Trichotillomania

From my early teens, I have had an obsession with plucking. Mainly my eyebrows to start with, and then extending to my chin and neck when I developed PCOS and started growing unwanted facial hair. It had become a kinda longstanding family joke, because after the first few years I no longer needed a tweezer and mirror, I would just sit there, watch TV, and absently pluck the hairs out with my thumb and forefinger.

My parents gave up trying to stop me after a while, and I guess just accepted it was “me”, and so did I.

However, around two years ago my plucking habits seemed to peak. It was around the time that my second daughter was born and I was suffering badly with anxiety, and the plucking almost became a method of self soothing. To put things into context, most nights I would sit on the sofa, babe in arms, with my mirror and tweezers, plucking for upwards of 3 hours. It became a fixation to the point that if a hair was too short, I would dig in the skin for it making myself bleed, as I obsessively had to pull it out.

My husband, for the past few years, has humoured this strange “habit” and I suppose in one way I should be grateful for my PCOS given that I probably wouldn’t have any hair left by now if I didn’t have that nasty facial hair to play with!

The point of my post is that in the last six-ish months my plucking has moved on to pulling the hair on my head out, strand by strand. It is the weirdest sensation, but since I had a straightening treatment on my hair (another story!) some of the hairs on the parting feel very course, and I get the absolute compulsion to pull them out. As I am pulling the hair out, I get a rush of what I can only assume is endorphines.

Sometimes I suddenly realise I have been doing it for a little while, and didn’t even notice, and sadly it is starting to become obvious.

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I went to the doctor about something unrelated and decided to mention the habit, and she said it may be something known as “Trichotillomania”. I’d never even considered that it might be an actual “thing” rather than just a habit, but I suppose it makes sense as it has worsened directly relating to the worsening of my anxiety, and I feel actively soothed when I am plucking/pulling.

During my google searching, I came across this image:

trichotillomania-hair-styles-alluring-alopecia-trichotillomania-male-and-female-hair-loss

and so I’m thinking I’m possible either a type 1 or type 2 at the moment.

I am really working hard to break the habit (or at least the head hair part) and it is something I plan to bring up at my private counselling. I have never really discussed it openly before as I find it quite… embarrasing I guess.

Let me know if you have any experience with this, I would love input or hearing your stories!

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One comment

  1. tigerchelle78 · · Reply

    Yes, I’ve had this for years….. I didn’t know til I looked it up. I have BPD, my blog is on here too. And I have always had a habit of picking dead skin around my feet, or picking scabs, spots, pulling hair, especially the grey corse one’s, biting skin around my figures. Plucking my eyebrows, and sometimes under chin. With all these things, I often will do it til they bleed, or I realise there is now quite a bit of hair or skin on the floor. My husband often tells me to stop! Its a stress relief thing….

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