Archive for the ‘Musings’ Category

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.

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!

 

Job hunting

Posted: January 19, 2017 in Musings

I’m so depressed. But for once it is not due to pulling, it is just life in general.

I went to college and earned a degree in Mass Communication with an emphasis in Public Relations and Advertising and also minored in English. I worked my ass off in college to earn that degree. At one point I was taking care of my baby while working full time and going to school full time. I took a year off when my baby was born, and I know a lot of people don’t go back, but I was determined to finish.

I don’t live in a hug city, but it is not teeny tiny either. I think there are about 70,000 people here. So a few months before I graduated from college I got a degree at a local media company. I thought it was perfect, a job in my field right out of college. And it was for awhile.

Here’s the thing. I have now worked her for 11 years and I barely make more an hour than when I started. In fact, a few years ago the company took back 4% of our pay. I did not even know a company could do that. And no one has had a raise since. That was about 8 years ago. So many people have quit the company and either moved away or found other jobs. I’ve stayed for a couple of reasons. One being that I keep being promised things like bonuses, commissions, etc. Another is that I really like what I do and the people I work with.

When I tell people what I make an hour for what I do they laugh.

There have been many, many layoffs over the years, and every time someone is laid off their workload is distributed between everyone else. I’m not complaining about that, honestly learning all of these different things has been great because I now have many different skills that I would not have had otherwise.

(more…)

I have taken some time off work, about two weeks to be exact. My daughter moved to Kansas City, Missouri in July and I had not seen her since, so I bought some plane tickets and flew out there to pick her up and bring her home for Christmas. I’d never been that far east before, and it was the longest I’d ever been on an airplane.

So since I’ve been off work I noticed that I have hardly pulled at all. And when I do I can catch myself and stop. I have noticed that before, that when I take some time off work my pulling greatly decreases. It’s not like I have an incredibly stressful job, I mean it has its moments but it’s a desk job and I sit in a corner in an office that is pretty much blocked from view. I am responsible for a lot. There have been a lot of lay-offs so I have taken on more and more responsibility. I have not had a raise in about 8 years, and money is tight so that really stresses me out.

But the urge to pull is so much less when I am just at home with no-where to go, when I can just sit and read or draw or something. I want to keep this streak going. I go back to work January 3. How can I keep this sense of calm after I go back to work?

 

 

 

Frustrated

Posted: November 10, 2016 in Musings

It seems that I have been doing everything I possibly can to stop pulling. I am taking medication, exercising, meditating (though I should do this more often), trying to keep my hands busy by drawing, finding fidget toys, etc. and yet I still can’t stop. Is it possible that I can’t stop? Should I keep trying or should I try to accept it and live with it? When is it time to throw in the towel, so to speak?

Two to three times a year I have an absolute breakdown. By that I mean a 24-hour or so period where I am a completely different person. Super depressed, way more than usual, not eating or sleeping, being super angry at the world in general and curling up in a ball and crying and screaming in a corner. After awhile I get exhausted and I fall asleep, then when I wake up I gradually come out of it. I don’t always remember much after one of my “episodes,” which is probably for the best.  I would never hurt anybody, except myself of course, but I’ve learned that when I get that way I just need to go into my bedroom until it passes. It’s like catching the flu or something. . . it grabs you and won’t let go and you just have to let it run its course. That was my Saturday-Sunday. Thank God it only happens a couple of times a year.

Following that I pulled more than ever last night. I went on a major binge. I honestly can’t believe I have any hair left today, I thought I just about got it all. This “manic” episode has continued today, it is like my fingers have a mind of their own. I can’t focus on work or anything else going on around me today, everything is jumbling together and not making sense.

I couldn’t sleep last night, which I am sure contributes to the way I feel today.

On a side note, not wanting to make this post entirely negative, I have found a correlation between caffeine intake and pulling. A couple of years ago I completely cut soda from my diet. I have it only every once in awhile when we go out to eat or something. I had heard that caffeine and other stimulants increased the urge to pull, so I decided to pay closer attention to how I reacted. Sure enough, when I drink soda I tend to pull more.

That’s just a little chip on the iceberg in my quest to get to the “root” of this. Ha ha, see what I did there? LOL. Only trichsters get that joke.