The lengths a human will go to for Attention

Pulling of the hair, something I never thought I would see in my life-time. At least not to the extreme that I did. This happened about a year ago actually but the experience has never left me. Picture a 15 year old girl who behaviorally acts like a 12 year old. She has bald spots on her head and small holes all over her face from picking with her fingers. She wears the same clothes every day because she has no family to bring her anything. Her family doesn’t want her anymore.  All she wants is attention, to be loved. The saddest part about it is the way she thinks she has to act to get attention. The first day I met this patient I was told that she likes to pull out her hair. She didn’t do anything like that for the first 4 hours of the shift and then it was bed-time. I put all the kids to bed, did my rounds and they all seemed sound asleep. Suddenly another young patient comes to the nursing station and says all calmly, ” That new girl just pulled a chunk of her hair out.” I said, ” what?!” I was the only person there, I think my co-worker had stepped out for a second. I got up and ran to her room. The room was dark, all I saw was her silhouette and her hand reaching for her hair. I turned the light on and in that moment watched her rip the largest chunk of hair out of her head. I ran and jumped on her so my legs were on her legs that she couldn’t get away from me. I grabbed her hands and kept them close to her head. She continued to pull downward as I resisted and pushed towards her hair. I knew I would need help. I turned to the door and saw the young girl standing there in fear. I told her to go get help. Help came quickly. 2 male staff and 1 female. The four of us wrestled her. We tried talking to her but there was no light in her eyes. Nothing. Nothing at all. She became mute. Wouldn’t speak. She was with us for a few weeks. This occurred many times but to add to the pulling of the hair she would also bang her head, I correct myself, lob her head in the wall creating a large hole when she didn’t get what she wanted. Attempts of jumping over the nurses station and the worst of them all, tying a sweater around her neck so that her face is purple. I would have to untie the knot that was around her neck while she resisted by pushing and hitting me away. Its amazing what human beings will do for attention and love.


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