Friday, January 30, 2009

Hair Twirling

It sounds sexier than it is. Hair twirling, something I've been doing since my first conscious memory, is considered a self-manipulation habit. I always do it with my left hand, on the back left part of my skull. I twirl and wrap and weave my fingers and twist my hair up tight, then fold and push the knot against my skull, then release it, untangle it, and start all over. Again and again. Unconsciously. My parents and brothers and friends all called attention to it when I was young. "It's a bad habit," they told me. "Stop it." "Cut it out."

Well, I tried that. I cut my hair short enough that I could no longer twirl it, but I simply played with the ends instead, pinching them up and pressing my finger tip on the brush. From time to time over the years I focused on trying to stop, but it's been years now since I cared enough to put in the effort. Today, though, when writing up 25 Things about myself (that Facebook challenge currently in circulation), I typed it in as Thing #11, and there it was. What, I wondered, is the reason, scientifically speaking, for this hair twirling behavior? So I did what any red-blooded Internet user does: I googled "hair twirling habit."

There were 114,000 results. The first link I clicked on, a web site for clinicians, harbored grim news. Hair Twirling is considered a mild form of Hair Pulling, a much more unpleasant habit, medically referred to as Trichotillomania. Hair Pulling is when you actually nervously tear your hair out of your scalp. People have to wear wigs to hide their disorder. Worse, according to the site, "among adults, women account for 70% to 93% of all cases." So much for light-hearted inquiry.

But it's not like I yank out my hair--I only fiddle with it--so I surfed for something tamer. I found ten posts in The Long Hair Community, confessional and rambling, not all that enlightening. There are many parenting sites out there, moms agonizing about how to get their kids to stop, pediatricians full of advice, link after link with suggestions. At a link called: Am I Nuts? a Yale psychologist insists it's done in self-defense. "Chances are you developed your bookish hair twirling as a body-language clue to people around you. What does your finger in your locks say? It says, 'Leave me alone! I'm reading.'" Now that was more like it.

Still, I longed for something more comforting, something akin to what the hair twirling process itself does for me--it comforts. So next, I clicked on Nervous Habits and the Chakra System. Here you can almost smell the incense and hear the soft, meditative chimes and drumming. "Nervous habits related to 'hair' such as twirling or pulling hair, are often linked to the head or the crown chakra. This is about boredom, lack of concentration, consciousness, a desire to open the crown chakra and 'see' beyond emotional problems." Aaahhhh. Yes, much better. So when I twirl my hair, it's my mode of transcendence, of seeing beyond. I take a deep breath and close my eyes. Yes, that's the reason I was looking for. Unconsciously, I lift a tuft of hair in my hand and start to twirl.

117 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have the same issue. as a male, it seems i'm called out on it alot. but it's still there. i used to buzz my hair so short that i had nothing to grab onto... but i stopped caring. as i right this, i pause to twirl away. i never looked into it til my co-workers started noticing it in droves and making such comments as "what's with the hair?" and walking by mockingly twirling. but i consider myself a pretty stand-up guy, normal in every other sense... just the one little quirk! I try not to let it bother me when my friends call me out, embarrassing as it may be, but still i need some level of association on the issue, which led me here. you're not the only one!

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Claire and Anono. I'm a male, and have the same problem-- exactly the same routine as you describe Claire (i.e., knot, pushed close to the skull, then repeat. Often the knots are two tight, that I'll have to tear them, and do have some patchiness to show for it.) I've been doing it since high school. Yep, and know others' mockery and discomfort when I'm working the old scalp good. Bother. I'm going to look to get some medication for it. I'm in my mid-twenties, and want to get beyond it. Thanks for sharing your all's experiences!

Anonymous said...

i was on meth all throughout high school :(
ad this was my "tweeker habit"...playing with my hair. i would twirl the hair that was next to my temples, above my ear...so much that im BALDING in those areas. im 27 years old now, so this has been going on for 12 years now. i HATE IT. i cant stop. i really cant. i put myself to sleep by playing with my hair. i do it the whole time im driving anyhere. people recognize me when im out from seeing the hair twirling, from far away!
ive had friends driving by me spot me out because they saw someone twirling their hair, and of course it was me. i get the same mockery too, at every job ive ever had, people immitate me, ive had people come up to me and actually TOUCH the peice of hair i play with all the time and say "i just had to see for myself what this is really all about"
wtf?!?!?!
ive had people tell me that my hair twirling drives THEM crazy???
wtf?!?!?!
my boyfriend always thinks im flirting with other guys because i do it while talking to them, but i do it 24-7! its not because im flirting, its because i cant stop.
im hoping i didnt do some sort of irreversable damage to my brain, and now this is going to be a life long thing. but it looks like im going down that road. i try to stop, i try to pin back my hair, gell it down, TELL MYSELF TO STOP, and i cant.

Anonymous said...

I know exactly how you guys feel, I have twirled my hair since I can remember and it drives everyone I know crazy! My friends and family and especially boyfriend hate the "snapping" noise it makes. Everyone nags me to stop and I have tried but it's an unconcious habit a lot of the time-like sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night doing it.
I wear it up all the time but I will find myself pulling it out of the pony tail without noticing. I don't know how to stop!

Anonymous said...

I, too, am a twirler. My habit started when I was around 20 and went on and off for a bit. Now I'm in my early 40s and it has come back with a vengeance. I believe my habit is a "comfort" thing. I used to have IBS very badly but faith and curbing anxiety have made it less spasmatic. I also started twirling more and it does help the IBS modes when they flare up! I also think it has something to do with why I don't smoke...my whole family does or did and I never have. Just twirl that anxiety away!! My husband, though, can't stand it and thinks I'm bored or don't want to be bothered by him. I wish I could stop...but yet, do I really want to? Best of luck and good, soft hairstrands to you!

Anonymous said...

I used to twirl my dolls hair. It was so soft & I liked the feeling. Later it moved to my hair. I stop if is too short , but have started again now that it's longer. It's soft & feels nice. I will do one or even 2 at a time. LOL one of my friends has long hair & says she's tried to figure out how I can do it & can't! It seems assoc.w/ side effects of my depression & the meds, but, yeah, I get bored & the twirling keeps me in the here & now head space.....

Anonymous said...

I too am a hair twirler, as is my sister. You should see us in the same room together - twirl twirl twirl. Mum always says "what are you worrying about".. I always tell her I'm not worrying, I just like the feeling of the hair moving through my fingers, its soft and feels nice. It's so hard to explain to people who look at you strangly. I also had a guy tell me he thought I was coming onto him because I twirled my hair - I set him straight by saying I've twirled my hair since I was 4 years old - you sicko. He didn't last long to say the least. I am so thrilled to have read this blog.. Its only an anxiety habbit if you really go for gold pulling out your hair - this is more of a comforting habbit and I like the charkra explanation. That certaily explains a lot for me - being spiritual I will look more into that.

Anonymous said...

i am sixty-something who has hair-twirled on and off since childhood. The interesting thing about it is that it is episodic with me. I have gone for a number of years without twirling.....gone..no desire to twirl at all....even through tough times and all, no twirling.
now, quite suddenly, i am twirling again.
it does provide a definite sense of comfort.
i find that my mind drifts into a calmed state while twirling. and i do it very unconsciously. i find myself twirling without thinking about it.
when i have been in a non-twirling mode, for very long periods of time, i have tried twirling and it does nothing for me....no sense of comfort at all.
i must need something now that i did not need when i was not twirling.
it is a mystery to me.........and a great comfort. i live alone so it only annoys me.

Janessa said...

My boss just asked me why I twirl my hair. I have been doing it since I was 10 or maybe younger, I am now 26. What I loved most about your post is that I also made a list of 25 things on facebook and 13. I twirl my hair A LOT.
That is awesome...lol

Anonymous said...

Thank goodness for this blog. I too heard about that hair pulling disorder, on that show nip/tuck...the girl ate the hair and they had to pull a hairball from her stomach through her throat. It freaked me out wondering if I have one in there too.

I have been hair twirling since I can remember. I know where I get it from...when we were little and watching tv with dad, he would always twirl our hair. My sister has/had the habit too. It feels nice in your hands, it is very self soothing.

I twirl and put it in my mouth or in my ear, (it sounds gross, but I really don't even notice I am doing it, until someone points it out or worse...yells at me to stop it. I am 32 and they still do it and it irks me...as usually it's when I am reading or driving.

This article comforted me, thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

I am a twirler and love it as it is such a comfort. My mum said I have twirlled since I was an infant as I used to twirl her hair when she was bottle feeding me. I am 32 now so I have come to the conclusion that I will always twirl!

One of my ex's said he hated it because it made me look like I was stupid/simple and I tried to stop but the more I tried the worse I got! I too sometimes twirl with both hands and would definitley say its linked to how stressed or anxious I am. I have IBS, ME & suffer from anxiety. Usually the twirling is the first sign that I am a starting to develop a bout of any of the above.

I have come to the conclusion that its just part of me and tough if it annoys anyone else.....

Very glad to hear that i'm not on my own... Thanks guys for telling your stories as it has helped reassure me i'm not mad! :-)

Anonymous said...

Finally there are people who understand this habbit.
I've twirled my hair all my life, it would be a sign of tiredness when I was an infant...I used to do it and say "teeboo" which simply meant "I'm tired".

Now I do it when Im concentrating on something...tv,driving reading etc. In my final exams at school my friend told me I'd twirl it at the same speed as I wrote on the paper.

I don't always notice I do it, some people hate it and tell me to stop. My ex used to yank my strand out and hold it. I hated that, I have to keep my strand if I'm not finished and if I am I have to straighten it out. It makes me mega anxious if 'my bit' has been disturbed by anyone but myself.

I love the sensation of the hair running between my fingers and over my palms. I rub it over my eyes and lips. I've even developed a technique which is often a party trick called 'the one hand knot' I can tie the knot using my thumb and fore finger then twiddle it back out again.

This is something I will do till my dying day, it's hard to explain the sense of euphoria that comes with hair twirling. It'd quite amusing to see how similar our stories are. I once read it was a sign of neurotic behaviour...far from it, it soothes me, it's my biggest vice. I like nothing more than a cuddle from my fella and a nice good twirl of the hair.

Let's celebrate our harmless, cute if sometimes quite annoying habbit :)

Stacey, Southampton, UK.

Anonymous said...

I'm a hair twirler from way back, certainly from my early teens, if not earlier. I'm now 48 and caught myself doing it again today (I was relaxed; not stressed, worried or tired). That led me to google the condition, which led me to this blog.

Nice to meet you all.

Anonymous said...

Sheesh, I also came here because I was considering writing a Facebook 25 things and my first thought was that I knew I would have to put that on there, and I wanted to check to see just how gross society in general thinks it is before I announce my little habit to everyone I know.

Today the subject came up and someone said, "it's not as bad as beard pulling, I know someone who does that and leaves beard hairs everywhere." Well, that made me think of how much of my hair falls out on my desk at work, I'm constantly pulling strands off onto the floor.

This type of feedback makes me wonder if possibly I have mild Aspergers, reflected in craving the sensory stimulation of feeling something soft and the poor social communication skills to realize it annoys people.

I'm not proud but I don't think I'm going to kick the habit unless I medicate myself, and I'm not sure I'm willing to go that far for a little bad habit.

Anonymous said...

I knew I was not the only one. Like many of you, myself, my sister, and my two nieces also twirl. For me I think it's when I am focused on something, thinking, and yes maybe sometimes when I am board. I am 45 years young, and remember twirling since age 7. "HAIL ALL TWIRLERS" LOLLOL

Anonymous said...

Wild - I'm not alone!! I'm 42 and have done this I'm told, from the day I was born and in the hospital. It seems to serve as a means of making me calm - finding my inner zen as well as coping with stress or anxiety. But I also do it to lull myself to sleep.

And I do it with all fingers on both hands. I also do the twisting until it's knotted and pressed against the skull and then I use a fingernail to push and feel the rope of hair before setting it free.

There's times it's bugged me that I do this. It's compulsive. At times it's 110% voluntary - other times, I'm unaware I'm doing it.

Anyway - hair twirlers - male and female unite.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Claire, for that nice summarization.... I, too, was surprised at all the imput on it...
and the polar opposites of theory.
I vaguely remember twirling in my youth... for the last 30 years I've
been in the trades profession, and
hair lenght was standard at above-collar... so, no twirling.
Now, at 50, I've decided (since I've always wished for the long-hair experience) this is the time to let it grow out. At 6 inches long, even at 4 inches the twirling
naturally started up all by itself!
decades later yet....
As with many, it seems to be predominately my left hand, and the
left rear quadrant of the head... this is the deeper, more involved
twirling session.... in more light-
weight focus situations, desk, tv,
the hair area just in front of left
ear gets used... depends on the
how-the-elbow-is-propped, and the
lounging circumstances involved...
(does anyone twirl-to-knots while
standing or walking?). I try to
place some of the twirl-burden on
my right hand when it's free, but
it just isn't the same satisfaction
wise as the left... also notice the
natural rotation with the right is
clockwise, and counter/cw w/left...
what's that about?
When inside of a session I try to
switch just to give my poor left wrist a break, so I'll reach the
right over for the unknot/detangle
process... crazy... I try not to
knot too tightly as it's so much
harder to "reset"... and Yes to the
snapping sound you sometimes get
when a reset is hopelessly tangled
& tied. The shorter the hair, the
tighter and smaller the knots...
as a teen with only a 3 - 4 inch
(max parental allow) I remember having to use a comb to work the
hair-burrs & tiny knots out..Yikes!
I never tore hair out by root or had patches. I don't know how far
back this habit goes, as most of my
pre-teen life is an unremembered
blur. Parents long gone-- nobody
can tell me if or when or how early
it manifested.
I am lucky, my wife of 25 years, who is only now experiencing my
habit, thinks it's cute... wonder
how long that will last... Now,
as I'm approaching 6 inches in length, the hair rope (pre-knot)
being thicker is easier to unknot,
not knot, and indeed, more a lot of
half-twirl-- half knotting & reset-
ting without going all the way to
too-tight-to-skull circles & folds
& twists... seems to be my compro-
mise with my twirling demon...
Makes me wonder what's ahead. At 50 my hair is thick, full, medium
blond with silver coming in, but
Great Genes, not a bit of receding
hairline... so I figure, in order
to fulfill the long-hair dream,
let's go for at least 24 inches or
until I burn out on the whole thing
whichever comes first...
Just where the twirling will go &
what forms it will take... tucking,
stroking, chewing... I remember
liking the feel of a twisted lock/
rope between my lips... I don't see
it as a really bad habit, only
insofar as it sometimes serves as a
procrastination device... easy
enough to snap out of... and I
actually like my little habit....
some say it's a self-love thing...
going to have to research this more
... and add to this thread....have
this blog on "feed"... feedback is
good....

Anonymous said...

I'm exactly the same! I do it all the time :S it's so bad I get repetitive strain injury in my wrists and cramp in my neck - but I can't stop :( it's not even an addiction it's worse - it's so normal and second nature it's like breathing!

Anonymous said...

I am a hair twirler as well. I twirl, knot and braid a thin strand of hair with one hand. My husband hates it. But it is either put up with the twirling and braiding or I cut my hair short.
I sometimes have 2 or three braids on my left side. I also pull out strands to twirl when my hair is up in a ponytail.
I am 49 and have been doing it forever. No one says anything to me about it anymore. I guess they are used to me twirling and braiding. They are sometimes amazed at my one handed braid. lol...
I do feel self consious when I meet new people. I try to make sure I don't have any braids or twirls left in my hair.
If I am comfortable with people and where I am, I twirl and don't worry.

Anonymous said...

I am 21 and I have been twirling my hair as long as I can remember! I cannot believe that there are tons of people out there who do it for the same reasons and get the same satisfaction and feelings when they twirl their hair as I do; I can honestly say it has made me cry!

I have always loved my twirling, and I get upset when people tell me to "cut it out" or that I'm going to "pull out the hair" or "go bald" from twirling. Honestly, I would rather twirl for as long as I can and go bald than never twirl my hair at all! I even like to twirl other people's hair, since it is a different sensation than twirling my own. On occasion, I have caused my sister, close friends, and even boyfriends to pick up the habit for a short time. The best part about it though is when someone says that it looks relaxing, or that it looks beautiful - like my own little symphony in action, with my fingers and hair doing all the conducting. That makes me feel happy.

Once a twirler, always a twirler!

Sharon M.
Shorewood, IL.

Anonymous said...

I read all the comments, and wow.
my boyfriend sent me a link to this blog. He hates my twirling, of course.

I'm 22 and have been twirling on and off for years. My mom and brother do the same, and if one of us is in their no-twirl period, we'll immediately twirl if we see the other do it. It's contagious!

I can actually understand why people hate it, because when I see other people do it, they do look stupid/simple. But like you all wrote, there's something soothing about it and now I've got a new shampoo that makes my hair REALLY silky smooth, and it's worse than ever!
Cutting the hair short has worked before, so I might go back to that. And if you have long hair, just know that it'll grow back. Short can be cute!

Anonymous said...

As the others, I twist and release repeatedly, usually with my left hand (I'm right handed) above my temple. Here is what I noticed. When I am on vacation, I don't do it. When I am busy with something, I don't do it. I do it when watching TV or just sitting. I reach for my hair as soon as I wake in bed when I know there is no where I have to be. In a nutshell, I believe I do it at times I am feeling the most unfulfilled or needy. Maybe this rings true for some others as well.

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh...I knew I couldn't be alone with my twirling habits so this is great to find. I've been twirling since a young girl with long braids, actually, I use to chew my braids and moved onto twirling a little later. I don't really twirl so much as feel for rougher strands of hair then just feel them. I am not a compulsive twirler but tend to do it more when reading, concentrating or bored--like driving or watching tv. People have told me they can tell it's me in a car by my hand to head.

Anonymous said...

I have this and used to be really embarrased about it. I know that most people that have trich are females. I am an early 30's male with a great family, and a pretty "normal" life. My earliest memories of this started at 5 years old, right after my parents divorce. I would lay in bed, and twirl my Mom's hair. My Mom told me it started around age 5. Around age 17 it got so bad that my Mom took me to see a physician. That is when I found out about trich. I was appalled/embarrased. He actually got to the root of the issue-post tramatic stress syndrome from my earliest childhoold memory regarding my Mom and Dad when they split up. I tie huge knots in my hair, and then try to un-tie them too. Problem is I also enjoy pulling them out and fraying the ends of the hair. I tend also tie knots/pull out hair in my sleep. When it gets bad, wearing socks on my hands at night is the only way too stop it. Well that in a hat. I have always struggled through the years with this and have accepted that it will not go away. Honestly prayer and family support are the best medicine. Hope this helps someone struggling with this-

D Clark
Georiga

Brent said...

so im watching ghostbusters right now and am struggling to finish this sentence without pushing my fingers through my hair. ever since i was a young boy ive had my hand in my hair. it used to comfort me like a cat or dog would feel in my mind, from being petted. when i have my hand in my hair, i lose all concious motor control and my mind is immediately at ease. i can be in the most stressful of situations, but once my subconcious habit starts up, there is no reason to knock because no one is home. i enter my own world of comfort. my habit ranges from simple conversation comfort to extreme deep thought concentration. ive also noticed that i do it during times of mundane activities such as long drives, watching movies or reading. i find its like my mind needs an additional variable sensation that is constantly changing, igniting my will to continue whatever activity im doing. anyways i gotta go... avatar just started my and head beckons my hand. happy hands make happy hair.

Anonymous said...

Well it's great to see all this! I'm 66 and just started twirling. I find it self comforting and enjoy it tho it's clear to me that it's about anxiety. I also clamp down on my jaw and have tense muscles. That's what i want to lessen. I actually enjoy the twirling tho I'd take itbasba good sign if o stopped....

Anonymous said...

I am a life long hair twirler. I'm 45 now. I am a professional woman, so I avoid twirling in professional settings of any kind or in public (like on the bus), but I'll certainly twirl on the way to the meeting in the car.

I have occasionally pulled hair, but I make a conscious decision to stop right away when I notice I am pulling, lest I create bald patches or thinning.

My husband, family and friends who know me and love me don't mind that I twirl. They know it is a self soothing mechanism for me. I've seem my daughters (who are all adults now) do it too. I'm sure they learned it from me. I suppose it is better than abusing a substance, or smoking.

I also pick at the skin around my fingers and bite at my nails. This I would like to stop, because it is impossible to hide. I do find myself doing it in meetings and must force myself to stop it, but sometimes not before I've got several of my cuticles bleeding. Nice.

It is good for me to realize that I am not alone, that others do this too, and that there is hope for me to stop this fixation with my fingers.

I've been able to stop the biting and picking of my fingers for long periods of time,(often several years) but what I noticed was that the fixation just changed. Instead of biting and picking, it became a grooming fixation with a lot of trimming and filing. I still have this compulsion to pay a lot of attention to my fingers.

I find the hair twirling so very comforting and soothing that I will probablt never stop. One day, I noticed that my hands and elbows hurt. I came to realize that it is repetitive strain from twirling my hair. I've had to really thing about how I hold my hands and how I prop my elbow, etc... to be sure and not cause more problems - I don't want carple tunnel from hair twirling!

Anonymous said...

Very interesting! I myself twirl my hair and it drives me nuts! I didnt know there were so many other people who do it as well though. Im just curious, I've read plenty of peoples' stories explaining how and why they got into the habit, but nothing saying exactly how they got out of the habit. Its soothing, but as a 22 year old male in college, its embarrassing.

Anonymous said...

Hmm if you are right handed it seems you twirl with your left hand... well i am left handed and i twirl with my right! I know mine has to do with anxiety, shyness, boredom, etc.! When I was a child I had my blanket in one hand and my thumb in my mouth LOL it was a security comfort thing for a very shy, anxious lil girl. The hair twirling started after, but I did notice growing up that my dad twirled his hair so maybe its a little bit inherited too you think?

jannymac said...

I'm a hair twirler. I've never met anyone like me, save for my extremely obsessive compulsive stepfather; but he was different: where I twirl my own hair, he can only twirl other people's. He used to twirl his children or spouse's.

I use my left hand - it's impossible for me to twirl with my right. I have a favorite spot, though I'll use any portion of hair I can find if I can't twirl that part - usually it's the front left side of my bangs. They're always two to three inches shorter than the other side, because of breakage. I twist it up tight around my finger, wiggle my finger out, and then pick the knot out. If I can't pick the knot out, I break and tear until it comes loose and I smooth the hair down. I have a little bald spot forming, and as always when I notice this little bald spot, I try to refocus my fingers. I crochet blankets. It helps, I catch myself beginning to twirl and I can stop and pick up my blanket.

Problem is, it's my comfort habit.. I do so when I'm sick, bored, sleepy. I'm currently 4 months pregnant in a very trying pregnancy; started as twins, lost one. Nausea and vomiting all day, every day. Out of work because I can't drive. Battling a strep infection on top of the nausea. I need lots of comfort, and crocheting just isn't cutting it!

Figured I'd google it to see why I am the way I am. I've been a hair twirler since I was a baby - my mom said I found my hair at a few months old and I've been a twirler ever since. My husband heads me off at the pass, because he knows how much that bald spot bothers me.. but the compulsion can't be ignored. Guess I'm with the rest of you! :)

Anonymous said...

Wow, can't believe how many twisters there are out there! I definately notice when anyone around me is twisting their hair and I do think it looks silly even though I do it non-stop. According to my mother, I have twisted mine since I could get my hand to my head. I twist my hair for any and every reason. When I'm sad, stressed, happy, nervous, anxious, doesn't matter. It feels so good anytime. I do it when I'm driving, watching tv, surfing the internet, out to dinner, ALWAYS. I hate when I do it at work though. Sometimes I notice people looking at me, and I actually had someone tell me before it would affect my ability to progress in my career! Thankfully my family pays no attention to it. I do have a couple friends that hit my hand when I hand when I do it though, but that only temporarily deters me. I feel that my hair is not as healthy as it could be and for that reason I would like to be able to stop. I twist my hair in to a knot at the end and try to get it out, but if I can't, I have to rip the knot out, and sometimes I just twist it so tight, I know it causes breakage. My favorite spot is the front left, or sometimes the front right if my right hand is more accessible.

I'm off to see if anyone has any suggestions for stopping!

Anonymous said...

Gotta jump in on this. I'm 61 and have been tying my hair in knots for decades. I'm right handed and use my left for tying several knots in one strand. I then pinch the knots with my fingers and then untie it. I like to feel the creases this causes in my hair. I do this when I'm on the computer, watching TV or driving. It's nutty, I know. Other than that, I'm a pretty normal grandma.

Anonymous said...

I have a little hair twirler in my home. He does it because when he was a baby I would put him to sleep by gently rubbing the crown of his head. As he got older you could always tell he was tired because he would start twirling. He used to put himself to sleep twirling. He wears his hair short now but twirls mine when we sit next to each other. He also twirls his grandmas hair. I have a feeling that I will be able to tell when he falls in love for the first time by seeing if he is comfortable enough to twirl the girls hair.

Anonymous said...

I am 21 years old, and I have been twirling my hair since I was an infant. Its just something I do, I'm not sure what the cause is. I just like how my hair feels. I kept my hair long until I got into to high school. That is when I tried to stop twirling, but the urge just got so bad. I cut my hair from knee-length to just at my shoulders. Needless to say, the urge to twirl did not go away, and I still twirl to this day.

Follow Alida said...

I am constantly twirling the ends of my long hair and trimming the "sticky outies" that are more likely strands that I've stretched out myself. Thank goodness I have a very thorough and patient hairdresser!

I don't pull enough to have any thinning, but I do get split ends and cramps in my hands. Future problems like arthritis do worry me somewhat, but I did get a chuckle out of it being our mode of transcendance!

Anonymous said...

Oh, my, gosh, I never knew there were other people out there who were hair twirlers, too. (I stumbled on this blog post on a random Internet search.) I've been twirling for as long as I can remember, though it's never caused me any distress.

I've always got to be doing something with my hands. If there's a pen on the table, you can bet I will pick it up and start spinning it around in my fingers.

It's loads more socially acceptable than picking your nose, so why worry about it?

We Three 3 said...

This is amazing. These are my people! I am 45 years old and have been twirling my hair as long as I can remember. I have two different ways that I twirl. I work from home at a very stressful job and I'll twist my hair into knots. I usually have three or four at a time on the right side of my head, I keep them there during the course of the day. That way I don't have to restart a twirl, I can just keep going back to them. My family can tell how crazy my day has been by how messy my head it. I always use my right hand, I tried to train the left for when I drive but it doesn't cooperate, so my arm can get really tired. I'd much rather my husband drive so I can prop my arm up against the window. Anyway, he's afraid I'll get us into a car accident with just one hand on the wheel.The other way i twirl is mostly for reading, TV, relaxing, going to sleep, spacing out. I just make a simple loop and just brush with my thumb. I have a love/hate issue with my habit and have thought seriously about stealing one or two of those looped hair samples they have by the hair dyes at the drugstore but those are synthetic and just don't cut it. When I go to get my haircut the hairdresser never fails to give me a long speech because the hair on the right is shorter and damaged. My mom twirls when she reads, only. My sister does it as well, she used to knot hers all up but now its pretty much of a loose twirling. We've had many discussions about the different 'techniques'. I CANNOT wait to tell them about this blog post. When I get buried I told my husband that before they close the coffin, they better put my hand in my hair.

DaJaFa said...

I too twirl. I love the feel of the soft hair running between my fingers. I will just stop and run my finger over the silky threads...maybe even flatten it out a bit and rub it more. i do this when relaxing, watching a movie, going to bed, riding in a car. It is more gentle at this point...light twirling. Medium twirling when I am thinking, driving, walking, or anything that requires some thought. I twirl it tighter, wanting the feel of the tight, twisted strands. I rarely get nots in it unintentionally at this point. I do heavy twirling when i am frustrated or upset...or when my wife decides she has had enough of the twirling and takes my strand...that can make it go from light to heavy in a split-second! Heavy twirling involves intentional knots...the snapping sound of a single tight hair finally breaking seems comforting in the rougher times. Extreme twirling is to the point that I make large knots and pull tufts out. I do the extreme twirling when I finally realize how stupid the habit seems, or it is pointed out...I am unsure if it is a form of lashing out at this point or what.
I smoke, I play video games, cards...I am even a commercial construction plumber (I sadly admit to going to the port-o-potty just to twirl on occasion)! When I smoke I twirl, when I play video games I twirl...It is a part of my life, off and on, since childhood. I used to keep my hair buzzed because I would rip bald spots from extreme twirling...when I bicced my head (shave all the way with a razor) I began on my beard when it got to length. Before it did I was a mess, haha. Always shaking my legs vehemently...clicking a pen, or rapping my fingers...people got so annoyed!
My hair is back to a twirlable length again and my wife still doesn't get it...I actually have a psychiatrist appointment soon to go over it (my wife is worried because I occasionally get to the extreme twirling)! I am so tired of it I almost want to go back to biccing my head to make it stop. I feel it is an addiction...and if I am going to succeed in my smoking cessation then I should be able to stop twirling! But I cannot bear to seperate myself from the wonders of twirling! Some people think it is a disorder...but I believe it to be a mental addiction...like some people popping gum...or shaking their legs...mentally it just has to be done!
I apologize for the incredibly long droning, i will stop, but please, any questions or comments...answers even...my email is dajafa1988@gmail.com...I will continue checking up on my fellow twirlers via this blog! VIVA LA TWIRLING! :D

Anonymous said...

I am 58 and have been twirling since I can remember. My daughter (only child) was born sucking her thumb and the nurses said they'd never seen a baby with a stronger sucking instinct. As soon as she was able to control her hand and fingers, she reached up to stroke and touch my hair as she nursed. She stopped sucking her thumb at age 10, but like her mom, never stopped twirling the hair. Now she has two girls. One is a thumbsucker and hair twirler. At times this granddaughter has had her finger in hair knots so tight that she could not get her finger out. Once we had to stop the car and cut the hair off her finger because she was screaming and the finger was dark blue.

My 22 year old nephew is a twirler. Lately, for the first time, I caught my 83 year old dad touching the bristly ends of his freshly barbered eyebrows with the tip of his finger while watching TV. That is just another version of this sensory thing that we do.

My conclusion: I think it is hereditary. I don't think we learn it. I think it is some anxiety (I pause to twirl my hair and think about how to word this)bug that is stamped onto our genes. If we all got together and compared notes, we would probably find out that most of us are type B personalities with a tendancy for depression, shyness, and frustration. What do you think?

Anonymous said...

I am so glad to know that I am not the only one in this world who twists their hair. I am 37 years old and have been twisting for as long as I can remember.

I was actually born with a bald spot on my right side at the temple. I have a spot about the size of a walnut that is as smooth as a newborn baby's butt. So that does not help because I am left handed and my favorite twist location is the right temple side, even though that does not stop the right hand from twisting. I twist all the time - driving, relaxing, watching TV, working, eating, in my sleep, on the computer - it doesn't matter. It's my comforting drug I guess you could call it. I like to twist little strands around my fingers until I hear the SNAP! I also like to smell the hair that I've been twisting. My husband has gotten use to it now except when I get both hands going at the same time. That's when he will make comments about it.

The way I see it. . . twisting my hair isn't killing me. . .the worst thing that could happen is to have to wear a wig - big woop! Twisting is not the worst thing I could be doing!!!!

Happy twisting. . .:)

Anonymous said...

Sssoooo, if we want to stop, HOW do we stop?

-34 year old F twirler since 2 yrs. old.

andrew252 said...

The response to this blog is unreal! I never realised hair twirling was such a big thing. I'm a 23yo male and have twirled my own hair and my mum's & grandma's hair as long as I can remember. I twirled the shit out of it reading all these comments. I've done some research on it and it seems that it reflects low self-esteem and/or OCD. I can say that I have my self-esteem is very low, most likely resulting from being bullied at high school (I had a great upbringing from my parents) but I was twirling long before high school. I am going to see a professional in the hope I can stop it and start living life as I should.

Anonymous said...

I am cracking up right now that there is so many people who have exactly the same hair twirling habit as me. I thought I was alone! I have been twirling for as long as i can remember and every attempt to stop has failed. I even put rubber bands on my wrists so that everytime i realized i was unconciously twirling i would snap them on my wrist... that lasted about a week before deciding it was hopless lol
Some people say i look like an airhead when twirling and that its annoying but some think its amazing how i can twirl knots with one hand other "routines" i do with my hair lol... But its getting to a point where ill be rubbing my hair on my lips without realizing it while people are talking to me and its really embarassing. They stare at me like a freak lol ...if anyone has found a cure pleaseeee post it! My hair is starting to get brittle I twirl my hair so much.

Anonymous said...

I am amazed I was able to find so many others out there that do this. I am a 66 year old woman who has twirled my hair as long as I can remember. It started in conjunction with thumb sucking but continued until today tho I stopped sucking my thumb at age 9. Interestingly enough if you pay close attention to actors on TV once in awhile you will see them doing it for a split second. I felt that was good for me to see since I thought I was completely alone with this issue. I am so glad I found the rest of you here.
I have a great life in retirement with little stress, so for me it is more a comfort than a stress reliever. I can start to twirl my hair and my mind goes blank...I love the feel of the silky strands running through my fingers. I make a loop of the hair and then use my fingers to press it...very comforting. I do it to fall asleep, sometimes to concentrate on a project, or when watching TV. I use only my left hand as it does not feel the same with the right..although I am right handed. But I do it only when I am alone, because I am embarassed at my age. Silly of all of us to feel we are doing something wrong. It gives me comfort and a sense of well being, and I intend to twirl until my last breath....provided no one is watching.

Anonymous said...

i am 29 years old will be 30 in december, i have been hair twirling since moving in with my aunt who also had the habit when i was 15/16 years old. i twist it around my finger curl it up til it makes knots then unravel them and go again i leave the pieces twisted and let them hang and move to another twist close to the same spot usually with my left hand on the left side of my head as i'm right handed and am usually using the right hand for something else, i twist my hair while reading, writing, driving, playing on fb as long as it doesn't require typing, sometimes while i'm eating as far as i know i don't have any debilitating psychological disorders and the hair twisting is done out of unconscious habit but i've never tried to stop and don't intend too, i think everyone who twists that have commented on here should just continue to twist and allow it to comfort you if thats why you do it and chill not everything is a sign of something being wrong!

Anonymous said...

omfg!! I have twirled and knotted my hair up forever, I am also a thumb sucker. I suck right thumb and twist with my left! My mother never tried to break these habits, becaus they always soothed me to sleep.. when I was really little I would pull out my hair, but have sine stopped that part!!! This is amazing to find that other people do it as well!!! Great post, made my whole year lol

Anonymous said...

I simply love to twiddle my hair. i hve done it for 52 years. I always twiddle the same place. Most of the time I am not aware of doing it. I do catch myself twidderling my hair if i am deep in thoght or worrying. Once a fellow coworker told me that my twiddling increases if i am nervous or tired. Anyway im sur i`ll be doing this in my grave!!!!

from one to another said...

I do it when I am studying, tired, or just relaxing. I always used to play with my mom's hair when I was young so maybe it is a comfort habit from way back then. The funny thing is that I sometimes play with my sons hair and he says it is relaxing. My brother used to do it too, so who knows, maybe it is hereditary but if you have soft hair go ahead and touch it, it's your head!!!! :)

Anonymous said...

My girlfriend twirls her hair and I love it, makes her look even cuter - I don't try and stop her as I know it's purely a comfort thing. Interesting to read all these comments though, seems to be quite a common habit. Whatever makes her happy!

Anonymous said...

I'm quite shocked about how many people love to twirl/ rub their hair and not think it's weird. I lived with a girl who did it all the time and now I can't look at anyone who plays with their hair... it actually makes me feel quite sick. It's ok if you're a 5 year old girl, but after that it's a sign of anxiety or boredom and can make people seem childish and vacuous. Over the years I’ve noticed more and more girls do this, it seems that our culture is happy to infantile women which worries me. If you think people should lighten up, just think about people who constantly tap their foot or whistle and tell me it wouldn't annoy you? It's the same behaviour, an inability to switch off and relax without a ‘comforter’. There are behaviour modification techniques around for those of you who want to change :)

Anonymous said...

Cool to hear about others who do the same, I don't feel as weird. I don't like it when I do it though, I gotta say. I think it's more a compulsion rather than an actual choice, which is the main reason I don't think it's appealing in general and good for anyone. I understand how difficult it is to get rid of it though, it seems like it's an excellent distraction from anxiety. I'm thinking that's where that clear-minded transcendence idea comes from. I know logically there's some reason it's ticking, but it's very eluding. That self-defense mechanism idea is interesting haven't heard that yet.

Anonymous said...

hair twirlers unite! i could not believe there was a site for this. that in itself is very comforting. i love to twirl my hair. i do not pull it out. i have not twirled it tight to a knot for many years. i am a lefty, so i twirl with my right. of course i was twirling while i was reading all the other comments. i love it! i had a blanket as a little child. i caress and manipulate the ends of the sheets to fall asleep. i am male, and have for most of my life, and still have long hair. i do believe it has to do with what type of gift we are, prophetics, intuitives, visionaries, or feelers. of course we are feelers! love and backing to all.

Anonymous said...

Same symptoms here as a lot of people - light twirling when bored/reading, etc. Heavy twirling when nervous, tressed out, trying to solve a problem etc.

I hate it, but can't stop no matter how hard I try (and am not ready yet to cut my hair short). Has anyone found a solution?

Anonymous said...

I cant ever remember not twirling. I have numerous cowliks along my hair line that just need to be twirled. Sometimes the preferred piece hurts a bit if I'm working it to hard. I've had a crew cut for 30yrs due to my twirling, I just twirl the area even when it's short. I do it without thinking & sometimes I decide that I need to do it. My main problem with it now days is with male pattern baldness my twirling pieces are starting to disappear, not sure if I'll find a new area to twirl or just twirl the bald spots.

Anonymous said...

I've twirled my hair since as long as I can remember. I also think it might be hereditary. My mom and one of my 2 siblings also twirls their hair as well as a couple of my nieces. I noticed when I'm nervous or stressed out I do it more and longer. I went to a psychologist for some couseling on other issues and noticed that I had stopped twirling my hair when I was in couseling (the only time I ever stopped). I only wish there was more information on it. How to permanently stop.

Anonymous said...

Wow now I feel a little better, knowing that I'm not the only male that plays with their hair.
I'm not sure how far back my twirling goes because most of the time I basically have to put on an act around every one I know,
because of all my other quirks.

Anonymous said...

Hair twisting, picking, rocking and OCD from PTS
I was told that I was doing it since I was a baby; I knew others did it too, but didn't think it was this common. I am not twisting now. It definitely was a comfort thing for me. I do think it is connected to PTS, & OCD, although I am not big on labels. I am adopted and thought it might be linked to not feeling safe. I know my step son does it too, and thought maybe it was linked as he was separated from his mom for the first 5 weeks of his life. I also think it is connected to OCD as I have other habits too or in place of hair twirling. I am 41 now and my hair twisting has stopped on and off over the years, most recently it stopped a year ago when I got a really good haircut, that leaves the top layer only 2 inches long and length just at my shoulders. Although when it gets too long I sometimes catch myself reaching for my crown. I always used twist knots in an out of my hair, usually at the nape of the neck or the crown. I loved the feeling of the hair being pulled there. I would never rip it out, but did occasionally get my finger stuck in my hair and have to work to get it out without wrecking the hair or hurting my finger. I would also have multiple braids as well, sometimes doing my whole head in knots. I would also use both hands, and sometimes get achy arms, hands and shoulders. I may have even developed a frozen should from it. I did not have the greatest life with my adopted family and was always told I would go bald and ridiculed for it. The opposite was true, I have really nice thick hair, except sometimes the hair would be a bit thinner and shorter, noticed by hair dressers on the right side of the nape of my neck. I also use to shed a lot, with hair all over my chair. It would really upset me when people pointed it out in a way that was ridiculing. I have even been called retarded because of it. I have had some friends and boyfriends over the years who it really bothered, but their resistance to it just caused more anxiety for me. I thought of the times I was doing it, to see if there was a pattern. When tired, when stressed, when watching TV, working on the computer, when board, when concentrating. It is kind of like I would just not want to be here (on earth) as the pain and sadness was too great, so I would go into my own little world and twirl my hair. Maybe people who do it are just extra sensitive to energy and do it as a defense mechanism that gives us comfort? My little soul being has had a lot of trouble being in the density of this body and this planet. Now I smoke pot and that helps somewhat calm me when I am overwhelmed, anxious or stressed. Sometimes I use it up to 3 times per day. I have used it on and off over the years since I was 17. Even though I don't like all the effects of smoking I would still rather do that than pharmaceuticals. I have had 2 nervous breakdowns one when I was 18 and one when I was 24. Although when I read the Children’s Aid report about my first 5 months of life I wonder if I wasn’t having one then, as they had me drugged up on Phenat, Noctec and then Nembutol. My adopted parents weaned me off of this by the age of 2. I was a very hyper-active and have a lot a strange memories from when I was little. In school I used to day dream a lot and had trouble concentrating. Most people see me as a wise, intelligent and caring being. Many are amazed at how well I have done without medication and therapists, given all I have had to endure. I did have a good therapist for about 2 years after I met my birth family. I found her really helpful as she guided me to see the patterns I was creating and helped me to see where some of them came from. Thanks to all who shared, and thanks for all who care to read. Blessings!

fibrorunner said...

Wow! I twist my hair up in the same manner as u were describing...lol when I read the theory about the crown chakra I started to cry. It was a light bulb moment for me. I realized that part of my hair twisting is a way of holding in painful emotions. THANK YOU FOR POSTING THIS:)

maggie m said...

im a person who is very selff consious about my habits and i have 3 bad ones

pulling out my hair
biting my nails
and twirling my hair

people seem to thing its being flirty and it pisses some people off other people think its cute

Wyocntry said...

Sheesh, I never thought it to be a concern until I saw this blog. I was directed to it via a site that discussed Body-Focused Repetitive Behavior which discussed pulling hair and nail biting. Nail biting has also been a lifelong habit for me, as well as picking the hems out of my tshirts but I have always referred to both as nervous habits. I do occasionally pull my hair out but usually when it is twisted too tightly, which happens because it is so curly. My best friend and I are in our 40's and have both done it for as long as we can remember. Glad to know there are so many of US out there!

Anonymous said...

I developed several nervous disorders as a child. Blinking was one that got my parents to take me to the eye doctor, who told my parents that all my "issues" were resulting from the stress of the Catholic School I was attending... (the nuns would beat the sht out of us with little provication). So I was taken out of Saint Mathews School, and placed in a Public School, and all but one of my little problems went away quickly. Which is what brought me here. I'm a closet twirler. In privacy, I can NOT stop. Of course, I can not hide it from my girlfriend, she acts like she doesn't notice anything, but I know she does. I've been called out on it a couple of times and just wanted to die. I've cut my hair short, and for me, the problem goes away, when it grows back, so does the problem. I'm 53 years old, and this has been since I was 6... I am a perfectionist. I drive people crazy with that, but as far as feelings of guilt, shame, stress, depression... are you kidding me...??? I'm happiest guy I know. My life is AWESOME...!!! Well, it brings me a little relief to know if I'm a little weird, at least I'm in good company...

Marina said...

This blog post is me to a T! Wow...

Anonymous said...

I cannot beleive all the "Twidlers" that are out there, I am nearly in tears reading this, 'm not sure i am relieved to find others or concerned that I need to seak help...

I am 27 adn have twiddled/twirled for as long as i can remember. I get shouted at and ridiculed for doing it. My thing is the twirling into really tight little nots on my head, i rip the hair a lot too. :-(

Anonymous said...

I have twirled my hair for as long as i can remember and i don't feel that it is a bad habit - its a comfort thing. I twirl my hair when i am tired or when i am reading...it makes me feel relaxed and i love the softness of it.
I am a primary school teacher and quite often when we have 'gather' time, one or two pupils are inclined to engage in a bit of hair twirling (probably my lessons sending them to sleep, although i like to think they are concentrating) It doesn't stop at gather time...i have spotted some fellow twirlers in the staffroom too.
All very normal and a habit of choice! :)

Anonymous said...

I am 67 and have been twirling my hair on and off for as far back as I can remember. No one ever criticized me or tried to stop me. I always wondered what it "meant'. Twirling was a soothing,comforting thing to me. It doesn't hurt anyone, so twirl away. Twirl Away! and don't feel guity!

Anonymous said...

I also have this problem, although i do not consider it a problem. i am in my late 30's and have been doing it as long as i can remember. i do it when i read, while i am drifting off to sleep, if i am concentrating, while watching tv, sitting at my desk... i find it to not only be a sensory comfort but also an auditory one. i can hear my fingers rubbing across the strands and it is similar to a noise machine for me. i have 3 daughters, my 16 year old has been doing it since birth. her hand was eitjer in my hair or seeking out her own. now i have a ten month old granddaughter that does the same thing while she is watching tv or drifting off to sleep. my mom hates that i do it, but i understand the comfort it gives.

Anonymous said...

As most of the other people who have commented i too twirl my hair. It started whe i was still in single digits and has been a constant part of me ever since. I used to only do it when I read (which was a lot) but as time moved on it became more than just something I do when I read. I love the feeling of my hair gently slipping through my fingers. My friends, family, and even teachers have noticed and when they ask why my only response is "I just do". At one point I foolishly posted on Facebook how I wanted to stop and if any of my friends see me twirling they have my permission to hit my arm. Of course my friends took this to heart and have since been on a mission to get me to stop. The thing is that even after I get caught and hit I forget about it and start twirling mindlessly yet again. I can definitely see how twirling is a way to open my mind. I think I even knew it unconsciously when I was just thirteen. A teacher asked why I twirled and I said "it helps me think". Thank you so much for this post! It is very enlightening. I always thought that it was just a habit

Anonymous said...

I twirl all the time. I usually use my left hand and twirl the hair from the back of head right behind my ear. I don't usually make it twirl so much it knots but that does tend to happen if my hair isn't clean. since I have curly hair anyway people always say "Why are you curling your hair? It's curly enough as it is?!" and I just never had a response. I love the feeling of soft silky hair gliding along my fingers. I love the softness so much that I even put my hair up to my lips and above my mouth just to feel the sensation again (everyone thinks I love moustaches now). I don't consider the twirling bad (unless you count my split-ends) it is just part of who I am. and reading the previous comments I realize now that some people consider it flirting, airheaded, or even just bored and that is not it at all! I never knew how others saw my hair twirling-I just knew they noticed

Anonymous said...

I sometimes make 'twiddles' into tight knots on top of my head. I get my boyfriend to bite on them and its the best feeling ever! Sometimes I also make tight twirls and put them up my nose, just the one nostril though. I haven't seen anyone else describing these things so maybe I'm the only one?

Anonymous said...

I have also been stuffing my ear canal with hair since I was a child. I have twirled my hair since I was able to while sucking my thumb. I stopped sucking my thumb when I hit puberty, but have hair twirled ever since. There was about 12 years that I wore my hair very short, and would still play with the tips. This is the first time I've ever looked into my habit in any way, so very interesting. The chakra explanation makes a lot of sense to me.

Anonymous said...

Hooray! I love your post, knotted fingers as a party trick! I call it hair bondage. I love it when I get my finger tired so tightly in the hair that it can cut off blood flow to the finger tip. I take the wrapped finger and rub it across my lips, or I use my other fingers to otherwise play with the hair strand. Goddess, I could talk about this all day....

Anonymous said...

Wow!!! It's good to know I'm not alone. I've been twirling since I was about 8 or younger.

Anonymous said...

I knew I wasn't the only one....I have been doing this since a little girl...now 38..and a manager I still do it...I find i do it at the most stressful times at work....somehow it helps in my decision making with problems.....clarity? But then I do it while at home watching tv....always with my left hand, although I did notice under a potential costly problem that arose at work....I was two hand twirling....but I did solve the situation with flying colors....

Kaz said...

The reason I twirl is because of the feeling under my fingernails when the knots go under them. I don't thing anyone has mentioned that but I have always liked that bit best.

Anonymous said...

Amazing to find out that other people twirl their hair. Drives my husband crazy and he tells me to stop. I used to be embarrassed but now I don't care what people think. It is soothing and usually do I when I am concentrating or just thinking. IUse one hand but can really getvgoing with the two handed method :D I do crochet it a lot, like to doing thing with my hands I guess. Thanks for sharing everyone.

Anonymous said...

I am a 63 year old female. I have twisted my hair as long as I can remember. The teachers in elementary school would report this habit to my parents. I do not pull or knot my hair. I just wrap it around my fingers and feel the softness of it. It is compulsive so that makes me think it is related to OCD. to add to the whole problem I also have facial tics. Severe tics. Constant Tics. I am on medication given to me by doctors of Mayo Clinic but the tics are still bad. I'm not as accepting as many people on this site. I WANT TO STOP!!! If anyone has found a cure for this, please post it.

Carly myers said...

I have been "knotting" my hair or twisting it for years but only when i tie it on top of my head. I do it to the point where my entire head is so knotted that it takes about an hour to detangle the mess. It's getting to the point where my hair is breaking off and I still can't seem to stop putting my hair up and finding loops in the hair and twisting them under over and over. I think about it all the time and still do it even when im telling myself not to. It seemed like such a stupid habit but I think it's turning into much more. What else can I do to control it? I can't find any information on it as I don't have trich and pull my hair out...so I don't really know what IT is.

Anonymous said...

I have been a hair twirler for most of my life. My mother always used to tell me to "cut it out!" I read somewhere that it was a habit that falls in the OCD spectrum and that a lot of hair twirlers are also skin-pickers (another thing I am guilty of, though I'm trying hard to stop that one - I pick at my cuticles). The hair twirling doesn't bother me, and I am not really sure why it bothers other people, to be honest. LOL I've never pulled my hair out, I just like the feeling of the hair moving through my fingers. Now that I have purple highlights in my hair, I love to look at that too:)

Ellie said...

FINALLY more twirlers. No one in my town does it... I am the only one. I twirl all through school and all my friends say its annoying but i cant go without 2 minuetes without twirling. It's so subconscious. I don't even know im doing it. I put it up for 2 months and thought that would stop me from twirling. I just took it down and started right back up again, Whatever, I guess i'm a twirler for life...
):

NiCkY said...

Loved reading everyone's "confessions". I AM A HAIR TWIRLER!

My whole family talks about how when I was a baby with very fine short hair, I'd twirl it into knots all over my entire head. As though I'd run out of space to twirl so I'd move to a different area of my head. Apparently my mom had a difficult time getting these teeny tiny knots out at times. I really don't remember this time much at all. As my hair grew longer I'd twirl and bring the hair into my mouth. This does embarrass me to talk about but I would then chew and nibble it a little. I definitely ate a little sometimes. I really can't explain why I did this. My family would yell and tell me to stop. I realized it was yucky and kind of grew out of it. That is probably when I started nail biting instead (which I also still do).

I didn't begin twirling again till I was maybe 20 or so. I am 28 and still doing it. What I do now is find a soft piece on my right hand on my right side, as I'm left handed. I'll twist the piece... sometimes I will do the one hand knotting method over and over again... make a little knot and push on it... My hair is long, soft, fine and blond. I really can't help it. I think I only do it a few times a week. I twirl driving or watching a movie, relaxing, thinking, etc. Maybe it's my way of dealing with life and finding peace. I love zoning out and twirling away. BTW I was diagnosed with ADD when I was 7. Sometimes when I twirl I go into an ADD almost trance like state. Other times I am semi aware I am doing it. I really like the chakra idea. With my ADD it can be hard for me to focus, so possibly it opens my mind to think and concentrate on occasion.

I think it does bother my husband, but we have been married almost 10 years now so I think he's just gotten used to it. My coworkers mention it occasionally. I do try not to do it when I'm at work though. Don't want to have that "simple" look about me. I have noticed my 4 year old daughter twirling occasionally. I definitely think it is because she sees me doing it. I do tell her to stop. It seems she is consciously doing it. Not sure I want to pass on twirling to her.

I'm not sure how I feel about my twirling. Maybe I am a little self conscious about my twirling? I love how it makes me feel, but I dont want others to look down on me for doing it. For some of us maybe it depends on how much it is dusrupting our lives. Some of us want to stop and some don't, and I think thats okay. At this point in my life I don't feel the need to stop. I can make a conscious choice to not do it infront of others. Maybe thats why I'll continue....

Rachel said...

OMG I'm so glad I looked up hair twirling cuz every time my family catches me twirling my hair their always telling that its bad habit and my mom told me once that it made me look like a loony. I told her that I only do it when I'm stressed or dealing with anxiety or depression but she doesn't believe me and just smacks my hand.

I'm 21 and in college and really the only people that complain about my twirling my hair on occasions are my family cuz everyone else just thinks that I'm concentrating on my studies or on a book that I may be reading at that moment.

Hehe back in high school I had a friend that every class I would love to sit behind her so that I could play and twirl her hair. She would love it and most of the time fall asleep cuz of it. So really hair twirling is not such a big deal you just have to make sure you don't pull on it hard enough that you lose your hair cuz of it. But honestly if people can't understand the little quirk that we have then forget it don't it bother you and if they tease you laugh it off. Who cares what others think if it makes us feel better.

Mary said...

I used to twirl my hair when I was young when I was reading, have not
done it for years, I am now in my late 60,My husband passed away six
weeks ago and I am constantely twirling since read blog to see if their was any reason for it.

Anonymous said...

I know exactly what you mean. I have been twirling my hair since I can remember and constantly do it at night when trying to fall asleep. The "snapping" sound used to and still drives my mom insane! But I like it. And I know it's bad for my hair and I shouldn't be doing it but I jus can't stop.

becktesch said...

Has anyone found a way to quit?!?

I twirl too! I can tie really fantastic knots on top of knots and they come right out. It's quite a skill, I wish it were good for something!

I don't get teased very often. People in my life are very nice. Usually they're curious and or concerned more than anything. Occasionally, someone will say something. I don't get upset about it. I do try to keep it at a minimum in public and in meetings at work and etc.

Something I have found useful is I at least try not to pull very hard, hoping not to go bald. I also try to switch up the chunk of hair so that it's not just the one spot. I'm not a hair puller, just a twirler, but I fear the long term effects.

A big problem for me is that it seems to be wearing my shoulder out completely and increasing Carpel Tunnel issues in my hand! I also bite at the inside of my mouth and it's wearing my teeth down, giving me tension headaches and TMJ, and it looks funy.

A friend of mine who is a therapist says that they say not to worry about compulsive habits unless they're hurting you, and now with the shoulder and hand pain and the jaw pain, I feel I must find a way to stop!!

Has anyone found a way to quit? Short hair certainly has helped in the past, but I like it longer in winter 'cuz it keeps me warmer.

The head Chakra ting is AWESOME! I"m going to read that next. Big thanks to whomever posted that!

email me if you've found solutions beyond putting the hair up and distracting msyelf.

Anonymous said...

I have twirled my hair since childhood and have found it comforting. I never thought of it as a problem although, over the years various people commented. Recently someone referred to it as a neurosis and that bothered me. As long as it isn't hurting anyone and I am not tearing my hair out why should it be an issue? At least I am a comforted neurotic :)

Anonymous said...

What the heck!? I take tiny bits of hair and twist just the ends, usually until they get so crimped and crinkled they break off. I twist one way with my right hand and then the opposite way with my left, all while pulling at one spot on my scalp. For hours. There is such pleasure in this pain! This "spot" has migrated over the years but for the past few months is at the top/back of my head. My wrists ache and my shoulders are knotted. I also am a lifelong nailbiter and my clippers and tweezers are my "tools". I chew the inside of my mouth until it bleeds. I cannot let one piece of skin or cuticle hang- all surfaces must be smooth. This goes beyond any "comforting" behaviors, I think. We're talkin MAJOR OCD!

Anonymous said...

I'm a male in my 30s. I did some twirling in my childhood, and it hit a launching point about 21. My girlfriend hates it and jokes she's gonna cut off my hands. "The problem" seemed to worsen when I gave up drinking. I think meditation, Zen style, helps. You can just focus on your breath.

TO BE NOTED: Leonardo Di Caprio can be seen doing it (in character?) in "Django Unchained" about midway through the movie.

Anonymous said...

Jumping into the conversation as hair twirlers unite. Mid-30's Male. I've been doing this since I can remember usually watching tv, reading, or annoying/stressful tasks like clicking-type games (over and over with a mouse). I am an ambidextrous twirler but usually stick to top of the head. Something about the sides makes too much noise... front is annoying and back can bend the elbow too much so the top is my favorite spot. I will sometimes switch fingers too as a change of pace... weird.

For me, it's the repetitive motion and the feeling between my fingers. I've also been sensitive to the feel of fabrics. I love twirling girl's hair. Most girls have longer hair and I like the whipping of the end of the hair between my fingers. My gf hates it though which can be a problem and she hates to see me twirl. It makes her anxious - go figure, opposites attract. Funny part for me is the cat watched me do it to my girlfriend in the morning while she was sleeping and he kinda grabs her hair to wake her up. LOL! I don't think it is an OCD thing for him. Initially I think he thought it was a blonde snake to play with.

One strange thing for me is I rarely do it at work... not sure if it is because I am busy or around people. Maybe it is perception. If nobody is around and I am working late, I will catch myself doing it. No idea why.

Not sure if anyone else had the same but I use to rock my head side-to-side to help go to sleep as a kid. I even bounced my head off the pillow like a crazy person but that type of repetitive stuff worked for me. I've since stopped the head stuff but the twirling has always remained.

That's my hair twirling story...

Anonymous said...

I've been twirling my hair since I was a boy. I used to twirl my mothers hair which would piss her off to no end. I have continued doing this all through my teenage years and through my twenties, 28 now. I use my left hand or right hand and twirl the hell out of my hair on the back of my head with my index finger, usually until my elbows get tired and or my head is sore or my hair is dried out beyond belief. I get my hair cut usually once every two months so when I do, naturally I stop and then when it finally gets long enough I get right back into the habit. I twirl when I drive, I twirl at work if I can get a free hand, I twirl before I go to bed or if I wake up in the night which is the only downfall about this strange obsession, lack of sleep. All girlfriends I've had all get caught into my twirling habit. I end up twirling their hair which ends up in knots and me getting yelled at. Usually they don't notice until I have their hair in a bad knot and it pulls haha. I can't explain it, I just love the feeling of twirling things into knots! Even if I'm sitting in the grass I'll twirl it! I've never been criticised for it, most people just say dude, what's with the hair twirling? To which I reply, I have no idea. I guess its an unconscious response to boredom, stress, OCD, ADD...etc. I really have no idea! I'll continue to enjoy it until I get my next haircut and or go bald, that's about it!

Anonymous said...

I am a 35 year old female, and I was actually trying to find out if anyone suffered from the same habit I did. I have also twirled my hair since I can remember and I also suck my thumb. the two have always gone hand in hand. I am extremely embarrassed to admit it and I would never tell anyone but my immediate family. more than anything else I would like to know if anyone clicks their hair when they twirl it. this is accomplished by the while you're twirling it you grab a single hair, and twirl it around the remaining bunch. then I click it using my nail untell the hair breaks.
I have also braided bunched knotted up twisted and just rubbed my fingers against my hair it is very fine and very soft. everyone hears the sound and stops and ask me how are you doing that? I feel comforted by the sound as well as the action. I an identical twin she used to suck her thumb also but she outgrew that. childhood was traumatic and this has always brought me comfort. I would love to know if anyone else purposely click their hair while they twirl it.

funnyfemale said...

How do I stop myself from twirling, tugging, knotting and then breaking the knots with my fingers? Sort of like using my finger as a brush to untangle the knots, but more often than not, it won't untangle and I have to break it off. The entire knot will still be in tact. I find a crap load of them throughout my apartment. Sometimes I mistake them for spiders lol. I also will wet my hair with my saliva before twirling and knotting, which makes it more difficult to try to untangle. I just don't know how to stop. My hair is so uneven and severely damaged because of this. What's worse is that I sometimes do it while i'm cooking for me and my two children. They find little pieces of hair in their food! It is so disgusting. This is getting out of hand. My friends and family frequently comment on my hair saying things such as "when did you cut your hair?" or things of that nature. I am offended by their comments, but I shouldn't be because they aren't trying to be mean or rude, they're just asking. My family knows I twirl, tug and break my hair out of habit, but they don't realize just how bad it really is. Its not a nervous thing. Its out of boredom or when i'm concentrating on something. I hate this! Lastly, i'm trying to grow my hair long but this twirling of hair is preventing me from achieving that. I just look like I have weird layers on purpose, which is absolutely NOT the look i'm going for. Haha.

Brie_Strummer said...

I've twirled my hair every since I can remember and it happened usually (when I was little) when I was tired or bored. It became a problem since my finger would get stuck in the knots I would from twirling so much. And then there was a point in my life where I started doing it WAY less for some odd reason. But I believe that it is because I always have to be doing some kind of little quirky habit such as biting my lips and cheeks, cleaning under my fingernails with a pencil, picking erasers, doodling, drawing on my skin, picking at my face, and tapping my foot...all things I went back in forth with in an attempt to cure my boredom. And from my extreme boredom came thinking to much which made me a very quiet person which is a whole different story. But now I am much more outgoing but I have picked up on my old habit again where I do it every day of almost every hour until my arm starts to hurt. It brings me some small level of dopamine I suppose. But I think that it came back because recently I have been having trouble dealing with my past (childhood) so that must contribute to my reaching out for an old comfort habit....
I thought I was OCD but I've read up on this and it is different. I have a bad habit circled around a comfort from a stressful childhood. And that's how it is.

Anonymous said...

100% ditto on everything you say. Even the grass twirling. I twirl it into big clumps, and then rip the clump out the ground!

Also, any pillows with tassles, or long haired rugs etc, they all get twirled too. Unfortunately our cats hair isn't long enough to twirl.

Wife likes it fortunately, as long as I'm careful and don't cause massive, irreparable knots (like I used to do to girls all the time when I was small).

Now have a 1 year old daughter, and she seems to like it too. What has she let herself in for!

My hair has been short for the last 7 or more years and I haven't twirled at all, but it is longer now and I twirl constantly. I can make it through the day ok, when I know I'm out and about in public, but soon as I'm home with no plans that evening, the twirling begins and I end up with big waves and curls hanging off the back left of my head.

Does my head in if I'm honest. Dont like having a habit I can't control. Getting hair cut back short in a few days.

Anonymous said...

I have a extreme issue with twirling, knotting, pulling strands out. I was told I began doing this when I first discovered I had hair as child. Threw life I've always had people say things about it I wish I didn't do it but I can't control any urge. I'm almost 33 year old and since I've turned 30 I do it so much more if I'm not busy with my hands they will be in my hair. I have knots of hair on furniture in my bed in my trucks on my clothes and it drives me nuts I haven't got a clue on how to stop I've been put on anxiety meds and I still for it as much b4. It's like I enjoy the act of playing with my hair and ripping it out. I've thought about shaving my head to are if that could curve the sinsation but I'm told I'm too pretty to do that to myself it's so complicated and confusing aggravating

Anonymous said...

I have been twirling my hair since I was a toddler. I run my fingers through my hair for a few strands, tighten the grasp, and pull it through. The miniature knots on the strands rub against my fingers. This sensation releases emotional tension. It hurts, but yet feels good. I do believe this repetitive behavior is derived from anxiety and depression. My counselor suggested that when I feel anxious to do something nice for myself, which is great in theory but for those of us who have this...it's an addiction. What has been more beneficial for me is self discipline. As soon as I start to do it, I stop myself. I move my hands away from my head and distract myself. I hope this helps. Take care.

Dink said...

I'm a twiddler :) I do it till my hands ache if they haven't got something else to do :) if my fingers are busy my body is more relaxed than if I'm just sitting. I love everything about twiddling, and will twirl my kids hair and the cats fur if I can get away with it hehe. I put it down to being tactile, but I have also noticed in the past I do it if I'm tired or feeling insecure or stressed, I think I need to stop trying to work out why I do it and just enjoy that it makes me happy :) good to know I'm not the only one out there!

Anonymous said...

Twirling my hair has always comforted me, but some people get angry when i do it. They tell me to stop, or grab my wrist and force me to stop, or they make fun of me and say it looks strange. After some research, i have found that this habit is not a bad thing at all! It promotes blood flow to the scalp and stimulates the temporal regions of the brain, which explains the comforting effect. We don't have to stop just because of what other people say. We can embrace this habit as a beautiful thing :)

Anonymous said...

I am 15 years old and I'm obsessed with twirling my hair also. "It feels so good but it hurts so bad." I love the feeling of my soft hair but it's gotten annoying because I just can't stop doing it! UGH. I do it so much that my fingers, my wrists start to hurt and even with them hurting I keep doing it!

I want my twirling to STOPPPPP! :(

First I start feeling my hair and when i feel a really soft part that's when the twirling begins. I twirl and twirl and twirl until my arm, fingers hurt. Then I just like to feel the softness and I start to rub it on my lips and face. Sometimes I even start biting and licking it because the saliva makes it softer... I know.... Gross... but I do it unconsciously! I CAN'T HELPT IT!

My mom always gets annoyed because of this lol

And when I play with my friend's hair it's also the same... I can't seem to stop!!! Dx its so soft i just wanna feel it over and over !!!!! AHHHH it can get so annoying sometimes but oh well i hope i get over this soon....

-HZCG

Anonymous said...

Wow! Its great there is so many twirlers out there. I too have been twisting my hair into tight knots which I have perfected so they twirl out with ease so I can start the process over again. I usually have 3 or 4 knots in my head at home hehe. I've been doing it from as far back as I can remember, its relaxing and comforting.

Loe (UK)

Anonymous said...

I used to twirl as a kid. The last 13 years I had short hair and can't remember twirling. I've been growing my hair recently and noticed I have started twirling again. It doesn't feel like an anxious activity. It's feels familiar and something to do with helping me focus on what I am doing (like reading). I get bored easily so it's like the twirling keeps that part occupied. I'm a creative person and highly sensitive. I enjoy the feel of my hair when I twirl. I've noticed that I am at my happiest when I am sensing things (whether its seeing, hearing, touching, smelling) so I think that the twirling is linked to that. I see it as a natural part of me.

Owen said...

I have been twirling my hair since before i can remember. Its usually at the crown of my head but sometimes I twirl and knot parts of my fringe too. I am an 18 year old male and my habit has left me with an ever-growing bald patch at my crown. It can be quite embarrassing when i'm getting a haircut and they ask me why my hair is so thin and balding at the crown, when the rest of it is so thick. Sometimes I lie and tell them it got burnt, but i'ts a sorry excuse. If i'm bored or have nothing to occupy my mind with I can usually work the hair at my crown into knots so epic that they could probably keep the titanic harbored. Very difficult to unravel, resulting in me pulling out small clumps of knotted hair. The twirling is more of a personal thing to me, i would never feel the need to do it when i'm with friends or sitting in class, mainly just when i am sitting alone in my room is when my twirling episodes begin. I personally don't think of it as a bad habit, i greatly enjoy working out the more harder knots, its a great sense of accomplishment, not to mention how great it feels to push the very hard knots against my skull.

I am very glad i came across this blog, although i did not think I would be the only person out there who twirls they're hair, I did not think i would find many who do it to the same extent that I do. It's great to know that others understand the comfort :D Keep twirling my friends

PAMELA FREEMAN said...

1 AM 70 YRS. OLD. I HAVE TWIRLED AND TWISTED MY HAIR ALL MY LIFE. IF I AM NERVOUS ABOUT SOMETHING AND DON'T REALIZE IT, PLAYING WITH MY HAIR LETS ME KNOW I'M NERVOUS AND IT RELAXES ME. DON'T SEE ANYTHING WRONG WITH THIS WAY TO SOOTHE NERVES. ONE TIME WHEN I WAS MUCH YOUNGER, I WAS SITTING ON THE LIVING ROOM FLOOR WATCHING A VERY SCARY SHOW AND TWIRLING MY HAIR LIKE CRAZY. I TURNED AROUND TO AVOID SEEING A SCARY PART AND NOTICED MY GRANDMOTHER AND GREAT AUNT HAD TWISTED THIR HAIR INTO POINTS ALL OVER THEIR HEADS. THAT'S WHEN I REALIZED THAT I WAS TWIRLING AND IT IS A HABIT PASSED DOWN FROM FAMILY MEMBER TO FAMILY MEMBER. IT'S BETTER THAN PILLS FOR FRAZZLED NERVES. I,VE PLAY WITH MY HAIR NO MATTER IF IT'S IN A LONG OR SHORT STYLE. I'M JUST GLAD I'M AMONG SO MANY FRIENDS.

Anonymous said...

Whoa, a whole buncha fellow twirlers. 31 yr old male and I've been doing it since I was a kid. My Dad did it as well when he had a mullet lol. Nothing too neurotic for me although I do do it compulsively, I guess. I have short hair most of the time and I only compulsively reach up there a few times after a cut and don't really crave or fiend. It all boils down to the feel of hair for me, I can't play with a girlfriend's hair if it isn't soft and silky, I don't see how anyone can not wanna twirl soft hair. As a kid I used to twirl the shit outta my moms hair too.

Anonymous said...

Holy shit, are you guys me?

I am 18 male and i twirl my afro hair whenever i can, its usually when i am studying though.

Hamza (Canada)

steph g said...

holy crap!! thanks. i chewed the inside of my mouth so severely, I developed "lip/cheek chewing specific wrinkles"!!!! out of nowhere, I stopped chewing and started hair twirling. I do not pull out my hair, at all. just twirl twirl twirl constantly. I betcha I waste no less than than 5 hours a day--"lost in thought, while twirling my hair". it doesn't really bother ME, but it bothers everyone else. I've got extremely curly, shoulder length hair. I only twirl with my left hand. I was a thumbsucker til elementary school btw. my mom was a twirler. I don't pull, I don't having any bald spots or thinning hair. somebody please tell me WHY I do this. my shoulder, wrist and fingers aren't worn out, but I worry about my neck! lol sometimes I hold my head in certain positions (to allow for ease of twirling) so long, I'm afraid of what it's doi g to my posture! I'm sad there are so many of us. I've tried concerta, vyvanse and ritiilin. my neurologist is old school. he sez to use biofeedback and behavior modification, since the pharmaceuticals didn't work.

Anonymous said...

Ive been twrlin and knoting all my life.. Intend to tie in knots and put knot under my nail and squees it i like the sound of crunch.. Weird i know..

Anonymous said...

I've discovered that I'll catch myself running my fingers through my hair from the base of my skull all the way up to the crown, while touching the palm of my hand to my skin, and having the hair standing up straight the higher I move. This occurs most often when I'm tired and ready for sleep. I've also been told, I do it while I'm sleeping, too. No negative side effects, just understanding my body well enough to know I'm "fading" toward slumber when I start playing with my hair. thanks for all the feedback, was simply curious, and I feel better knowing I'm not alone!

Anonymous said...

I am 70 yrs old this year and have twirled the hair on my head since I was a toddler in England. My father did it. My sister still does. I have about 10 or so ways to do it. Mostly it's a tactual feeling - the silkiness of the hair, the feeling on my fingers, the springiness if I twist and wind it a certain way. The lovely feeling of it like the ends of a brush. Can be either hand, both hands at once, etc. The only complaints I've gotten is if I'm in a theater or someplace similar and my twirling interferes with the sight of someone behind me.

I do it when I'm thinking, when I'm concentrating, when I'm daydreaming, when I'm nervous, when I'm relaxed, when I'm happy and excited and when I'm nervous or depressed - whenever.

I'm no more neurotic than other 'normal' humans, have and continue to be a successful professional and am delighted to find so many fellow twirlers!

And, just noticed a relationship -- I have always been quite competent with my hands and fingers (sewing, carpentry, arts, music, etc). Might be all those years of twirling or vice versa!

Anonymous said...

I posted my "story" here, awhile back. I read posts, but I'm not remembering anyone discussing the long term effects of twirling TWIRLING not trichallomania (pls pardon my spelling, or lack of). I have no desire/drive to pull hair out. however, my desire/drive has evolved into full blown compulsion.
anyone out there know what chronic hair TWIRLING (NOT HAIR PULLING) does to ones hair--after a coupla years?

Anonymous said...

I'm a male hair twirler, I twirl my girlfriends hair and she hates it, it really annoys her. When in bed I'll just reach over and start twirling her hair. I flick it on the pillow as I twirl and also lie on it like a blanket which also drives her mad!

I did twirl my own hair but its impossible now because it's so short. When I'm on my own I twirl and pull my chest hair out without even realising it so I guess it's now some deep seated compulsion.

My girlfriend bought some of those hair piece extensions, when I'm home alone I'll get one of those out to twirl. It's just a compulsion I can't stop. If I had my way I'd just start twirling girls hair in shops or anywhere else lol, obviously I don't because they might lock me up hahaha. I do have depression and anxiety issues so it might be related to that.

I'm just pleased I'm not the only hair twirling nutter about! Happy Twirling!!!

Anonymous said...

Lifelong 39 year old twirler – I tried to stop in college by cutting my hair short but as soon as I grew it out I started again. I’ve come to just accept it as something I do… like the people who bounce their legs or wiggle their feet when their legs are crossed. Thank you to everyone for their posts, it is fascinating to see how many different incarnations there are of the same habit. Just thought I’d share this recent observation - I thought I twirled for the way the hair felt in my hands, the light silky smoothness running between my fingers and the ropey springiness of the knots and loops as they’d slide and turn. But, I recently realized that if my husband gently runs his fingers through my hair I don’t feel the need to do it myself. So the satisfaction isn’t just from the feel of my hair but also from the sensations on my head. If my twirling is disrupting him (usually when we watch tv) he just sweetly touches my hair for a while and I stop. If that doesn’t work he holds my hand and gently rubs my arm which also seems to work.
I’d like to share a few words of advice for those of you who are struggling. Don’t be so hard on yourself because we all have our weird little issues, and don’t let anyone make you feel bad about it. SAY SOMETHING! Just say “when you say ______ I feel ______. Since you like/love/respect me I assume it’s not your intent to make me feel_____. I’m sorry my habit bugs you but I do not deserve to be made to feel ____.” That being said, if you are hurting your head, your hair, or your digestive tract, you should seek help from a professional because anxiety related issues like trichotillomania can be very successfully managed with a little support and guidance.

Anonymous said...

Yah for twirling! I am lucky - I am a compulsive hair twirler since childhood. Unlike some of you whose partners it annoys - my husband use to twirl his mother's hair and will occasionally twirl mine too. No snapping at me to 'stop it'. I do what most of you do, twirl, knot but my variation is rubbing the knotted hair along my lips (not in my mouth otherwise my hair would get wet)and sometimes on the top of my ear. Yep, its a comfort thing and I'll be doing it of the rest of my life - tough for all the twirling haters.

Anonymous said...

I'm so delighted I have found this. I started twirling the same strand on the left hand side of my head and have been doing it ever since. I'm now 36 and do this activity almost unconsciously. My dad used to do it too. Does anyone actually know why we do this, as opposed to yanking it out? Is it anxiety related?

Anonymous said...

This blog/post is ACE, never knew there was so many of us out there. Keep on twiddling folks :)

Anonymous said...

I twirl my hair, too. Except for one other weird thing... sometimes I rub my hair on my lips because its so soft! Is that normal?? Im rally confused.. im only 14 and im already worried about this stuff! I just think its weird that I rub my hair on my lips.... its just so comforting and soft! People often think that I eat my hair and I try to come up with an explanation that's not weird....

Anonymous said...

I am 16 and I also twirl my hair.. I wish that I could stop. I think I was able to forget about the whole hair twirling thing for about a few months when I was busier. Then when I had spare time, while reading books, I unconsciously started hair twirling again. Now the habit is back and its staying.

Anonymous said...

Hey, wow everyone I am so glad to have come across this. I have twiddled since about aged 10, when I had my hair cut in a bob (before then it was long and my mum always tied it up) and I started competing at swimming........long periods in nervous anticipation of a race, hair twiddling. I am now 36. Really interested in the right hand/left hand comments. I am ambidextrous, although write with my left, and mainly twiddle with my right but also regularly use my left. I think it is probably more like a Tourette tic than anything else. NOT doing it takes so much thought, focus and effort. Unless I am doing something I really love, like dancing, playing piano or violin, or walking. Shame my parents deflected me from pursuing one of those things in life and instead steered me towards medicine. Not a good choice for a neurotic hair twiddler really..........! I am in Dorset, UK. Anyone want to meet up/talk?! I would really like to stop doing this for good as I get sore fingers now.