Another One About #Trichotillomania

August 12, 2011 § 7 Comments

I’m going to get serious here for a little bit.

Self-harm comes up a lot in articles I’ve read about TTM (hair loss from compulsive pulling or twisting of the hair until it breaks off). WikiHow says “Trichotillomania can be considered a form of self-harm – even though it isn’t as talked about as other forms of self-injury. Like all forms of self-harm, Trichotillomania can become an addictive behavior“. I disagree because I am not doing it to harm myself, at least it’s not my intention to cause harm to myself. I’m not even aware that I’m pulling my hair out half of the time. I get that it’s a relief and sort of soothing when I pull, but it is so different. Like this post says “…But with hair pulling, yes I get a sort of build up of emotion but the hair pulling is done subconsciously.” and that’s what I’m trying to get at.We’re not pulling our hair because we want to harm ourselves, intentionally.

I suppose it may, I said MAY, be a mild case of self-harm for some people since sometimes I have bled pulling some hairs out. But that is usually, when I have bled, when I almost literally have to sit on my hands. I do not pull to see blood. I can see why people say that it is self-harm since I feel almost relieved after I pull. It also feels good. And some of my friends who have cut have told me that it feels good sometimes and they do it to release tension.

In my head, inside my brain, something goes off when my hand slides down hair strands and feels a coarse, thick, broken, or curly hair. My mind instantly tells my hand to pull it because it doesn’t belong there, sort of like a game of what doesn’t belong. Even on happy days, when I’m not feeling the least bit of depressed or almost no anxiety, I pull. But like this post says “There’s no denying that pulling out one’s hair is harmful to the body. It is indeed self-destructive. It can cause balding, bleeding, ingrown hairs, and worse. But that’s not why we do it.” And of course, TTM does cause that, which leads to me picking the ingrown hairs and scabs in my scalp that form. But then again, experts may not be so experts in this disorder and they just group it with whatever else. Since I’m not a licenced professional nor a psychiatrist, I cannot say. But that’s my take on it.

If you pull your hair or pick your skin, are you doing it because you want to harm yourself or because your brain tells you that something (a hair that I described above or a scab) doesn’t belong there?

Also, during the month of September and October I will be participating in something called a Hands Down-A-Thon to raise money for the Trichotillomania Learning Center. I created a fundraising group in hope that other bloggers out there who have Trichotillomania or Dermatillomania (and even if you don’t and just want to raise money with us!) can come together to raise money for a cause that is important. If you would like to support us, you can donate here. Feel free to spread the word through facebook, tumblr, twitter, email or whatever you want, I would appreciate it so much.

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§ 7 Responses to Another One About #Trichotillomania

  • Chibi Jeebs says:

    I have a tough time with this one, too, mostly because I don’t want to even think that I am intentionally (but subconsciously) HARMING myself. Like you, I don’t do it to feel pain or to make myself bleed, but I do pick as a way to… punish myself(?) at times, and I do feel a rush of relief/sense of success when I remove a scab.

    “…is harmful to the body. It is indeed self-destructive.”

    Lines like that are what make me think that, yeah, maybe I *should* consider what I’m doing to be self-harm (especially if I take into account the shame I feel when caught and the lengths I go to hide it because I know it’s “wrong” or “bad”).


    • AnonMommy says:

      But does self-destructive mean self-harm? Of course I’m destroying hair follicles and sometimes getting scabs in my scalp because I sometimes bleed… but are we doing it because we LIKE the pain?

      See.. I don’t think we are. It’s just compulsive.

      • Chibi Jeebs says:

        For me personally, self-destructive stuff (like my negative self-talk) is self-harming (*for me*). Again, I do still bristle at being lumped in with people who will slice their skin open with razor blades – SO not the same to me!

  • I agree. Trichotillomania is not self harm to me because people that do this really want to stop and do not do it to enjoy the feeling. (I’m sure those that self-harm really want to stop to).
    I know for a fact because many people feel horrible and ashamed about it.
    Even when I had Trichotillomania I didn’t do it for the feeling. It was something that was just hard to control and incredibly painful.

    But I do know some people pull and feel better after doing it. I’m not sure if this would be considered self-harm. Just as you said in your post the feeling is different.

    So good post. I really enjoyed reading it.


  • anon says:

    Thank you, I’ve been looking for facts about this subject for ages and yours is the best I’ve located so far.

  • […] if you follow me on twitter or have read this blog in the past, like this post, you know that I’m participating in something called a Hands Down-a-Thon done by the […]

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