Trichitollomania is an impulse control disorder that causes people to pull out the hair on their scalp, eyebrows, eyelashes, or anywhere else. Attempts to stop lead to distress and are usually unsuccessful. Sometimes, people call it “trich” because it’s shorter. I’ve been dealing with trichotillomania since I was 14, and I tug at my hair nearly 24/7. Not only does it make me feel self-conscious, but it’s physically tiring. Fortunately, I only pull from one portion of my scalp. Most of my friends with trichotillomania aren’t as lucky, though. Some people purchase expensive wigs and seek treatments that aren’t covered by their insurance just to have a fighting chance at combating this issue.
If you suffer from trichotillomania, know that there are tons of people out there who know what it’s like. If you don’t know what it’s like to pull your hair out, read on to learn about what it means to have this condition. (Note: there are now more than 26 bullet points. As always, I take suggestions for additions and improvements seriously!)
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- Hair getting all over your electronics
- Hair getting stuck inside of your electronics- cleaning your keyboard is a nightmare
- Finding the perfect hairstyle, just to realize you don’t have enough hair for it
- Hoping that your hairdresser will be willing to work with your trich, without judgement
- Sore arms, wrists, and fingers
- Avoiding the salon due to the fear of judgement
- Debating the pro’s and con’s of just shaving it all off
- Googling tips to keep your hands busy, just to realize you can’t do that in public
- Trying out those suggestions anyway, only to find they didn’t work
- Drawing on your eyebrows without a guideline to work with
- Making your eyebrows look natural
- Becoming a hat fanatic
- Getting comments on how “edgy” your hair is
- Worrying about whether or not your appearance will keep you from landing a job
- Trying not to pull during your job interviews
- Pulling anyway, and hoping the interviewer doesn’t notice
- Wishing you had a penny for every time someone told you to “just stop pulling”
- Finding a therapist who is knowledgeable on trich
- Getting discouraged whenever you see an article about someone who’s been pulling for years with no improvement
- Contemplating extreme measures, like a shock bracelet (I checked the reviews; it’s not worth the $200).
- Finding your hair in your food
- Other people finding your hair in their food
- Not even knowing why you’re pulling half the time
- Pulling whenever you see someone else pull
- Debating whether it’s worth fixing, or if you’d rather just live with it
- Cringing whenever someone says they’re “going to pull their hair out” as a hyperbole for their stress
- If you also have trichophagia, going to the dentist and hoping you won’t be judged
To learn more about trichotillomania, check out The TLC Foundation for Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors. They offer information, resources, and research on this condition for those who suffer from it.