFryingPan · 20/06/2017 22:23

I really wouldn't recommend bribing her to not do it. It just means that when she does, you'll be disappointed and she'll be upset and then she's more likely to do it again. Like a really fucking vicious circle.

The diary is a fantastic call as is the mascara but if it persists go to the GP.

As a long term trich sufferer I will say there isn't a massive amount of help available but it is there if you push and push. It falls on under the OCD umbrella apparently because it's an obsessive compulsion.

Keep an eye on her and support her as much as it sounds you already are. So much better than making it a dirty little secret and her being in trouble for something she can't help (Projecting? Me?!) Smile

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strugglingwithmaths · 21/06/2017 08:58

Littlefryingpan thanks for taking the time to respond. Wonderful to get perspective from someone who's been there.
Spent all last night going down the google rabbit hole. There's a lot of interesting stuff (and some bollocks!) out there but what I've taken away is that it's not her fault. I remember how cross my parents got when my bloody little fingers appeared.... the only thing that works for me is false nails which is more hiding the problem than curing it.
If the mascara and rubber band (alongside sitting on her hands when she feels herself getting upset!) don't work then I'll take her to the doctors. I've finally found a reason to like my horrible soul sapping job: fantastic health insurance that covers us all for mental health interventions. That'll be my next step.
I've told immediate family and made it clear that it's not her fault and they need to be open and supportive.
Thanks for responding.

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elizabeth27 · 15/10/2017 21:56

Can I ask how you are doing op? I need advice and help and don’t know where to turn for my dd who is 7 - currently waiting for the school nurse team to call me back a week later.....

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