I did something bad. I was doing so well, had a full set of lashes, and then received some bad news. I cried, my heart broke, and my eyelashes were destroyed. All of that time and hard work trying to grow them back through, and my happiness at being able to wear mascara and ditch the false lashes…all disappeared in one ten minute splurge. I hated myself for ruining my eyelashes yet again, for forcing myself back into the routine of covering up the ugliness, and once those ten minutes passed I was filled with utter disappointment, guilt, regret and self-loathing. I used some bad news as an excuse to pull out my hair, but was left feeling heaps worse than before.
Despite being left feeling worse- us sufferers are well aware that pulling out your hair never solves anything- during those ten minutes, I escaped reality. The trance-like state I fell into for that short period of time allowed me to focus on nothing but the odd sensation of having eyelashes and the overwhelming urge to pluck them all out. The immense stress I had been under for the past few weeks, topped off by some awful family news, disappeared bit by bit with every eyelash that was being pulled out. It’s as if my eyelashes embodied the stress, and pulling them out of my eyelid symbolised the stress pouring out of my body. It was cathartic, and, dare I say, blissful for ten minutes. Focusing on nothing but eyelashes. Forgetting the bad news. I knew I shouldn’t be doing it, but it felt too good.
Because that’s the thing. We pull our hair out because it feels good, it relieves the tension. It isn’t completely pointless and there is always a reason behind it. But as soon as we slip out of that trance, those good feelings fall away and we’re left with something even worse that what we started with. But we know that, and we pull anyway. That ten minute opportunity for escapism is, in our complex minds, somehow worth the pain, guilt, frustration, depressive state etc that comes crashing down immediately afterwards. But that’s OK. It’s not ideal, but it’s our version of a comfort blanket. For those ten minutes, I felt better. We all have our coping mechanisms, however strange or destructive they may be, but if pulling out my eyelashes helps me deal with a horrible experience, I’m OK with that. It’s temporary. The hair will grow back. Sometimes life throws you something which makes you too weak to resist the urges, and that is totally fine.