I began pulling my hair out again around the very beginning of November. Now, an area of about my entire hand is gone. Back when I saw Mrs. Wynne sometime during the month, it was pretty much determined by my mother and I that my hair pulling is not so much stress-related as it is an addiction.
Now, this isn’t to say it was never stress-related. I am quite certain it all began as Trichotillomania. Over time, however, I became addicted to the calming properties of the action… I suppose it is somewhat similar to those who first use pain pills to sooth the pain caused by injury and in time become dependent on them even after the wound has healed. Anyway, the reason I am bringing it up now, is that there is something my mother isn’t aware of and is something I have only consciously realized recently.
I have had another form of “stress relief” that pretty much falls into the self-mutilation category as well: Cutting. I never cut deep, but I did cut… just enough to open the skin. I have always had a tendency to pick at “wounds”. Scratches, skid marks… stuff like that. These could often lead to scarring, but I never minded. I believe I actually kind of liked the scars left. That habit comes to mind when I pull my hair out.
The really tender areas of skin left behind… I like to pick at them. I don’t mind if this brings blood… I actually kind of hope it does. If there is blood, then it will scab and if it scabs I can continue to pick. Tonight… as I took a shower… I thought it was likely a good thing I tend to pull the hair out from the back of my head. Admittedly, if I could see the are better, I’d probably do more damage to the skin… even resorting to using sharp objects.
A somewhat “blessing in disguise” comes in the fact that I clipped my nails just a week or so ago. I didn’t think anything of it then, but I find I cannot do great damage picking with my nails this way. I probably should keep them very short… but some of me wonders if the gross amount of hair loss this time is due to not picking. Sigh… I likely should talk to Mom about this discovery. I just hate to think of it distressing her terribly…
Anyway, as my thoughts continued to wander, I thought of how my mom has often said those who have a a family history of addiction are prone to inherit and thus possess a higher likelihood of becoming addicts as well. This causes me to wonder if either of my biological parents had an addiction or perhaps their parents before them. I then also questioned my birth playing into these strange habits.
Born premature, I had seizures and pneumonia not long after. My parents were warned that I could have grown up with many respiratory problems and they could always change their minds about adopting me. Those never really happened, but I still wonder if there had been some damage to my brain.
I never realized this when younger, but I have always had a hard time retaining information. At the same time, I believe I have to concentrate harder than the average person. Might some of this be due to actual damage to my prefrontal cortex? I have no idea, but it seems possible.
There is then also nurture of course. With all the stress I endured almost 24/7 during my adolescent years (maybe it really was 24/7…) I am sure that can mess with the brain as well.
I just don’t know.