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.