TeenHealthFX wants to start by saying that we are glad you reached out to us about this. You do not have to apologize about your message being long. What you have to say is important, so we were more than happy to read through everything you had to say. We also want to assure you that there is nothing “weird” or “gross” about what you described. You are definitely not alone in this issue and you have your reasons for feeling compelled to do this – so try and go easy on yourself and have some compassion for yourself.
There are two main issues here. The first is that the behavior you are describing is compulsive in nature – meaning that it can be very hard to stop the behavior even if we want to. The second is whatever anxiety or agitation you are experiencing that is leading you to pull your hair out. To deal with these issues, FX recommends the following:
It would be really helpful for you to speak to a therapist about what is going on with you to deal with compulsive nature of the behavior and whatever agitation is contributing to it. If you have concerns about cost, a school counselor or your medical doctor would be able to talk to you about options in your area where you could receive mental health services despite any financial constraints. FX can appreciate from what you said that the idea of talking to someone about this feels scary. It sounds like it is hard for you to imagine that anyone will care about what you are going through and offer you compassion and understanding. But FX wants to assure you that any reputable health professional knows you are not alone in hair pulling (no matter where on your body) and will want to better understand what you are feeling and experiencing that leads you to the hair pulling so that the agitation you are feeling (and subsequent hair-pulling) will decrease.
FX also thinks it would be helpful for you to find ways to deal with whatever agitation, stress or anxiety you are dealing with. Two great ways to do this would be through daily physical exercise and meditation. As for exercise, think about what you like to do and make sure to do it every day. Whether it is going swimming, biking, walking, running or whatever else interests you – it is important to get your body moving on a daily basis to work off some of that anxiety and stress. As for the meditation, you could check with your school nurse or school counselor if they know of classes in your area that teach meditation. You could also try some of the free guided meditations from the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center. This would also be something helpful to do on a daily basis.
TeenHealthFX can appreciate how hard it is to reach out for help, especially if you are concerned you will not be able to rely on others to be caring and understanding about what you are going through. However, FX knows there are people out there who will want to be helpful to you. We also know that you will have a much better chance of effectively dealing with these issues if you have the support and guidance from trusted adults. So please reach out for help as soon as possible.
If you live in northern New Jersey and need help finding a therapist you can call the Access Center from Atlantic Behavioral Health at 888-247-1400. Outside of this area you can log onto the US Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website for referrals in your area. You can also contact your insurance company to get a list of in-network mental health providers or check with your school social worker or psychologist to get a list of referrals in your area.