Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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.

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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I see on various forums where people post their successes. . . “50 days pull-free!” and I can’t help but wonder where they started. I don’t think I have ever had one pull-free day. It’s not that I have not tried, believe me, I have, but I don’t know when I am doing it. I try to catch myself, and I do quite a bit, but there are many other times when I realize I have been pulling for the last five minutes and I didn’t even know it.

So how does one start when you don’t even know you’re doing it?

I have read that there are three different types of pullers — those who do it completely subliminally, like in a trance, those who do it cognitively, like pulling until they find that perfect hair, and then there are those who do both. I am pretty sure there are more people who fall into the “both” category, myself included.

I have been trying to pay attention more to not only my triggers, but times when I seem to pull for no reason at all. I notice that I pull when my hands have nothing else to do. When I am driving, when I am reading, etc. Any time my fingers are not twiddling something, fidgeting, touching something with texture.

There is something in the way my brain is wired — my fingers need constant stimulation. When I am not touching something with some sort of texture or fidgeting with a slinky or something I can feel my anxiety creep in. I am not going to pretend to understand why, but it is a definite fact.

I have always been a fidgeter, even before I developed Trichotillomania. I have always had to play with something in my hands, tap my foot, twirl a pen and that sort of thing. Somehow it developed into hair pulling when I was a teen. I never really thought about it until I started to realize that having something in my hand to play with took the edge off the urge to pull. So far it is the most satisfying thing to me besides the hair pulling.

I have always been kind of embarrassed by the fidgeting, I thought it was a bad habit or that it was annoying other people. I thought it was weird and I tried to stop doing it whenever I was in public as much as possible. Now I have learned that a lot of people do it. A lot. Most just don’t develop into hair pulling.

So now I am trying to make sure that I always have a fidget toy or something to hold, to play with. When I am typing I am good as long as my fingers stay on the keys. If I stop for a moment to gather my thoughts my hand goes straight for my hair. So I have a little rubber spiky ball and a little pink plastic slinky on either side of my keyboard that I hurry and grab before my hand goes to my head. I am trying to train my brain, alter that routine to reaching out for a fidget rather than going up. I have read about muscle memory, and I think a lot of my hand going straight up to my head all the time is because it has done it for so long. It’s like a reflex at this point. I am going to stay diligent and keep stuff to play with all the time.

I think that twirling a pen or something in my hand is a lot less noticeable than pulling my hair out, I just have to train my arm muscles and my brain to switch paths. Easier said than done.

Peaceful hands.

Back to blogging

Posted: October 7, 2016 in Uncategorized

So I have had a guy ask me to build him a website for his company, and I thought it would be a great chance to buy a domain name and sort of make a more official blog, you know, since I’d have to sign up with a web host anyway.

Well, I saw one of those “30 day blog challenge” things on Pinterest and of course fell for it. Yep, someone who is a marketer for a living fell for it. I bought the domain name and the web hosting service and designed my page. It looked awesome by the way. But there were problems right away. First of all I had to reset my password every time I logged in. I am not exaggerating, I mean literally every time. My Gmail inbox is filled with password reset messages. Secondly, I could never really access my page. When I would try to go to the front end of the site it would try to load and try to load, but eventually timed out while trying to load the page.

So I did some research on the web host I used, and it turns out that they are not as great as everyone supposedly said they were. They are infamous for paying people to write phony rave reviews about them, and their servers are so slow that the sites often do not load.

Long story short, I canceled my service with them. But, since I still own the domain name I am going to apply it here, to this blog. I guess I am already sort of situated here anyway. If it’s not broken don’t fix it, right?

So hopefully, and I know that I have said this before, I will be posting more. My pulling is worse than it has ever been, so while I want to fill this blog with tips on dealing with trich and my progress in trying to beat it, I really don’t have too many positive or insightful things right now. I’m sort of stuck. But I guess that is part of this journey, right? The good, bad and trichy?

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.

I watched this video several years ago, after it was suggested to me by the counselor I was seeing at the time. My appointment was in the middle of the day so I came back to work following my session and just had to watch it right away. I’d never heard of Brene Brown, but while watching this video I felt like she knew me.

If you have not seen this I highly recommend you do, it is well-worth 20 minutes of your time and trust me, if you deal with shame (which all of us with TTM certainly do), this will make you feel a lot better. Brown breaks down how and why we feel shame, the cycle — we feel unworthy so we feel shame, then we numb ourselves with vices and get depressed, which leads to more shame. Sound familiar? But some people have harnessed their own vulnerability . . . and we can learn from them.

I had been having a particularly rough time yesterday with my appearance, it seems I’ll always struggle with that, so I watched it again.

This video inspires me to allow myself to be human. Imperfections and all. I hope this brightens your day.

Peaceful hands.