Looking for support

Hello.

I began picking my hair from my scalp 4 years ago when I was feeling extremely stressed at university. This varied between picking split ends and pulling my hair from the root.

More recently, I have been under a lot of stress and have been prescribed medication for anxiety and low mood. I am aware that my hair picking has escalated.

A colleague noticed my hair pulling and work one day and confided in me that she also experienced thrichotillomania and encouraged me to google it. This is when I realised other people also experience this struggle and I immediately felt less embarrassed.

I have tried various distraction techniques such as playing games on my phone, jigsaws, squishy toys, stress balls and reading, however nothing quite feels the same as picking my hair out. I have also tried having my hair in French plaits.. however funnily enough, I just pick them out!

I no longer pick my split ends however snap my hair so it is very short and I continue to pick it from my scalp, which is increasingly sore. The right side of my hair is now really short and I have bald patches which people have pointed out to me. I have also recently connected my obsession with squeezing spots or any kind of mark on my skin - I used to think this was a funny, annoying habit however I now realise this gives me the same feelings as pulling my hair. I will pick my face until it is red, scabbed, bleeding and sore.

The part I’m embarrassed about and struggling with is despite my bald patches, short hair that sticks out and my scabby face, I don’t want to stop. It feels good when I pull my hair out and I can’t find any other way to release my anxiety.

Has anyone else felt like they didn’t want to stop? Did you overcome this feeling? If so, how?

Sorry for rambling and thank you for reading.

Comments

  • Hey Claire196,

    Apologies for not writing sooner, had a few hard days. I’m currently 35 & started pulling my lashes around the age of 11. You’re so not alone, and you’ll see that from the community on here. For me, although it took me a while to start using, I love it on here. It’s my safe place & I started a thread about “how are you feeling” which I try and write on everyday and do my best to be completely honest.

    I’ve neen in therapy through this page for just over a year, & I completely get the “I don’t want to stop.” I think it’s hard to understand a life without pulling, it’s always been our comfort. What I can tell you is I had barely no lashes before coaching, now I pull 1 or 2 every so often and my longest stint of pull freedom was 70 some off days last year, I’ve also achieved 60 this year and am currently on about day 30 something. I try and remember to be kind to me, have me time and set reminders about being PF in just this moment, are my thoughts helpful, applying coconut oil to prickly eyes (I think you get the just.) I guess what I’m trying to say is, it is possible. With the right coach and honesty and want to do it (which will come, I promise you) you can get there. I believe in you and am behind you already.

    I do use fidget spinners, but I play without dog, and last night whilst sat watching tv (my vulnerable time) was gently stroking her soft ears (she’s a chocolate Labrador.) Hadn’t put it together, but it must’ve been what I needed after the last couple of days, my anxiety was sky high, and I don’t pick (I self soothed.)

    Thinking of you, & keep in touch.
    Love Lisa xx
  • Hi Claire,

    My name is Kellie and I'm 25 years old. I have been pulling my hair since I was 12/13. I don't remember exactly when it started but that's how long I remember. I use to bite my nails a lot, which then changed to sucking on my hair (that sounds gross). I used to just put the hair in my mouth and wet the ends and mess around but it use to make my hair all gross as you can imagine and my mum told me I'd get a hair ball!! So instead I pulled it.

    It was never a huge problem throughout school I wouldnt think anything of it. I pulled chunks off the ends mainly. I remember after a few years I hated sitting in class and having to brush the hair off my top, it was embarrassing.

    I noticed how bad it was when I had a hair cut, the hair dresser asked me if I had been cutting my hair? I said no. I told her I pull it. She told me then I needed to stop else could end up bald or patchy as she had seen it before. I brushed it off and said I would, but I soon realised I couldn't, I actually wanted to pull it felt good, I moved to mainly pulling from my scalp and being my ears to hide it as much as I could.

    So here I am 12 years later, not bald but I haven't needed a hair cut in 7 years (I tried once it never grew back, had the same hair since). I haven't had 1 whole day pull free no matter how hard I've tried. It's worse with my hair down but I always find a way with my hair up too.

    So I decided to wear my hair down at work today and pulled like mad. In the drive home I was fed up of pulling, my arm hurt and all I was thinking when pulling was 'yep that's even more hair you've just lost, why can't you just stop'. So I decided as of 6pm today I will try my damn hardest not to pull my hair and it is nearly 10pm now and I have slipped ever so slightly.

    This is going to be hard but I am going to take each day, hour or minute as it comes. When I want to pull I try to do something to distract me or just close my eyes take a deep breath and think about how annoyed I was and how much I wanted to stop.

    Sorry for my life story (literally) but I have 100% been where you are. I'm not good with advice but if you can't stop yet (and you will) try pull as little as you can but when you do if you note it down when you do and why, there is an app called trich help or a diary. Maybe you can see a pattern. (it's not for everyone)

    You will want to stop one day and just take each day as it comes. Your never alone.

    Again sorry for rambling on.

    Take care.

    Kellie x
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