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My Secret Hair Pulling Madness

Behind my smile was pain and underneath my ponytail was a bald spot five inches wide. Jaws would drop if people knew. I'm 31 years old and have been pulling since I was 13. I quit my job in radio sales and advertising last week because of trichotillomania (Greek for "hair pulling frenzy") combined with major clinical depression.

I found myself crying today as my mom put my son's black winter gloves onto my hands to stop me from making my bald spot worse. She walked into my room to ask me a question and saw it for the first time. Her eyes must've locked on immediately like eyes to a flashlight in a movie theater. She didn't know how bad it had become. She knew I liked picking at my hair. She'd take photos of me as a kid doing it and then tease me by saying "You look like a monkey." This was her way of convincing me to stop pulling. That maybe the thought of me looking ridiculous to others would make me want to put my hand down. I mean it did help, I just pulled in private. I could tell she was going through a mental freak fest after she realized and said "My God you're bald already?!"

I cried and threw a tantrum saying "I don't care if I go bald, it makes me feel better." Truth is I was glad she found out. I want someone to make me stop pulling my hair. I want someone to help me. First step is to help myself, so I have joined this site hoping to learn more from other experiences and doing it with the gloves on. Hopefully I'll be able to find a cure to my newly exposed secret life of hair pulling.
luvst0ned luvst0ned 31-35, F 7 Responses Jan 22, 2013

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It's been about 5-7 years since I started pulling. My hair has always naturally been baby thin, and half the time I don't notice I'm pulling, no noticeable emotional or environmental triggers, so I never noticed the bald stripe until my soulmate and a few friends pointed it out. Apparently my soul mate noticed it for a while, but said since it seemed to lessen my anxiety he kept quiet, until he found out that that's where the scars and scabs all over my shoulders and arms are coming from as well. I noticed I had a problem not when I noticed the stripe and the thin patches, but when I was vacuuming. After vacuuming one room, a room I'm hardly in most of the week, there was a 4" band of nothing but baby fine red hair above the dust in the chamber. I couldn't believe it. I know I pull, I know I tear at my skin, but I never knew that in just one week I lost so much hair. I did a lot of research on the subject, and I feel slightly better knowing I'm not alone, and that it can be explained with something other than my family's joke of 'you're just crazy'. Since my particular case involves scratching, pinching, and tearing my skin as well as my hair, he's decided to support me and help me control myself. He wants me to see a therapist, but I decided to try the 'grit your teeth and wear gloves' method and stubborn my way through it. I'm easily frustrated, so here's hoping that when I CAN'T pull and pinch, I WON'T.

I felt every word in my heart. this trich... it's a pain in the aaaaa. However, it's good that you are talking about this. Everyone has a story. we all have a story behind our smiles and our laughter. And nobody on this earth knows the pain you go through like you. I wish I could help you, but my trich is pretty bad as well, so we wouldn't get very far, lol.

girl we in this 2gether ,,hopefully we can overcome this if not atleast we have each other ..so inspiring and releasing

Best of luck to you. I pull my eyelashes and eyebrows and it's so embarrassing when people ask if my eyebrows are drawn in or about the fake lashes I wear. I've only told my sister, who used to have it too. She got over it, but I can't stop. I've had it since I was 12, and now I've just turned 21. I imagine how great my life would be and how much less i would have to hide if I could stop. But I don't know how. I've considered telling my boyfriend, because he is completely non-judgmental and I think he might be able to help, but I don't know if I could actually stop...

I started pulling my hair out when I was 8. It was impossible to hide, so my parents found out immediately, which is how I discovered it was a disorder. When my family saw me pulling they would tell me to stop. "Quit it!" they'd say. But I still did it when I was alone. It started with the hair on my scalp, then eyebrows and eyelashes. I had bald spots, no eyelashes. It was awful! It took a toll on my life, as it has yours. But after almost 10 years of that, I STOPPED. I got out of the pit of trich. I know you can too. What helped me was seeing the progress that refraining from pulling made. I took photos to document it. I had never used gloves, but if it works for you, then go for it! I sincerely wish you best.

try taking inositol. It's a b vitamin. It has almost completely cured my urges. I've started taking it last wednesday but already I am finding it way easier not to pull my hair. The thoughts are still there and probably always will be but I can keep my hands away from my hair pretty easy now.

i've heard of that and have read of it working for several people. I'll try to find it next time I'm at GNC and make sure to keep everyone posted on the results. Thanks!

you're not alone. I'm 25 I have suffered with trich since i was 9. I just recently started seeing a therapist for it but it really hasnt helped much (yet!) still hopeful. I've found that since i got acrylic nails put on even when i try hard to pull at the shorter hairs i cant grasp them to pull them its helped out a lot so far maybe you could try getting them.

thank you for the response. that has helped me, but only for as long as the nails stay on. i'm sort of a habitual nail biter so even acrylic nails don't last very long for me. i'm hoping the prozac will eventually work.