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 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.