The Bald Life


It’s not anything new to me, unfortunately. You feel uncomfortable in public, everyone assumes you have cancer, and both children and adults (politely most of the time) stare at you. The lady at the salon asks, “Wait, you really want me to shave it all off? To the skin? But you’re a girl! Are you sure?”, to answer cancer questions it’s almost easier to say “yes, I have cancer” and leave it at that rather than explaining a disorder that most people probably haven’t heard about, let alone understand.

I thought I would kind of vent as a way to release the huge amount of anxiety I have over this. If you have read my history on the disorder Trichotillomania, you know I’ve shaved my head once before. In my sophomore year of high school, my mom and doctor convinced me to shave my head because I had pulled out so much hair that I could no longer cover it by pulling it back with the remaining hair. I say it was a decision I had to make but really, it had gotten that bad that it wasn’t. It obviously wasn’t easy but it was supposed to be easier this time, according to my mom. Nope. Maybe I’ve let stereotypes get into my head too much but it was a much bigger deal for me personally to shave my head here in Alabama than it was up in Illinois. Maybe the loss of physical, unconditional support of my family as well as not having many close friends the older I get played a role. Either way, obviously the less emotional support, the more difficult the process of recovery.

My absolutely wonderful Alabama psychiatrist told me a month or so ago that I could not see her anymore due to the fact that I had graduated and she only sees university students. The closest thing to a regular doctor I have now is my fairly new gynecologist. I don’t do therapy. I’ve done years of it beginning in high school and in my opinion, it was just a waste of money. I would be really into the session when I was there, but any promises I made for improvements slipped out of my mind permanently when I stepped out that door. I choose now not to waste my parent’s money on that and stick to the drugs.

It’s now been a few months since shaving my head for the second time. So far, the instant my hair gets to be the length that I can pull at it again, the cycle reinstates itself. Therefore, I have a feeling I’ll have to keep this bald girl look for a while. It’s a bummer but it’s for the best, and hopefully things will turn up if and when I find a new doctor/new medications. Any medication suggestions are very welcome!

“It’s stronger than I, she says, this idea, this need is after me all the time. The movement happens by itself, there is something in my arms that pulls me along irresistibly. If I resist I have these irritable and stifling feelings which are totally unbearable, I just have to give into this need …”
Dan Stein, Trichotillomania


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