Archive for the ‘Resources’ Category

While perusing my Facebook newsfeed the other day I saw a post by one of my friends from an organization called “The Mighty.” I rarely click on those posts from other pages because too much of the time it is just spam or click-baiting stuff, but the headline promised an article about dealing with anxiety, so I clicked. Come to find out, The Mighty, both the Facebook page and the website, is all about mental and physical disorders and how not only the person afflicted can cope but how loved ones of an afflicted person can be supportive as well. And they are written by people who are actually battling what they are writing about.

You can get a free account and then tailor your subscription to the kind of articles you want to read. For example, I set mine to show me articles about anxiety, depression and my favorite devil, Trichotillomania.

I may even write and submit an article. We’ll see.

I only just subscribed yesterday, so I have not read a lot of articles as of yet, but so far everything I’ve read has brought me a comfort that I am not alone in this. The thought that I was alone has been one of my biggest hurdles with TTM. Some of the paragraphs in the submitted articles could have been taken straight from my blog or diary. It’s so real. Check it out and let me know what you think.

Here’s the Facebook link: https://www.facebook.com/TheMightySite/?fref=ts

and the website https://themighty.com

This is so exciting!

 

There’s not a cure for Trichotillomania, we all know this, and though an estimated 1 to 3 percent of the population has it not a lot of research has been done to determine how and why it starts and thus how to manage and even prevent and cure it. It’s extremely frustrating to have this disorder and to be told that you’re not alone only to find out that there are very few psychological specialists who you can turn to for answers. It’s more common than we used to believe, and yet there is a huge gap between people who suffer from TTM and people who can help the sufferers of TTM.

But the people involved with the Body Focused Repetitive Behavior (BFRB) Precision Medicine Initiative are hoping to change that.

From an article published at wbur.org:

“The initiative aims to increase remission rates in hair pullers from the current 10-20 percent to 70 percent in the course of seven years. It brings together researchers at 20-plus institutions, including Massachusetts General Hospital and the University of Chicago, in an effort to increase understanding of the disorders and improve treatment.”

Download the case statement

The doctors are in the process of analyzing behavioral and genetic patterns from hundreds of TTM patients to create several BFRD profiles. These profiles will help to identify new, more personalized treatment.

Part of the difficulty with treating TTM is the difference people each person who has it. Everyone who has ever walked the Earth has a different genetic profile and different behavioral influences etc., it is impossible to create a “one size fits all” treatment.

But this is huge step toward getting some specialized treatment! This is such a renewed hope for me! There are people who care!

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.

A few years ago when I first began seeing a counselor for my trichotillomania, anxiety, low self-esteem, etc., one of the first things he suggested was mindfulness meditation. At that time I had never heard of it, but now it seems like that term, mindfulness, is everywhere. The Harvard Business Review just published an article on the subject today, as a matter or fact.

But there is a reason we’re hearing about it more. Many reasons, actually. Meditation has been proven to help with anxiety and depression, increase focus and better deal with your emotions.

I’ll admit, I have not been able to get myself into a steady meditation routine. I tried it for a few weeks then stopped for awhile, decided to try to start again and then stopped again. But I’m happy to say that I am in an “on” period and I have been meditating every day for the last week.

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