Why does wander pull out his hair, and it's never mentioned in the wiki, nor does anyone else mention it. Does he really have trichotillomania?
Let me first state that I in no way work for the show, so I in no way am qualified to give you an answer that is to be considered canon or official.
However, I would love to ramble my opinion on the matter based on what I see. And again, this comes from nothing more than watching the same show you watch, and perhaps sprinkled with a little of my own bias as someone who works with behavioral health patients.
No. As far as I know, it has never been officially stated that Wander has Trichotillomania. But what has been officially stated is that there are 420 “personality fragments” to Wander. And what we know is that at least one of them persistently pulls out his hair. Its first seen in the episode The Box when wander gets no sleep, obsessing over whats in the box.
Ok, so what? Big deal. Hes just stressing and pulling out his hair because its distracting him from opening the box, right?
Yeah, thats perfectly believable. And when I first saw the episode/scene, its what I thought too. Poor guy. You just want to hug the stress away.
Up until The Wanders aired, “hair pulling out” Wander was nothing more than a distressed and duped mail courier. Immediately, this is one of the first Wanders we meet in The Wanders.
This time when we meet “hair pulling out” Wander, he is a bit different. Here we see him smiling, and appears to be neatly lining up the hairs instead of tossing them aside as seen previously. Granted, this smile isnt your typical “happy” Wander smile, and the lines under his eyes that still appear might indicate he is perhaps stressed in some way. Furthermore, his posture and mannerisms stay the same as previous, with the legs curled up and rocking motion.
Ok. Blah Blah Blah. What about the Trichotillomania? Thats all I wanna know.
Fair enough. But what you need to understand is that Trichotillomania is defined as the uncontrollable urge to pull ones hair out. No where in the Trichotillomania-specific definition does it say the sufferer must also exhibit some of the things this fragment of Wander seems to be displaying. Perhaps we only fixate on that part of it since it is pretty prominent. However, we could possibly be so bold as to say that Wander is suffering from a more broad disorder: OCD. Im hesistant to use that term, as I know how loosely it gets thrown around, so I might say that Wander suffers from ICD (Impulse Control Disorder) instead. When people think of OCD, they think, “I cant leave my house unless I check my stove 12 times” or “I cant put away my groceries unless all the labels are facing south”. And honestly, who knows? Maybe he has both. But in this specific discussion, Trichotillomania is more so an impulse than an obsessive-compulsion to me. With ICD, the intrusive thought/urge (ie: Wander pulling his hair out) is met with relief or satisfaction once it is performed, versus OCD in which it is not so much satisfaction based, but rather they feel they cannot move on with their day until the urge/thought is taken care of.
Given that, I would argue with someone that yes, Wander has Trichotillomania. But I would mostly argue that he has ICD and that Trichotillomania is a part of it. Feel free to stop reading here if you havent given up prior to this, as I feel like rambling a little more.
I want someone to come at me with, “BUT SYLVIA SAYS ‘OBSESSY’ WHEN SHE CATCHES THAT WANDER SO HE MUST HAVE OCD BC OBSESSY=OBSESSIVE=OCD!”. And hey. You might be right and Ill defend your right to have that opinion. But my argument would be that Im obsessive about a couple things in my life (as are many other people), but in no way would I say I have OCD.
But “hair pulling out” Wander is obviously OCD when he freaks out and starts cleaning the “messy” Wander. OCD people are known to wash their hands repeatedly like this.
Sure. Again, you can feel however you want about Wander. But I would say that, to me, it seems more ICD. “Hair pulling out” Wander was also sitting and rocking back and forth on the ‘messy’ ground with no issue prior to this. For him to unsolicitedly start scrubbing the “messy” Wander, appears more like a “Im getting relief from performing this task that Sylvia brought to my attention and is incredibly intrusive to me” (ICD) rather than, “I dont feel like I can function or do anything else today until I perform this task” (OCD). I also want to add that when I say “relief” or “satisfaction”, I dont mean that it physically feels good. The satisfaction comes from eliminating that invasive impulse.
The strongest argument in OCD vs ICD in favor of OCD could be that “hair pulling out” Wander knew exactly how many “personality fragments” there were to begin with, and how many were left after a certain point. One could argue that he has Arithmomania, and that falls under the spectrum of OCD. And ya know what? That would be an excellent point that I would have little to counter with. But honestly, ICD and OCD are so closely related, that I feel a bit silly discussing it this much in the first place. As far as I know, someone who actually works on the show could say tomorrow that “WANDER HAS OCD” and Im going to fumble through my tears to delete this post in shame while you all blow up my inbox with “LOL GG PAL”.
I really should have just said from the beginning “I dunno, ask someone who works on the show.”. I know there are a few here on tumblr that are amazing enough to answer questions like this, and honestly, it might be neat to hear something canon, even if it blows my HC out of the water. Then again, I am spending my morning drinking coffee and discussing a cartoon space spoon like its a real life person. I mean come on. This is a “personality fragment” the same as “blonde wig” Wander. Its not even “feminine” Wander, or “sassy” Wander. It is literally “blonde wig” Wander. The fragment of Wander that likes to wear a blonde wig and sashay around (and yea, I guess do lady things with Sylvia).
I will end my rambles there. Maybe next week we will discuss how I feel about there being an equal number of “dancing” Wanders to “sad” Wanders.