Why I Shaved My Head
On January 22, 2018
I shaved my head.
I started pulling out my hair at the age of 4. Two years later, I was diagnosed with trichotillomania, the hair-pulling disorder. Twenty years later, I still pull out my hair everyday.
I always considered my trichotillomania to be my deepest, darkest secret - one that fewer than ten people in my life knew about. My trichotillomania was the reason I didn’t want to go back to summer camp, the reason I dreaded sleepovers, the reason I pretended to be sick during lice checks, the reason I pretended to hate swimming and going to the beach. I’ve pushed people away from getting to know me and turned down opportunities because of my trichotillomania.
I’ve been covering up bald spots since I was 7. I have years (and I mean YEARS) of experience disguising my hair loss. Headbands, hats, hairpieces, wigs - I’ve tried them all.
Ask most people with trichotillomania, or any form of hair loss for that matter, and they’ll tell you they don’t want to cut their hair (and don’t even think about shaving it!). “I’ve been growing it out. I’ve worked hard for that hair,” I used to tell myself.
How did I know I was ready to shave my head?
I didn’t decide to shave my head because I thought it would help reduce my hair pulling or as a last ditch effort to getting rid of my trichotillomania.
My hair had become more than just hair in my life - it symbolized two decades of experiences and memories where I had placed limitations on myself. I had allowed my hair to define what I thought of myself, and what I was able to do and not do. I was ready to let go of that, if only for a little bit of time. Regardless of what happened to my hair in the next month, year, or decade, I was finally in the driver’s seat. More importantly, I was in the driver’s seat because I put myself there - because I was finally allowing myself to create the narrative I wanted about my hair.
On My Way to Acceptance
I am now on a path of acceptance. Regardless of whether or not I stop pulling one day, trichotillomania will always be a part of my life. I no longer choose to be ashamed of who I am, and wish others with the disorder find the same level of self-acceptance. Don’t try and fix yourself - there is nothing to fix. Accept your trichotillomania as one of the beautiful things that makes you unique.
I hope everyone with trichotillomania finds peace on their journey.