ACK. I Just Did It AGAIN While Trying To Think Of A Title.

Okay, screw it, I’m totally lost as to what to do here.

I pick at my eyelashes. All the time. It’s my nervous habit, my bored habit, my distracted habit, my daydreaming habit, my unconscious habit, my "Hmm, how do I explain to people about the eyelash-picking… what to say, what to say…" habit. If I’m sitting on the couch or at my desk or in a screening, or even at a freaking meal or at church, odds are I am, I have, or I am about to reach up and twiddle my eyelashes on my forefinger or with my thumbnail. Sometimes I will even do both eyes at once, with my left hand — thumb on left set, ring finger on right set, blinking furiously into my flesh. It’s not pulling them out; it’s bending, crinkling, crunching, and ultimately, speck by speck, breaking.

This is messed up.

Well, fine, so on The Freaky Shit Scale, this doesn’t even really rate. It’s just a dumb fiddly habit, but I REALLY want to break it. Desperately, in fact. I know right now my eyelashes are growing back, but what if one day they don’t? They’re all different lengths. I bet I’m capable of having long eyelashes all across, but in the middle they’re as short as my lower lashes (which are longish by the standard, but still not long enough to be actual EYELASHES), and on the edges my lashes are slightly longer, but the effect is totally uneven. And it’s probably not that noticeable, but I notice, and the lady who did my makeup for the Grammy thing we did noticed (in a kind way), and really, I need to stop picking at my effing eyelashes.

In fact, I just paused, and up flew my hand to my face. STOP IT, hand.

My mother used to say, "Think eyebrow, not eyelash." That was ten years ago. That obviously was not the fix, although I admire the effort, and anyway, should I be pulling out my eyebrow hair? Granted back then, I had a lot more of it, and a brow-pulling fetish might’ve come in handy and saved on some waxing fees. But, we cannot go back, only forward, and no, dammit, I don’t really want to pull on my eyebrow hair.

I wonder why I have this eyelash obsession. I can’t really pinpoint what it is. It’s not really fun. It’s not exciting. It’s not an adrenalin rush. It’s not attractive. It’s not secretly going to make me rich (well, unless somebody wants to pay me loads of money to quit my job and be their lab rat in a totally safe, non-toxic environment, in which case, I totally take checks). When I was younger, I remember sitting there folding over the ends of my lashes between two fingers unti they were all crinkled, and then I’d run them under my finger nail and then pull the nail away and feel it catch on my lashes.

That’s lame, you guys. I felt like I was in the middle of a funky fetish film just writing that last sentence. I don’t do that thing now, but I’m clearly still kneading and picking and folding. How did this start? What the hell is up with that shit? Couldn’t I be obsessed with laundry instead? Could I be folding my sweaters, and not my eyelashes? Cruel, cruel fate!

Plus, let’s not ignore that I have a phobia of bad things happening to eyes, so my fingers have NO BUSINESS being all up in my ocular grill.

How do I quit? I can’t paint something disgusting over them, like you (theoretically) can if you want to quit nail-biting. And I can’t really wear sunglasses all day. Or a blindfold. Should I rotate an eyepatch all day, thus creating a temporary blocker to half my lashes at a time? Should I flog myself? Lop off the offending digit? I can’t afford to pull out any hair (more on THAT little drama later — I am upset with my hair). And my nails, well, we already have a tenuous relationship at best. I could try to bite them at all times, to keep my hands busy and thus alleviate the fear that I will break off all my lashes one day, but "save the lashes by murdering the nails" seems like a bit of a pyrrhic victory.

Any advice out there for a freak like me?

54 responses to “ACK. I Just Did It AGAIN While Trying To Think Of A Title.

  1. You could try behavioral therapy–basically, wear a rubber band loosely around your wrist and when you find yourself playing with eyelashes, snap the rubber band. Idea isn’t to inflict a huge amount of pain or anything, but to rewire the connection in your brain from eyelashes=comfort to eyelashes=slight twinge of unpleasantness.

  2. That actually worked for me when I was trying to stop biting my fingernails. [Which I have have, mostly, except when I'm in the car, or a boring screening although now I pick at my cuticles.] If the rubber band is bright, you’ll even see it on the way up to your eye and that might stop you.

  3. Silly no lens eyeglasses for a few weeks just so there’s something in your way?

  4. My friend was actually telling me today that she’s on OCD meds for trichtillomania – pulling out her hair, eyebrows and eyelashes. Your habit doesn’t sound nearly as extreme, but you may want to look at resources for that online and see what they suggest.

  5. Do you wear mascara? If not, having goop on your lashes might break you of the habit. I mess with my eyes much more now that I don’t wear mascara anymore.

  6. Trichotillomania is what it’s called. There are a million websites about it. But just as an easy idea that might help, I thought of the eyeglasses too – you can get a cheap pair of frames for not much, and it might be a start.
    But, please take no offense, and I have no intention to be a doomsayer – it’s a psychiatric condition, so it would probably be best treated with some help in that vein.
    Good luck! I love your work. (The writing, not the eyelash-picking. :) )

  7. Not making any analogies here, but when my dog started raiding the cat’s litterbox in search of, ah, “alternative nutrients”, we cured him by ringing the sandbox with a liberal ammount of ground red pepper (cheyenne). It may sound drastic, and it may cause you initially to leap up and scream at inopportune moments, but have you considered coating your fingers in burning pepper paste? After the first few episodes of temporary blindness I’m betting your instinct for self preservation will start over-riding any urge you may have left for lash twiddling. Just trying to help :)

  8. I did this for YEARS. And totally loved the whole “mess with them then run the fingernail over them” thing (we are not freaks, people!) Mascara helped stop it.
    Now if I could stop picking at my nails, picking at my face, and rubbing my lip. Stop JUDGING ME – I don’t do them all at ONCE.
    The picking at my face is a really bad habit while driving, the nails are when I’m bored in meetings, and the lip thing is when I’m reading or worried.
    I swear to whatever deity you choose that I don’t attract attention with these freakish behaviors….but would love to stop them because, manicures? Would LOVE to have one last for more than a day.
    And the pepper paste thing would totally work if you’re brave enough to try it.
    But you are not alone, girl – be not ashamed of your freakish, solitary habits!

  9. I don’t think this is the same thing as trichotillomania, which is a very serious psychological problem that can result in near baldness. This just sounds like a bad habit, like me chewing on my lips and then pulling at the chewed up skin with my tongue and teeth (wow, that sounds really gross written out! Anyone have any ideas for curing this?) Not EVERYTHING has a name and an accompanying prescription.

  10. I used to do this same thing. I think it started when I was about 20 and I stopped biting my nails. The only way I broke the eyelash pulling habit was the same way I quit biting my nails, which was cold turkey. I just stopped. When I caught myself pulling my eyelashes, I didn’t berate myself – I just did something else with my hands and tried to be more aware of what my hands were doing when I was reading or on the conputer or watching TV. Eventually, I just stopped pulling them out, and thankfully, my lashes have grown in pretty evenly.
    Now, I just need to stop biting my cuticles.

  11. I second the rubber band thing. Also, ask Kevin to (nicely) point out when he sees you doing it. A big part of the problem for me when I tried to stop biting my nails was half the time I wouldn’t even notice I had started doing it. My mom would look over and say “sweetie, nails” and it would just point it out to me. It actually helped me a lot. At the beginning because I really didn’t realize just how very often my hands were in my mouth and later it helped with the accidental backslides.

  12. The funny thing about reading this is how, as I’m reading, I’m pulling out eyebrow hair. I’ve become almost as bad with that as I am about playing with my cuticles during work. I, of course, have nothing useful to add, since if I did I would have maybe said something during our four years of co-habitation. But just that I seem to have picked up (yet another) kind of gross personal habit in the same vein.
    Wow, this is kind of pointless. I’ll go back to work now. :)

  13. I TOTALLY do this all the time, especially when I’m stressed out. As others have recommended, mascara cuts down on it. They just don’t have the same tactile appeal when they’re coated in goop. Plus, if my lashes all full and luscious looking, my vanity trumps my need to pluck, because I want to keep them nice for a while. I tend to let them alone for a bit when I can catch myself in the mirror and think how fierce I look and feel with a full “rack.”

  14. As someone who knows you well, I am quite sure it’s not actual trichotillomania, nor do you need meds for it, any more than I need meds for picking at my cuticles. All due respect to your concerned readers, of course — it’s just that I knew a girl in junior high who literally plucked out ALL HER LASHES. And her brows. She had problems. This is, I think, just a bad habit.
    I do second the idea that it might help to have people you know kindly point out when you’re doing it, because — let me bring up my bad cuticle habit again — I know I don’t notice I’m doing that until one of them is bleeding.
    God. I am gross. Please yell at me when you see me do that.

  15. Thirding or fourthing or fifthing the eye make-up thing. Not only does it make the lashes unappealing, but it makes the consequences worse — play with your eyes when you’re wearing mascara or eyeliner and you’ll end up with black goop all around your eyes.
    I have a bad eye-rubbing habit (as well as playing with my lashes) and it’s really gone away since I started wearing eye make-up regularly. Because apparently raccoon eyes are just that bad.

  16. drunkenknitter

    I do this all the time, both eyelashes and eyebrows. The one thing I’ve done that’s slowed it down, is I spend a stupid amount of money getting my brows waxed and lashes tinted. Now, when I start to pick, a little ding goes off in my brain saying “you JUST spent $x on them! what’s WRONG with you!!” and that kind of stops me.

  17. Clicked on comments to recommend goopy eye makeup, but saw that I’m tenth past the post. But I can be a little value-added with a concrete recommendation:
    http://www.sephora.com/browse/product.jhtml?id=P90606&shouldPaginate=true&categoryId=4257
    I have no idea if it looks good even when properly applied, but have a strong sense that it would look pretty wretched smeared to hell around your eye sockets.
    Good luck!

  18. Holy crap, there are others who do this!! I’ve been fucking with my eyelashes for damn near 16 years, and in 8th grade, I pulled them ALL OUT. Yipes! I realize now it was an anxiety thing, plus the sensation thing. What got me to stop? Well, I still do it from time to time (just a teeny bit, nothing like before) but I would have kept doing it willy nilly had my mother not noticed my naked eyes and had a complete MELTDOWN complete with screaming and crying. That was enough to keep it on the DL. I do NOT recommend mascara, it makes me futz with them more and if you dare to pick, you’ll get a whole damn clump of them and a bald spot on your lid. I DO recommend a significant other who LOVES pestering, as in “stop biting your lip, stop picking at your nails, leave your eyelashes alone.” He loves to pester, and I apparently love having really gross tics.

  19. Hi, I’ve never posted here before, just came across the title on DHAK, but my first thought was trichotillomania, too. Not that you have it, just because you have a mild maybe-symptom doesn’t mean you have the disorder, just that you might want to look into it. I’m certainly not OCD, but I definitely have OC type behaviors, like counting my steps, and I used to spell out words that resonated with me in the air with my big toes. I think my grandma did it, too, but I’ve never met anyone else who has. People generally agree that it’s really weird when I mention it to them, but no one would notice it if I hadn’t said anything. What I really want to comment on is just that maybe this kind of post is why so many young people seem more confident to me. Not the habit, but the fact that as soon as someone posts a private embarassment that usually wouldn’t find an audience SO many people respond immediately with a hearty “me too!” and some tips. The magic of the internet, no one has to feel like a freak if they look hard enough. Well, except me, with the toe-spelling, what the fuck is that? And if anyone can stop me from picking the stupid scabs (former blemishes) off my face so they could heal and I could look like a normal person and not this cakey, gross, concealer-face I’d really appreciate it. I’m trying the rubber band thing now. Next step? Tranquilizer darts.

  20. I have a similar problem. And yeah, it’s not like psycho, but sometimes it gets bad and I lose eyelashes.
    I do think it’s a minor form of trichotillomania. The first time I read about it I thought, “Thank God, I’m not completely crazy.” I’ve gotten so much better in the last ten years, though. Basically, the turning point for me was one time as a teenager when I actually ended up with practically no eyelashes and someone noticed. (No one else has ever really noticed, or at least has never said anything.) I told my Mom it was an eye allergy, that I was always rubbing my eyes. Oddly enough, something that’s helped me is wearing eyeliner and mascara, which I didn’t used to wear at all. My need to not mess with my eye makeup will often trump my desire to mess with my eyelashes.
    Or I just do something else fidgety. Twirl my hair. Tap my toes. Etc.

  21. I do have OCD and addition to the washing hands and buying things only in threes, it manifests in skin picking. I finally got on Prozac and the worst symptoms have faded- I let scabs heal instead of worrying them for weeks and going after them with tweezers. I stil pick my lips all the time though- what helps me is having lips in good enough condition so they don’t ‘need’ picking. I also wear lipstick/balm almost 24/7 so I would recommend the mascara thing too. I don’t like my hands to get goopy- re: see above with the washing- so that makes me leave them alone more.

  22. It’s so weird to see that so many people know about this kind of stuff. I always thought it was just me, I was the only one would had this rare yet odd obsession with pulling out my eyelashes. There’s not even a time to describe when or why I do it. It’s not a sensation yet, it’s not painful. I wish one of my friends understood how I feel. I do it on and off every 3 months or so. It started when I was about 7 and my camp counsler told me if I did it I could make a wish and it would come true. Not that I still believe that at all, but it’s become a habit since then. I can’t stop. I’m seeing a therapist soon, hopefully that will stop the habit. =/

  23. I do it too and I can’t stop!

  24. wow i didnt know this was so common. ive pretty much stopped picking my eyelashes, but i do rub my eyebrows lately until hairs come out. i was doing just that when i decided to look online for info. i def. dont think this is a disease but just a stress habit. i am going to try the rubber band idea to stop. also, as for the comment on mascara, i have found that the problem with the mascara is that more eyelashes come out w/each pull. not what we’re looking for. however, knowing that a clump will come out has pretty much stopped me from plucking them.

  25. laura mcandrew

    hey i am 19 and i do this tooo…i tried the mascera thing because i wear it almost everyday and it doesn’t work at all…infact it makes it worse because it makes you scrape the mascera off and when you do eyelashes come off!! i think i am going to try the rubberband thing but i will post something if it accually works.

  26. Ugh, when I was little I did it til I had none left. I’m 35 and still doing it though not as bad. I’ve found “controlled” ways of doing it to minimize damage but I know I really really need to stop.

  27. I pick my eylashes to i was actually trying to find away to stop it on the internet and i found this site. I’m gonna try the rubber band thing

  28. omg!!! i am not alone! nobody but me knows that i do this. u can count my eyelash hairs on the bottom and top, hell, eyebrows too. i want to stop. if u know how i can PLEASE email me. im going to try the rubber band thing though.

  29. I am so glad that I found this site. I pick my eyelashes all the time, its worse when i’m stressed. i’m in psychology, so I know about some ways to help stop, but, I’ve been doing it for so long it is not easy. when you are driving, squeeze the wheel when you start doing it…start squeezing it really hard for as long as you can, 1 minute or so, then release. we do it because it provides a release. when you are doing other things than driving, squeeze your fists…squeeze for 1 minute or so, then release. we are all probably tactile people. so, if there are other things that sooth you, rubbing stones, etc, try those. they help.

  30. Wow, it really is a relief to know that i’m not the only one with this awful habit. I don’t even know how it started, but i do know for sure that it is very hard to quit. I always find myself just instinctively reaching up to my eyelashes whenever i am on the computer with a free-hand (like one second ago), or while reading or doing homework. For me though it’s a big pain because afterwards your eyes look so plain and bare but ALSO i find that i can’t get anything done anymore because my fingers can’t keep away from my eyes. This started about two years ago and then i started wearing my glasses more often (defending my eyes from my fingers) and i eventually stopped, but now it’s happening again and i’m pretty sure i’ve found the reason: STRESS. Im almost positive that it started during a school year, stopped in the summer (oh, sweet summer!), and now has come back during my first year of highschool, jooooy. I feel very embarrassed when i have a few missing because i really do miss my full eyelashes, especially because i’m always complimented on my “pretty blue eyes.” I’M DETERMINED TO STOP THIS CRAZY HABIT, AND I ALSO WISH GOOD LUCK TO ALL YOU EYELASH PICKERS. We can definitely stop this.
    Now for finding a rubberband…

  31. I’m not alone? I’m not alone!!! I was trying to find ways to stop this ANNOYING habit when I found this site! I’m definately going to try the rubberband thing! Oh, heads-up all fellow pickers, I know from experience that the mascara DOES’NT WORK! It just makes it more tempting to pick! Good luck everyone!!! :)

  32. believe me you don t want to start rubbing your eyebrows. i do that now it looks like i have only half a right eyebrow. luckily they re still growing so if i stop soon i ll be able to get normal eyebrows back again but its very hard to break the habit

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  34. I can’t stop rubbing my eyebrows. Especiallly the left side one for some reason. I don’t know why. It’s almost like self comforting I guess, but people have started to point it out to me that I’m doing it, unconciously, so now I really know I need to stop. I never used to do this but I haven’t been able to stop for a few months now. grrrr and grrrr
    I’ll try the rubber band theory and also maybe look for one of those worry stones, or just buy some silly putting to see if that works.
    Thanks for the blog!

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  36. Wow, it is crazy how many people do this. I had NO idea. I have been playing with my eyelashes since I was an infant, according to my parents, when I was tired. It just progressed as time went on…always when I am tired or sleepy. I am always obsessed with my eyelashes though. I feel naked without mascara on and I am constantly looking in the mirror at my eyelashes. I have never pulled all of my eyelashes out or anything but I do have the same problem with the middle lashes being way shorter than the outer ones. And it is only on one eye for some reason. The other eye has full eyelashes. Weird, since I mess with both of them. Anyways, I have no idea what to do. But it is reassuring to know I am not the only strange one!!!!

  37. I pick my eys. I pull mucus out of them. I can do it for 5 hours without stoping. I hurt my eyes. I give up for 6 weeks. I buy drops, I put vasaline,chillie garlic, tiger balm on my fingers, then I pick with a clean hanky. I just can’t stop. I started when I was 13 I am 54. I can’t bear it but I cant stop.
    Maxine

  38. I HATE my obsession with my eyelashes. I’m willing to do anything to stop. Everybody notices me playing with my eyelashes or pulling out my mascara. I hate it I think it is so unattractive yet still i do it…I’ll pray for everybody here. The tips have been helpful, I think I am gonna get nonprescription glasses and use a rubberband…I hope it works. Good luck everyone!

  39. I am so scared! The other night, in sort of a daze…I started plucking out the eyelashes that were pointing down into my eyes and driving me crazy. Next thing I knew…I tweezed every single eyelash on both eyes. I have never done anything like this to myself! I thought I dreamt it and then I woke up in the mirror…oh my god! I have no idea why I did it or why it didn’t hurt!!! I am praying they will grow back…they do don’t they??? And how long might that take before I can go out looking like an albino? I thought I was the only person in the world who ever thought this up and acted on it. I am very depressed and have sever insomnia from my mom’s suicide last year. I am on med’s, and although i constantly fantasize about suicide…just let it be over…I have never hurt or disfigured myself. I am 31 years old. I have also noticed recently I pick scabs and scratches until i see fresh blood and am somehow satisfied. This is not me at all. I am really scared at who I am becoming and what I might find I did to myself when I wake up in the morning. I don’t think this was a stress thing…since I plucked them all out in front of a mirror…not like I didn’t notice I was doing it. Any advice? Why did I do it? I just hope to god they grow back. I always had beautiful full eyelashes but was bothered by the way they pointed down into my eyes…just a few…and couldn’t figure out how to make them stay up and out of my eyes, even with mascara and an eyelash curler. Does anybody else have a few straight eyelashes that poke you in the eye?
    God, somebody please tell me I’m not going to wake up in the morning with a shaved head. This new freaky event has added to my suicidal thoughts. What a weird thing to do. I’m really scared. I am going to ruin my body beyond repair. I have never been into pain of any kind…self inflicted or not. What the hell I am doing???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

  40. i to have played with my eyelashes forever and a day i always seem to do it when im tired i dont actually pull them out i just lay with my eyes closed and just play with them it relaxes me alot ive always done it for as long as i can remember mascara makes it worse cause i just lay there playin with my eyelashes sometimes till all the mascara has fallen off

  41. I’m 57 and started messing with my eyelashes on my left eye when I saw my older sister doing it when I was about 11. I liked the way it felt for some reason. My mother would say “Stop picking your eyelashes” but that seemed like a criticism and made me resentful. At various times rubbing or pulling caused a bare spot in the middle of my eyelid which I would touch up with eyeliner. Sometimes people would ask me, “Why do you play with your eyelashes?” Only very close friends have ever mentioned it, and I am ashamed; it makes me want to avoid people I’m close to. Knowing I have this problem makes me feel like I am neurotic.
    I will try the rubber band suggestion; I’d rather work on it privately than have people remind me. Mascara and eyeliner do not make me stop.
    Young readers with this problem should really make an all out effort to stop this early in life. It is not an affliction you want to carry with you, trust me. It also hurts, can cause eye infections, and breaks the sensitive blood vessels on you eyelid.

  42. I wrote the above message. I have another thought to add.
    I am going to keep a tally on my calendar each day of how many times I catch myself fiddling with my eyelashes.
    When I have gone one month without doing it straight, I will write back on this website. Please say a prayer for me. I need all the help I can get from heaven. I am so ashamed of this “weakness”.

  43. hmm yes, I have this habit too.. which is why I came across this blog. the thing is.. is that I do it when i’m bored, then I continue because it’s itchy and tickles b/c the eyelashes are messed up and feel weird. I’m also very quick on noticing eyelashes that have fallen on my husbands cheek, and won’t stop till i get it off, and sometimes they will be in the crease of my childrens eyes and i’ll be quick to try to get it out.
    It seems so weird to try and go get meds or help for something like this.. but it is definatly an annoying habit, especially when you have to cover it up when you make a bald spot.. Do NOT use mascara to try to break the habit.. I find myself doing it more b/c of the mascara when i use it.

  44. I do this too! It started around 8th grade and I am 27 now…I used to do both eyes, but now only my left (probably b/c I am right handed and use that hand to do other stuff – like click on the mouse). I do not pull the lashes out – I rub them out to the point where my eyelid gets red and swollen and I have a bald spot. It is to the point where my eyesight in my left eye is much worse than in my right, don’t know if there is officially a connection but it sure makes sense to me if there is. I have been told it is a mild form of OCD/trich. I really don’t know…I do it when I am reading, bored, stressed, even driving (not a good idea, usually when worrying about work on the way home). I do not do it when I am in social settings. I would like to stop, and have tried starting other bad habits instead (ha)(cheek or nail biting), but would like a more helpful cure.
    I tried hypnosis but the dr. was a kook and that did not help at all.
    Mascara does nothing for me (makes it worse even!), and I just end up leaving black fingerprints all over everything.
    Wish I had some more helpful suggetions – honestly just being aware of when I am doing it and sitting on my hand works the best.

  45. ive picked my eyelashes since i was in 7th grade and im about to be a sophmore in high school and even though it has not been as long as some people on here…i have about ZERO eyelashes. my bestfriend laughed in 7th grade whenever i looked up because my eyelashes touched all the way up to my eyebrows and since then i feel like i need to perfect them or something. even though what im doing is making them 100% worse. ive got my sister and about 6 of my friends picking their lashes. whenever anyone i know sees me picking them (which is about every minute of my life) they always tell me to stop but i barely realize i do it now and when they say that it makes me want to do it more. ive looked into things to break my habit and im using the rubberband idea (thanks), trying to control my stress and notice what my hands are doing while not occupied, glasses instead of contacts, and bandaids on my fingertips. im also saving money for eyelash grower/enhancer. i really hope all of us can break our nasty habits =]

  46. Hey! I just want to say, I feel your pain. This is a crazy coincidence, but I do the exact same thing. Everything you described, I do. Stopping is so freaking hard! One thing I do is exercise. I exercise like a freak, and if i can get myself tired enough, I don’t do it. I also tried pinching myself, hard every time I do it. Don’t try it–you just bruise, it doesn’t help.
    Don’t try the eye makeup thing. It just gets your hands covered in mascara. Go with the rubber band, and tell all your friends and family to yell at you when you do it.
    I also tend to do it from stress or boredom, so maybe invest in a stress ball.

  47. i have it it’s called trichotillomania

  48. I think there are two different types of cases being posted about on this thread over the past two years. I have the same habit described by many on here. I love the feeling of folding my eye lashes between my thumb and index finger, I also put them between my finger nails usually my thumb nail. I am a boy and it seems like most people who have posted about this are girls so unlike others with this habit I don’t stress as bad about breaking or losing lashes, sometimes I actually like the way it makes my lashes look when they all have a holding crink to them. I believe this is nothing more than a habit I myself and others who do this simply like the stiffness of lashes and the sound it makes when you fold them. I have no desire at all to pull them out or to play with or pull out any other types of hair on my body. I believe this habit is definitely a problem but I do think a lot of people are mis-characterizing the problem when classifying it as some type of psychological disorder. I was not that surprised when I found this thread or think Im a freak for having this habit. I don’t think its that big of a deal really, again this might be because I am a boy and don’t care about having pretty eye lashes. All this being said I definitely worry about losing my lashes for good since they have been falling out ever since I started doing this which was about 14 years ago. So I’m going to try to cold turkey it. I figured other people did this but it was cool to read what everyone thinks about it.

  49. I totally dissagree with the mascara helping. It just makes it worse. They are so much easier to pull out and come in big lots so they dissaper quicker. I remember when i was in grade 4 and i had a phobia of getting eye lashes in my eye. So i’d get my nails together and pick over my eyeleshes to make sure they wouldnt fall in my eye. I tried to show my friends how great it was, but it hurt them to much. Now, 7 years on at 16, i’m still doing it. i hate looking in the mirror. I feel gross. I would be so happy if i knew how to stop. Sometimes i last a few days, and they grow and look great(in my eyes considering im not used to having much) and then i pull them out without realising. Today is the 1st day i’ve researched this. I thought I was the only one. Thank god.

  50. Thats the most difficult matter in a writers life: choose a title.
    Elizabeth D.Taylor

  51. Hi everyone. Well, I have read every post on this blog and may I just say, I am glad I am not the only one who plays with their lashes. I can’t believe it. I have many nervous habits – nail biting (been doing that since I was a baby) knuckle cracking (my brother got me started on that, I even bend my knuckles side to side, gross – I know)teeth grinding, and last but not least, the very weird and uncommon(or so I thought) – eyelash playing/pulling! CRAZY – or at least I thought I was before I read this article and everyone’s comments on how they do the same thing. I started about 5-6 years ago. I am 33. I don’t know why or how I started but, it is definitely a nervous/anxious habit and does associate somewhat with trichotillomania (hair pulling). Now, I haven’t heard anyone mention this specifically, but what I do is bend/curl my eyelashes back so that they poke my eyelids. It feels soo good to me. I can do this for HOURS if I have the time and am alone of course. Literally to the point that my eyelids are swollen, eyes bloodshot, eyelashes tweaked in every direction and some even missing. It’s a constant repetitive movement of getting the eyelash curled perfectly to poke the area on the eyelid that feels the best. (some areas feel better than others.) I know this sounds crazy – but since we’re all sharing, I thought I would just lay it all out. It is soothing for me. The hurt of bending and poking is a good hurt – and I looove the feeling of it – and as much as I love how it feels – I would LOVE to completely stop this crazy, unbelievable habit. I look in the mirror afterward and ask myself – what have I done? and what am I doing to myself? – I look like a freak afterward, and I am constantly re-applying my eyeliner and using eyedrops to prevent from people seeing me that way, especially my kids. I would go crazy if my kids picked up on this habit – so with that said – knowing what I am doing to myself and what I could possibly teach my kids to do – is reason enough to stop. TELL YOURSELF TO JUST STOP. I am trying very hard to and have gotten better at doing it less – because the reality of it is – it prevents me from doing so many other important things! So if you really want to stop this bad habit the best thing to do is really realize what you are doing to yourself and TELL YOURSELF TO STOP. Set an affirmation for yourself – ex: ‘I am strong and have the will power to stop anything’. OR ‘I take good care of my face and I look beautiful’. Repeat it to yourself over and over again – even out loud(when you are alone of course) it really does work! in my opinion, no pill or prescription can cure this. If we tell ourselves to stop and have reason enough to – then we will make it happen. Trust me – I have tried it ALL, bad tasting nail polish to stop biting, asking my husband to tell me to stop(any and all of my bad habits), putting on makeup/mascara to prevent the urge, etc… etc… Nothing works. It seems like we do this mostly when we are bored or have too much time on our hands. Just keep yourself busy and be STRONG. Know that this is ridiculous, – we are hurting our eyes, wasting makeup, and looking like freaks and we don’t want to be this way. I truly feel it’s a mental thing. We can make ourselves do anything we want to – good or bad. So make yourself do the right thing. Just be strong because you know you are, and let it go. I hope this helps, and that you remind yourself that you do not like what you are doing and be positive and stay strong! I find this is the best way. It is working for me and I am sure it will work for you!

  52. Hey I have experienced this SAME exact issue, not the pulling but the constant playing, petting, rubbing against fingernails and might I add that when I have mascara on it makes it WORSE, because i like the ‘crunching’ the eyelashes make when you squeeze them and its a much better ‘crunch’ when they have mascara on them – it makes them thicker and stiffer! (Sounds horrible, I know) And I wear really good mascara that dries up immediately and the most it smears is onto my fingers not on my eyes.
    I’m pretty much broken the habit nowadays, with occasional relapses but nowhere near as bad as I used to be — the secret, was a mixture of 4 things: 1) wearing eyeglasses like someone mentioned, 2) telling other ppl i want to stop, 3) a little vanity and 4) keeping myself busy.
    1 helped because having eyeglasses on made it difficult to get to my eyelashes in the first place, so that cut it down on those days significantly (i still switch back n forth to contacts) but it would get me in the habit of NOT doing it. 2 was good because my mom, dad, boyfriend, and close friends would all point out ‘your doing it’ and i would immediately realize it and stop. 3 I decided to spend time doing my makeup REALLY nice everyday so that I really dreaded messing it up – not so much mascara, which i mentioned before didn’t really rub off, but EYE SHADOW! If you can, experiment with eye shadow, you’ll find that it will rub off immediately after 1 or 2 eyelash rubs/pulls and if you coordinate it to really accent your outfit it will tick you off when it rubs away.
    Finally 4, staying busy and productive always seemed to do the trick. I would only end up playing with them when I had idle time (althogh once in a while i might do it while i was driving or in a meeting at work) but as soon as i realized it, i would do something. Its a little harder in the car, but i would just stop and call someone or turn on the radio and belt out a song.
    At work I also was conscious of how it appeared and it looks so unprofessional to be sitting there tugging at your eyes during an important meeting.
    OOH! and one other thing, that reminded me, my coworker has a nervous tick where he pulls at the collar and the sleeve of his shirt like every 5 minutes – drives me nuts!! So I would think of that and it would help me to be conscious of how i could be creeping someone out. I realized it was almost like tourette’s and could come across really weird… so i kept all those things in mind and i’m happy to say I have a much better grip on it!
    Best wishes!

  53. When thing seems up in the air And everything is so unfair And you stumble and fall Just pick yourself up and sing

  54. Its more common than you think…theres some really great suggestions here.
    I would go with the rubber band option, I have personally seen this work for a number of people.
    Im sure you’ll break the habbit no problems at all