With the generous support of an Arts Council England grant, I am currently writing my first book, which will chronicle my experience of living with trichotillomania - a psychological disorder that causes uncontrollable urges to pull out one’s hair.
The book will fuse personal narrative with insights from history, science, and mythology to investigate trichotillomania - which, despite being as prevalent as anorexia and bulimia, is virtually unheard of in both society and literature. It will chronicle my journey towards understanding, accepting, and living happily with, rather than struggling fruitlessly against, the disorder (which is almost always chronic). Along the way, it will explore themes such as the effects of chronic shame; the inexact nature of psychiatric classification; the social, cultural, and historical meanings we attach to women’s hair; and the feminist conflict between wanting to reject misogynist beauty standards and wanting to be seen as a desirable woman. The book will challenge conventional illness narratives, which insist that full recovery is the only acceptable outcome to ill-health, and instead advocate for a broader understanding of what ‘recovery’ looks like - and, ultimately, for radical self-acceptance.