Why I Have To Pull My Hair

June 13, 2019
Trichotillomania is a mental disorder where a person has a sudden urge to pull out their hair and cannot stop themselves.

 I am one of the people who can try and stop themselves but ultimately goes back to pulling my hair without realizing it.

This all started when I was nine and used to play with my hair by twirling it around my finger or putting it between my teeth so it could act like floss. I wasn't chewing on it, I was just playing. It all changed when I was in sixth grade and was pulling my hair out so much, I had a tiny bald spot. A girl was playing with my hair and asked if I had cut it, I lied and said I had baby hairs growing in.

I didn't start chewing on my hair until grade 7. I never tried to purposely eat it but the way I bit the hair strand into tiny pieces, it was almost impossible to not swallow it. I didn't think anything of it because I couldn't, I could not think when I was reaching my hand up into my hair. It was an impulse I wasn't able to control.

At first, I thought I pulled my hair because I  had some white hairs since I was in elementary. My hair is just so thick some of the strands come out white but you know, kids can be cruel and make fun of others without realizing it. I had people who were way taller than me point out my hair and ask me if I was really "my age." It wasn't the worst thing anyone has said to me, but pulling out my white hairs has also become an excuse to just pull my hair.

I didn't think this was a problem, and I was sure to not eat my hair in front of others because I didn't want to be bombarded with questions. I got caught one time by some little kid when he said I was drooling, which in reality, I was chewing on one of my white hairs. This cycle continued until I finally had enough my freshman year. I was reading an assigned book for English class on my bed when I noticed myself getting worked up. I started reading faster and getting anxious while my other hand was pulling out hairs one by one. I was barely even chewing on them, I was just pulling them out without having a way to stop myself.

I couldn't stand it anymore. I put this problem in the back of my mind, and I shouldn't have because me pulling out my hair would never stop if I didn't try. I talked to my doctor about it in a casual manner, and she didn't think anything of it. I don't think I emphasized that this has been going on for years every day and for her to not catch on, could've made me not want to reach out for help.

That didn't stop me, though. I did my own research and found out about Trichotillomania. I was scared and relieved that I wasn't the only person doing this, and other peoples cases were much more extreme than mine. Digging even deeper, I found something that helped me explain why I couldn't stop picking at my hair.

It was attached to my severe anxiety. 

It started to make sense. The reason my hair pulling could worsen was when I began to get anxious. I never pulled my hair while I was doing something that could take my entire focus. Figuring out my triggers was hard because everything triggered me to pull my hair besides when I was in public.

Before I cut all my hair off
I was a junior when I decided to chop most of my hair off. The main factor was from people I thought were my friends kept on nagging me to do it, but the real reason was to stop pulling out my hair.

After I cut all my hair off
I still continued to pull my hair even after most of it was gone. It was just harder to do it now. I had to figure out my triggers before I could stop myself.

The primary triggers were when I was doing something that made me stationary. Reading a book, writing stories or blogging, studying, sitting down watching tv, laying in bed for too long and the worst one as of lately, driving.

I had to be alone doing all these things to pull my hair. If I was in public, I never pulled out my hair, I would just pick at it, making it look like I was trying to get something out from my head. My friends saw this too, and I had to start apologizing, saying that I had a problem pulling my hair. None of them knew I was eating my hair, as well.

 Like right now, I am pulling at my hair, trying not to eat it. I am pulling some of the ends out because I am reminding myself that I can't eat my hair. All I am doing is sitting here and writing, while part of my brain is focused on my hair. I am not nervous, though, I am just not doing something that takes 100% of my concentration for an extended period.

When I am home alone, it's when my hair pulling gets really bad. I put my hair up into a messy knot and pick at the sides, having some sort of relieving every time I pull out a few strands of hair from the knot. I know that I am doing it, it makes me anxious, and then I do it even more. It's like two people having a conflict within me. My head starts to hurt the worst when I pull out of the hair on the sides. I am not sure why, but I do have to remove the hair harder on the sides to get it out of the ponytail and hearing it makes me shiver.

It's embarrassing to even type about this, let alone admitting I have a problem. Why I have to pull my hair is not an easy question to answer. I wish I didn't have to, but I can't stop myself all the time. When I know I am about to do it, I started to get jittery and then pulling a piece of hair lets those jitters go away for a few seconds.

Baby LC pulling my hair so I don't have to

My only skills at stopping it are yelling out that I am about to pull my hair or I am pulling it. I can't sometimes focus if I don't pull it out. It's a neverending battle with myself. I will try to figure out more coping skills on how to stop pulling my hair so others who are suffering may find some closure.

Why I have to pull my hair should turn into why I had to pull my hair if I continue to push myself through this. It's going to be super tough as I pull out my hair multiple times every hour but slowly, I will regain control over my own brain.

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