My Story

I suffered from trichotillomania for a few years.

One day I was driving down the road, very stressed out from recent events in my life, and I started rubbing on the back of my head.  I then started tugging on a hair and pulled it out.  I then did this again.  Knowing a fair amount of psychology, I figured it must be some sort of mild mental disorder.  I went to the internet and quickly found out that compulsive hair pulling is called trichotillomania.

Knowing the name of the disorder didn’t really help me overcome the problem.  I kept pulling out hair after hair.

Some days I pulled tufts of hair out.  There were days I pulled out dozens and dozens of hairs.

I had my head shaved, but as soon as even a tiny amount of hair grew back, I started pulling.  I was stressed out and anxious much of the time, and fell into depressed moods frequently.

There was a bald spot on the back of my head, and I started wearing caps and beanies to hide it.

This state of affairs continued for over a year, until I started to really read and study the disorder.  I started practicing relaxation.  I learned about radical acceptance.  I started to practice simple habit reversal skills like stimulus control and competing response ideas.  Many of these ideas didn’t really make sense to me, because they seemed to be the opposite of everything I tried to do before to stop pulling.

Instead of getting mad at myself every time I pulled, I just accepted it.  I realized that I can’t control every thought or urge that pops in my head.  I started to relax about everything.  I didn’t hide my disorder, and I started opening up about it.

My hair pulling started to diminish.  Some of the ideas were confusing, but I stuck with the new mindset.  After a while I started to experience days where I didn’t pull at all.

In fact, I wasn’t even thinking about it.  It was kind of weird, seeing as it had been an obsession nearly every waking moment for a long time.

I then became pull free, and my hair grew back.  No more bald spot.