“Why Don’t You Just Stop Pulling?”
This has got to be one of the most frustrating questions any trichotillomania sufferer can hear. Yet, just about everyone with trichotillomania has been challenged with this question many, many times – most often by loved ones, but occasionally even by well-meaning professionals.
“Why don’t you just stop pulling?”… Simple question, right?
Needless to say, the trich victim feels frustrated, and perhaps worse, terribly misunderstood. It’s as though he or she is an island, alone and isolated in their experience amidst the rest of the world that just doesn’t get it.
Trichotillomania is no laughing matter – particularly the longer one has struggled with it. Anyone who has suffered with it for any period of time will quickly attest to this. Trichotillomania controls almost every element of the person’s life, and permits little if any pleasure along the way.
Trichotillomania can control nearly every aspect of a person’s life.
But another interesting thing happens the longer one suffers with trichotillomania – some start to become convinced the reason they can’t stop pulling is because they’ve contracted a “mystery condition” that “makes” them pull against their will; they have trichotillomania.
But is this really the case? Do people who compulsively pull their hair actually have something that makes them do it against their will? Or could something else be going on?
Let’s face it – one of the most difficult parts of having trichotillomania is the seemingly constant struggle to keep your urges to pull at bay. It seems like a never-ending battle. After this has gone on long enough, one can be tempted to give up the fight. It’s just too exhausting.
In times of desperation, shaving one’s head can seem like the only possible solution.
Over the years, Glei and I have met with with many hundreds of trichotillomania sufferers. Before discovering us, a significant percentage of these had gotten to the point where they had decided their only hope to conquer trichotillomania lied in the desperate decision to shave their head.
But is shaving your head really an effective long-term solution for trichotillomania? Does it work? Even if it does work, is it really the best – or the only – option when all else seems to have failed?