About My Blog

The purpose of this blog is to share my thoughts, ideas, experiences and my journey with trich! In this blog you will find posts about what I have learned in my therapy sessions, tactics to avoid and prevent pulling, information on research related to Trichotillomania and other body focused repetitive behaviors, beauty and life-style, and health and wellness. Recovery doesn’t just mean treating trich, but treating yourself as a whole person! I am always open to requests for posts you would like to see, questions you would like to ask, or comments and thoughts you would like to share!


Perhaps I’ll be welcomed once more, into my own mind.

Urges. Pull. Pick. Feel. Search. Just. One. Hair.

                Thieves is what they are, thieves that consume me from the inside out. They wriggle their way into every crevice within the corners of my mind, waiting to pounce like creatures of the night at the earliest opportunity. For a moment of peace, they wait. They hunt the peace I strive so hard to find. When peace is found, for only a moment, I have won. The thieves are gone, the corners of my mind are open once again, waiting to be explored. I relish in this delight, a mind with neither boundaries nor darkness. While enjoyable, this time is short lived, for soon enough a thief find its way back to its favorite corner. He waits, preys, and stalks. Then without a moment’s notice he pounces. He fails though. I shoo him away and once again peace is restored.  Soon though, the darkness, the thieves, manage to find their way back and this time they bring accomplices, accomplices with a hunger that must be satisfied. A hunger for peace. The urges, the picking, the pulling, the feeling, and the searching, they are all here now, taunting me. They are all shouting one after the other, eventually all over each other. I fight and I try to push them out. I know how to fight them, I have won this battle many times over. Yet no matter how hard I try they close in on me. The corners of my mind grow darker, their voices get louder, and the urges get stronger. My strength and my will dissolve and finally they consume me. How could I ever fight them all if I am only one tiny human being, so many thieves and only one of myself? Yet again my peace is taken from me and once more I am defeated. Perhaps someday I’ll find my way back into my own mind. Perhaps I’ll be welcomed once more into my own thoughts.

For many days I search for a sliver of light. Even the tiniest sliver would be better than this darkness. I hunt for a light that will guide me away from the thieves and back to my own mind. Day after day I struggle to find the peace that I once had. I have found it before; I know that I have or else I would not know what peace is. So why, why is it so hard to find once again? Everywhere I turn all I see is darkness. I may be running in circles and not even know it. The urges, the thieves, they taunt me endlessly. The moment I feel I have escaped them they sneak right back up, take me and throw me down. Once more I succumb to the thieves, and my will deteriorates further. Maybe there are just too many thieves. Maybe I’m not meant to be my own hero in this story.


 

Days have passed and suddenly something unfamiliar appear in the distance. It’s so far away, i think I may almost be imagining it, yet is has a sense of familiarity, as if I have seen it before. I wonder, where am I? What could that be, this mysterious object that is so far away, yet seems so close. I walk towards the object, shaky and timid, It seems to be a light… the closer I get the bright it becomes. This light, is just within my reach, and now it is blinding. All that was once dark is now light. How could it be possible? I must be dreaming. This is not my mind, it couldn’t possibly be. The thieves are nowhere to be found. The darkness, I can see it, but it lies beyond the horizon. I wander aimlessly, searching for anything that might give me a hint as to where I am. As I wander something bright catches my eye. I am curious and I no longer fear what it may be. I pick it up, a shard of glass, and in it I see myself. I see myself if the simplest form of being. I am there.  I am, once again, present in my own mind. I almost don’t even recognize this place, a place within myself, a place I have been searching for for so long. You would think I would know it straight away, yet I don’t. I hardly even know what to do. What do I do with all this space? I don’t even know If I could ever fill it all. Suddenly I realize that I do not have an answer to that question. There is no answer. Finally I am here, and here I can be anyone, go anywhere, do anything. I can fill this space with whatever I desire. I am finally free, and free I shall remain.

I wish you a daisy…

Recently a follower posted this photo:daisy

This photo made my heart sink to my stomach. Society has this “wonderful” idea of what beauty should be. Elegant, perfect, romantic, complex, and strikingly attractive, like the qualities of a rose. The reality is though that beauty is nothing like what society imagines it to be. Society believes beauty lies within the color of one’s eyes, the shape of one’s nose, the curves (or lack thereof) of one’s body, the clothes people wear, the amount of makeup on one’s face. We no longer acknowledge true beauty, the natural beauty within each and every one of us. Society no longer acknowledges those with a powerful mind and a beautiful soul. It no longer notices the struggles someone has been through to become who they are. It has become completely superficial, and I find it utterly disgusting.

This is a letter I wrote, to the one who considers themselves a daisy. The purpose of this letter is to make the daisy realize that diversity is not a weakness. There is nothing more beautiful than a woman being unapologetically herself; comfortable in her own perfect imperfection. To me, that is the true essence of beauty. The opinions of the simple minded are of no importance to someone who accepts themselves as truly beautiful, just the way they are. 

Dear Daisy, 

You ask me “Because really, who would chose a daisy in a field of roses?” Well, I would, I mean why wouldn’t I? In a field of roses, which seems quite contrary because I have never seen a field of roses, a daisy would be different. A daisy would be unique. It would say “look at me,” but it would do so humbly, because it thinks itself “just a daisy”. The simplicity of the daisy while surrounded by the rose, which is romantic and complex, would capture my eye and intrigue my mind. “What makes you so different daisy?” You are so soft, simple, and humble, so why amongst a field of what seems to be perfection am I drawn to you? How is it that you can stand so proudly in all your humble simplicity? You capture my eye as I if have just spotted a gem amongst the rubble. Tell me, Daisy, about you. Something inside me wants to know you, for you. What is it that makes you so strong, to stand amongst perfection while plagued by a world so stuck on the pursuit of perfection, in a world that is cruel to the ones who are not like the others; how is it that you stand so tall, just the way you are supposed to be? How is it that you do not blend like a watercolor painting, into the flowers around you? You stand there proud, with your simple white petals and dimply yellow center, looking as if you are almost smiling, relishing in the delight of the new day. You stand their without envy, at peace with the qualities you possess that make you unique, that make you the simple, humble, beautiful you. You must be so strong, Daisy. I can’t imagine the courage and inner strength it must take so live simply, in the shadow of the light cast by the search for perfection. That light is blinding and yet there you are, a daisy, a simply beautiful soul which accepts itself as it is without faltering under the pressure. Within you there is an almost unattainable strength, a strength that I almost can’t imagine. It is one that is stifled by this hunt of ours, the hunt for perfection. But you already possess perfection, because to accept oneself truly, as you are, and to live as the simply beautiful being that you are is perfection. By remaining true to yourself, you already have what most covet, true beauty and perfection.

With love. 


 

As you start this new year, remember these words. Do not let anyone make you fell inadequate for the way you dress, the amount of makeup you do or do not wear, the amount of money you do or don’t have, your relationship status, how “beautiful” you are and so on. The only opinion that matters when it comes to loving yourself, is yours. Society does not dictate your self love. 

Journaling, Some tips

When I started therapy my therapist recommended journaling at the end of the day, and logging my pulling in a BFRB-Log that she posted on her website. I made sure to have my journal close by everywhere I went, whether I was out and about, in the car, at home, or work. Doing this helped us find trends that revealed where and when I pulled most often, and what was making me pull. When you log your pulling, you can either use the log that I linked above which you can customize by editing it through excel, or you can use a plain journal like I do.I have had many followers ask me how I journal, what do I write, and where do I start. This blog will tell you just that!

Logging your pulling.


When you are logging your pulling, consider these questions:

  • What did I pull? How severe?
    • I pulled: my hair, my eyelashes, my eyebrows, my body hair, my pubic hair. It was mild, moderate, or severe. Or I pulled for 20 minutes, I pulled 6 hairs, I almost pulled but didn’t, and so on.
  • Where am I?
    • I am: at my desk, in the car, in my bed, at work, in front of the mirror, on the couch, and so on.
  • What am I doing? 
    • I am: doing my homework, I am fighting with a friend or family member, i am working, I am driving in traffic, I am watching tv, working around the house, dealing with children, and so on.
  • How am I feeling?
    • I am stressed, anxious, bored, flustered, embarrassed, emotional, angry, upset, depressed, nervous, excited, happy, and so on.
  • What did I do to stop? Did it work?
    • I : used a fidget, taped my fingers, sat on my hands, removed myself from the situation, started drawing, writing, or knitting, ran my fingers through my hair instead, pet the dog/cat, poked my sibling, and so on.

Now, here is an example, straight from my personal journal:


November 13th, afternoon: Today has been hectic, and work was stressful. I am sitting at my desk doing my homework. I can’t figure this math out and its frustrating me. I just pulled out my split ends for about 20 minutes. I tried to use my robo-man fidget but I kept putting him down. Finally I left my desk and tossed the ball with the dog.


A common misconception is that journal entries and logs have to be long, drawn out, paragraphs explaining every emotion you are feeling right then and there, that they can not be short and simple. This can be discouraging because it is time consuming. But unless you want to take the time to put everything on paper, you don’t have to. Writing down just enough to give you the essential information will help you too. Even a cluster of words will work, if you are somewhere where it is hard to write everything down right then. Ex: Stressed, working, 3 hairs, fidget, didn’t work, walked outside for air. That will still accomplish what you need, and later if you want to expand on that it your journal, such as when you get home and have free time, then you can! Also, you don’t have to answer every one of those questions in each journal entry, you can tailor each entry to however you like it. Those are just the questions I ask myself!


I hope you find this helpful! Feel free to email me, kik, or send me a message on instagram if you have any questions! Email. stephanie@kickthetrich.com. Instagram @kickthetrich. Kik: kickthetrich.

 

Ask for help, not because you are weak, but because you want to remain STRONG

The beginning of my pull free life came to me only once I had given up the fight against finding help. It came to me only once I admitted to myself that I am human, and I can not do everything on my own, nor do I ever have to. 

Since beginning therapy my urges to pull have decreased dramatically. My control over managing my urges when they do occur has improved significantly. I can not remember the last time I actually pulled out a single hair. My bad days consist of pulling sprees of my split ends, a couple minutes of searching my hair and tugging at it but not pulling it out, or tugging at my ponytail. Since beginning therapy I feel more comfortable discussing my Trich with people that are close to me and even people I have just met. That was something I felt would always be impossible, something I felt that I would never have the strength to do. Before starting therapy I did extensive research on what trichotillomania is, how to treat it, methods to manage it, and how to beat it. I am studying psychology in school so my background knowledge of how different types of therapies (such as cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT) work on the brain helped me gain a good understanding of how to implement the methods I had researched. Without this previous knowledge I probably would have had no idea how any of the methods I researched were supposed to work. I chose a few methods and decided to try and treat myself. I continued to self-treat for a year. I had some success but I never saw the results I wanted, to stop pulling. I knew that something was missing, there was something I didn’t know, and that “something” was the missing key to stopping my trich. 

     To some, and even myself at one point, admitting you need help is the hardest thing to do. I was raised to believe in myself. I am strong. Anything I need to do, learn, figure out, I can do it. “I can do it on my own”. “I don’t need help”. “If I need help, I will ask you for it, until then, I can do it on my own.” . If you ask some of my closest friends they will tell you that asking for help, or accepting help is one of the hardest things for me to do. I will hardly ever let my guy friends open a door for me, because I don’t need them to, I can do it. I am able. This mindset has dominated my life and almost everything I do. I used to think I would be perceived as weak if I were to ask for help. I thought that being a female asking for help only furthered the absolutely ridiculous social belief that women need a man or someone stronger than themselves to do things for them. I was so adamant in this belief that I denied the truth that a therapist would ever be able to help me. I didn’t need a therapist. “I’ll figure it out on  my own, like I always have”. 

Asking for help is HARD. It was so hard that my it took me 3 years of denial to reach rock bottom. I remember sitting at my desk, the most frustrated I had been in a very long time. I was working on an assignment for my accounting course and I literally had no idea how to do it, and didn’t understand my textbook in the slightest. I was so frustrated I wanted to cry. I wanted to smash my computer screen with angry fists in hope it would calm the frustration. I wanted to scream. I put my head in my hands to try and breath and when I looked down I saw a massive pile of hair all over my lap. I hadn’t even realized I had pulled so much hair. In this moment I realized I had no control over my trich. I finally had to admit that this was something I didn’t have an answer to despite my extensive efforts to find it. I realized, no matter how much I wanted to, that I could not find the answer on my own. In this moment I felt defeated. I felt as If I had failed myself. I was angry. I felt weak. I thought to myself “How could it be so hard for me to overcome such a thing as small as a strand of hair on my head?!”.


“Ask for help, not because you are weak, but because you want to remain strong.”

I want to ask you to consider your journey with trich from the beginning to now. Think to yourself about all the emotions, the ups and downs, good days and downright horrible days. Consider the setbacks you have come across. Acknowledge the accomplishments you have reached once again even after your setbacks. Recall the comments and looks you have endured from your family members, peers, friends, and strangers. Celebrate the progress you have made. Remember all the times you have been millimeters from the edge, just about to step over that line and give up on it all. But you have not given up, not even close, because if you had given up you would not be here, reading this blog. You are NOT weak. Someone who is weak could not have endured everything we have and still have hope that if they keep fighting, even when they feel as if they can’t stay strong any longer, that they can and will beat their trich. 

Please, realize it is OK to ask for help. It is OK to admit that there are some things in life that you can’t do all on your own. You do not have to feel weak, and when you do, just remember all the things you have already survived! Ask for help. Ask someone you trust, a family member, a close friend, a co-worker you trust, a teacher, a fellow trichster. Ask them to help you find the help you need. You do not have to seek out a therapist, asking for help may be just asking a friend to help keep you aware of your pulling when you hang out together, or to keep you accountable by sharing you progress, the good and the bad. Asking for help may just be asking someone to let you tell them what is on your mind, to clear your head and get it off your chest. It could even be asking them to hold your hands through a panic attack until you are calm. Anything. Asking for help does not make you weak, or sick, or crazy. It gives you the tools remain strong and learn how to take control over your battle.

We have all been through these things and we are all still here, fighting an impulse disorder that is almost uncontrollable! Give yourself credit you deserve! You have endured all of that  and you are still here, fighting trich. You may be pull free 1 day or 100 days, you may be bald and still fighting this battle fiercely, you may be recovered a year, or just now learning you have trich, but you are still fighting. No matter where you are in this battle remember the amount of strength you must have to endure it all.

You are strong. There is no doubt about that. 

“Loving yourself isn’t vanity, it is sanity..”

Love.


To love oneself is to accept yourself for the amazing human being you are, whether you think you are amazing or not, because face it, you are. Have you ever thought about how amazing it is to be human? Consider it for a moment. What is it that truly fascinates you about being human? ……………. We have trillions of cells. Millions of neurons in our brains. An amazing range of emotions. A mind with so much left to explore. A brain with the capacity to create art, and music, and literature. A heart with the ability to make the body function, to break and repair itself, and love unconditionally. Bodies that can survive even the most brutal of beatings. All of this, and so much more, is put together to create one incredible living, breathing, functioning YOU. It can only be impossible for there not to be a flaw, malfunction, quirk, or kink in the system in there somewhere. We all have them. We actually have millions of them. Without them, you and I would not be the beautifully unique human beings we are. No one would be different. Even with millions of flaws, deep within our very cores, within the genes that build us; we are still amazing. We are not perfect, but within imperfection there is beauty.

     I love every single one of my quirks, awkward tendencies, crazy neuroses, nasty habits, guilty pleasures, flaws, insecurities and imperfections. I will admit I am not perfect. I am human, how could I ever be perfect?

On my Instagram I always try to stay positive and focus on progress and the good things that come with therapy. Even when I post about a bad day or a setback I will try to end on a positive and encouraging note. Because of this I had a follower ask me one day if I ever had a bad day, or knew how it felt to feel self conscious, gross, and weird. This broke my heart. Of course! I have days where my insecurities get the best of me, or I care too much about what people think about my utterly blatant awkward-ness. I have days where I love every bit of my body and some days where I scare myself looking in the mirror! I am not always in love with every bit me, but I always love me. There is a difference between being in love and loving. To love yourself is to start a relationship with yourself. Relationships have ups, downs, fights, and hissy fits here and there. When I tell you to love every bit of yourself, I know that there will be days where you just don’t. But if you accept yourself as you are, that feeling or insecurity, whatever it may be, is only temporary. No matter how bad a day gets you know the love is unconditional, and when you are ready it will be there, waiting for you, with open arms and a big snuggly self-loving bear hug.

Right now! No matter how hard you think it might be, write down 5 things that make you, you. Things that you love about yourself. If you are struggling with self-love right now keep it with you and read it when you are down.

Accept yourself, every bit of you. Love each of those bits. Nurture them. Nurture your heart, and your mind. Fill them with love for yourself. in this love you will find strength.

 

 

Trich and I, neither Friend nor Foe, Yet both.

Let’s take this back to the beginning.


I have had trichotillomania for over 4 years now. I don’t know how or why trich began for me. For the first 3 years I hid it from everyone. I had no idea why I pulled my hair, not even the slightest idea. I was the girl who pulled out her own hair, one by one, and no one even knew it. I used to ask myself “Why do I do this?!”, “Why can’t I stop?!”, and I couldn’t find an answer. Everyday I wondered if it was possible that I was the only one who pulled out her hair. Although I knew that the likelihood that I was only person who felt an incessant urge to pull out her hair was highly unlikely, that possibility scared me anyways. It scared me so much that I couldn’t dare to ask and find out. Because of that fear I hid inside myself and shut out everyone around me who would have been able to help if I had only asked. Some days were worse than others. Some days I was angry with myself because I felt like I should be able to “just stop”. I felt that if I just tried a little bit harder I could make it go away, yet I couldn’t make it go away no matter how hard I tried. Sometimes I felt like I must be crazy. It felt good to pull out my hair. It was calming, soothing, relaxing. It seemed like a paradox to me. I thought to myself “I must be making this up. No one likes the feeling of their hair being pulled out, do they?”. I asked myself over and over “Why doesn’t this hurt me?” or “Am I making it all up, am I pretending it feels good?

After a while I noticed that when I pulled my hair in a stressful situation, everything suddenly became easier to deal with, my body was less tense, and the haze lifted from my mind. It was like a wave of relief gently washed over my whole body. It was addicting, that feeling, the calm and the quiet. I finally felt at peace, I felt as if I could handle anything life wanted to put in my path. Soon enough the pulling became more frequent. It became so frequent that I began to see my hair piling up on the black floor mats I stood on at work. The first time I saw how much hair (about the same amount that would come out in the shower if you had your hair in a ponytail for 3 days).. was on the floor, that was the first time I realized how bad my pulling had gotten. I just stared at the hair on the floor, astonished. I didn’t even remember putting my fingers in my hair. I had to seriously think about how it happened. In that moment I came to accept  the fact that my pulling was out of control. I felt as if it was impossible to control it. I lost faith in myself in many aspects of my life. I thought if I couldn’t stop a pesky habit then what could I ever do? Nothing, probably nothing. I was dead wrong. I can do whatever I dream to do, but I couldn’t see that. My mind was clouded with doubt and a lack of trust in myself. I was at the lowest point, emotionally and mentally, that I can ever remember being. 

I say that trich is neither my friend nor my foe, yet it is both. Friends don’t let friends get themselves down, and if you are down they lift you up. Trich did both of these for me. Trich calmed my anxiety, cleared my mind, it essentially “lifted me up”. Yet, no matter how high it lifted it me it would always bring me back down. I would fall down, back into my deep hole of self pity and feelings of disappointment in myself. In this case I could say trich was my foe. It was my foe because it made me feel good, and once that was gone it brought me back down. I used to hate everything about trich. I wished I had never had it, I wished I could stop feeling so horrible, and weird, and gross. I hated it. I hated myself for not being strong enough to “Just Stop”. Now, 4 years, nearly 5, later I can truly say that trich is now my friend. Trich helped me see that my emotions are sensitive beings. Trich made me realize how important it is to believe in yourself. Trich made me learn to accept myself as I am and to never hide behind my “flaws” again. Trich showed me that caring for my mind, body, and spirit is the most important aspect of my finding happiness in life. My battle with trich has taught me how to be strong, and how to pick myself up again when I fall.


 For that, I am truly grateful.