I’m turning 26 this year, but for 20 years of my life or a little more I have been a girl on the pull. It’s something I try to conceal but I can’t, I am ashamed yet it’s a part of me and all I have ever known. Truth is I’m always on the pull….
‘A mental disorder that involves recurrent, irresistible urges to pull out hair from your scalp, eyebrows or other areas of your body, despite trying to stop.
Hair pulling from the scalp often leaves patchy bald spots, which causes significant distress and can interfere with social or work functioning. People with trichotillomania may go to great lengths to disguise the loss of hair.’
- “Trich o what?”
- “But why would you want to pull your hair out?”
- “Well that must really hurt you”
- “Can’t you just stop?”
- “Stop doing that”
- “Do it for me”
- “You don’t want to be bald do you?”
- ” If you carry on like that you will have no hair left”
All of these questions are something I have faced nearly every day of my life.No it doesn’t hurt, it satisfies me but then I beat myself up after. I twist and twirl strands of my hair around my fingers until I find the right piece and snap. A beautiful sound, one I’m often searching for.I will be on the pull and think ok just one more won’t hurt, oh that was a good one let’s do that again and it takes you several attempts before finally you stop. Before you know it I have a pile of hair on my lap or on the floor that I then must try and disguise. The thing is I do it ok Secret. I panic.I roll my hands over the carpet creating a ball of hair that I analyse and then hide in the bin, throw out of the window or flush down the toilet. The condition is crippling. My hair is un even and my dreams of ever having that sultry mermaid look will never happen. I frequently am able to block the family hoover regardless of how much hair I gather to dispose of. Times of stress will make it worse. And now I am at a point where I am severely depressed and show no signs of growing better.
“Catherine look at all this hair on the floor, you must not do that do you hear me?” My first memory. Aged 5, pushed into the corner of my bedroom by my mum and grandma. I was scared but couldn’t stop. Teachers would tel my parents I was away with the fairies. I would sit at my desk and pupils in my class would shout at me to stop but I couldn’t and that’s when I started to do it in secret on my own. It seems to be worse during times of high stress. My GCSES and A Levels. I remember standing up to leave the exam hall and seeing a pile of my brown hair on the sport hall floor and everyone looking past and looking at it. My coping mechanism in a way I suppose? I first sought help at the age of 17/18. Having just nursed my terminally ill grandparent at home until their last breath my life would never be the same. Worried what my parents might do and say I chose the CBT route instead of medication. I never clicked with the lady, she had hairy armpits and chose to pin a lot of the blame on my parents, I went twice and never went back.Then again while at university I was having a rough patch and felt such incredible guilt that I scratched all the skin off my chest until it bled. I had to cover my chest for over a week to hide the marks. I had some therapy he was a nice man but I never felt it helped. And recently loosing my dream job and living isolated alone abroad, this time a mixture of my depression, anxiety, hair pulling and alcohol. Not a great cocktail as you can imagine, feeling I had to explain myself every time I went for a haircut. It’s something I have always done.
It’s not just the hair on my head. I have always been obsessed with hair removal. I can’t bear it. I will constantly epilate my legs and underarms, and will be waxed on my bikini line.I take great pleasure after I’m searching for ingrown hairs that I can pick out, digging so deep that I bleed and scab and scar. So no, I can’t just stop. Does anyone know how I can?