The Big Picture

It is important to look at your overall pulling trend rather than the # of pull free days.  If pull free is your focus one bad day could bring you down, but if you look at the big picture, then you can put that one bad day in perspective with all of the good days.  I have been rating my pulling based on the system Claudia Miles describes in the following article.

You CAN Recover From. Hair Pulling in 2014: Here is How

There’s all this talk about CBT therapy being the “most” effective. I agree more with the “C” (cognitive) part than the “B” part (behavioral). The bottom line is, if you don’t change the way you look at hair pulling* (*applies to skin picking throughout) there is no lasting recovery. Just today someone told me, “I was doing better and having lower numbers* for several months. Then I started pulling more and more and felt hopeless, and now I’m back where I was.” (*Earlier in this blog I suggest people write down ONE number every day re their pulling or picking. Rate your pulling from 0 to 10, 0 being zero pulling, 10 being your worst day. That will be your “scale.” That will be the one and only way you know you are recovering. NOT the hair on your head or lashes or brows. JUST the numbers. And the goal is to move from month to month having overall lower numbers with the understanding that you will have some bad days and that real success is accepting those and moving on.)

The person above who did better for a while and then had some bad days and felt hopeless again and gave up, her story embodies all our stories. Whether the length of time you’ve done better is a few months, a few weeks, a few days, a few hours or a few minutes, and the return to increased pulling is a moment, a day or a week, that step backwards is everyone’s undoing. It was my story when I was pulling. Unless you can live through that moment and know it’s part of the process, CBT or meditation or any other method will fail You. Because recovery is, will be, two steps forward, one step back. It will be three steps forward, two steps back. It may be eight steps forward, five steps back. You have not “gone backward,” you have not “undone your progress.” Because progress won’t show on your head or your face (lashes, brows, skin) until later. Until you’ve done well, had that bad day or two, put it into context (the addiction trying to trick you into hopelessness so you will pull or pick), accepted it, checked not your hair or face right then but rather the general improvement in overall numbers, you CAN NOT RECOVER. Once you can see that those bad days will come and not let them deter you, your recovery is ASSURED.

Prepare for that. Because as you learn to live without the comfort of pulling to turn to, the part of your psyche where your addiction is lodged, will get scared. For food addicts it is scary not to have comfort food to turn to. And that fear will inevitably cause, urge, cajole and tempt you to binge on something in the midst of changing over to healthy eating and moderation. With pulling that fear will cause you to have a few binge pulling days. And if at that time you say, “Forget it. I can’t do this. I messed up. I failed, I’ll never lose the weight,” YOU WILL GIVE UP. You will say, as we all have, what’s the point? It doesn’t matter. I’ve ruined it.

Ah but you have not. Because you won’t stop suddenly and completely. You’ll stop gradually. And you’ll have bad days in there. And if you learn not to judge them or panic or tell yourself, SEE I have failed, THEN you will have succeeded. Eventually you won’t have to have those bad days. But the problem isn’t those bad days. It’s allowing those INEVITABLE bad days to stop you.

Because this will take a year. A year on the path. And then your hair will grow back. Your skin will heal. And if you demand this take three months, well it just won’t happen at all. I know a year is a long time. But so is FOREVER. Do you want to pull one more year or forever?

During this year your motivation simply cannot be about how you look or your hair growing in but about feeling good about yourself. About feeling whole. Saying “fuck it I’m ugly” is the addiction talking. Saying “there is no point” is the addiction talking. Saying “I don’t care” is the addiction talking.

The only way to avoid that is to understand that at the beginning you must focus on feeling good or at least better about yourself because you are working on the pulling. And writing down a number every day and focusing on improving the numbers and seeing them get lower each month that goes by, will keep you motivated. Knowing that you could feel proud the next day or next week is motivation. Knowing that judging yourself along the way is simply the addiction talking will keep you motivated.

It is NOT YOUR FAULT you have Trich or skin picking disorder. But it is your responsibility to face it. When you say, “I don’t care” to give yourself temporary permission to pull you are lying to yourself. Of course you care. That doesn’t mean you can always stop in that moment but you care. Pulling for all intents and purposes is an addiction. And you are a slave to it. So care about THAT. It’s NOT, I am bad, what’s wrong with me, it’s more, This is costing me a lot and is keeping you from living the life you want. That’s why I care.

Above all else do not beat yourself up. Do not ask yourself WHY over and over again or What is wrong with me??. (Answer: Because you have trich or CSP. There is no other reason.)

One cannot recover without shifting the center of motivation from hair to how I feel about myself, how this affects my life. Because the hair takes time to grow. If it’s about the hair everyone fails. Because it’s too easy to say that, well it looks like shit now so I may as well pull.

That is pretty much why people can’t recover: Well my hair or lashes and brows or face looks like shit anyway (thus there will be no immediate payoff) so I might as well pull.

Imagine a person who weighs 350 lbs trying to lose weight. All they have is the scale to help them to see they are losing weight. They can’t see it on their body right away. All you’ll have for now is those numbers going down. This person who weighs 350 lbs must be proud that they are undertaking the journey. No new clothes shopping now perhaps. Maybe they don’t feel pretty. But they are achieving a goal. Of lower numbers on the scale. And they can and must feel good about in order to keep going.

At the end of this thing you will have your hair. But at first make it your business to have lower numbers one month to the next and prepare for those inevitable bad days and they need not take you down.

I KNOW that you can recover from pulling. And believe me, I never thought I could either. But now I know different. The only substitute for pulling is self-acceptance and self-love, self-care and setting boundaries. Read Radical Acceptance. Read Codependent No More. And since it should be said, Take a day or night off just for you.  Exercise. Eat healthy good. Sleep well. Say NO once in a while.  Don’t remain friends with people who are takers. Don’t wait till you stop pulling to live life and to enjoy life. I’ll be happy to answer questions here if you have them.

Claudia Miles

My Trich Supplements

NAC:

March-April 1200mg

May-Aug 15 2400mg

Aug 16 begin 3600mg

Inositol Powder:

Week 5 Aug 3-9 (12 g/day)

Week 6 Aug 10-16 (18g/day) full dose

Methanonine/SAMe+ magnesium, calcium, zinc

SAMe 200mg Aug 14

SAMe 400mg Aug 21

SAMe 400mg + 1000 methanonine Aug 28

SAMe 400mg + 2000 methanonine Sept 7

SAMe 200mg + 3000 methanonine Sept 14

Oct 1: 3000 mg methanonine, no SAMe

Others:

Calcium 1000mg (100% daily value)

Magnesium 400mg (100% daily value)

Zinc 15mg (100% daily value)

Probiotic -10 strains, 25 billion organisms

B-6 100 mg (5,000% daily value)

A 10,000IU (200% daily value)

(note: high doses of vitamin A for extended periods of time are harmful and not recommended)

DHA 500mg

EPA 250 mg

Biotin 10,000mcg

C 1,000mg (only 2x/week)

The Light

I can finally see the light at the end of this 20 year dark, dark tunnel.  After so many attempts to stop pulling, I have finally found something that reduces the urge.  I had learned many coping mechanism and preventative strategies, but the decreased urge makes this so much easier.  The combination of inositol, NAC, methanonine, and the John Kender diet are really helping. I have not had an urge to pull from my scalp (which is unheard of). I am also more aware of my pulling and feel like I have more control to stop myself from an urge or after an involuntary pull. I have not pulled from my scalp in nine days. In those nine days, I have pulled less from my lashes and brows with two minor episodes where I pulled a bit. It was easier for me to stop myself and stay strong for the rest of the day after those 2 slips. Normally, once I had started, it would’ve been an all day battle, but I was able to regain control. I feel hopeful for the first time in a long while that I can beat this.