Chaetophobia/Trichophobia

Everyone is afraid of something. One of my fears/disgust appears to be quite unusual. Since I was a girl, I have been afraid of hair. More specifically, loose hair.

Mind you, I have long hair. Attached hair doesn’t bother me. Cleaning out my brush or the shower drain, absolutely not! Like a big hell no! Until I moved out of my parents house, my mom cleaned out my brush for me. Some might say she enabled my irrational fear. I believe that she saw that I had an unusual fear and needed her support.

My husband cleans out our shower drain. Sometimes he does it without trying to tell or show me all the crap he gets out of there. Just writing this and thinking about it makes my skin crawl. I feel the anxiety tightening my chest. At times my best friend will clean out my brush when she comes over. My best friend loves to swim at our neighborhood pool. I’m not a huge fan of water, especially a pool because people’s hair falls out and then it sticks to my hand or my body. Horrifically disturbing to me.

All of my family and friends are aware of this fear. During middle school, high school and college it was at an all time high. I would refuse to go to classes if there was a hair on my chair. Even if someone wiped it off, I couldn’t get my brain past what germs that hair may have left. People would laugh at me, but seemed to just shrug it off with the belief I was quirky. My professors knew that I couldn’t handle class if there was loose hair anywhere in the vicinity of my personal bubble.

I had some pretty crappy friends at times that would taunt me with loose hair. How disgusting!!!! Seriously?! I don’t taunt people with their fears, I guess I expect the same amount of respect that I put out. Since I’m the only person I know with this particular fear, people tend to not understand it.

I think I know where my fear originated, but I don’t feel like disclosing it at this point. There was emotional, mental abuse involved. Trauma of any kind is where most fears emerge from anyway.

I vacuum up my floor daily after I brush and blow dry my hair. I have progressed that I am able to clean out the vacuum all by myself with minimal gagging. I don’t like sweaters because hair gets wrapped up in the material too easily, same with fleece. I don’t like static because hair sticks too much and is very difficult to come off. To some degree this fear impacts daily life. I have learned what to avoid, how to get things clean without feeling like I’m going to die, and am able to easily fix my daughter’s hair. Animal fur doesn’t really bother me. Not sure why.

Anyway, what made me think about all of this is that it affected work this week. I evaluate the inmates in interview rooms and they have these blue plastic chairs. These chairs get a lot of static. I do think they are cleaner than the old foamy office chairs that get hair balls; I refuse to sit in those chairs. Anyway, there was a long black hair on my chair. I don’t normally tell my clients too much about myself. Not sure why I disclosed this particular thought to this particular inmate. I excused myself to get another chair, mindlessly telling him that I couldn’t sit on the previous one due to the loose hair.

Probably of all the people I’ve ever met, this person made me feel the most normal. He didn’t ask about it, didn’t question it. He told me he knew someone else who hated hair. That was pretty cool to me. It seems like such a silly thing, but everyone has their thing.

My therapist asked me once if I wanted to work on this issue. Of all my struggles and demons, this is one I refuse to discuss. For one, it’s disgusting! Why on earth would I pay money to not be grossed out by loose hair? I find it more odd that people aren’t grossed out by loose hair. You don’t know what is on that! Next, I don’t really think it’s that big of a deal. While it does impact some of the things I do, I know I have bigger issues that need my attention.

That’s really it. I have a phobia of hair. It repulses me. I think everyone should be repulsed by it too!

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