Trichotillomania is more than just hair pulling isn’t it
Trich (Trichotillomania) is a compulsive hair-pulling habit that can take over your life and make you wonder if you’ll ever feel ‘normal’ again.
You don’t understand how you can be so obsessed with pulling out your head hair or eyebrows or eyelashes and at the same time be in so many other ways a perfectly ‘normal’ mum, friend, wife, colleague, boss …
It drives you nuts that you can’t be at peace with your hair.
If someone says ‘just stop’ when they see you pull, you get so frustrated and angry, however well intentioned they are.
‘Don’t they think that you would if you could? Don’t they understand how hard it is to resist the urge? Can’t they just leave you alone?
Mundane situations in life become overwhelming and complicated when the damage from severe hair pulling becomes visible.
As a woman with bald patches or very thin hair or no eyebrows or no eyelashes, walking out through your front door and into the world requires preparation and courage.
You put on fake eyelashes and pencil in your missing eyebrows. You arrange your hair or put on a wig or topper to cover the worst of the damage.
In sum, you don’t wear makeup to enhance your beauty through choice but rather to cover up and feel more ‘normal’.
Guilt and shame are often associated with Trich. Clients often say how awful they feel because they do this to themselves. If you suffer from Alopecia or are undergoing treatment that results in hair loss, it’s not ‘your fault’ but this is self-inflicted.
How can you possibly understand this yourself, let alone try to explain it to others?
There are so many everyday situations that become anxiety triggers.
If it’s windy you worry that someone will see your bald patches
If it rains you worry that your eyebrow makeup will run and your eyebrows will wash off
In hot weather wig wearing becomes unbearable
Wearing a bicycle helmet is difficult, your careful hair arrangement would be ruined
Swimming or canoeing or any water sports are often out of bounds. What happens when your hair is wet? If your false eyelashes fall off? If your eyebrow pencil washes off? You prefer not to do it rather than suffer the embarrassment of any of this.
Intimate relationships can suffer.
You don’t like people walking or sitting behind you, they might see a bald spot.
Going to the hairdressers often fills you with dread, what will they think as they cut your hair?
You keep it a secret from most people, maybe even from your partner. Sleeping at a friend’s house, camping, or sharing a hotel room on a girls' weekend away can send your anxiety sky high. What if someone notices…
And so it goes on...
The burden of shame, guilt, embarrassment and self-consciousness that surrounds this ‘hidden’ thing that takes up so much of your time and energy is palpable.
Trich is your permanent shadow. You are either feeling for hairs, a kind of preparatory exploration, that you’ll pull out later when you are on your own. Or actively pulling. Or feeling ashamed and guilty because you’ve just inflicted more damage on yourself.
It’s a never-ending cycle that repeats itself day after day.
To top it, your sense of worth, confidence, and self-esteem also take a knock. You feel out of control, at a loss of how to deal with this.
Today there is no single medical ‘cure’ for it. No magic tablet. Trichtoillomania recovery happens because you work from the inside out
Hair pulling can take root (excuse the pun) in your life when you’re a teenager, a child, or sometimes even when you’re an adult. Some people can pinpoint the exact moment they started pulling, others not. Its beginning is sometimes linked to a sad or unhappy time but not always by any means.
It sometimes runs in families but not always, and it’s more often something women and girls who have Trich then men.
The good news, however, yes, there is good news! is that you can gain control and knowledge and stop/effectively manage hairpulling.
It doesn’t have to be a lifetime sentence and something you’re lumbered with for good.
However many years you’ve been pulling, however hopeless you think your case is.
If you’re ready to find the way out of your Trichotillomania maze. If you’re ready to devote time and energy to learning new coping skills and strategies. If you're ready to make changes in your life. There is a very real probability that Trich will no longer be the big problem it is in your life right now.
In the work I do with clients who have trichotillomania, I use a blend of cognitive behavioural hypnotherapy, mindfulness, relaxation, and habit reversal strategies.
We unravel your Trich story.
Hairpulling is the last thing you do.
the visible part of the iceberg.
Before you pull, there are many small habits, routines, behaviours and situations that facilitate Trich and keep it firmly in place.
Before you pull, there is muscular tension, short shallow breathing, and self-sabotaging negative thoughts.
Before you pull, there are Trich negotiation thoughts that convince you it’s a soothing, calming thing to do that helps you cope. Thoughts that convince you that pulling hair helps you concentrate, be creative…
When you understand your particular Trich experience. When you put in place new more nurturing routines and rituals and use your coping strategies, you realise you can stop pulling.
Trichotillomania quickly becomes a minor inconvenience you can easily overcome and not the dreadful all-consuming monster it once was. You start to breathe easily again.
How good would it feel!
To hold your head up high and say Trich does not interfere with my life anymore. I no longer waste time pulling hair, thinking about what my hair looks like, and feeling guilty about hair pulling. I no longer feel out of control. If or when I feel an urge to pull my hair I can stop and carry on with my life. I no longer get lost in the Trich maze
Never believe that you’ve got this for life.