A month pull free..sharing what I've learnt…

  • February 12, 2012 at 00:28 #144884

    I’ve had trich for as long as I can remember. It’s been part of me all my life. I remember as a kid I pulled my eyelashes and always had a spiky crown of my head in photos where new hair would grow through.

    Like so many people I didn’t know anyone else in the world did it, or that it had a name till I was about 13. All I knew was that it felt wrong as I had to keep it a secret. It is really the secrecy and isolation and effect on self-esteem that have impacted most on other parts of my life.

    I’m very much a get on an achieve sort of person and I’ve tried all my life (now 30 years old!) to do the things I was afraid of, to challenge and push myself. I’ve never wanted ‘trich’ to beat me, to get me down or limit me. But it has.

    Life ultimately seems to get more stressful, rather than less the older you get with more responsibilties as an adult. So the approach of getting on with life and not dealing with the root (!) cause of the condition, for me of anxiety and fear, is no longer an option. I need solutions in order to cope with the ‘normal’ hurdles that life throw at us.

    Before Christmas I was very stressed out, I had been running along with work, study, getting over a relationship breakup, managing on the surface to cope with all the demands but at the cost of my health. I went down with shingles. It was really this, and perhaps turning 30 that made me realise I had to deal with some of these issues and listen to my body.

    So for the first time in my life I have been pull free for a month (today! – I am celebrating!) and I thought I would share some of my journey and what I’ve learnt. Everyone’s is different and I don’t have all the answers. I can’t say with certainty (mostly because I don’t want to set myself up for a fall) that I will remain pull free – it is very hard and I am literally taking each day as it comes. But if something I have learnt and that I share can help just one other person then it is all worth it. Especially for younger members. I remember how isolated and miserable trich could make me feel when I was younger.

    Lessons learnt:

    To stop pulling you have to learn to love yourself and not judge yourself
    You have to take care of yourself, to listen to your body and what it needs, then give it to it.

    The following have helped me in my journey with trich:
    HONESTY (self denial and secrecy have hurt me and stopped me dealing with issues and getting close to people)
    – Telling my mum (when I was 25) and my boyfriend (this wasn’t easy but helped a lot)
    – Joining forums like this help and reaching out to people
    – Writing a reflective journal – to get thoughts onto paper either first thing in the morning or last thing at night
    – Finding a fantastic hairdresser who has other clients with trich (we’re now good friends!)
    – Using the principle of honesty to be upfront about anything that’s worrying me with those around me. It’s very refreshing and has had great response – bringing me closer and actually sorting out some problems stoping them before I made them big issues in my head. Generally trying to do things now rather than put things off.

    ROUTINE – really doing everything to create a positive, healthy environment around me
    – Establishing a healthy routine
    – Good food – cooking for others as I enjoy this
    – Doing yoga and meditation (this has been key in calming my mind and taking time to reflect)
    – Keeping organised – writing list of things I need to do and trying to do them as soon as possible rather than procrastinating (easier said than done – but key is not beating yourself up if you don’t get them done!)
    – Seeing friends – getting out – walks/exercise but crucially leaving enough time for me
    – Saying ‘no’ to things when I feel pressure to do something and worry too much I’d be letting someone down. People are actually quite understanding!
    – Generally taking things easier, cutting myself some slack – trying not to judge myself
    – Putting my clothes away every night before I go to bed – sounds silly but it’s the small things than calm the mind
    – Cutting down on my work hours
    – Going to bed earlier and getting up earlier
    – Writing down ‘kind phrases’ such as ‘Forgive yourself’ and ‘don’t beat yourself up!’ next to my mirror so I can see these.
    – Reading research about trich
    – Spending time noticing how i feel before, during and after I pull and writing down a list of when I do it and risky areas – what are the triggers. Breaking down the behaviour as much as possible.
    – Reading a book called ‘The Power of Now’ by Eckhart Tolle has been very helpful as it has made me much more aware of my mind and how it works. I always said my mind was my own worst enemy!!

    – Counselling – to talk through why I am anxious and what I’m afraid of (the symptom is hair pulling but it’s not the cause)
    – Some element of willpower – if I feel my hand moving to my hair I try to jolt it away (decoupling method – http://www.tricotilomania.org/paneldecontrol/noticias/archivos/decoupling_for_TLC_19_2_10.pdf)
    – I’ve been trying (not very well!) to avoid caffeine as I do think this is a trigger for me. Other triggers are if I am in any discomfort, cold, tired, hungry.
    – I’ve taken up playing guitar (uses both hands!, and keeps your nails short and you have to cut them to play wel and hardens the ends so they become less sensitive!.. also feeling of achievement as finally doing something I’ve always put off doing)
    – When reading I try and keep a piece of string with beads on the end to play with with the other hand. If the urges have been really bad I’ve taped the ends of my index fingers
    – Taking one day at a time
    – Treating myself a small gift for each week achieved! This month I bought myself a ‘how to play guitar book’ and some makeup!
    – I remove mirrors out of sight when I’m sitting and try to move away from them as soon as possible after putting on my makeup – (I quickly can drift into looking at all those split ends!)

    I think the key thing I have done differently is that I have considered a holistic approach. It’s not a quick fix and takes as lot of effort and energy, but to me it makes sense. It’s about being healthier and hopefully happier!

    I have tried to get treatment of some kind a couple of times before, but it is such a frustrating situation. I’ve never felt I could tell my doctor, and always had a strong idea that I’d know more than them anyway! Also I was afraid they’d just put me on anti-depressants and I didn’t want that. (*This is a viable treatment so I’m not against it but we each know what is right or not for ourselves). Money is a key problem in treatment.

    I had counselling for about 8 weeks a few years ago. The counsellor did help me to feel better about trich – she made me come round to thinking that trich wasn’t the huge deal I thought it was, and it needn’t take over my life and that I wasn’t ‘abnormal’. Both these ideas were new to me so in that sense the counsellor helped. But essentially it didn’t help me ‘solve’ the problem because the ‘treatment’ wasn’t holistic – there was no other input – nothing that would change my behaviour or control the urges to pull. I think counselling can help but in association with many other areas of treatment.

    I also had hypnotherapy. Up until 6 years ago I used to ingest the hair I pulled. (trichophagia) I hated that I did it, it made me feel horrible and this is one of the most difficult things to talk about. I had one session and although I didn’t stop pulling my hair, from that day didn’t put another hair in my mouth! When I think back, it feels like it was another person who used to do that. So that was a big success because that part of it really worried me.

    Anyway I’ve tried to share some of my experiences and methods that have helped me. I think most important is to treat yourself well and to try everyday to love yourself for who you are – you are brilliant each and every one.

    x Chicaexplorer[/b]

    February 13, 2012 at 03:00 #144891

    Thank you so much for sharing. Those are amazing tips and ideas. Your post really resonates. It’s so true that we need to look at our trichotillomania holistically… I’ve been struggling with my discipline a bit lately, so reading your post has given me much needed inspiration right now. Thank you. Pull Freedom is possible.


    February 13, 2012 at 20:25 #144897

    you’re an inspiration to us all, such a brilliant post!

    Thankyou for all your help and advice, i hope you continue on your journey of being pull free!

    x x x

    February 15, 2012 at 00:37 #144906

    Hey guys,

    Thanks so much for your feedback, it makes a real difference to know there’s other people out there on the other end of writing these posts!
    – sending lots of pull free vibes your way! xx

    February 19, 2012 at 20:03 #144959

    thanks a lot for your post. Lots to take in. Thanks for sharing, as i recognized some similar issues in me.

    February 20, 2012 at 14:15 #144963

    Oh wow, thank you so much for sharing! And congrats on a month pull free, that’s fab!! 😀

    I can so relate to pretty much everything you’ve said (even down to the small things like putting clothes away before bed!) especially re routine, and honesty, and the practical aspects too! So everything really! 😆

    Thank you so much for sharing this with us, I think I’ll print this out to remind myself, as it’s one thing for me to know that these things help me, but to know that the exact same things help others too… I don’t know, it feels kind of like being in it together, if that makes sense? Ha ha I think I’m rambling now! 😳

    Anyway, well done again, it sounds like you have fantastic insight, and deserve to be celebrating!! 😡 :hic 😡

    Love Amy x

    February 21, 2012 at 18:27 #144974

    Hey Antigone and Amy,

    Thanks very much for your words and encouragement. It means a lot to know people are on here and it makes me feel great to know that by something I write I can help others too.

    Currently 38 days pull free!! Yey and feel strong.

    best wishes to all. xx

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