Setting goals

Posted: April 1, 2015 in Musings

When I first started to finally tackle this, to finally rid myself of this I told myself that I was going to just stop doing it. I thought that my inability to stop pulling out my hair was due to a lack of motivation. That I was not trying hard enough, that I just didn’t want it bad enough and I needed to kick my butt into high gear.

After some therapy and doing tons of research on this I have come to realize that expecting myself to “just stop” is unrealistic, especially since I have been pulling for 20+ years. I have had to learn to forgive myself for that. Everyone who has this knows that forgiving yourself is one of the biggest challenges. It is so difficult to separate it from yourself and realize that it’s not your fault. It’s not.

I have blamed myself for this for so long, and it has taken me months to convince myself that it is not due to anything I did wrong. It just . . . is. It exists on its own. My therapist told me to name it, and that doing so would help in realizing that it is not ME, it is not who I am. I named my Chime (pronounced Ky-me) after the biological and genetic instances of Chimerism. It is basically when a person or animal has two completely different sets of DNA. It’s pretty crazy, I first learned of it when I heard about the Lydia Fairchild case.

Anyway, the point is that it lives inside me, but it isn’t me. I don’t have to listen to it and it is not in control as much as it thinks it is.

So after I disregarded my thought that I would just stop, I set smaller goals. Mainly that I would go a whole day without pulling. Well, in my whole experience with this I think I have only had one day completely pull free. Maybe.

So then I said, “OK, I will go until noon without pulling.” That was better, and while I could do it on occasion, that was still too long of a time frame for me to commit to.

I have found that I tend to pull while I am driving. Which means that yes, I only have one hand on the steering wheel. But at least I am still looking at the road. I don’t text while I drive so I think I’m OK.

Yesterday on my commute home from work I decided to set itty bitty teensy tiny goals to see if I could meet them.

I’m going to drive two blocks without pulling.

I’m going to make it to that red light without pulling.

I’m going to get to my freeway exit without pulling.

I’m going to get into my driveway without pulling.

I did it. I did not pull the whole way home, which after a long stressful day at work is a pretty big deal for me.  I wish the not pulling streak would have continued into the evening, but I have to report that it did not. Evenings are my absolute worst time for pulling and last night I went crazy.

But each sunrise is a chance to start over, and today is no exception. I told myself I was not going to pull before I got in my car to go to work. Then I was not going to pull until I got to work. Then I was not going to pull until 9 a.m., then 9:30 a.m. It’s now 10 a.m., I have been awake since 6:30 a.m. and am happy to report that I have only pulled two hairs today.

Admittedly, setting such tiny goals is forcing me to sort of “babysit” it and focus on it more than I would like to, it’s  not as bad as I thought it would be. And meeting a goal, finally meeting a goal I have set for myself in regards to pulling is the most amazing feeling. Before, when I told myself to go a whole day without doing it and I did not meet that goal I felt defeated, depressed.

Meeting a goal, however small, gives me encouragement to keep trying. I am hoping that I can gradually make my goals longer and get to the point where I have trained my brain and my hands (they are partners in crime after all) to not need to do this. I will of course keep up with the other things I am doing, taking medication, squeezing my stress ball, etc. But setting these small goals is another tool in my arsenal, and it’s a big one.

Keep trying.

  1. trichdr says:

    Reblogged this on Trichy Insights and commented:
    This is a great post about realizing trich is something you have, not something you need to feel guilty about. I too have struggled with this. I also love your explanation of short term goals. Just stopping is too big, but taking it one moment at a time will slowly lead to progress. I admire your outlook, keep it up.


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