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It is foolish to pluck out one's hair for sorrow, as if grief could be assuaged by baldness - Cicero (Marcus Tullius Cicero)

It is foolish to pluck out one's hair for sorrow, as if grief could be assuaged by baldness -  Cicero (Marcus Tullius Cicero)

I’m feeling quite positive today, I had a session with my HRT therapist 3 days ago and during the last 3 days I’ve only bitten myself twice and I haven’t pulled out any of my hair which to me is a major achievement.

I’ve been pulling out my hair (Trichotillomania) since I was about 10 when left to my own devices I felt the urge to pull my own hair out, just a couple of hairs at a time, closely examining the root, the most fascinating being those that still had the root attached, I would then try and squash the root with my fingernails and have a nibble. Quite a strange way of passing time, also a strangely comforting pastime. I would also pull out hairs whilst watching television, sitting in a boring class hoping that my classmates or teacher wouldn’t notice. But my Mum noticed! She noticed a balding patch on my hairline and mulled over what it could be, showing my head to my Dad and my hairdressing Aunty, everyone drawing a blank, and me keeping my secret. My head was also shown to the puzzled family GP, me still keeping shtum. Time for a new haircut with a fringe.

Fast-forward about 25 years and I’ve found another bald bit, luckily I’ve been blessed with plentiful hair so I’ve been able to cover it, but I’m still very conscious of it and worry that others can see it as most people are taller than me. I’ve been trying to combat it as it is quite an embarrassing problem. I’ve been distracting my hands with knitting or sewing but still sometimes I’m compelled to pull.

Between me and my therapist we’ve decided to now try and tackle my Trichotillomania, not really a tic I know but apparently HRT was initially developed to help with Trichotillomania. We discussed how it makes me feel, what the urges are like and coming up with a competing response to those urges and how that competing response makes me feel. So far I haven’t pulled out any hair since Thursday but it’s been tough going, when I feel the urge I grab some knitting or a strange rubbery, bulbous creature covered with tentacles that I can squeeze, kneed and pull it’s tentacles until the urge disappears, but this is a strange urge it just keeps on going I could quite happily sit watching a TV programme pulling out hair throughout absent mindedly. Hopefully these tactics should work…I’ll keep you posted.

Tricholtillomania UK support group

3 Replies

Hello Catherine.

I am a 49 year old man with TS. Reading your blog brought back memories. I always remember when I was younger, whilst sitting there watching tv I used to be fascinated with my hair. Pulling out single strands, examining the root and listening intensly to the sound of the root being crushed by my thumb nails. I used to also grab a small chunk of my hair and twist and twist and twist the chunk around my finger untill it was tight and couldnt twist anymore. I would then move to another chunk untill all my hair was twisted.

I know exactly how you feel.

I didnt feel it was problematic at the time, just something I did.

Fortunatly or unfortunatly I am now bald,lol.


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I've never pulled my hair out but I used to suck and chew on it! It used to be really long and I always had it in my mouth. Needless to say I tend to go for a short hair cut these days (stops the hair tugging tics I have too).