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Teen webcam from pennsylvania

Last month she stood in front of her Pottsgrove High School peers and talked about anxiety, depression and her hair-pulling.

“It’s OK to be different,” she said in one online video. It’s just different.”Hearing Pennington’s story was powerful for students and staff alike, said Kyra Ebert, a guidance counselor at Pottsgrove High School.Once, in a relationship, she waited six months to share her secret, the worry growing like a wave.“Obviously, it was a big part of my life, but I was still scared,” she said.Her therapist at the hospital in Wisconsin asked her do it in front of everyone. What: Trichotillomania is the repetitive pulling out of one’s hair.That moment had been years in the making since she first started pulling her eyebrows and eyelashes. It’s one of a group of behaviors known as Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors, self-grooming behaviors in which individuals pull, pick, scrape or bite their hair, skin or nails, resulting in damage to the body.“It was slightly terrifying.”Now 18, Pennington is not hiding. The Pottsgrove High School senior has been living with trichotillomania, anxiety and depression disorders for years.

In the fifth grade, she started pulling her eyebrows and eyelashes.

“She has the inner strength to take on that challenge,” Ebert said.

“What really serves the kids is making a connection.

Special to the Reading Eagle: Kevin Hoffman | Sarah Pennington, 18, remains focused on competing in the Pennsylvania Teen International pageant in March thanks to a wig donation by Emily Kurtz, left, of Hair by Emilie in Pottstown.

Kurtz also donated funds to assist the teen in overcoming her mental health condition, which left her bald.

Cognitive behavior therapy can help some people break the habit, but does not help everyone.