My struggles with trichotillomania

9B281CA7-3168-427C-B641-030CEF7712FBFirst time creating a page like this… not sure how this will look…. but I have however, mentioned about my condition before, trichotillomania It’s most commonly noticed by the uncontrollable urge to pull out your hair, and is more often diagnosed in females. For me, it comes in waves: Sometimes I have periods of more intense pulling, and other times there’s none at all, that can last days, weeks or even years. Unfortunately, one of trichs most prominent side effects is crippling shame. As the compulsive act of pulling out your hair neatly bridges the gaps between OCD, self harm, addiction and impulse disorders there’s always a lovely dark black hole of despair waiting for you at the end of every ‘binge’ – preventing you from communicating your feelings, and making you feel alone, worthless and very, very weak.

It’s not just grabbing a clump of hair and ripping it out. No, this is a more prolonged experience. You have to find the exact perfect hair, they need to feel almost tender as you go to pull them out, so you can really feel it, now imagine every single fibre of your being on fire, screaming at you to pull, and the uncontrollable thoughts of “if you don’t pull, someone you love will die and it’s your fault” or “you will only do it once, come on it will feel good” but this isn’t the case… I will cave and pull at them until my eyelashes are gone, eyes all puffy and I feel so fucking ashamed. I want to hide and not face anyone… sometimes you feel compelled to eat it afterwards, to really ‘feel’ it. Gross and weird right?
There have been times where my eyelashes will have nearly grown back in only to have the urges rear its ugly head again, so I pull. Growing up with a hair pulling disorder wasn’t easy and it still isn’t. Children in school were mean, making fun of me and saying awful things about my hair pulling or sometimes even my own family would make fun, comparing me to the baby Annabel doll cause I have no eyelashes and that hurt.
I don’t know what triggers it, so I’d sometimes find myself pulling in front of people without realising it which would then cause them to act weirdly around me- or if it were to be around good friends they would smack my hand away or shout at me to stop, I know your intentions are good but to me it highlights the shitty situation I’m in and makes me realise that I’ve embarrassed myself even further, if I knew I was doing it I would stop, I’m just sorry you’ve had to witness it first hand.
People often wondered how I could pull without noticing, but it’s like this- If you’ve ever been so focused on a TV show or lost in a thought that you lose connection with what’s going on around you, that’s what hair pulling is like because of my trichotillomania. I can feel the pulling, but it feels good, kind of like a release and somewhat euphoric… so it becomes a part of the background noise and makes me feel comfortable.
I want your support. I want to feel understood more than anything. Educate yourself about trichotillomania, look it up! I don’t want you to feel disgusted with me because I am already disgusted by my behaviour! don’t me offer unsolicited advice. I am not crazy and it’s not something I can help… I’m just wired this way!
I am smart and self aware, and I am forever working towards becoming a better person, and that includes my efforts to reduce and control my urges to pull, please be patient with me.
When I’m going through a “pull free” period, all I ask of you is that you congratulate me when I tell you I haven’t pulled all morning, or for three days, or even 1 year (that’s a HUGE yay if I reach that)
I know that in order to stop, I will have to make it a priority, and I will have to actively work to make my life less stressful. I would have to attend a CBT group, and explore other therapies, give up drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes. However, right now I am too ashamed to walk into the doctors and ask for help, I am aware I need it and I am aware that it’s taking over my life… but it’s one small step at a time, once the people around me support me more- I hope this disorder will be easier to handle and easier to reach out for help. I just want people to know that they aren’t alone if they feel any urges at all… please don’t let the horrible pit of self loathing and despair let you feel so alone like me, if I can’t seem to get the support i need… I will be the support you need.