I can remember right back into my childhood – I would sit for hours, twisting and pulling my hair. I’d twist the knots so tight that sometimes the only way to get them out, would be to cut it with scissors! I would pull the hair so hard it would literally come out of my head, leaving really sore, bald patches on my head. I was addicted to the feeling of my hair when it was knotted. I have no idea why. I just found great comfort in doing it… All the bloody time!!!
My father used to get furious every time I did it. It would literally make his blood boil with rage. “Why do you keep doing that with your hair? Do you have any idea how stupid you look? You look like a retard!”
Don’t get me wrong, I will be the first to admit I knew it would wind my father up – therefore I would do it more often than not when I was around him. But this was only 5% of the time. The other 95% of the time was because of the mental illness I was battling in my mind on a daily basis.
He wouldn’t hesitate in mocking me or making me feel like I had something seriously wrong with me. The truth is – I did have something wrong with me! It was a symptom of my extreme anxiety. Not only was it comforting, but it was a kind of self harm. Making my head that sore from the hair pulling was very painful, to say the least. But at least if I was in pain physically, it would take my mind off the everyday anxiety torment going on in my life.
It wasn’t until my mid 30’s that I actually went out of my way to research this ‘self harming addiction’. Back when I was a teenager, the internet wasn’t really around. You couldn’t pop on your laptop and type into Google: “why do I keep pulling my hair out all the time?”
Just take a few minutes and literally go and type that into the Google search engine… there you go – It’s all there in black and white. Simple right? So why didn’t my parents bother to do that? If I looked that retarded, or weird, or stupid? Don’t parents have a duty of care for their children, no matter how old they are?
Anyway, I am not going off topic (again) because of them…
So whats the cure for trichotillomania?
In my experience there isn’t really a cure. It’s more about learning how to cope/ manage your anxiety and depression.
I can’t say I have found the answers to this question, but I do notice the following help prevent it (even if only for a short while):
- exercise regularly,
- mindfulness (I personally listen to my Headspace app),
- eat healthy,
- get my hair cut regularly (I find I do it more when my hair is longer),
- try and be more aware that I am doing it, but don’t beat myself up for doing it,
- acceptance and acknowledgement (Its who I am, and it’s what I do when I am feeling extremely anxious – It’s my coping mechanism – I am not hurting anyone doing it!)
- DO NOT beat myself up for doing it!
I would genuinely love to hear from you, if you have experienced trichotillomania. Maybe you do something similar? Maybe you are unsure why you do it? Maybe you can share some insight into how you cope with it?
Please leave a comment below or private message me if you would prefer to remain anonymous. Either way I’d love to hear from anyone. Maybe we can help each other and learn new ways to manage this condition.
As always – Thank you for reading. Please hit the like button and feel free to share this blog.
Also – feel free to follow me and check out more regular updates via my Instagram and Twitter accounts. You can find the links to my social media accounts on the designated page on my website. 🙂
Have a great day ahead.
Mr F x