It’s easy to look at an SI Swimsuit model’s social media and think her life is glamorous and perfect. But, thankfully, many of these women use their platforms to be open about their personal struggles. Sara Sampaio is the latest to share, recently appearing on the web series Scan My Brain to explain her battle with trichotillomania.
“I pull at my eyebrows and feel like my muscles are always so tense,” Sampaio shared with Dr. Daniel Amen on an episode. Trichotillomania is a condition that gives people the urge to pull out their hair from their scalp, eyebrows or other areas of the body. Baldness can even occur in some situations. Sampaio also struggles with anxiety and has been battling the conditions since she was a teenager.
“My tricho started when I was 15,” she said. “But even before that, I already had a lot of body ticks. Like I would [blink rapidly] with my eyes constantly. My parents even thought I had a problem with my eyes. But that went away.”
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Sampaio added, “I tend to pick a lot of my lips as well. And now I feel the need to do certain body movements. I don’t know if it’s because I just have so much tension everywhere that I feel like it just releases it.”
The model explained that her anxiety and panic attacks worsened after her grandfather’s death five years ago. “It created this fear of dying,” explained Sampaio. “I still have it, and when I talk about it, it makes me want to cry.”
Sampaio explained that she even feels like the world is set up to make her fail. “Even in my job, I feel like people are against me.”
Dr. Amen went on to show the model a scan of her brain to explain why she might be feeling the way she does. He then gave her a detailed plan for getting those areas under better control to calm her anxiety and feel better.
The honest episode got tens of thousands of comments, including praise from other supermodels. “You’re amazing for bringing awareness to this,” wrote Elsa Hosk. “Love you @sarasampaio.”
Watch the full episode of Scan My Brain below.