Shaving My Head: About a Difficult Battle With An Unknown Hair Condition

 

Hello everyone; I must say I’m excited to be posting again.

Last Friday (May 25, 2018) was one of the more eventful days as of recently. Emotionally, I had (and still have) been feeling better than ever than in the past few weeks, even months. My emotional state on the positive side, I’ve been having much more motivation to do things and a lot more ideas, as well. Things are looking up, and I’m grateful. But there’s one issue that has been sort of an elephant in the room when talking about recent months. And that issue is: hair loss.

At 19 years old, that’s most certainly an unusual thing for me to be dealing with. But still, that’s the hand I’ve been dealt. The causes have been going on for probably about a year now, but it’s actually accelerated in the past 3 months or so. In fact, in early April, there was a point where I had lost more hair in 2 weeks than in the previous 2 or 3 months. Eventually, it got to the point where my hair was getting weird and patchy, and of course, a lot shorter than I would have liked. It soon got to the point where I was forced to make a decision: start all over again and take good care of my hair and the situations causing the hair loss, or force myself to deal with my uneven hair. I was hesitant at first, for I hadn’t had a haircut in over 2 years prior, but eventually I decided that the aesthetic benefits would be much more better if I chose the latter of those options. And that I did.

Now as I mentioned in the video, there are two reasons that this whole thing started. The first and the primary reason is a disorder known as trichotillomania. Now this can be difficult to talk about sometimes, but I’m gonna do this anyways. I feel like I should educate the public a little, and be more transparent with what’s going on. Trichotillomania is a condition that causes people to have an impulsive urge to pull out their own hair. It’s similar to OCD, given that the urges are sort of a tick, or an “addiction”, for a real lack of a better phrase. It’s not something you consciously do. It’s not like I think “Okay, haircut time!” and start pulling out my hair. It’s different than that. It’s unconscious. It’s comparable to how you can have a bowl of popcorn next to you while watching TV and the whole thing will be done before you know it. You don’t particularly desireĀ the popcorn, but you just keep on eating it, just because. That’s basically the same feeling, really, but instead of popcorn it’s tugging on hairs or small clumps of hair until they come out. Shaving all hair is the best option for many trichotillomaniacs, because 1) you run out of stuff you can pull, and 2) it undoes much of the damage done by the condition.

That’s the main reason, but not the only one. Additionally, I’m on a medication known as Lithium Carbonate. It’s commonly and most often used to treat Bipolar Disorder, which I have regrettably been diagnosed with. Things were going well for the first few months I was taking it, things were pretty good. But then, after doing some more research on the effects of medications, and I read that lithium caused hair loss for a lot of people. I didn’t think about it a lot at first, but then I started being more observant. Whenever I’d wash or rub my hair, tons of it would just fall out without much effort at all. That scared me a lot, and I eventually consulted with my psychiatrist. She confirmed that it was a side effect, and that if the hair loss persisted–which it did–that she’d half the dosage and proceed from there. So although I’m taking a lot less of the medication, I still feel like that was a huge contribution to my decision to shave my head.

But things don’t just stop now that I’m almost bald. There’s a series of other things I will try to do in order to make sure my hair grows back better, stronger and longer, and that I don’t fall back and undo all of my progress. Here are what they are:

-Using a fidget toy, more specifically a fidget orb, in order to keep my hands busy and away from my head

-Using a multivitamin or a supplement such as biotin, as well as using a special shampoo, such as Jamaican Black Castor Oil, which I’ve heard highly of

-Not washing my hair every single day. Doing so would dry out the scalp, damaging hair and making it break easily. Only doing so every few days will preserve natural oils produced by the scalp, moisturizing and keeping things soft

-When it gets long, combing my hair regularly, and possibly keeping it braided. Not doing so would cause tangles that makes the hair less healthy and easier to pick.

After all this, I’m still very optimistic for the future. Besides this, I actually feel pretty good. I think the biggest issue with this will be dealing with self confidence/dysphoria issues. That’s just another in a long line of things I need to work on, though. Needless to say, I’m gonna keep on trying, and a year from now I’m most definitely going to make an update. Look out!