2 ways I’m pulling less

Posted: June 14, 2017 in Recovery

I am noticing some regrowth in the areas where I most commonly pull, but of course it is not growing as quickly as I would like it to. I will be patient.

I have been pulling considerably less, and I attribute that to two things:

  1. I started working a second job in the evenings. I usually work 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at my day job and then go to the other from  6 to 10. It’s not too bad, I suppose, all I do is run a cash register for a few hours. I am not pulling during that time because my hands stay busy. But I feel guilty for not seeing my family as much, but then we need the money so I am not sure what to do there.
  2. I draw all the time now. Every chance I get, even if it is just lines and shapes. I crave a pencil in my hand and that feeling of the lead dragging across the textured paper, the ability to make lines darker or lighter.

When I am doing my drawing and sketching my hands are busy with that and my focus on the design distracts me from the urge to pull.  It’s been helpful.

 

I still pull, of course, while I am driving or in a stressful moment, but I am proud of myself for how much progress I’ve been able to make.

Feeding the monster

Posted: April 12, 2017 in Musings

There are some days that having this disorder really does not bother me. I thought I would never say that, but I am finding it to be true more often than not since I began actually trying to “beat” it. I think I went into it thinking that I was going to “cure” myself, that there would come a day when I would not pull at all and then it would gradually get easier and easier to not pull, but of course that has not happened.

I did not even consider that maybe instead of stopping I would instead get to a place mentally and emotionally where I could live with it and sort of put it aside rather than making it the focus of my life everyday. I’ve given it too much attention over the years, it is a sort of monster that I’ve fed, thinking I could pacify it, appease it, to convince it to move out of my head. Instead I have found that I must accept that it will always live there, but I don’t have to give it as much attention, it does not have to have that much control over me.

I still want it gone, more than anything, but maybe I will have this the rest of my life. As hard as that is to think about, I have to admit that that is a possible reality.  But I can focus my time on other things, such as art and writing, and put the monster on the back-burner so to speak.

I am back to wearing a hat. I did not for a few days, but when I feel the back of my head I know there is a huge bald spot, and I am terrified of it being seen, or even just the thought of it being seen, so I have decided I would cover it up until (hopefully) my hair grows in a bit there. That is, if I can stop pulling from that spot. That particular spot is one of my most common pull areas, for reasons as unknown as why I do this in the first place. There really is no explanation for any of it. It is on the right hand side, and I am right-handed, and I think part of it is muscle memory too, but who knows, I am no doctor.

I am trying to convince myself that I can be pretty without long hair, that I can still be and feel feminine. It’s hard though, knowing that our society puts more value on women with long, luscious tresses.

Day by day, one day at a time.

Peaceful hands, peaceful thoughts.

To honor a friend

Posted: March 28, 2017 in Musings

Today I decided to go without my hat. For me that’s a pretty big deal. I did not wear it yesterday either.

A long-time friend and co-worker passed away very unexpectedly last week. He had been one of my high school teachers before we both ended up here working at a newspaper, so I had known him for a good twenty years. He had such a great sense of humor, he was a great story-teller and most importantly he was genuine.

There would be times at work when I would be feeling badly about how I look or I’d feel less than confident about an article I was writing, but he was always there to reassure me. He told me I was beautiful and that I was “his favorite girl.” And he told me that I was a good writer, even when I did not want to believe it.

But the thing is . . . coming from him you had to believe it. He simply did not lie and he truly cared about everyone who came into his life.

And so, today I am not wearing a hat. I did not wear it at his funeral yesterday either, despite the fact that there were several rows of people sitting behind me. Something small to most but huge for me, and, in a small way to honor him by trying to be more confident. It is what he would have wanted.

So if someone asks me why I have bald spots or why I have such uneven length I will tell them the truth. I have this disorder, it does not have me, and it will not define me.

I miss my friend.

Finding my fidget cube

Posted: March 1, 2017 in Recovery, Uncategorized

My fidget cube arrived (finally), and I love it! I will take a photo of it, and maybe a video too, so you can see how it works in case you’ve been thinking of getting one. I let my 7-year-old son play with it, and it has since dissappeared, but I am 99% sure that it got scooped up and put in the toy box. That was Sunday night and I just have not had the motivation to dig through the toy box to find it yet.

I have not been updating this blog as much as I thought I would, and that is mostly because I am not sure what to write about most times. When I created this blog I had this idea that I was going to start figuring out how to stop pulling and I would share my successes with you all. But, I really have not had very much success. It is like I take one step forward and two steps back. I’ll do good for awhile and then one night I will just go nuts and erase all of my progress.

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The sun came out today. It is a strange thing when the sky stays gray and cloudy for so long that you almost forget what it is like to feel the warmth and see the bright light of the sun.

It made me feel good, just feeling the rays on my arm through the window, it really improved my mood, although I have been in a relatively good mood today anyway, and, as cheesy as it sounds, made me feel more alive.

I love the sun. I know I shouldn’t because I am a redhead and I sunburn even thinking about the sun, but I do.

It’s Friday afternoon and today has been good. I feel good today. It is a welcome change from how I have felt during the last few weeks. The cycle of depression and euphoria is on an upswing, and I will gladly take it.

Awhile back I wrote about a cool fidget cube thing I saw online. There are different things such as switches, buttons etc., on each side and it fits in your pocket so you can take it with you any where.

I really wanted to get one, but money has been pretty tight lately so I held off — until yesterday! The cute little gadget went on sale for about $4 and free shipping on Amazon. Add to cart, yes please!

I can’t wait to get it! I did not realize how much I fidgeted until I started researching Trichotillomania and started trying to track my triggers and patterns. I always have to have something in my hands, whether it be a pen, stress ball or anything else so that I continuously have something against the skin in my hand. When I don’t have that feeling my hands reach for the hair, I have definitely made that connection. It seems that the skin on my hand needs stimulation.

I have always been sensitive to textures, I guess maybe more so than most people. I did not realize it was more intense for me though. I remember wearing corduroy pants as a child and rubbing my hands across the ridges of the fabric over and over because I could not get enough of that sensation. On the opposite side of that spectrum I cannot handle the roughness of emery boards. You know, those nail file things? Even the thought of touching one of those makes my teeth hurt and gives me the chills. Keep those things away from me!

I hate dry skin with a passion that seriously cannot be put into words. I will literally pull over if I am driving and I have dead skin on my fingers just so that I can pick it off.

Anyway, I should have my fidget cube in a few days. I will let you know how it works!

 

How To Be Happy, Dammit

Posted: January 26, 2017 in Uncategorized

I created this blog as a way to track my progress and hopefully help other people dealing with this. Unfortunately there has not been much progress, so there’s not much to say there. I was doing really well for awhile. I spent a few weeks in a pretty deep depression, and when I get deep, I mean really deep, I lose interest in everything and for some reason my urge to pull decreases to the point that it is almost non existent. I am not sure how that works or why, but  I really don’t need any more questions keeping me up at night so I am going to leave that one alone for now.

The deep depression is much worse than the continued pulling. I never thought I’d say that anything was worse than pulling, but being suicidal is far worse. Being suicidal is a state of mind that really has no words. It is the most pain possible in mental form. The fact that it cannot be literally seen and is often written off as a plea for attention makes it so much worse. It’s forcing yourself to breathe when you really don’t want to, forcing yourself to go through the motions of the day. It’s robotic, muted, and yet you’re screaming inside.

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