As women, our hair can often be a big part of our identity. Losing it can be an emotional struggle, causing a woman to feel like she’s lost a part of herself. I’ve had a condition for most of my life that I’ve kept secret from most, that causes me to have chronic hair loss. The only kicker is that I do it to myself. Along with 4% of the population, I have trichotillomania. In other words, I pull my own hair out causing bald or thinning spots. It started very young, as a coping mechanism to deal with some childhood trauma, and it is something that has been a persistent coping mechanism for stress and anxiety for most of over 25 years.
Although at times I was able to manipulate my hair to cover my spots, there were other times I needed to resort to alternative hair solutions. I was in 8th grade when I had to get my first wig, and on and off throughout the years I continued to wear wigs, hair extensions, other hair systems and accessories because they not only helped keep me from pulling (and also giving my scalp a chance to regrow hair), but it gave me that confidence I so strongly desired. Not only that, but I was able to change my hair whenever I wanted, and it was fun!
About a year and a half ago I stopped wearing wigs because I was able to gain some control over my trich, and my hair grew out a good amount! I was so happy and confident- my hair has always been my biggest insecurity and the hardest thing for me to control, and in the past I had been bullied pretty horribly for it. I recently wanted to give my hair a change and go from dark brown to blonde, and I sure messed that up (I will never touch bleach again in my life)! My mom’s birthday-who had passed 11 years ago-was the day I had no choice but to shave my head. It was a horrible day that left me feeling incomplete again. Although I was devastated at first, that grief was immediately turned to gratitude when I put my new qtfn wig on my head, and I felt so confident again! With the right one, wigs can make a world of difference.
Wigs have always given me a sense of normalcy, and have provided me with much relief of stress that I don’t have to worry about any visible spots caused by my trichotillomania. I can lead a normal life without worry, and most people have no idea that I’m even wearing a wig! My advice to anyone to has trichotillomania is to not get discouraged. There are ways to help cope with pulling and dealing with triggers, and there are so many hair alternatives that can help with confidence – wigs are a saving grace!