Find out the severity of your symptoms with this free online test
My counselor and I came to the conclusion that sometimes the trich happens when I'm extremely emotionally provoked to the point where even after I remove myself from the situation my mind didn't leave it with me. The trich behaviors can be quite diverse. From pulling body hair, to cuticles, to facial hair to even bloodletting (originally with a poster knife til I got a hold of a bunch of disposable...well anyway I've at least stopped that because I was doing it more and more each time with less effect) and after a nasty argument with my mother where all the hard-cultivated civil goodwill went down the drain, toenail mutilation* if you don't want detail skip *.
* It was so surreal. I barely even remember why I was using a serrated knife to "groom" my toes. Maybe as a substitute cuticle pusher? I didn't want to use the nail trimmer. I wanted to use the nail board. I needed to push the skin away to have room to manuveur. I pushed a bit and the whole end of a nail popped up revealing the nailbed underneath. That was about a week ago and since I have pried off every single toenail, even the big ones in pieces. Most of the damage was done on that first night. I must have been thinking with very foggy rationale something along the lines of "it'll grow back 'better' than before". Strangely, with the big toes I started at the bottom of the nail. It was almost like precision work trying to keep layers from breaking unevenly. Technically, I didn't do any sudden prying mostly due to trying not to mess up the surrounding skin rather than trying to avoid pain. The pain was quite tolerable until later when the area became inflamed as it began to heal.
I realized that when I resumed mutilating the nails removing little layers or little remaining strips and pieces I was not actually upset. *I was merely trying to give my troubling thoughts a burst of intense rumination. Like I get a question in my head almost challenging me to prove it wrong and I need to have some kind of decent retort. Then I can ignore it til I feel like letting it come back up. It'll be telling me I'll regret ignoring some very important flaw in how i envision the near and very near future that i need to address. Telling me that if I don't involve other people more in my life (rather than me in their life) people will start to think of me as mundane and generic. A toadie. A boring follower. Not that inspired.
Apparently, that is also a form of stimming. It relieves uncomfortable perceived internal tension that otherwise is locking you up from smooth functioning. Now I know that I do trich for both reasons. Surprisingly, I also stopped with alcohol cravings which I get when resisting the urge to pull/cut/poke is wearing down my executive functioning; alcohol helps you not hesitate and reconsider minutiae so much.
Hopefully I can make further progress by reducing my need to stim so much and often along with replacing trich with other stims and ssb. How I'm going to resist when my emotions are too activated is something i'm still stuck on. It is possible tui na acupressure could help but i need to learn it and that will take some studying.