struggling to access trichotillomania treatment

Hi. I’m Terri, 35 years old, from the USA.

I believe I starting pulling from my scalp when I was approximately 20 years old. From this day, I still do not know what “triggered” this Trich. Many things have happened to me in life. Mostly abuse. Mentally/Physically.

I remember when I was about 4 years old (yes, I remember it clear as day), that my oldest brother, was doing sexual “things” to me! Deep down inside I hated him ever since!

I also found out from my sister, who is 5 years older than me, he has done it to her too when she was little. He’s been in jail time & time again for molestation. I do not/will not, consider him as a brother. How could someone do that to you? Especially a family member?!

High school years, I was very fat. Felt so ugly. Then when I was 16, my father passed away at age 50. That tore my heart to pieces!!!!

I am the youngest child of 11. We had strict parents.

When we were younger, I remember, if one of my siblings got in trouble, we all got in trouble. We had to stand in a line from the oldest to the youngest, when we were getting smacked with the belt, the next one in line had to count how many times the child before us got belted. I know that sounds like cruel punishment, but I would never be able to keep eleven kids controlled.

I do not blame my dad for the beatings.

I still loved him with all my heart. What’s really sad is that when I was fat before he died, he nicknamed me “Moose”. He’s gotten sicker & sicker. So, I wanted to change for him, wanted to make him proud of me, so I ran 3 miles everyday, lifted weights, went to the gym for a year.

Unfortunately, he died before he could see how I “turned out”. I lost 50 pounds, and he didn’t even get to see me. By the time I was losing weight, etc…his mind was going. As I visited him in the ICU, my mom asked him who I was, and he said, “Moose”. I’m about the only one he remembered at the time.

As his mind was still going, he also had his wrists restrained to the hospital bed (cuz he kept pulling tubes, IV’s out), and he looked at me sadly and asked “Moose, help me, go to the kitchen, get a knife, and cut these off”. I started to cry badly, because he has helped us all our lives, and the one time he asked for my help, I couldn’t.” (doctor/hospital regulations). I think of that moment a lot, and cry, like I am doing now.

I married in 1989 and the marriage lasted for 7-1/2 years, till I had to end it. My ex-husband got very abusive. Mentally/physically. He always pulled me by my hair, punch my head many, many times. Smashed my head through a mirror, etc.

I remember one day that I was supposed to go to my mom’s house for her birthday, and had to call her, weeping, that I was unable to come. When she asked why, I counted 16 lumps on my head that day. From ex -pulling, punching, kicking, etc. It wasn’t till the end that he got that abusive, so I did end it indeed!!! During this marriage is when I began to pull my hair out of my scalp. I got rid of my ex, now why can’t I get rid of this Trichotillomania??

I remarried in 2000, to a wonderful, understanding man. We actually graduated from high school together, but never talked to each other in school.

We have a wonderful son, who was born in 2003 at 26 weeks, weighing only 1 pound, 5 ounces, 13″ long. More stress!! He was in NICU for 86 days. That’s when I finally felt like a mother! The day I carried him in our house! He’s now going to be 3 in April, and is the love of my life! Has no physical/developmental delays. Just the perfect child I could ever ask for!

Now that major stresses ended in 2003, I’m hoping to overcome trichotillomania. I’m sure more stress is due to come in the future. But, I’m looking for ways to at least control myself.

I have already had one on one therapy with 2 different doctors. They also put me on 3 prozacs each morning.

Nothing worked, and my insurance ran out, after my divorce from my first husband. So, since then have not gone to any psych doctors. Just can’t afford it at this time.

I’m taking Zoloft for anxiety, high blood pressure pills, and thyroid meds. I sure wish someone could/would come up with a cure for trichotillomania. You are not alone, and don’t ever feel embarrassed to open up, or even afraid to tell anybody. It’s not healthy to hold it in. If you get laughed at, like I did from my ex, so what?? Remember, sticks and stones…

You are beautiful from inside and out!!

Thanks for reading my story, and God Bless.

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Accounts of people with trichotillomania

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