After earning her B.A. in sociology and psychology from Muskingum College in Ohio, Joan began working as a real estate property manager. She pulled her hair more than ever and added compulsive checking to her list of OCD traits. She did not hide her pulling from her co-workers but was dismayed to think she was the only one who pulled and that no mental health professional knew how to help her. She had been to a psychiatrist and therapist who were unable to help her. This was before current medications and treatment methods were known.
Joan began pulling her hair at age 11 in 6th grade. Her pulled from her scalp for 25 years from age 11 to 36. In 1989, she read the book “The Boy Who Couldn’t Stop Washing” by Judith Rapoport, M.D. Upon reading her book, she discovered “Jackie P.”, a woman who pulled out every hair on her head and face. From her insistence, she would not be turned away by the NIMH study of OCD. From Jackie P’s courage to come forward, herself and millions of “pullers” now know they are not alone with Trichotillomania.
Trichotillomania is the inability to resist the urge to pull out hair resulting in noticeable hair loss. The act of pulling comforts, eases emotional pain, and is fun until the pulling episode is over. Then the puller experiences extreme shame, disgust, and anger over mutilating themselves and losing control. " I have been on both sides of this fence and have dedicated my life to helping people out of this cycle" Kaylor states.
From the studies at the National Institute of Mental Health … and because of the work of the Trichotillomania Learning Center and Obsessive-Compulsive Foundation, millions of people now can recognize symptoms of trichotillomania and OCD.