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. 


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