#Trichotillomania {the one about my hair-pulling problem}

February 14, 2011 § 5 Comments

There’s something I have that not a lot of people know about. Some may have noticed but never brought it up in a conversation. It’s something I do that sometimes I have no idea what I’m doing. Its something that I’ve had but never knew what it was until I was seventeen even though I had had it since I was fifteen. I never knew why I obsessively pulled my hair until one day in high school.

Trichotillomania, the compulsive urge to pull out one’s own hair, is recognized as a disorder leading to noticeable hair loss, distress, and social or functional impairment. It is often chronic and difficult to treat.

I remember being fifteen years old and sitting on the couch watching tv when I realized all the hair that was on the sofa’s arm rest. It may have started earlier than that but that’s the earliest I remember. It happened often after that. What triggered it? Anxiety, maybe. I remember my mom spotting my bald spot and asking me what had happened and when I told her, she hadn’t seem all that concerned.

I did it all the time. At school. On the way home on the bus. During homework. When I would space out during writing something. During a test in school. It wasn’t until one day a teacher asked me if I knew what Trichotillomania was and when I said no, she handed me three papers stapled. As soon as I got home, I went to the restroom and locked the door to read it. Then I cried. Why had no one noticed or told me before? I didn’t know anything about this. I just thought that I was slowly losing my mind. My mom? Why didn’t she bother to ask around or do research. Or talk to me.

Sometimes I liked to do it because there was some sort of relief when I did it. Like as I was pulling my hair, I was taking away stress or something. It’s a little hard to explain if you can’t relate. I didn’t do it to harm myself. It wasn’t all the time, though, that I knew I was doing it and that was scary. I would sometimes do it as I drifted to sleep. It became sort of like a routine. And it was very hard to break that routine. But I somehow managed.

Throughout the years, I’ve had many bald spots. But the most noticeable one is the one near my forehead. It still haunts me because the evidence is there. Its like my hair never really grew back there. I never confided in anyone but a few people because I was embarrassed. I didn’t want anyone thinking I was crazy. But that stops here. Maybe it will help and shed some light on someone stumbling onto this blog post?

I still struggle. Although its not as much hair as I used to pull, I now have periods of times where I’m pull-free. And I pray to God with all my heart, that my daughter won’t go through this. When I was seventeen, I stumbled onto a chat room where two teenaged girls were talking about it. How they were embarrassed about it and I PMd them both and I told them that I, too, suffered from it. There’s help in numbers, don’t be afraid to talk about it like I was.

My point of this post is to share my story. Don’t be embarrassed. My friend is launching a blog about it soon. Share your story. Talk to someone. You’re not crazy. You’re not alone. And it’s certainly not your fault.Trichy Words. Share what has worked for you. Celebrate your pull-free days.

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§ 5 Responses to #Trichotillomania {the one about my hair-pulling problem}

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