I "play", "pull", "tug" at my hair. It drives many people crazy -- my mother, husband, some co-workers, some students,sometimes even my daughter. But they don't get it.
This hair pulling I do is my vice. It's my relaxation, my stress reducer, my pastime. I do it most often when I'm driving.
It all started when I was in my early teens; I'm not sure how it started, but I was always one of habits (nail biting, picking at my skin, etc). I think I was about 14 or 15 when I went with my mother to her hairdresser for a trim of my hair and she asked me what I was doing. I had a patch about the size of a quarter that was pretty near bald on the top of my head. (It still is afavourite hair pulling spot. That and the left side of my head just above my ear.) I didn't even realize I had pulled until there was a bald spot. My mother started freaking out,
"See, I told you! Stop pulling your hair!"(she wasn't too supportive or discreet about it; that's just her way.) I don't think I stopped. I think I may have simply stopped pulling out many hairs from that one spot.
Then, I remember in grade 12 a group of friends did a science fair project on Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). One of the parts of OCD they highlighted was something called trichotillomania. Wow. Did I see myself in that aspect of their project! After that, I noticed that more and more people would mention this "disorder" to me. As I changed hairdressers throughout the years, each would bring it up when they noticed me in the sitting area waiting for my appointment.
To add to my confirmation, my sister was once diagnosed with mild OCD (her's has to do with cleaning. Wish I could have gotten a bit of that...). Hhhmmmm.... maybe there was a reason for this thing I do...
So, anyway. It's called trochotillomania. I can pull a piece of hair 3 times while saying the word. LOL I don't think I need to be medicated or anything for it. It's part of me. If it bothers you, then don't watch me do it. (I've said that a thousand times in my life.)
Enjoy this part of my impulsive self ;)
FYI: More information about hair pulling, especially in children, can be found at: Kids Health.org