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habit reversal

Carrie started pulling age 12

"I had the most beautiful hair, it shone in the sunlight as it lay on my desk."
"Taming the Trich monster is possible."
Karen from Coaching
"It interferes with everything, consumes me. I long to be free of this thing."
Has been badly bullied

I began to pull out my hair when I was 12 and was badly bullied at school.

All eyes were always on me (or so it seemed) and I sat, quietly doing my work, trying to be brave and not to show my fear, pulling my beautiful long blonde hair out.

I had the most beautiful hair, it shone in the sunlight as it lay on my desk.

I began to realise that I had a real problem when I was 13 and had my hair cut short. Again, it was very nice, but I began to notice what my long hair had hitherto concealed.

When I was 16 things came to a head, so to speak. Older and more noticeable than ever (I'm a student of drama now; exuberant, witty and a bit odd) I was bullied worse than ever, actually physically hurt, ganged up on by lots of people, a laughing stock, though I was quite popular amongst the clever, beautiful people who did not feel threatened by my self-assurance.

I also had to work really hard, my GCSEs coming up, being in some top sets, known to be clever, but dyslexic and mentally flighty.

My hair got worse and worse and worse, until, one day, I came home (in tears as usual) and said (to my mother) that I could not cope with this, that I was not going back to school 'til I got some help, and that I was tremendously unhappy.

I waited at home 'til my mother could afford to buy me a wig (wigs are expensive!) and I went back to school (where rumours had been circulateing that I'd killed myself (jubilant rumours; they were proud of what they saw as their destruction of me)) and did my GCSEs (though I got worse marks than I would otherwise have done I got the marks required to get into college, on the course I wanted (and am now on), thank God).

Later, at college, terrified and unused to being treated like a normal human being (damn school!), I pulled the hair out of my wig. I then took a day or two off college and had a new one bought for me. I have now pulled the hair out of that.

Recently, I did quite well. I fell in love, and was distracted, and happy, and wanted to please. So I didn't pull my hair out for two months. It grew back wonderfully. Then love left life. I continued quite well for a while, then, on the eve of the presentation of my beautiful hair (I am beautiful, exceptionally so, and my hair is beautiful, which makes it rather tragic) I set to again. I am not half bald. Better than it has been, but heartbreaking. I wear a hat, show off half my head and conceal the other.

I look good, but hate myself for what I have done to myself, want to die (in theory, mind you, I'd be too scared in practice (I HAVE been too scared in practice) and long to be a little less destructive. I am a very creative person, I am loved, I am, in many ways, quite an admirable person, but, in measure, I am self-destructive.

I must stop. I am a performer. I can hardly wear a hat always. It interferes with everything, consumes me. I long to be free of this thing. I pledge that, from today, I shall never pull out another hair.

Let's try. I'll try so hard not to if I can think of other people doing so with me, wishing each other well. Good luck, and wish me good luck too.

Carrie, 16

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