This is the story of our beautiful daughter Caillin.
When Caillin was 3 she attended Occasional Care one day a week. This was for her benefit, not mine, as I preferred her company at home. Caillin is a very sociable little girl and needed to interact with others her own age.
She had no trouble separating from me on her weekly visits. One day when I went to pick her up her teacher called me aside and showed me a great clump of hair which they had found on Caillin’s pillow during rest time. I decided to keep an eye on her, but not mention it.
The next week the same thing happened. I asked Caillin if she liked Occasional Care and she replied brightly that she did. However the hair pulling continued and became worse.
I would find clumps of hair hidden in all sorts of places at home, including behind cushions, curtains and under her bed. I asked her why she was doing this but she didn’t know. She was only 3 after all!
I went to our family G.P. who suggested I go to a Pediatrician. By this stage Caillin’s behaviour was quite erratic and hard to manage and she had very little hair left on her head. All this happened in the space of 2-3 weeks.
After consulting a huge medical book, the Pediatrician advised me that Caillin had Trichotillomania and explained that this meant hair pulling. He didn’t know much about it but said it was a behavioral disorder and said that the behaviour Caillin was displaying at that very moment was indicative of the disorder. I reluctantly turned around to see Caillin sitting underneath the examination table crumbling a rice cracker everywhere that she had taken out of the rubbish bin! I chastised her and got her to sit on my knee but as usual this didn’t last long and she was vibrating around the room again.
The Pediatrician said that discipline and perhaps Ritalin were the only things he could suggest but that he was reluctant to put someone so young on Ritalin. (Not to worry, I had no intention of going down that road!)
Now we had a name for our daughter’s exhausting behaviour and the hair pulling that went with it. We had always thought that she was just energetic!
My husband, Craig, went on a web search and found many sites but we were drawn to Neomie’s, thank goodness!
We read all we could on the subject off the site and e-mailed Neomie who gave us some suggestions, some worked, some didn’t : everyone’s different.
But it was the diet which turned Caillin around. She calmed down, stopped pulling and was a different little girl. We have had lapses along the way, and the road has been tough for all. But now we understand, Caillin understands, and we can see the ready to pull signs when they appear. If Caillin is stressed she strokes something soft, feathers, her ornamental cat, anything soft. This is especially useful when she is watching TV or sleeping during times such as illness. (Caillin has been very ill on three occasions since her 3rd birthday and admitted to hospital. ) It’s times like these she starts twirling and then pulling.
I cannot stress enough, the importance of diet. Caillin is now 5 1/2 and looking forward to starting school next year. She has been totally pull free for 9 months now. Prior to that she only pulled in times of stress. Now she doesn’t even twirl!
This is our story
Deb, Craig and Caillin