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yesitsreal
This thread has been really informative. I have bitten my nails for almost 7 years of my life. When i recently stopped for good this time I started itching my scalp until blood and scabs too. I also pulled a lot of my hair out when I was a sophmore in high school. Sometimes when I get really nervous or anxious or bored I just pick or pull. I don't know what it is but I have always felt a need to pick at something. It soudns weird but it's like it has to be smooth not bumpy and scabby or I pick it. When i was little I use to pick my scabs too...but where is the line between needing help and it just being a "bad habit." All of your comments have made me really question wether or not I do need help because I don't think I do...it just doesn't feel as serious as other things are...

Do I get help?

~Yes It's Real~
ratgrl
Well, I've been a hair-puller (scalp only) to varying degrees, since I was 22. At that time, I was in my last year of college and was constantly worrying to myself, "WTF am I going to do with my life once I graduate?" So I'm sure there's a correlation between the uncertainty re: the rest of my life and the start of my hair-pulling. At that time, I had very short hair, and after a few months, my then-roommate said, "You have a bald spot on your head!" I felt that I'd been "caught" and after that I started pulling at different places on the scalp so that it wouldn't be so obvious. I also started growing my hair long, and that, combined with the fact that I have thick hair, helped hide my little habit.

But a few years later, when I was working in an office where my cubicle was near many others, one of my nearby coworkers just came right out with it: "Ratgrl, why are you always playing with your hair and pulling it out? I guess it must be a nervous habit." I was mortified, and literally speechless; I never did answer her question.

Since then, I've made an effort to restrict my hair-pulling to when I'm alone. The fact that I often wear my hair in a ponytail helps curb the extent to which I do it, but I've not quit the habit by any means. I've actually never "come out" about this to anyone until now, right on this here message board. I'm glad this thread was created. Thanks, all, for listening.

swedishchick
I actually came clear about my hair-pulling to my therapist the other day. She suggested that I buy a "stress-ball" just to have something that keeps my hands busy. This actually works quite well, I squeeze it when watching tv etc and I haven't been pulling a single hair out in more than a week! Congrats to me!
halcyon
yay swedishchick!!! good for you!

ETA: yesitsreal, if it bothers you, consider seeing someone about it. It sounds like you could go either way, but if the habit is something you don't want to continue (sounds like it), you can probably find a therapist to help you with it.
halcyon
yay swedishchick!!! good for you!
swedishchick
Thanks for the support. I've slipped some since my last post, but I'm still improving so I don't see it as a major set-back.
halcyon
haha, wow, didn't realize I left double the support :-) Yeah, that's the hardest part, accepting the slippage. Has it just been the stress ball, or other strategies you've used to help you?
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