This whole thread makes me feel not alone in dealing with this. Everybody has their own story and their own struggle with it and I'm glad to see that. I'm glad I'm not the only one.
It took me years to get trichotillomania added to my diagnosis. I'm not sure why that happened as hair pulling was a part of my struggle with bipolar disorder and anxiety from the beginning. When I was little, it wasn't hair but it was my nails when I got nervous. But I never really had any agency when it came to my hair, as I said in a thread in the Body Issues forum. I remember being a teenager and experimenting by shaving my eyebrows or below the belt and whenever my mom found out, she freaked and yelled at me instead of talking to me about it. So hair and me never had a good relationship.
When I was first getting diagnosed/treatment, I had a roommate who used to use tweezers to take off the hair on her legs. I used to watch her and one day, I got curious and plucked a hair from under my arm. The feeling was just this rush of relief. I never felt anything like it. Soon, whenever I felt too stressed out by my day, I would pluck a few just to get that feeling. Before I knew it, I had a whole system with tweezers, a desk lamp (so I could see better), and a towel. I would bend the light near the area I wanted to pluck and just get started. Sometimes, it was a few minutes and other times, I would feel like I was in this odd trance, where I couldn't feel what was going on and all I focused on was plucking. I guess I was dissociating but I didn't know what it was then and didn't realize how long I could go, hunched over and pulling. When I couldn't get that time alone, I started pulling on my hair on my head while talking to people. I didn't even notice that I was doing it until a friend pointed out that it looked like it hurt. It got to the point where huge patches of my body were hairless and there were sores and ingrown hairs everywhere. It started with me just needing a release and ended up to the point where I would draw blood and be fascinated by that.
Now, I don't allow tweezers anywhere near me. In fact, it's been hard because there is a pair of tweezers that my husband got with a sewing kit and I've been trying to avoid those like the plague. I haven't pulled really badly in months but I sort of swapped to my fingers. I know that it waxes and wanes but I'm really worried that it will start again because I've been really stressed lately. Reading everybody else's experiences has given me hope though.