Women love to pluck their eyebrows -- but what if you started doing it obsessively, all day, every day? Doing nothing but plucking, plucking, plucking? But then, when there were no more hairs on your brows to pluck, you started on the hairs on your arms, legs, backs of fingers, and even breasts? To the point where you were bloody everywhere? And you couldn't stop doing it? Well, in that case, you'd have something called dermatillomania -- compulsive skin picking. It's a form of obsessive compulsive disorder and something people do to deal with anxiety. Charlotte Starling got it so bad that when her partner confiscated her tweezers, she began using knives, needles, and pliers to pull out her hairs!
Charlotte says it all started when her daughter was 4 years old and began school. The mom, who had had daughter Louise on a toilet when she was 16 and had no idea she was pregnant before that, found herself so adrift and empty without her little girl to tend to that she began obsessively plucking as a way to relieve her anxiety.
Things got so bad that she began lying to cover up how much time she spent in the bathroom, saying she had stomach viruses. As for her bloody, hairless stumps, she'd bathe and dress in the dark so her fiance couldn't see her. (Judging from the photos of Charlotte, she didn't pluck out the hairs on her head.)
When she finally told her doctor what was happening, he brushed her off. Desperate, she eventually filed her nails to sharp points, so she could use them as tweezers.
I myself have a bit of a hair pulling habit -- called trichotillomania -- but this goes WAY beyond that. Charlotte had a serious problem. Her wounds were becoming infected. And of course, she looked terrible. And it was beginning to affect her relationship -- her fiance was so distressed, he offered his OWN body for her to pluck! (Now that's love!) Eventually, he quit his job to care for Charlotte, who became officially disabled.
Yikes, this is the worst case of hair plucking I've ever heard of. Luckily, Charlotte has begun getting counseling and cognitive behavioral therapy, which she hopes will stop her out-of-control plucking.
Do you ever obsessively pluck?
Image via oskay/Flickr