There’s a flashback scene in Amy Schumer’s new Hulu comedy “Life & Beth”, in which the child actress playing the younger version of Schumer’s character, Beth, is revealed to have had trichotillomania, a rare genetic disorder that creates an irresistible urge to pull one’s own hair out.
As Schumer revealed in a candid interview with The Hollywood Reporter, she included that in the series because she also suffers from that obsessive-compulsive disorder.
“I think everybody has a big secret and that’s mine,” she explained. “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.”
As Schumer recalled, as a child she pulled out so much hair from her hair that she had to wear a wig to school, a real-life life event that inspired the scene in “Life & Beth”. “And everybody knew,” she said.
While trichotillomania can be managed with therapy and medication, it’s a chronic disorder for which that isn’t a cure.
“It’s not that I used to have this problem and now I don’t,” she admitted. “It’s still something that I struggle with.”
Because of its genetic nature, Schumer fears that her son Gene, 2, might also be afflicted.
“Every time he touches his head I’m having a heart attack,” she said.
By opening up that previously hidden part of her life, Schumer is hopeful she can contribute to lessening the stigma for others with trichotillomania.
“I really don’t want to have a big secret anymore,” she said. “And 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.”
Support from Schumer’s fans quickly flooded in following her Friday interview and the actress took to Instagram on Saturday to thank them.
The 40-year-old comedian posted a series of images from the set of “Life & Beth” and expressed her gratitude towards her fans’ well wishes in the caption.
“Thanks for all the love and for everyone’s kind word [sic] and support on my trichotillomania,” she wrote. “Big vulnerable vibes and tears of joy for the weight that’s been lifted.”
“Thanks to the community for embracing me when I needed it,” Schumer added along with a link to a foundation for anyone else who may also need help fighting their own battle with trichotillomania.
“Life & Beth” is currently streaming on Disney+.
The Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention, Depression Hurts and Kids Help Phone 1-800-668-6868 all offer ways of getting help if you, or someone you know, may be suffering from mental health issues.