One of the biggest advancements I have personally made in my battle with trichotillomania is when I decided to treat it as a footnote rather than a main idea. Trich convinces you that it is in charge, that it controls you, that it IS who you are. It convinces you that you can’t be, you can’t exist without it, like some sort of parasite. Here’s the thing . . . none of that’s true.

Here’s a little exercise I want you to do if you are struggling with this: Make a list of all the things you love, all the things you are good at, all the things you want to do. Completely forget for a moment that you have trich. That’s hard, believe me, I know, it is hard to think of yourself as not having it. But it gets easier, I swear! Just practice! Meditate for a moment before you do this, read my previous entry on meditation for tips.

Think about who you are, who you truly are. Not who you are with trich, just who YOU are; the essential you. You are who you are without trich. It does not have you, you have it, keep that in mind. This thing that makes you pull your hair out does not define you. The way you live your life and treat other people are what define you. Your values, your helping others and attitude define you. In the big picture trich is very small, it just likes to make you think it is huge so it can keep it’s control.

If you grew up in the 1980s, like I did, you most likely saw the movie Labyrinth starring the late great David Bowie. The beginning of the movie shows Sarah, a spoiled teen obsessed with all things fantasy and mythical, in a park, reciting lines from her favorite story, the Labyrinth. She can never remember the very last line. It begins to rain and Sarah, realizing she’s late to babysit her baby brother, rushes home where she is confronted by her angry stepmother and father. She considers her baby brother Toby a nuisance and is not too happy about having to stay home to comfort him on a stormy night.

Sarah noticed that Toby has taken her favorite stuffed animal, a bear named Lancelot, and charges into the infant’s room to take it back. He won’t stop crying, and though she reluctantly tries to comfort him the baby won’t stop crying. Sarah remembers “the words” said in one of her favorite stories, “The Labyrinth,” that, when said, will conjure up the Goblins who will come and take the baby to the Goblin City forever. Though she initially forgets the words, she inadvertently mutters them as she shuts out the lights and leaves the room.

Toby instantly stops screaming and the lights won’t come back on. The Goblin King, Jareth (David Bowie) appears to Sarah and tells her that he’s done as she wished and taken the baby to his castle. She instantly regrets what’s she’s done and begs for her brother to be returned. “What’s said is said,” says Jareth, and Sarah is given thirteen hours to solve the Labyrinth.

There are many tricks and turns throughout her journey, and through it all she learns that although life isn’t fair sometimes that’s just the way it is. At the end of The Labyrinth she confronts Jareth, and for the first time remembers the final line: “You have no power over me.”

She’s more tenacious than she knows, and you are too. We all are. Remember, trichotillomania does not define you. This is not who you are. As often as you can push it aside and focus who you are.

Peaceful hands.

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