Am I Ready to Stop Pulling Out My Hair?
When I started pulling from my head in the second grade, my parents immediately put me in therapy. For the next decade, I was in a therapist's office every week counting the hairs I had pulled, talking about the different stressors that might be affecting my trich, and coming up with every strategy imaginable to stop pulling out my hair.
I wanted nothing more than to go cold turkey with my pulling. With every hair I pulled I thought to myself, "this will be the last hair ever I pull." Twenty years of trichotillomania later, I can definitively say that there has been no "last hair."
I still pull out my hair and don't have any plans to stop.
This might come as a surprise to people - especially those with trichotillomania. For years I fell into the mindset that I think most people do when it comes to trich - "trichotillomania is a problem and it needs to be stopped." Every discussion I had with family, friends, doctors, and myself led me to believe that my only option was to stop pulling. It didn't occurred to me until recently that I could live a happy and satisfied life while pulling out my hair.
This mindset shift did not come over night. It started when I was about 18; I had already been in therapy for a decade and felt like I had exhausted all my options for stopping. I felt helpless and began thinking:
What would my life would be like if I never got over my trich? Could I be happy with myself if I never stopped pulling?
Over the next few years, I slowly began to accept that trichotillomania would always be a part of my life, whether or not I stopped pulling. It was in my hands to decide whether or not I wanted to be happy.
For now, I'm happy with myself and my hair pulling. I don't feel the need to stop. I no longer want to go cold turkey; I no longer stress about "no pull" days.
Deciding you don't want to stop pulling out your hair is about being honest with yourself.
It's about acknowledging and letting go of any shame you have. It's about owning your experience and accepting your story. It's about deciding that you can live a happy life with or without hair pulling.
But that doesn't mean that I won't want to stop pulling my hair in a week, month, or year from now. As long as I'm happy with who I am, it doesn't matter whether or not trichotillomania is in my life. For now, I confidently say - No, I'm not ready to stop pulling out my hair. Yes, I'm happy with who I am.