This is going to be a bit of an essay, but it’s important.
I have trichotillomania, a chronic condition that means that I impulsively pull out my own hair, mainly from my scalp. Like many mental illnesses, it is relatively misunderstood and very low profile. Due to this, its exact nature and prevalence are uncertain.
While related to OCD spectrum disorders like dermotillomania (skin picking) and onycophagia (nail biting), it is classified in the DSM-IV as an impulse control disorder, alongside kleptomania, pyromania and pathological gambling.
I have had this condition since I was about 12, and it was worst when I was 14, when I had no hair for two inches either side of my parting and on my crown, something that led to a terrible cycle of depression and social anxiety, as well as carpal tunnel in my left hand.
Prevalence is estimated to be around 0.6% of the general population, but due to the awkward and secretive nature of trich, the number could be, and very likely is, much higher.
In an effort to raise awareness of this, I am doing a charity head shave soon, for mind.org.uk (a generalised mental health charity based in the UK) to raise awareness of a crippling disorder, but also to raise awareness of mental health issues in general, and I’d love to get as many donations as possible! You can donate online here: http://www.justgiving.com/clairehelenjohnson and join the facebook group here: http://www.facebook.com/events/263619180403081/
Thank you for reading, please give, and all support, monetary or not, is hugely appreciated. <3