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  • Writer's pictureDINA HAWTHORNE

Trichotillo... What?

Trichotillomania = Hair Pulling

Your hand slowly goes up to your head, and before you know it, there is hair all over your floor, clothes, and even some unlikely places. It hurts, your scalp is sore, and yet, your hands are back at work pulling again.

I cannot believe I am back here. I subtly, in the most “Mission Impossible” manner, would strategically somehow find my little fingers up in my hair, pulling away. I have slapped my own hands, gotten my nails elongated, and I even tried keeping it wet, and nothing! I am still pulling my hair out of my head. Imagine, some people are trying to grow their hair, and I am over here, volunteering my hands to pulling out each strand! It hurts! It’s painful! And somehow, my hands don’t seem to care about the condition my entire scalp is in because of it.

I know there is no cure, and I am aware stress has a lot to do with why I pull as well as hereditary genome; “thank you to my family who had and possibly still have this problem as I suffer alone.”

(Insert sarcastic laugh or a very dramatic fake cry!)

Now, I am aware there are a few people that pull, experience Trichotillomania a.k.a. Hair Pulling, in different ways. There are trauma/frustration and satisfaction/relief. Those who pull because of the feeling it gives them - almost like an orgasmic release ... I can see how not pulling will be a challenge, and for us who pull because of stress and trauma, I feel your pain. Although this behavior gives us a release and is addictive, it is just for a moment.

I could no longer take having to run my head under cold water to soothe my scalp, only to provide another entry point for my hands, UGH! I don’t know about you, but I started in the back, and now, it doesn’t even matter, anywhere on my head can get the wrath of my little fingers.

"My hands and hair are in an abusive relationship."

There are times my hands are friendly to my hair. It moisturizes it, washes it, plays nicely, and covers it up to avoid “damage”…only to turn around and rip each of them right out of their little follicle beds! My entire scalp is traumatized. I know the keeper of the two must step in and rectify this conundrum. Me! Now, I tried the spanking my hand away, but that did absolutely nothing, and if anything made my hands pull more violently, (Insert whisper) sorry scalp.

This time, I chose to get proactive and do something I wasn’t sure would work. I started praying and remembered, “Faith without works is dead.” I then had to tell myself, “The works isn’t your hand to your head.” The mind has a way of creating a justifiably flawed reason for us to keep allowing self-harm at times, in the subtlest way. So, I prayed and asked for the courage to replace the urge to pull with something else. (This was the challenging part) I forced myself to face my trauma and heal by walking through the fire, knowing the flames I was about to put out, wasn't causing my flesh to burn - it was my scalp.

I began exercising, doing things to keep my hands and mind busy. Ohhhhhhh! I even got my hair braided with extensions, which I intentionally got them very long. However, every now and then, I would find myself pulling from the bottom of the extension, and I got the same release, and my scalp is free from all the abuse I have caused to myself. I know it is unrealistic to think I will stop pulling my hair, but I know that I can practice healthy habits to replace the destructive patterns which have caused me nothing but literal and figurative pain.

To all of you who share my plight, let us stay in the G.A.M.E. and continue to educate ourselves on how we can provide better self-care. Also, share this information with others so we all can be Champions, winners against the negativity that at times crowds our minds and desperately tries to steal our joy and inflict more pain on ourselves.

*Display photo by Kevin Kosi - Edited by Ondina S.


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