Sam Faiers has given a candid insight into her ongoing battle with Trichotillomania – a condition which causes her to pull out her eyelashes. The 25-year-old star opened up about her struggle in a video shared on her new YouTube channel, revealing that she was first diagnosed when she was just a child.
She told fans that through therapy she had traced the root of the problem back to her stepfather being sent to prison – both Sam and her sister Billie consider Dave Chatwood to be their dad ever since real father Lee Faiers left the family when Sam was two.
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Sam Faiers has opened up about her battle with Trichotillomania
"From the age of eight was when my mum discovered I was picking out my eyelashes. It became a habit… I still haven't stopped," Sam admitted.
"It originally started when I was eight and a friend of ours said if you pick out an eyelash, make a wish and it'll come true… In recent years, I've seen a psychologist who specialises in Trichotillomania. The story goes deeper… They take it all the way back to your childhood.
"When I was younger, my [step] dad went to prison… I was picking out an eyelash and making a wish for my dad to come home."
The star traced the root of the problem back to her step-father being sent to prison
Sam said she has tried hard to control her compulsion over the years, but nothing has worked. "Now I am an adult and I'm grown up, I know that's not going to happen and that's just like a fairytale, but it's gone too far that it's compulsive and it's so hard to stop," she said.
"When I was 13 I lived in Spain, and my mum took me to a psychologist. She laid me down and spoke to my subconscious… because I actually pick them out in my sleep now. All my eyelashes grew back, it was amazing. But a couple of months after, I started picking them out again.
"We tried everything. My mum put mittens on my hands when I'd go to sleep, I put disgusting nail-biting repellent stuff on my fingers so it would sting [my eyes]… I just tried everything but nothing worked."
The mum-of-one admitted that as a result, her confidence as a teenager took a big hit. "When I was at school… I was a really confident loud kid. But when you're going into senior school and you want to look nicer… I felt like I couldn't really look people in the eye," she told viewers.
"I felt like people were looking at me like I was weird… when I was 14 I discovered false eyelashes. I couldn't believe how over the moon I was!"
Sam said she was opening up about her condition in the hope of helping others. "I coped by taking to my mum and my sister," she said. "As the years went by it got easier for me to talk. Speaking from my own experience, you're not the only one with insecurities, nobody's perfect. It really helped talking to the people around me about it."