Since I was 12 years old, I've suffered with a condition called
Trichotillomania, which is layman's terms for, Compulsive Hair
Pulling. The physical devastation was severe, but the
emotional damage was worse. When I was young, no one,
including my doctor, knew how to help. I was alone.
Growing up, I didn't fit in anywhere and suffered great shame
knowing I'd brought this affliction upon myself. My hands
seemed to have a mind of their own. "What's wrong with
me," I'd often wonder. Sometimes, people inquired about my
lack of eyelashes and eyebrows. It was tough being a teen
without the added torment of my condition. Although I was
lonely, I kept people at a distance. But each night, before
I fell asleep, I'd pray for wisdom, and for God to send
someone who understood.
In 1985, when I was 25, I read a letter, in Ann Landers, from
a mom whose child suffered from compulsive hair pulling. I
could hardly believe my eyes. After all these years, I
discovered, I was not alone. In fact, my condition even had
a medical name. Ann Landers pointed out, over a million
people suffered from this syndrome.
At that moment, my journey for healing began. I took small
steps at first--telling only a few friends. Some said, "Ew",
but others tried to understand. Then, they began to share
their secrets with me. I learned to see myself the way
God saw me, someone deserving of love.
Then one day, my miracle happened. A friend called with
wonderful news. She'd just met a woman with Trich--someone
just like me. She gave me her phone number. I was ecstatic.
I quickly dialed, and from the minute Christina answered, we
began to chat like old friends, both thrilled to find
someone who understood our pain. We planned to meet
soon, but in the mean time, she wanted to mail me some
literature. When I gave her my address, she let out a piercing
scream. Even though I resided in the lightly populated, rural
area, of Soquel, California, it turned out, we lived only two
We immediately dropped our phones, and in the dark of the
night, ran outside in our pajamas, where we hugged, cried
and talked for hours. She shared her dream about opening a
Trich. learning center, and I shared mine--to write a book
about my lonely experience. I felt I'd just met my long lost
twin, someone who understood my pain and struggles.
Theren was no doubt about it, I was looking into the eyes
of a miracle.
When we walked back to my house, and into the light,
Christina slowly lifted her long hair revealing patchy, bald
spots. Then with a deep breath, I took off my makeup and
let her see me as no one else ever had, not even my
husband of 10 years. In that moment, I knew, my childhood
prayer had been answered.
Yes, it was true. I was not alone.