As a mental health advocate for body diversity and inclusivity, Swirl has worked with TLC foundation as one of its ambassadors.
Together with Francesca Zoia, psychologist and also previous collaborator at TLC, she also co-hosts the Italian support group for BFRBs.
Swirl relentlessly invites women to be open about their mental health journey and encourages thriving in their body diversity as the highest form of beauty.
Let’s dive into hair-pulling disorder and other BFRBs.
What is trichotillomania? It’s a BFRB.
Also called hair-pulling disorder, trich is part of body-focused repetitive behaviors (BFRBs). Some self-grooming repetitive behaviors have been recently classified under this category that also includes nail and cheek biting, skin picking, and a few others.
How many people are affected? If not yourself, many people that you know!
It is estimated that 1 or 2 people out of 50 experience a form of trichotillomania during their lifetime. It is usually developed at an early age and it tends to be a chronic condition, meaning that you can experience it throughout your life.
Can you treat it? Possibly, but there isn’t an official cure yet.
The best results have been seen with CBT which it’s one of the most used types of therapy right now that focuses on identifying thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that are problematic and teaches individuals how to change these elements to lead to reduced stress and more productive functioning.
Where to find more information? TLC foundation.
TLC BFRB is the foundation that globally provides support for people affected with BFRBs. There are a number of support groups for the adults directly involved, but you can also find support for children, teenagers, and their parents.
A new Italian support group for people with BFRBs is available online at BFRBItalia.
If you are interested, you can find this and more information on www.bfrb.org
Swirl’s personal note:
“I developed trich at 11 yo. It has extremely impacted my life, my family, and my friends, especially when I was a teenager. Even though I was personally never able to get rid of the symptom, today I am perfectly comfortable around it, and I feel happy in my body.
Surprisingly, the fact that I was problematic with my hair, or that my hair wasn’t perfect, or that I am bald right now, has never changed the way people have been attracted to me.
Instead, being hurt, depressed, insecure, and lacking self-love has led to many dysfunctions within my relationships.
It wasn’t the hair.
A lot of people think they would be ugly without their hair. They think their head is too big, too small, or bumpy or weird. I have heard every sort of excuse made to seem like hair is indispensable for their beauty.
But, if there is one thing that I have learned, is that hair is not as important as one might think.
Because when you lose your hair you don’t lose your identity. Actually, you discover more about your identity.
You find out who you really are without the safety of the confidence your hair gives you. You come to understand hair is a side of beauty, but it’s not indispensable.
And believe me, you find that same confidence in something else. I heard most say, you find it in your smile.”
A bit about Swirl before London & modeling: born and raised in Florence, Italy she has trained as a milliner.
She then worked as an event manager, tour manager, and production manager in the fashion and music industries.
Now in London, Swirl is using her public image to raise awareness of BFRBs and to help empower other people feel happy in mind and body.
FUN FACTS: Being quintessentially Italian, she treats food as a religion.
Favorite movies: Cabaret, Amélie Poulain, The legend of the pianist on the ocean.
Favorite song: “I am what I am” – Gloria Gaynor
Favorite quote: “If you were waiting for a sign, this is it.”