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VU08 , 23 May 2016

Fallen from grace

I had not had trouble pulling for almost 3 years and now I'm sitting awake in tears with, to add insult to injury, loose hairs stuck to my tears.

I worked so hard to stop pulling and I'm angry with myself and disappointed that I didn't identify the triggers and do something. I feel sick.

Does anyone have advice on how to move from feeling frozen with upset to doing something about it that is productive?

Background on me

I started pulling my hair at age 15. I remember it clearly and then it sort of fades as something I still did that I wasn't as aware of. I graduated high school a hair puller but no one would've noticed if they looked

College was different. The pressure of cramming for exams got to me and visible bald spots made their first appearance on my head. I used clips and headbands and (in my eyes) concealed well.

It is clearly a stress triggered behavior for me because, when I got my first grown up job.... boy did things go down hill. I'd find hairs covering my work space, I noticed I adapted to typing with only one hand, leaving the left free to navigate through my scalp seeking our hairs that were not like the others. That's my thing. It started as just one or two and once I got those weird ones out, there would be nothing I'd need/want to pull. Unfortunately, that's not how it works.

I had such a small amount of hair by 25 that I started looking at wigs and would spend 30+ min a day with hairspray and Bobby pins hopping to walk out of the house looking sort of normal. I was living about 40% of my life and avoiding the things I most wanted to do (go out with friends, date, dance, gym). I was miserable. I'd gained 35 pounds on my usually 120 pound frame. I'd had it.

I finally had good health care coverage and started going to a behavioral therapist. It took a while (and a lot of money) to notice a change and I was also taking an SNRI and anti anxiety but it started working. I pulled less and less and, after 8 months I was pull free! For the past few years I've done all the things I'd avoided and had boyfriends.

Now I'm 30 and approaching the height of my pulling and I don't know what made it start again. I do know the anti-anxiety med I was on before helped a lot and I can't take it now because of studies showing it can have long term damage. Honestly? I'd rather risk it and have my life back.

I feel so alone in a time when my friends are getting married, having kids and I want to be there too.

3 Answers
Tasneem Abrahams
May 25, 2016

Hi VU08. So sorry about your relapse. I recognize a setback like this can be heartbreaking. You ask how you can come out of feeling frozen by this disappointment to doigns oemthing about it. In CBT and in our online program we advocate acceptance and willingness. This means not trying to sweep negative emotions under the carpet, but rather acknowledging these feelings. Here is a link to a webinar on relapse prevention by BFRB expert Dr Fred Penzel that I hope you will find useful:

June 17, 2016
Grace: I have also been free from trich for several years. What happens to me is that I keep my hair short, and it looks really good, but then I go through this funk where I want to grow it long again. When the hairs near the top of my head in the back center start getting long enough, I start pulling. It has to be AT the root for me to get a high off of it. Then I pull the hair out by the root and then I bite the root off. If I don't get the hair by the root, it doesn't count and I go after another.

I'm developing a bald spot again. I'm going to get my hair washed and blown in about an hour, hope that will stop it. On Monday I have my monthly cut and color and worried that my hair dresser will see a bald spot. Ill keep in touch with the blog this weekend, to stay safe.

But it seems my trigger point is just having long hair.
July 01, 2016
Exogenous ketones have helped me. Google research on ketosis or ketones with ocd disorders, anxiety, depression and whatever else. Its awesome! NAC used to help but it gave me kidney stones. Ketones give me energy plus they are non-gmo and amazing for soooo much stuff! Anyways feel free to check it out at or comment back- its been my miracle for the 8 wks ive been on it! Ive struggled with trich for 15 yrs now since i was a freshman in high school and i finally feel more normal!

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