Commitment and Acceptance

Lately my focus has been on Commitment and Acceptance as I delve into ACT therapy. A member of my online support group had a great post about her methods (including acceptance and commitment) for managing trich.  I have included her post below.  The original can be found on the beating trich support group forum.

“In the last year and a half of being here at DS, I have learned a great deal about my relationship with trichotillomania. I can’t always maintain a PF, but I have done it enough to get to the point where I feel I am managing this thing. Perhaps my methods can be of help to others. I am a scalp puller, but I believe these methods can be adapted for brow and lash pullers. I call them my ABC’s, but really they are my CAB’s. Anyone is welcome to post their favorite methods of attack here as well.

1) To borrow from the 12 Step Programs, the first thing is to accept that you are a hair puller. To own it, and to take responsibility for it, and to work towards taking control. Only you can do this. On the other hand, you don’t have to do it alone. You can ask a Higher Power for help, and you can ask for support here at DS. There are so many of us in the same boat.

2) COMMITMENT: You must commit to fighting this thing. Make yourself that promise, even if you have to grit your teeth sometimes to keep it. Don’t make excuses. Without a strong commitment, I find that I falter. Remind yourself that it is rarely “just one” hair.

3) AWARENESS: Be aware of your triggers – study yourself. Is it food, stress, boredom? Where are you when you pull, what are you doing when you pull? Are you driving, reading, watching TV, at the computer, in bed, in the bathroom, looking in the mirror? Be aware of what your hands are doing. Be aware of when the urge hits. Be aware of when you pull. Stay present. Don’t let yourself get into the pullers’ trance.

4) BARRIERS: Have your barrier of choice readily available, anywhere, any time.
-I have lightweight driving gloves in the car;
-a bumpy drier ball and light cotton gloves by the computer;
-I wear jewelry that I can play with when I go to lectures, or have to work with other people;
-I knit when I watch TV, or I wear a baseball cap or gloves.
-I wear a baseball cap when I read. I also have gloves and a drier ball handy. (Gloves don’t work as well when I read, because I tend to pull them off. The hat works the best . It literally “caps” the urge.)
-If the urge is on fire, I will put ice cube or ice packs on my head.

5) SURF THE URGE: If I don’t have barriers handy, I utilize visualization techniques.
-I will imagine that my hands are very heavy, and concentrate on the weight of them in my lap. Or, I will see the urge as a wave or a strong misty wind. I see it approach, and I stand my ground, I will not be swept away buy it. Nor will I strain myself to try to hold it back. I will let it wash over and past me.

-The urge always passes. It may take 1,3,15,30 minutes, but it will pass.

-Another thing I do is jump on top of the urge on my surfboard (or not) and ride it out.

-Sometimes I see the urge as an angry insect, and I put a large glass lid over it and watch it frantically beat it wings into exhaustion.

-Sometime I visualize it being zapped into oblivion by a ray of white light.

-Or, I will imagine it is a cap on my head, and I will expel a large gust of air through my scalp to vanquish it.

-If visualization isn’t your thing, just breathe into the urge. Close your eyes and breathe it away with slow, steady breaths. Breathe from your belly, or look up some yogic breathing techniques.

6) I check in here almost every day. The support and community here is of incalculable benefit. If I falter, I don’t beat myself up, I just start all over again. It is a process.

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Commitment

commitment

Staying committed is essential to recovery from trich.  We all have those days when the idea seems very doable and all important…but then there are those other days when things are not going so great and it seems too hard, not worth the fight.  It is in those times when commitment is most important.  The decision to fight no matter how we feel or how we are doing in our current situation is the difference maker.  It is easy enough to continue on when the urge isn’t bad, but stopping yourself when it is all consuming is the real key.  It is the decision to keep working after a major pulling episode or when your hair is at its worst.

Through a steadfast commitment to monitoring and consistent use of helpful strategies, the pulling WILL get better.  We must preserve even when it seems our efforts are in vain.  This why progress monitoring is great…we can take a step back and look at our patterns over a long period of time.  Even though the past day, week, or month has been bad, the overall decline in pulling will be evident with continued dedication to recovery.

I have tried charting for many years, but usually give up after a few months when it seems it is not helping.  I am now committed to chart each day no matter what.  I know in the long run, this will lead to progress.  It may take years, but I will get better.  The good times will last longer and it will be easier to climb out of the depths of a bad pulling spree.  Eventually, it will be easier to resist the urges and in time I know I will be pull free.  I am committed, even when I don’t feel like it, I will continue.

As for my current situation…I am 16 days PF on my scalp and 4 days pull free with my lashes.  March looks like it will be the first month since September when I had more good days than bad days.  This is progress for which I am very thankful.  My hair still doesn’t look any better, but I know I am working towards my goal and that feels great.

Here is a great post about commitment to kicking trich:

And the #1 Strategy for Beating Trichotillomania Is…

The Difference That Makes The Difference

…you have to make ENDING this problem a MUST for you.

What do I mean by that?

Well, a long time ago, I heard someone say, “We rarely get should’s, but we always get our MUSTS.”…click for full post

Trichotillomania Relief Specialists- The Blog

I just found this great trichotillomania resource, which can be found at http://blog.trich-free.com/

The following post from their site gives a great overview of the kind of material on the blog.

Here are our top 10 articles from 2014:

  1. I Pull My Hair – Is Something Wrong with Me? (12/9/14)
  2. Trichotillomania And The Secret of True Self-Confidence (1/6/14)
  3. Shaving Your Head – A Real Solution for Trichotillomania? (11/13/14)
  4. Part I: Commitment in Action – The Inspiring Story of Katie (1/30/14)
  5. Trichotillomania And You:  The Past Does Not Equal The Future (12/31/13)
  6. Trichotillomania: To Have Or Have Not (11/20/14)
  7. Pillars of Trichotillomania Freedom, Pt. III:  Emotional Healing & Freedom from Trichotillomania (5/13/14)
  8. “Programming” Your Subconscious Mind for Trichotillomania Freedom (5/7/14)
  9. Trichotillomania And The Winning Attitude of An Olympian (2/15/14)
  10. Part II: Commitment in Action – The Inspiring Story of Katie (2/8/14)

Based on this list, here are four of the most important take-aways that have come through loud and clear.  Of course, feel free to share your thoughts about these in the comments section below.

  • Trichotillomania does significant damage to one’s self-esteem.  It’s clear that one of the most troubling elements of trichotillomania is the sufferer’s feelings about themselves.  Generally speaking, the longer one has struggled with trichotillomania, the worse one feels about themselves.But it doesn’t have to take long.  Teenagers often feel the worst about their struggles with trich.  Feelings of being different – or even damaged, as though something is really “wrong” with them because they pull – are common.  Such feelings are especially difficult during the teenage years, when acceptance by one’s peers – the need to “fit in” –  is of paramount importance.The good news is, this also means resolving one’s challenges with trichotillomania virtually always results in a massive and nearly immediately improvement in one’s self-esteem; here at The Trichotillomania Relief Specialists, we’ve seen it happen this way again and again and again.   Within just days after starting with us, clients are happier, more self-assured and more confident than they’ve felt in years.
  • The most commonly suggested solutions for trich may not actually be solutions at all.  What kinds of ideas for managing your trichotillomania have been offered to you by your well-meaning medical doctor or mental health professionals?  What kind of ideas have you come up with as a result of your own research?I’ll tell you what WE hear – shave your head, put gloves on your hands or grease on your fingertips, cover your head with a hat, bandana or hairpiece, go outside and pull grass instead, etc., etc., etc.Ridiculous, right?  Whether or not you’ve actually tried any of these, don’t they just sound silly?

    Because, what is it you instinctually know?  That’s right – at best, these are nothing more than strategies to help manage or temporarily redirect your urges to pull – not to eliminate them.  And even if they “worked”, how long could they possibly provide meaningful relief?  Only until the next set of urges beset you.  It’s a never-ending cycle, and because of that, it’s reasonable to ask whether there might be anything more effective than a mere band-aid for managing trich symptoms.

  • Next to strategy, commitment is what’s most important.  We’ve seen again and again how a deep and powerful desire to be free of trichotillomania has made the transition to a trich-free lifestyle that much easier.True, clients need to first learn how to create that freedom from trichotillomania.  That’s why they come to see us – to be taught the two most important pillars to true, lasting and struggle-free independence from hair-pulling (both elements are taught in the very first week of our flagship 90-Day Distance Personal Breakthrough Coaching Program™).Of course, once clients learn the two major elements to freedom from trichotillomania, they do need to be willing to employ what they’ve learned at the appropriate times.  We’ve discovered that those with the deepest commitment to freedom from trichotillomania are the most likely to employ those strategies most regularly, thereby most quickly and easily freeing themselves from the prison of trichotillomania.
  • Your beliefs have a lot to do with your success – or lack thereof.  In particular, I’m talking about the beliefs you hold regarding your own power to change what’s not working in your life.Do you believe you have the ability to conquer your trichotillomania?  Do you believe anyone has that ability?  Or do you believe your trichotillomania is – and must remain – firmly in control?  Do you believe the best you can ever hope for is to manage your trich symptoms (but not ever really get rid of it once and for all)?  Even if it were possible, do you believe successfully managing your trich symptoms has to mean constant struggle along the way?If upon reading these questions you realize your answers are not what you wish they were, understand you’re not alone!  Just about all of our clients have felt exactly the same way at various points along their journey with trichotillomania.  In fact, most are still feeling this way the very first day they meet us to begin their 90-Day Distance Personal Breakthrough Coaching Program™ with us.

    It stands to reason that the more you believe you can at least learn to exert control over your trich symptoms, the easier you’ll find it to be.  Unfortunately, the opposite is true as well.

    But more good news: even if you don’t believe you have the ability to take control of your trichotillomania, we can assure you it is indeed possible –  for most, in fact, far more easily than they ever imagined possible.  You simply have to learn the skill.  Like any other skill, the more you practice, the better you get.

Omega 3 and Depression

I started taking omega 3’s (specifically DHA and EPA) when pregnant with my first daughter. I remember thinking how good my mood was as I was not taking any of my prescription medications for anxiety and depression. I stopped the supplement shortly after having my daughter and did not begin taking it again until I was pregnant with my second daughter. Again, I was surprised by my stable mood. I continued taking the supplement after some research showing the many benefits of omega-3 fatty acids.

I found a more potent form of DHA and EPA in a coated capsule from NOW vitamins. It did not give off the fishy aftertaste of fish oil and was more potent than flaxseed oil. One tablet contains 500mg of DHA and 250 of EPA. I take 2 a day. Studies suggest benefits from even higher doses.  I have found a lot of research supporting the claim that omega 3’s are very helpful in treating depression.  The following article does a nice job of summing up these benefits.

Omega-3 fatty acids banish depression: Research

Increasing your intake of omega-3 fatty acids may be one of the safest, easiest ways to battle depression, research suggests.

Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in fish and canola oil, flax seeds, chia seeds, kiwifruit and purslane.

Interest in a relationship between omega-3s and depression began with a number of correlational studies. Many epidemiological studies have found that populations with higher fish consumption report lower rates of depression, postpartum depression, bipolar disorder and seasonal affective disorder than nations with lower fish consumption. Similar effects have been seen within nations, with lower rates of depression and suicidal thoughts among people who eat more fish. A study in New Zealand found that people who ate more fish rated their mental health status more highly than people who ate less fish.

Studies have also shown that people with low levels of omega-3s in their bodies are significantly more likely to suffer from depression and other psychological disorders.

Clinical research confirms the link

A number of clinical trials have supported the effectiveness omega-3 supplementation as a way to alleviate depression symptoms, particularly in patients who have not responded to treatment with antidepressant drugs.

One such study was conducted by researchers from the University of Pavia, Italy, and published in the Journal of Nutrition Health and Aging in 2011. In a double-blind experiment, researchers randomly assigned 46 depressed women between the ages of 66 and 95 to take a supplement consisting of either omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids or a placebo. The omega-3 supplement consisted of 1.67 g per day of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and 0.83 g per day of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

After two months, women who had been taking omega-3s showed significant improvements on measures of depression and mental and physical health status; no such improvement was seen in the placebo group.

“The supplementation of omega-3 LCPUFA in elderly female patients reduces the occurrence of depressive symptoms, improves phospholipids fatty acids profile and health-related quality of life,” the researchers wrote.

Effective across a broad spectrum

One of the most comprehensive investigations of omega-3s’ effects on depression was published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry in 2010. More than 400 men and women participated in the randomized, double-blind study, and were assigned to take three capsules a day of either a placebo or a fish oil supplement with high concentrations of EPA. Unlike many clinical trials of antidepressant drugs, the study included large numbers of patients with hard-to-treat conditions, including people suffering from both depression and anxiety and people whose depression had not responded to drugs. This was meant to gain a sense of how omega-3s would function in a more real-world setting.

The researchers found that after eight weeks, depression symptoms had significantly decreased among those who took the omega-3 supplement, but only among patients who also suffered from anxiety. The improvement was comparable to the improvement seen in studies performed on the effectiveness of antidepressants among an easier-to-treat population.

Sources for this article include:

http://www.vitasearch.com/get-clp-summary/39553

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100621111238.htm

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC533861/

Omega 3 Benefits

Omega 3 Benefits (from omega-3.us)

1. Freedom from pain and inflammation. The National Institute of Health’s website, Medline Plus says, “Omega-3 fatty acids reduce pain and swelling.” How? Omega 3 fish oil fatty acids, particularly EPA, are involved in your body’s inflammatory response and inflammation cycle. Relieving the inflammation (swelling) will help reduce the pain.

2. Better brain function and higher intelligence. Pregnant and nursing mothers who include omega 3 fatty acids in their diets, may have a positive impact on their babies intelligence. For adults, fish oil is also being researched in association with improved memory, recall, reasoning and focus.

3. Feeling better with much less depression. Making you smarter is not all that fish oil may do for your brain. Psychiatry department researchers at the University of Sheffield UK, along with other research studies, have seen the possibility that the omega 3 fatty acids in fish oil supplements “alleviated” the symptoms of depression, bipolar and psychosis. [Journal of Affective Disorder Vol. 48(2-3);149-55]  **for more info see: Omega 3 and Depression**

4. Lower incidence of childhood disorders. Just to show how omega 3 fatty acids leave nobody out, studies suggest that children (and adults) with ADD and ADHD may experience a greatly improved quality of life. From Medline Plus, “Taking fish oil seems to improve thinking skills and behavior in 8 to 12 year-old children with ADHD.”

5. Superior cardiovascular health. Research has suggested that the DHA, EPA and DPA in fish oil may have a positive effect on heart disease. According to Medline Plus, “Fish oil may be effective in keeping people with healthy hearts free of heart disease. People who already have heart disease may be able to lower their risk of dying from heart disease by taking fish oil. Though not all researchers agree, some investigators believe that fish oil may be even more effective in reducing death from heart attacks than a group of commonly used cholesterol-lowering drugs called “statins.”

6. Protection from heart attack and stroke. When plaque builds up on arterial walls and then breaks loose, it causes what’s known as a thrombosis, which is a fancy way of saying clot. If a clot gets stuck in the brain, it causes a stroke and when it plugs an artery, it causes a heart attack. From Medline Plus: “Moderate fish consumption (once or twice a week) seems to lower the risk of having a stroke by as much as 27%.”

DHA/EPA and the Omega-3 Recommended Intakes

Life Stages

Age

Males (g/day)

Females (g/day)

Infants 0-6 mos

0.5

0.5

Infants 7-12 mos

0.5

0.5

Children 1-3 yrs

0.7

0.7

Children 4-8 yrs

0.9

0.9

Children 9-13 yrs

1.2

1.2

Children 14-18 yrs

1.6

1.1

Adults 19 yrs and older

1.6

1.1

Pregnancy All ages

1.4

Breastfeeding All ages

1.3

My Trich Supplements: Update

A.M. on Empty Stomach

NAC:1800mg

Methionine: 1000mg

Probiotic:10 strains, 25 billion organisms

After Breakfast (about 1-2 hours after AM dose)

B6 100 mg (5,000% daily value)

Biotin 10,000mcg

Mid-Day on Empty Stomach
C 500mg (helps absorb the minerals)

+

Magnesium 400mg of elemental magnesium

(100% daily value)

(I use Doctor’s Best Brand which is formed from 2,000mg magnesium glycinate/lysinate chelate. This is a more readily absorbed form of magnesium with less side effects than the more commonly sold magnesium oxide.)

or

Zinc 50mg (333% daily value)

(I alternate every other day, as these minerals should not be taken together as they hinder the absorption of one another as with other minerals such as iron.)

With Dinner
Multi-Vitamin

DHA 1000mg /EPA 500mg

Bedtime (With or Without Food)

Inositol Powder- 12 grams (2 tablespoons in warm water)

Epsom salt baths 2-3x /week

(magnesium is readily absorbed through the skin, by adding 1-2 cups of Epsom salts to a warm, not hot bath – about 98 degrees is best for absorption)

ACT Therapy and Trichotillomania

ACT Therapy � TLC Retreat Notes
Credit Sue Price notes – TLC Conference Session

TLC Retreat Session September 2002
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
Douglas Woods, Ph.D.

ACT is an acceptance-based, behaviorally oriented therapy.  It was first proposed by Hayes et. al. (1999), but I believe Dr. Woods is the first to study treating ttm with it.

ACCEPTANCE: allowing urges, emotions, thoughts and feelings to occur without attempts to control them.

Acceptance does NOT mean a hopeless acceptance of the fact you have TTM.

Why work on acceptance? He conducted an online study which showed that pullers who are less accepting of private events tend to have stronger urges to pull and more severe pulling. [I found the concept of “private events” confusing at first. From what I can tell, it’s anything that happens inside you that you experience privately. As he said: thoughts, feelings, emotions, urges].

People follow rules not experience. He cited a study where people played a slot machine that was rigged to never pay off for the player. The people who were told that the machine WOULD pay off eventually, played longer than the people who were not told anything. The point is, people follow rules over their experience.

Where this fits in with trich: the rule is, “if you feel bad, get rid of it.” This is what society teaches us. This works well in many situations (if the kids are too noisy, send them outside; if someone is tailgating you, change lanes, etc.).  But this does not work with private events such as feelings. Trying to just get rid of bad feelings, urges, etc. does not work long term. But we keep doing this anyway because that’s the rule we’ve been taught.

ACT breaks down rules by emphasizing experiential exercises over verbal rules. The idea is that the person accepts that while the rule they’ve been taught is “get rid of it”, their experience shows that this has not worked, and then they can learn a willingness to experience those private events. [Side note: the addiction book that I’ve found so helpful makes similar points: that our society teaches us that feeling bad is intolerable, to be avoided, and if you feel bad you must do something to stop feeling bad RIGHT AWAY. This is the kind of thinking that fosters addiction, and changing this way of thinking and being willing to FEEL bad is a major part of combating addiction.]

Steps to Acceptance

1. Creative Hopelessness
Focuses on getting the person to see that attempts to stop, alter or avoid private events such as thoughts, emotions or feelings have been unsuccessful. Pulling is often another way to avoid or control private events. He asked us to think about an uncomfortable private event that we’re dealing with right now. He asked how we tried to deal with it. The common answers people gave were: avoided thinking about it, distracting themselves from it, and denial. We confirmed that none of these things work long term in dealing with the private event. It comes back.

2. Willingness
Focuses on getting the participant to be willing to experience negative or uncomfortable private events. If trying to control private events is the problem, willingness to experience uncomfortable feelings may be a solution.

– Willingness is not the same as “wanting”. He had a “Joe the Bum” metaphor (acknowledging that “bum” is not PC.) Say you are having a party that all your neighbors are invited to, and everyone is having a great time. Then Joe the Bum shows up. You don’t want him there, nobody likes him, he’s dirty, he’s smelly. But if you spend your time trying to physically keep him out, you won’t be enjoying your party. But if you are WILLING to accept that he’s there and not fight it, even though you don’t WANT him there, you can still enjoy your party.

– Willingness is all or nothing

3. Diffusion
He said that even if urges etc. are not originally language-based, they become so because WE are language-based. (There was a lot of clinical stuff he went over making this point.) We need to understand language for what it is, and that words are powerful only because we let them be. This step is about de-literalizing private events. We did two exercises to illustrate this.

First he asked us what we associate with the word “milk”. We said white, cold, frothy, things like that. Then he has us say, out loud,”milkmilkmilkmilkmilkmilkmilk. . .” over and over. (Try it, it’s physically not easy to keep this up!) Picture an entire room of us saying it over and over, and he had us keep it up for what seemed like forever. When he finally stopped us, he said, “I bet you’re not thinking of that white frothy stuff anymore.”

The idea is that “milk” made us think of the white frothy stuff, but only because of what WE associate with that word. By repeating the word over and over, we de-literalized it. It became just a word, the letters m-i-l-k. Similarly, an urge that’s felt as “I need to pull” can be de-literalized by repeating “I need to pull I need to pull I need to pull” until they are just words, not something that must be acted on. Those words don’t have power unless we give it to them.

The second exercise is to imagine you are watching a parade and a band is marching by. Imagine that your thoughts, whatever’s bothering you, are written up on cards that the band members are carrying. And just watch those “thoughts on cards” go past you.  Acknowledge them but separate yourself from them.

4. Understanding the Self
Who are “you?” Who is your “self?”

– Conceptualized Self: who do we say we are? What do we stand for? How do we see ourselves? (we typically think of this as our only self, and defend it)

– Knowing Self: the “self” that is experiencing events as they are occurring

– Observing Self: the “self” that has always been and always will be. He made an analogy to a chessboard: I am the board, not the game that is happening on it. Whatever happens on the board does not have to affect me.

5. Valuing
– You have the ability to choose your behavior. You must choose to move in your valued direction.

– What do you value? What do you want your life to stand for?

– Need to make psychological room for private events while you move your life in the valued direction.
[I think an example of what he means by the last item is: a valued direction for me, is not pulling. By trying to move my life in that valued direction, I will have uncomfortable private events and I need to accept this and be ready for this.

He also said:
-Committed Action Invites Obstacles (disguised as private events)

– The Journey in the Valued Direction involves fear and action. So I take it as, anything I do to move my life in a direction I value(trich-related or not) can bring up private events that will be uncomfortable. He is saying “choose to move in your valued direction” while experiencing these private events.]

**The idea is to combine acceptance techniques with other behavior therapy procedures. A clinical study showed this is effective, based on five different measures of pretreatment and post treatment hair pulling.

For more info, this book is very helpful:

Trichotillomania: An ACT-enhanced Behavior Therapy Approach Therapist Guide (Treatments That Work), March 31, 2008, by Douglas W Woods and Michael P Twohig

Various elements to my pulling

I have found that I pull for the following reasons/triggers

1)    GENETIC – because I have a trich disorder, it puts this idea in my head to pull out my hair. (I can resist this with a lot of self discipline)

2)    CHEMICAL – chemical imbalance – wrong foods cause incredible urges, which I basically find impossible to resist (thoughts of the kinky hair, the roots etc). This trigger is the worst for me, and the most difficult to control. That is why I love the JK diet so much (did _I_  say that?), not because it is easy, but it gave me back my life – it gave me a fighting chance against trich.

3)    SENSES (touch) – touching and isolating a specific hair…. course, kinky etc. Once I isolated a specific hair, it is very, very difficult to stop there. I fight this trigger by not allowing myself to touch my hair.

4)    SENSES (visual) – seeing black kinky hairs in a mirror. Once I see it, it chases me around the whole day – I cannot stop thinking about it. I combat this trigger by standing very far from mirrors and only using them when necessary.

5)    HABIT – I don’t believe trich is a habit at all, but after doing the same thing over and over for many years, there is definitely a habit element to it.  Using barriers such as band-aides, gloves, and bandanas have helped me stop unconscious pulling and also makes me more aware of my hands and their sneaky tendency to creep up to my face.  After studying my trich, I am more aware of my hands and usually catch myself before I ‘accidentally’ pull. Fiddle toys also help keep my hands busy.

6)    EMOTIONS – stress/pain/self hate etc. This often leads me to the unconscious or trance like pulling.  It is an escape from unpleasant feelings.  I have used trich to cope with emotions, good and bad for most of my life.  Learning to feel my feelings and being aware of my hands has helped with this.  After years of therapy and learning to rely on God, I have received emotional healing.  This has led me to break the vicious circle where… you pull, you hate yourself, worry about tomorrow (fixing the hair), and use negative self talk (ex. no one would like me anyway, I am worthless, I may just as well pull) so you pull, and you hate yourself etc… I have learned to avoid this negative thinking and stop myself when I head down that path.

7)     THE ITCH – nothing has been able to stop my head from itching yet, but denorex shampoo is very helpful.  I used to pull, thinking (unconsciously) that the pulling would stop the itching. (It doesn’t, don’t fall for that one!). Now I know that it won’t stop the itching, so even though my head itches, I’ll scratch, but I won’t pull (usually).  Head massagers, shampoo brushes, combs, and scalpicin help with the itch and keep my hands off my head.

Don’t Stop

Never give up, don’t stop trying.This is easier said than done, but very important in recovery.  Last night my eyelashes were really bothering me.  This agitation had been building for days.  There was one that was especially bad.  In a moment of weakness, I impulsively took off my band-aide and plucked out that pesky lash.  It was felt great for a second until reality caught up with me and I realized I gave in, again.  This seems to be the pattern of my life..do good for a bit and then it all comes tumbling down with one hair.   I stopped myself for a few minutes and went back to watching a movie. As usually is the case, I did not stop at one hair. In a growing frenzy, I quickly undid my 11 days of hard work and was left feeling a mix of relief and extreme disappointment.  I went to bed vowing to start fresh in the morning.  At least I had not touched my scalp so I had that to hold onto.

My daughter woke me up this next morning asking if we could go to church.  She loves church and is always my encouragement to go.  I love it once I’m there, but getting myself out the door always seems daunting.  It had been months since we last went to church.  My service offers an online version, which I often choose over actually going to church.  I hate going out in public, which is in large part due to my trich.  The worse my pulling, the more reluctant I am to go out.  I feel self conscious and hate the long process of hiding my pulling.

I get to church and find a new sermon series titled, “Don’t Stop” had started.   The main idea is that obstacles and trials will come and go, but one thing can always remain constant on your journey. Good things happen when we don’t stop trying, even when it seems like our efforts are getting us no where.  Each step matters in the scheme of recovery and each day you keep trying, keep fighting, is another day closer to the goal.  I will post the link for the sermon below.  I highly recommend taking some time to watch the message.  It put my struggle into perspective and was very inspiring.

Life Church-Don’t Stop Part 1

The finish line. The goal. What are you working toward? Obstacles and trials will come and go, but one thing can always remain constant on your journey. Keep your eyes on the prize because good things happen when you Don’t Stop.

http://live.lifechurch.tv/