A simple design for a complex monster. Trichotillomania is also known as hair-pulling disorder. ‘Trich’, or ‘TTM’, is a disorder that has been around for quite sometime but is often not discussed or acknowledged due to the shame and embarrassment that it causes. Those who pull out their hair are also known as ‘trichsters’. Hair pulling can be confined to one area of the body or multiple areas; scalp, eyelashes, eyebrows or other. This often results in the individual having noticeable bald patches or no hair at all.
Trichotillomania is a long term condition. The irresistible urge to pull out your hair increases, but this tension is released once a hair is pulled out. For a moment the tension subsides but the urge to pull another quickly returns, creating a vicious cycle. During hair pulling, dopamine, the brain’s pleasure chemical, is released - making it a relatively pleasurable experience. However, this is short-lived. Once the hair-pulling has ceased, an overwhelming sense of guilt and shame replaces the euphoric feeling, creating an even stronger urge to pull out your hair to re-release those ‘happy’ chemicals.
The arrows continuing grip around the Trichotillomania Monster acknowledges the difficulty in breaking free of the repetitive behaviour. The change of colour in the arrow represents the different emotions that can occur through hair-pulling.
The eyes appear tired to recognise the stress associated with Trich, keeping the disorder hidden and dealing with it alone can be exhausting.
One side of the Monster is hairless to symbolise that Trich can effect all or any part of the body.
The word 'Trichotillomania' across the mouth area represents speaking up about the illness while simultaneously symbolising how the illness keeps you silent.
The word 'monster' refers to the disorder, which can become monstrous without the right treatment or support, this does NOT refer to the people themselves. These illustrations are not designed to take away from the seriousness of these issues, instead they are created to encourage conversation and make these issues more approachable.
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Wear your monsters, don't let them wear you.