my personal rockbottom (33M)

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Last seen: 6 months 5 days ago
Joined: 07/17/2020 - 23:44
Posts: 1
my personal rockbottom (33M)

My battle w/ this is going on 15+ years now, off and on. It grew out of acne, which I took Accutane for. Then as I began shaving, I discovered ingrown hairs, and that a hair could curl up and live inside your face under a zit. I became obsessed with popping them when they occurred, and any time I saw a potential in grown hair, I picked at it. Worse when I did shave & missed a tiny hair, I would be obsessed with removing it. When I do grow out my beard, which can still happen (more on that later), when I feel acne under a hair, I pick at that. I become enraptured finding hairs with puss follicles on the end, or acne inside. I’ve been taking biotin a lot over the past few years which does let the hair grow back. Now, I feel like ive hit rock bottom in my mid 30s with a new child. I don’t want him to see me like this. I think its anxiety driven, but I also take meds for ADD/ADHD which I think make me more anxious, tense. Its truly an idle hands are the devils play situation. I don’t want my child to see my face all picked over with hair missing and welts/wounds. Ive ordered some new topical products & pills to grow the beard back and even it back out. I know it’ll even out soon. I know that the sun will heal the scabs on my face, but you know skin cancer is a thing. This is my rock bottom, writing this and joining the forum. I need help. Ive tried stress balls and fidget toys, to little success. I need to break the sensory feeling of pulling a hair out of my face / popping a pimple. Any advice would help

Last seen: 5 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: 07/24/2020 - 21:05
Posts: 1

I don’t see many males on reddit trich forums. I’m a male 42 yrs old and my pulling began after taking adderall. I knew I couldn’t be the only one mentioning this nasty side effect. I now hide out like a leper with no eyebrows left to speak and eyelashes too. Might as well put a hunch on my back cause that’s how I feel. I’ll be coming down from my addy in the evening watching tv and I’m off to the races. So I’m right there with you buddy, I can appreciate how you’re feeling.

Last seen: 4 days 10 hours ago
Joined: 01/14/2021 - 14:42
Posts: 1


I can definitely relate to what you're saying. I have pulled my hair on and off for 30+ years. I noticed an increase in the desire to pull after I was prescribed Vyvanse/Adderall for my ADD. My desire to pull seems to occur most often while I am sitting still and trying to concentrate on work that requires a lot of attention to detail or dealing with a stressful situation. Before I realize it, my hands are in my hair and strands of hair are all around me. I get so upset with myself for not being able to stop. I have noticed the urge is not nearly as bad when I don't take my medication but then I deal with repercussions of not taking the medication (inattention, inability to stay focused, etc.) I have tried many things to stop pulling such as wearing gloves, putting band-aids on my fingers, and wearing physical barriers such as hats and scarves to keep me from pulling. I've even tried sitting on my hand as a reminder to keep me from reaching up. However, these don't always work and sometimes I'll find a way to pull anyway. It's very frustrating and embarrassing. I now have bald spots on my head and you would think that would stop me-but it doesn't. My hair is a mess with new hair growth in some areas and bald spots in others. I wish I had the answers for myself and everyone who struggles with this embarrassing problem. However, I will share what I have tried and what seems to help:

1. Creating a physical barrier such as hats, scarves, hair toppers, to act as a barrier, which brings the pulling process to my attention-like I stated before, sometimes it works and sometimes I just remove those barriers and pull anyway but it does decrease the amount of time I spend pulling and the amount of hair I pull out.

2. Talk to someone you can trust (as hard as it is). I finally opened up to my daughter (she's 25 year old) and explained what I'm going through. It was a huge relief just be able to talk to someone who cares about me and wants to help. I asked her to let me know whenever she sees my hands in my hair. She'll say "mom, get your hands out of your hair." She doesn't say it in a condescending or hurtful way, but she wants to remind me of what I'm doing to myself.

3. Facing the truth. Making myself aware of what I'm doing to my appearance by looking in the mirror at my bald spots or taking pictures of my hair so that the result of my actions are impossible to ignore. Whenever I start to pull, I'll look at those private pictures I have on my phone. It serves as a reminder of the damage I have done to my hair.

4. Finding a support group. Other than my daughter, I don't discuss this with anyone. I think this forum is an excellent way to talk about our experiences and difficulties, what has worked and what hasn't, in trying to get this horrible habit under control, without fear of being judged. It helps to lift some of the weight associated with the secrecy and embarrassment and to know we are not alone. Just knowing there are others out there struggling with the same thing can be a huge help.

5. Not taking medication that can create the urge to pull-such as stimulants. This is a hard one for me because I know I need the medication for ADD but the side effects are no longer worth the damage I'm doing to myself.

6. Identifying triggers. I realize when I am stressed and by myself, I will resort to hair pulling. I have started consciously intervening when these triggers arise by changing my environment such as not sitting alone (I generally won't pull when there are others around) or redirecting myself by doing things that require the use of both of my hands such as washing dishes, cleaning the house, or folding laundry. This helps by keeping my hands busy so I can't pull my hair. After I'm finished with the chores, I have a cleaner home and sense of accomplishment, which helps boost my self-esteem.

If there's one thing I've learned through my years of struggling with hair pulling, it's that this disorder that takes continual effort and it's something that I will always have to be aware of. It's so frustrating to see progress being made only to have it undone by a surprise setback, but I'm not going to stop trying. One day maybe there will a cure for trichotillomania but until then I believe we all need to continue to tell our stories, support each other, and share our advice so that we can all like who we see in the mirror again!