The root of all evil

No, i haven’t gone all religious. Though that would be amusing.

Since my initial psych meeting nearly three weeks ago I’ve been musing upon the changing nature of my mental issues, and trying to remember where their sources lie, when they started, if they’ve changed and why.

I haven’t got far, mainly because I haven’t been motivated enough to sit down and record things, so as soon as I think of something I forget that I thought it. Pretty stupid considering I have a blog, and am paying scary amounts of money for a nice man to fix my head and he would no doubt be helped a great deal if I could actually remember anything that ever happened.

But, it’s part of my problem – I can think all manner of clever and positive things, but getting round to doing anything about them – could take years. Decades. No matter. One does what one can…

Amongst other things, that have now vanished from my mind, but may return at a later date, I forgot that I have Trichotillomania. I have a very mild form, but I have a very mild form of all sorts of weird shit. I am like a mixed bag of mild crazy.

Anyway, for those of you who are far too busy too scurry away to wikipedia, Trichotillomania is an OCD-like activity which involves pulling out hair. Usually individual hairs. On the head, the eyebrows, the eyelashes.In more severe cases you can end up with bald patches, or completely bald. It’s quite common, but very few people report it, so it’s not a well known malady.

Trichotillomania is a type of compulsive behavior. This means that people with the condition feel an overwhelming urge to pull their hair. People with trichotillomania also may have other compulsive habits, such as nail biting or skin picking. Some people with trichotillomania also have problems like depression, anxiety, or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Compulsive behaviors like trichotillomania can sometimes run in families.

I started yanking out hairs in my teens, around puberty I’d guess, and as it is a condition that is often associated with anxiety, body image etc. I fit in to that category pretty well, and when I started I was at a fairly stressed age. I was socially anxious, didn’t fit in well, totally lacking in confidence. Not something that has changed a great deal over the years, I’ve just grown to care a little less.I was having all kinds of issues with school friends at the time, and spent much of the time between 9 and 16 in a state of total anxiety, stress or downright depression. It started with eyebrow pulling. Scratch that, I guess you could say it started with biting my nails when I was about 8. Yanking out eyebrows was just ramping up the anxiety and OCD a notch. It reached a point where my eyebrows were pretty sparse, and people started to notice. ‘Friends’ would make fun of me, so I pretended I had some kind of condition, which was true I guess… Once I realised it had got bad, I started trying to cover it up, even reaching the weird heights of darkening the plucked at areas with mascara or eyeliner. At the worst stage, I was plucking eyebrows out with tweezers deliberately, as opposed to the absent minded pulling with fingers which I still do nowadays (along with biting my nails). I also graduated to pulling strands of hair out from my head by the root.

I got a kind of obsession with hair roots. eyebrows that came out with a black root I decided were bad, and it was good to pull them out. (Apparently black roots are more likely to indicate a hair in a growth phase. but we didn’t have google back then!) This isn’t uncommon it seems. I can’t remember how long this phase lasted, but it was months at least. I still pull at my eyebrows now, but pull them out less. My eyebrows look more or less normal.

It’s odd, that I have accepted this behaviour as normal for such a long time, and haven’t connected it in anyway to my general mental health issues.

I will make an effort to list all my weird habits and craziness, in the hope it will help me connect things together, or at least help my psych tell me what kind of crazy I am, other than a bit of everything.

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