New Year. New Update. My Hair journey in pictures so far.

Hello! I haven’t written in a while. A lot has gone on since the last time I posted. My life appears to have a constant wave of busyness with a lot happening. But then again, I kinda like my life to be like that and constantly up on my feet; doing activities that I like. I have my goals constantly in mind and I am striving towards that end goal.

Anyways, onto the hair and I shall give you an update. The three pictures above show you what my hair has been like recently. The first two images were from before Christmas, which was a very stressful term for me as I had a lot of projects on at that time and I was working as well. However, recently I finally got my last grade back and it wasn’t good. They were really harsh in the comments and grade. It made me question why I am doing what Im doing and whether its worth it. I had a bit of a cry as soon after I received my mark in front of friend. I had to let it out. I couldn’t hold my emotions any longer. There was an urge for me to pull out my hair and punish myself but I was like Im not going to do that. I had to take it with a pinch of salt and pull past it. Now, I want to prove the teachers wrong. I will take the feedback and take it in my stride to do even better. To show them I do have it takes. I haven’t come this far for nothing.

My hair currently is the last photo on the right and as you can see, there has been an improvement in my hair growth. I am even surprised myself that it has grown this much and it definitely gives me confidence that I can keep up this.

Recently, I discovered a trichotillomania Facebook group which I have now joined and has been such an insight. To hear everyones own stories and help one another out with advice. It has all been inspiring and insightful. Even, I made a post recently sharing the photos above because before new years we all decided to make a resolution and try to be pull free. Of course, we all check in with each other now and again. But, it was so nice and refreshing to speak to everyone on the group and I never shared pics of my hair to a big group of people before. It feels like a weight off my shoulders and now, I don’t feel so afraid of opening up to people about it. Be brave and courageous. Be yourself and most importantly, be happy.

My World Mental Health Awareness Day Revelation

This day has always fallen on 10th October and with that, it has always been a day of revelations.

As every year on every form of social media, various people write posts about the importance of mental health or share their own mental health experiences. Mental Health has always been a delicate subject and needs to be treated the right way for people to truly understand it.

On Mental Health Awareness Day is always eye opening to see every year, because every year you learn something new and your eyes open wider further to the fact of how many people are affected. It brings home the fact that no one is alone in this matter. Everyone is linked and truly connected.

One thing that I always saw on these various posts, was no one posted about trichotillomania. It was always posts about the more common types that were mentioned such as depression, anxiety, eating disorder or even bipolar. All of these posts were heart warming and lovely to read, it was if I was able to get to understand people better regardless of whether I actually knew them or not. On the other hand, I always felt alone. To this day sometimes, I feel like trich is an issue that is rarely talked about and honestly, I think hardly anyone knows what it is. It is an issue that needs to be spoken about and people have more awareness of it to truly understand how it occurs; even what could be done to prevent it not going further. However, this year I finally spotted a post about trichotillomania from a friend on Facebook.

I’m gonna write this because I’ve had a few SDFs and it’s #WorldMentalHealthDay and people need educating about the less-known mental illnesses. LONG POST INCOMING, AND TRIGGER WARNING FOR TRICHOTILLOMANIA.

When I was 11 years old, I had trichotillomania. Most of you probably don’t know what that is – I certainly didn’t. It’s an impulse control disorder where you feel compelled to pull your hair out. It CAN be triggered by depression, which years later I was diagnosed with, but I don’t believe that depression was the reason I was pulling my hair out. It’s a disorder that has had little medical research into it, which means that sometimes people just need to pull their hair out and they don’t understand why.

Quickly, I started developing bald patches. We hear a lot about ‘silent sufferers’, and I have been one as well with other illnesses so to anyone who’s suffering silently my heart truly does go out to you and I hope that in time you’ll be able to talk about it and get the help that you need. But with trichotillomania, there’s no option. You can’t ‘silently suffer’ because you’re developing massive bald patches all over your head, so you have to start making up these pathetic lies as excuses because chances are, no one else in your class will understand. Because I didn’t understand, and I was the one that had it. Luckily the peak time that it was happening was during the winter months, so I was able to wear a hat at lunch/break etc., but (cheeky reference to secondary schools bloody stupid uniform policies here) you couldn’t wear a hat at my school once it got past February, regardless of whether it actually was cold or not. I was terrified. If I heard anyone laughing in the corridor, I’d assume it was about me; if I heard anyone mention the word ‘bald’ or even ‘bold’, I’d assume it was about me. And I couldn’t give an explanation for why it was happening, and to be an 11 year old girl in a new school I can’t even begin to explain how terrifying that was for me. Shout out to 11 year old me for getting through it all.

My point is, just as many others have said today – if you are suffering from mental illness, please talk about it. I know it’s impossibly hard (this status is actually the first time I’ve properly publicly talked about this because it’s something I’ve kept hidden for so long) but people need to be educated, and they need to understand. No matter how well known the illness is, we need to talk about it. Mental illnesses are horrible nasty things that can destroy a person, but they are NOT YOUR FAULT and we need to help others to understand that. Luckily I overcame it with the help of my family and through some YouTubers that talked about their experiences with the illness, and obviously now have a full healthy head of hair which I do get a bit weird about when people touch it so apologies if I’ve ever snapped at any of you about touching it. But if 11 year old me had been in a world where as many people speak about their experiences with mental health as they do today, then I’m sure she would have been a lot happier growing up.

I apologise if any of this was worded/structured weirdly, and if you read until the end then thank you – look after yourselves pals xxx’

As soon as my friend posted this post, a lot of comments and likes flooded in. Some commenting their thanks for talking about this unheard mental health issue and others commented mentioning that they suffered from it as well. It was a revelation in itself and a big breath of fresh air for myself.

My friend who wrote the post is confident, popular, bubbly and really knows herself. So, it was a big surprise to see that she of all possible people actually suffered from trich. There is the well known phrase of ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’, which is true. In actual fact, you really don’t know whats inside everyones books and who everyone truly is. Everyone is unique and special in their own way.

I was thrilled to see that she overcame trich and now, she has a full beautiful head of hair that she always loves to style everyday; show it off to everyone. In turn, it brings me hope. A beacon of hope that overcoming this can be done and the results are so worthwhile. It will be a sight that I don’t want to let go ever again. However back to reality, I still have a long way to climb and I would like to do this for myself. At the end of the day, I would like to come out at the end of that tunnel being a much happier person and as completely me.

Thats the aim and now I just have to continue my journey.

 

My Trichotillomania Experience and Advice to fellow Trichers

1. What is your most early memory of having trichotillomania?
My earliest memories are a bit hazy in regards my first time experience with trichotillomania. One early I remember, it was around the time just before I started secondary school and I was having a maths lesson, which I did a few tests on certain areas such as algebra and long division. I didn’t do as well as I hoped and so, I was frustrated with myself. Also, at home family arguments occurred and so, I felt pretty low. I felt angry, tense and anxious. My hands felt like a big ball of tension and I needed to get rid of it somehow. This is where my hand went up onto my hair and pulled a strand out.
2. Why did you decide to share your personal experiences of trichotillomania on a public platform?
I have kept this in for so long, I felt ashamed to even speak about around family and friends. Only my family know about my trichotillomania, no one else does. I tried to tell my oldest best friend, but since then we havent really been good friends ever since.  Ever since that moment, I realised how little people know about trich and majority of them, never really heard of it. I find that sad to hear and its such a shame in relation to mental health; this is not spoken about much at all. So, i thought the time in the dark is over and that I should share my experience with everyone on a public platform via my WordPress blog. I decided to do this, as a way to help myself and others. So, more awareness and understanding about trich is created. To show to everyone that they are not alone. As for myself, it lifts that years of tension off my shoulders from trying to keep it from people and by doing this, it has shown me to not be afraid anymore; to not fear trich as a big dark secret. I dont mind whoever reads my blog. To be honest, the fact that I am writing my experiences down and publishing them on a public platform is a big step for me. Regardless if anyone takes the time to read my posts, at least my thoughts are out there in the open and with that, I hope there is a steady rise of awareness in regards to trichotillomania itself.
3. What have been your main coping mechanisms when dealing with trichotillomania?
I have gone through a variety of coping mechanisms throughout the years. Ones that work for me, are I currently wear a wig for when i am at uni and then at home, i always wear head scarfs. Its become security blanket for me and constant reminder to not pull my hair. Another one, I went to a hair loss centre in London called Belgravia Centre and they gave me minoxidil, which I would put regularly on my scalp. Instantly every time, my hair roots were stimulated and within a couple of months, I nearly had a full head of hair. One thing I do to motivate myself to have a long term goal e.g. one goal I had was for a show that I was taking on tour with my college in Tossa Del Mar. I think there will be a definite phase of experimenting with various techniques and to see which one works with you. Also, I always have a notebook with me and so I feel an urge coming on I draw or write down my thoughts; or even doodle. So, my hands are constantly busy at all times. Currently, one technique I am using is to have an elastic band around my wrist. So, if I have an urge then I ping the elastic band to hurt myself and so by continuing this, it associates the feeling with the urge, which leads me to not pull my hair.
4. How has your perspective changed upon discovering the online trich community?
My perspective has definitely changed when i discovered the online trich community. It has been very refreshing to know that there are plenty of other people experiencing trich as well as me. Since discovering the online community, I don’t feel so alone as I did before. It has been really refreshing to talk to other trich sufferers and hear their stories with trich. It lifts a burden that I thought I was carrying before with knowing I had trich because from what I read on trich and how there is a small amount of people who suffer with it. There isn’t a big ball of tension anymore and now, I walk less afraid and more myself again. This is thanks to discovering the online trich community.
5. What is your number one tip for other sufferers of trichotillomania?
Find techniques that suit you and your day to day routine, which can be beneficial for you to help overcome trich. It will be a slow start at first with a few rocky moments, but the more you use the techniques that benefit you and the most easier your road to recovery will become. But most importantly, with trich make sure you are doing this because YOU want to help yourself.

An Inspiring and Positive Story: Please have a read.

Have you ever heard of trichotillomania or hair pulling disorder? While it isn’t a rare mental illness (apparently over 1% of Americans live with this disorder), most people aren’t aware of it or other body-focused repetitive behaviours. (BFRBs) According to the Canadian BFRB Support Network, trichotillomania is “the compulsive urge to pull out hair from […]

via One Woman’s Story With Trichotillomania, The Hair-Pulling Disorder — Slay Girl Society

A Trich Update. More ways to divert your urges.

day-in-the-life-of-livingwith-trichIt has been tough ever since I have returned back to university, this term is the term where it counts. Where the majority of the degree mark counts and so, I have to make sure that I do my best to achieve a great result.

Hows is trich you ask? Well, its a constant thing waving around me every time and every day is a challenge to overcome it.

I have found a couple of new things to use to help cope.

  1. Colouring Book – In a lot of shops, there are a wide variety of colouring books whether it be Harry Potter themed or Great British Bake Off themed; even colouring in images as postcards. So, whenever I have an urge I always have a colouring book with me whether it be in my bag at uni or just at home. There is always one nearby. I grab it and colour in for 15-20 mins.
  2. Relaxation techniques – There are many techniques to take up as a way of calming you down and feeling relax. At the moment, the one that has been helpful for me is when you sit in neutral position and then, you breathe in for 4 then out for 8 seconds. Continue that for 5 mins and then, increase the amount you breathe in/out. Do this until you feel completely relaxed.
  3. Word/Letter Poster – Think about what you would like to say to yourself as helpful yet effective words of encouragement and motivation. Then, type that out and make sure its in bold lettering or even capitalise it handwritten. Once you have done that, put it up on the wall around your room in places that you know you will look during your daily routine. Look at these every day and then, this can be seen as the continuous motivation to inspire you to keep going with overcoming trich. (Simple version, is to remember the words that you would like to say to yourself and to go in front of the mirror once or even twice a day. Look yourself in the eyes and say that to yourself)

Please feel free to try out these methods and see if there work for you. I would love to hear your stories about diverse methods that work for you in regarding to trichotillomania.

 

Another Year. New Start. I hope. (P.S Sorry I haven’t written in a while)

Its a new year. 2017 has rolled around. Could only mean one thing – New Years Resolutions. A new year and a fresh new leaf to start things anew. Every time that a new year happens, I have always made the same resolution. To not pull my hair. I have always made the same resolution ever since I started pulling my hair. But somehow, always something gets in the way. Whether it being an argument or a series of events, which cause you to feel so down and alone that it creates a massive tense anger stress ball that you need to let out. The only way how seems to have been through pulling my hair, but of course I feel so terrible afterwards.

Firstly, I would like to apologise for not writing in a while. Its been a stressful few months, which have really tested me mentally and a lot has happened that has caused my emotions or mental health to be all over the place. I started seeing a counsellor at university because it got to the point where I felt that I had no one to turn to and confide in; even my family. I needed to get stuff out my chest and so, I started seeing a counsellor. Its been helpful so far and a good release in letting my feelings on various things come out. Its so good to have someone to talk to, especially someone who won’t judge what you are thinking or feeling. On a neutral ground and be a person to talk to.

Anyways, back to the topic, new year resolutions always bring a new lease of life in people. A sense of determination. New year and a new start. To try new things and to create goals, to aim to get rid of any previous bad habits you had. Of course, my top new years resolution is to not pull my hair. Not even a strand of it. Will I succeed? I don’t know. Life is a mystery. But, I have been going well so far – for a day even though just now a big family argument occurred. A lot of stuff was said and now, I feel more alone now than ever. I don’t know who to trust. But, I need to be strong and keep going. No hair pulling = happier me. Here goes nothing. Wish me luck.

Have you made any new years resolutions? If so, what are they and what will you do to make sure you achieve/stick to them?

SHARE YOUR TRICHOTILLOMANIA STORY I: CHLOE — Trich Truths

Stories can be very healing and many people benefit from getting the opportunity to pass on their experience to others. Especially when facing a disorder like trichotillomania, many can be left feeling helpless and out of a position of control. In sharing their stories, trichotillomania sufferers can feel empowered and strengthened by their courage to spread […]

via SHARE YOUR TRICHOTILLOMANIA STORY I: CHLOE — Trich Truths

Another day, another thought, another trichotillomania challenge…

Every day is a challenge. Every day I have to test myself and really make sure that I don’t attempt to pull a strand/s of my hair out. I have to find a way to keep calm, neutral, positive and ensure that each day flies by without a major problem or issue that could make me the least bit anxious; even stressed.

There are various thoughts running through your mind, every time a issue arises and you are faced with it. Stay calm, take a breath and reassure yourself that everything will be fine. It is like removing a band aid over quickly. Over and done. If this happens to be something that is prolonged, then focus on a positive thought or a memory even. Maybe, have a goal in your head. Say to yourself, this is what I will do once this hurdle has been finally jumped over and you will never have to deal with it for the rest of the day. Give yourself the incentive. It allows you that focus, to really be determined and make sure that you get through the day just fine.

As well, another thing to always remember is to always have time for yourself. Don’t just be there for everyone else, you have to think of yourself at the end of the day. No matter how much you do for people or keep yourself busy. Your health is more important, you have to look after yourself and make sure that you are well-rested. Do activities that you are going to enjoy and have fun doing. This is something that I know I need to work on myself. I constantly like to be busy and I think, the more I am occupied then it will help me forget about everything else around me that makes me anxious. However, the same time my health has been all over the place whilst this has happened. I would be tired and my mind wouldn’t be in the right place; I wouldn’t think straight. Recently before 3rd year at uni, I told myself I wouldn’t do that and I have kept my word. So far, thankfully, I haven’t been seriously ill. I have always made sure that I have time for myself and more importantly, so I can focus on my degree work as well. I take regular breaks or time outs, as I sometimes call it. Moments where I can finally stop, sit down, do something relaxing and really get my brain in gear.

Anyways, I won’t keep on talking any longer but to sum this all up – take it day by day. Give yourself incentives. Look after yourself and focus on the positive.

You can do this.