Amy Schumer Opens Up About Struggle With Hair-Pulling Disorder Trichotillomania
By Paige Gawley
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Amy Schumer is opening up about a personal struggle. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the Life & Bethactor, director and writer reveals that her character's struggle with trichotillomania in the Hulu series is based off of her own.
According to Mayo Clinic, trichotillomania is a mental disorder that involves recurrent, irresistible urges to pull out hair from your scalp, eyebrows or other areas of your body, despite trying to stop.
That's what viewers see in the penultimate episode of Schumer's series, when the camera pans to a pile of hair and there are hushed whispers about needing a wig.
Schumer experienced something similar when she was a child, when she pulled out so much hair that she needed a wig, something "everybody knew" when she returned to school.
"I think everybody has a big secret and that’s mine. And I’m proud that my big secret only hurts me, but it’s been what I’ve carried so much shame about for so long," she explains of the disorder, which began before her teenage years.
To this day, trichotillomania is part of Schumer's life. "It’s not that I used to have this problem and now I don’t," she says. "It’s still something that I struggle with."
She's concerned that the disorder, which does have a genetic component, is something her and husband Chris Fischer's 2-year-old son, Gene, could develop. "Every time he touches his head I’m having a heart attack," she admits.
As for why now was the right time to publicly discuss her disorder, Schumer says, "I really don’t want to have a big secret anymore."
"I thought putting it in there would be good for me to alleviate some of my shame and maybe, hopefully, help others alleviate some of theirs, too," she adds.
The TLC Foundation for Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors seems to think she has done just that, with their executive director saying in a statement, "Our community is breathing a collective sigh of relief after having our behaviors mischaracterized and misinterpreted for so many years."
When ET's Rachel Smith spoke to Schumer earlier this month, she opened up about how, with the series, she had "something to say for the first time in a while."
"[There's] something about going back to these places you did as a child [and] looking at the trauma you went through," she explained, adding that that realization prompted her to say, "I just want to tell this story."