It’s ever-morphing. I’ve been plagued with it since I was very little; it was absolutely horrific, at times it was really bad and sometimes it was better, but always a battle. My ever-present condition is the trichotillomania. In varying degrees and severity, it’s always been there. The rest of it has changed significantly. Mostly because I’ve worked really really hard at it. It’s because I’ve gotten to the point where I refuse to give it power over me and be under anything’s control, other than my own.
But I have to be frustrated enough with my head to do that. And right now I have the best therapist ever; I’ve been able to get places I never ever imagined possible.
I don’t know, but I don’t tell people I have OCD anymore. I just say I am anxious. I get anxiety flares, and I’m getting better at managing them, and coaching myself through it with a plan. I get anxious when people fuck with the plan after I’ve coached myself through with a plan. I come off as bitchy, or as a shitty friend. But I am just trying to tunnel through and make sure everyone is taken care of, and not affected by my issues. And I need to be okay with the fact that some days I’m not going to be as amazing as I set out to be, but I made it through, and took care of my people, my tribe, my kids.
The OCD only emerges now through anxiety and trichotillomania. The rest I have a good enough grip on that I’m okay. And if I slip, I can reign it in.
I pull my hair.
I fit in as an awesome “hider” no one really knows…
Although my last bad slip-up left me wearing my hair up for months.
No one caught on, but every one remarked as to how long my hair was when I started being able to wear it down again. I got a lot if people asking if I was growing it out. The truth was I couldn’t wear it down and I was too embarrassed to go for a haircut because the stylist would see my bald spots.
However, there are celebrations this moment today. I can wear my hair down today, and I don’t need to pencil in my eyebrows today.
I’m not fearful that it will rain and wash away fake brows that I’ve perfectly blended.
What’s on my face is real. And my spots are all growing in.
I fought for that.
And I am too embarrassed to share that amazing accomplishment with anyone.
My frequently pull spots from way back when I was a kid. It’s the first and only place I have grey hairs on my head.
It makes it a little difficult not to want to pull them out. But if I start to pull them, I’m screwed.
I know now how to get ahead of it, I have to talk to myself, I have to coach myself, I need to keep my hair relatively clean and change my shampoo often. And I slip. But I can’t wallow, because then it will be worse. I just have to change what I’m doing.
The pulling started around age 8 I think. It started with eyelashes and eyebrows until I had none, I learned that I had to be more strategic as people were disturbed by my appearance.
The abusive alcoholic is more accepted, socially. It’s more acceptable in society to drink to much, do drugs, be a dick cause you’re mad… but the tangible evidence of hair pulling is what stigmatizes. I wear my shame, the cutter wears their shame, everyone sees, everyone can judge. I’ve been so ashamed and embarrassed because of my disorder. But the fucked up part is I’m not hurting anyone but me. My sabotage and my battles are inside. I don’t throw them at others. I’m not saying I’m better, I just shouldn’t be judged like that. My bald spot is like wearing the shirt you threw up on last night when you went on a bender, for the world to see. They get to take the damn shirt off.
Some days I’m working the plan so hard I come off like an inflexible bitch to everyone else, but I’m learning to let that go. I’m human, and I’m trying to survive my day with my head held high, and I can’t get knocked off course by unplanned interactions and events with others. But I just resolve that I know what I need to take care of me, and I will circle back to that person when my dust settles.
A mother of four living in the midwest with OCD and trichotillomania
You have my immense respect for writing this. To so many women their hair is part of what defines them, that you can say this here is a truth few would acknowledge.