WINNIPEG — A Winnipeg woman has launched a website that hopes to offer help to thousands of people who have a little-known condition called Trichotillomania.
Tenesha Lawson says the mental health condition causes people to pull hair out of their bodies.
Lawson has lived with the condition since she was 11 years old.
She didn't know what it was until she was diagnosed four years ago, adding her parents just thought it was "an icky habit."
Psychologist Toby Rutner says it's considered a former of obsessive compulsive behaviour and can be triggered by stress.
He says the sufferer ends up pulling hair from their eyebrows, eyelashes or other parts of their body.
"The night before my wedding, I pulled so much hair out,” says Maria Funk, who also lives with Trichotillomania. “I wanted to be so beautiful for my wedding … it’s tough."
Adding to the stress of Funk’s condition was a feeling of isolation.
"No one understands it, because there's no one in my family that had it,” she says. “So I couldn't relate to anyone."
Funk is no longer alone, thanks to Lawson's website called "Dear Trich," which serves as a place for people to share personal stories and support each other.
"The project was to heal with stories," says Lawson. "It was to find people on the Internet that were Googling, ‘I pull my own hair out.’ For people Googling this stuff, finding out that it's real.”
Lawson says most people with the condition don’t know it is a diagnosable disorder. She hopes her website will help to change that.
The Canadian Press