My natural hair confession.....

I have a problem....

There, I said it. I've had this habit since I've known myself. It would start with me pulling a strand or two, and by the time I catch myself. I have a bald spot. It's a constant urge that I try to fight on a daily basis. Some days I avoid pulling, other days I end up pulling out some hairs, and then some days, like my last incident, I end up with a bald spot... or two... or maybe more.

If you look close enough, you can see the sore areas. This bald spot
happened because of a scab from dry scalp
This is what would happen. I "suffer" from HIHS: Hand In Hair Syndrome. My hands are always in my hair, I do it subconsciously. I would twirl my hair around my fingers or just yank at random strands. I'd pull some hair out until that area of my scalp became sore. Having dry scalp didn't help either, because I would get something like a scab in my hair and when I got rid of it, that area of my scalp would be sore.
When I pulled the hair in the area, I'd get a sensation, it's almost like a shock. I've been trying to describe this feeling for the longest time... but the most I can say is that pulling out my hair dances on the thin line between pleasure and pain. It hurts but it feels good... REALLY GOOD...all at the same time.
The other bald spot, unlike the one that came about from interfering
with my dry scalp, this was solely impulsive pulling.
At first I thought that the pulling was related just to when my scalp felt sore, or to when I was feeling stressed, but looking back, it dawned on me that I have no specific trigger. I just constantly have the urge to pull at my hair...and it freaks me out.

I'd heard of the term Trichotillomania before, but until recently, I never thought about exploring the possibility of having it.  The Trichotillomania Learning Center has this to say:
Trichotillomania (trick-o-til-o-MAY-nee-ah) is a disorder that causes people to pull out the hair from their scalp, eyelashes, eyebrows, pubic area, underarms, beard, chest, legs or other parts of the body, resulting in noticeable bald patches.
Trichotillomania (also referred to as TTM or "trich") is currently defined as an obsessive-compulsive RELATED disorder but there are still questions about how it should be classified. It may seem to resemble a habit, an addiction, a tic disorder or obsessive-compulsive disorder. Most recently, it is being conceptualized as part of a family of "body-focused repetitive behaviors" (BFRBs) along with skin picking and nail biting.
I am very aware that I do in fact have some obsessive compulsive tendencies (my younger sister and fiance can attest to this), so I am not surprised that TTM is linked to that type of behaviour. I am not one to self diagnose, so in the near future, the plan is to see doctor about this and figure out if I really do suffer from TTM and what can be done about it. In the meantime, I have come to accept that what I experience goes far beyond the realm of Hand In Hair Syndrome.

My finger coil out, hair pinned down
to hide the spots
I won't lie. I'm tired and frustrated. Because pulling out my hair limits my styling options severely, so I end up rocking my hair in a puff using my PuffCuff (thank God for that, you can learn more about it here), or just wearing it open so that I can hide the spots. I recently tried finger coils for the first time, which unfortunately showed one of the bigger spots, so I ended up having to pin my hair down to hide it.

The upside in all this I guess, is that the hair always grows back....for now... As much as the urge to pull can be in many moments overwhelming, and as much as I give in and yank the living daylights out of my hair and scalp, I am grateful that my hair is still resilient to what I put it through. I do however, worry that a time will come when I will pull out my hair and it won't grow back. name is Tshenelle... and I pull my hair out... I guess acceptance is the first part of healing process. Let's see if I can follow through and come to a place where the urge to pull will be a thing of the past. Does anyone know a good doctor?

Tshenelle aka Nelly B.