Taking Steps To Get Over Trich One By OneTrich can affect people in many different ways. Pulling hair from the top of your head, your eyebrows, your eyelashes, and even facial hair for guys. I first developed trichotillomania when i was 15 years old, I would commonly find myself pulling at my hair on my head almost subconsciously. It wasnt so bad at first, pulling a hair here and another one there at times but as I got a little bit older I noticed my problem getting worse. By the time i was 17, i couldnt even go a day without shaving because i had developed a new "interest" in pulling at my facial hair. Unless i shaved completely, my hands would never leave my face. As with facial hair, it is not a commodity so I never saw me pulling my facial hair out (beard, mustache hair) as a really bad thing, just a small tick almost. When I graduated high school I took a while to sit down and really try and understand my problem but no matter how bad my trich problems got, I always sort of brushed them aside thinking, "Its just a phase, I can get over if I really wanted to". Little did I know that by the time i would start university, my grasp on my own trich problems would slowly start to loosen...
By the time i was in my first year of college, I had developed a tendency to pull out my eyebrow hair that went alongside my increasingly larger tendency to pull my hair on my head out. I was used to keeping a clean shave by this point so my beard hair puling problems had somewhat gone to the wayside. What i didnt realize was that I had completely replaced my own tendency to pull my facial hair out with my tendency to mess with my eyebrows. Now I was never the person to talk about my trichotillomania problems so my friends and family never really know what was going on with me. Some of my friends thought I was shaving my eyebrows on purpose believe it or not.
I suffered with my trich problems for the next couple years, looking for any way to cover up my "missing" hair but nothing seemed to really solve my real hair pulling problems... My parents sent me to dozens of therapists at this point in my life because my problem had gotten to a point where I had now eyebrows, spotty facial hair, and very very spotty/ un even hair on my head. I was pulling at my eyebrow hair because if i even felt one "out of line/sticking out" hair, I just had to pull it out. One by one, I pulled each hair, finding a new "victim" to pull out every time I even touched my eyebrows until nothing was left except stubble.
I felt like a complete fool...I was so worried by how i looked that I had stopped going out friends, stopped going to college, and stopped leaving my house in general... My life had spiraled down to a point where I was watching my life fly by me, watching my friends challenge the world, all while I was tucked in my house, afraid to show myself to the world. How could something so simple cause such massive problems for me? It wasnt until I really asked myself this that I truly got to the core of my personal trichotillomania problems.
So, I made a list.......
I wrote down the times where I found myself the most vulnerable to my trich problems. Not only the times where I pulled my hair out the most but also the times where I felt my trich problems could really kick in. For me personally, I found that when I get bored/have nothing to do is when I pull hair the most. Anxiety and anger came in second on my list as root causes. This led me to believe that the subjects on my mind when my actual trichotillomania problems really kicked in were the real causes on my hair pulling.
So, I made another list......
I started writing down the things I was thinking about when I was pulling my hair. Some of the things that would circle through my head include:
1. The thought that if I didnt pull the hair that I wanted to pull out, whether it was a hair on my head or an eyebrow hair, I would never be able to forget about it and everything I did in an average day would revolve around thinking about pulling that one hair.
2. The thougt that once i pulled one hair out, there would be another one I would just have to pull out because as I was trying to pull out one hair, I messed up a different hair by pulling at it and now it is "un-even" and must go.
3. The thought that the feeling you get when you are about to pull even one hair out is just irresistable. Running your fingers across a single hair, feeling that it is uneven with every other hair. Almost causing a relaxing feeling mixed with the slight sense of satisfaction when pulled out.
4. The thought that if i pull one hair it will be ok because its just one hair and i have so many singular hairs on my head, or face.
There can be many things that lead to these feelings but i really believe the core of trichotillomania revolves around one of these problems. Being angry, sad, fed up, careless, anxious, jittery, etc.. Or having thoughts revolved around an emotion that triggers you such as the ones stated all pretty much lead to one of the four thoughts above. When emotions get even a little overactive, trichotillomania can be easily triggered.
After I figured out my root causes of my hair pulling problems, I felt a sense of relief. I felt like i had really mapped out the route I would always take when pulling my hair from the first couple of thougts all the way to the feelings I endure after I actually pull my hair out. I had each specific step i took when pulling hair written down which gave mema feeling of control that I had not had in a long while. I felt like if I could stop my trich problems from the root causes now instead of thinking, "okay, this is the last time, im gonna stop for sure!" Unfortunately that never really pans out in the end, does it?
So I started trying to cut out my trich problems by looking at my list of reasons why I actually pull my hair out. What i realized is that i was never looking at the big picture in terms of my trichotillomania. I never took the time to sit down and actually think about what would happen if I just simply did not pull at my hair. If i just let a scraggly hair grow instead of pulling it out or let a out of place hair just simply grow oyt naturally.
So I tried a little experiment.......
Whenever I felt the need to pull at my hair, I would go through the whole process of pulling out a hair all the up to the point before actually pulling out the hair. At that point, right as I have a slight grip on the "lone" hair....I simply just let go. I know how insanely stupid it sounds but I just let go of the single hair. Naturally after that a strong feeling of anxiety set in and I started to feel the pressure of wanting to actually pull that hair out. But then something really interesting happened. After a little while, my want to pull at that hair had subsided. Even when i felt like i wanted to pull that hair out, i went through the same steps of going up all the way to the point before pulling a hair out and just simply letting go......and it started working.
I started to realize that even if i had a scraggly hair or a hair i felt needed to be pulled out, nothing bad would happen if I simply just didnt pull out my hair. The world wouldnt cave in, I wouldnt lose my mind because in the end I knew trichotillomania was just a simple problem of moving my arm up to my head and pulling a hair. No one had a gun to my head telling me to pull out my hair. I wasnt going to fall apart if i didnt pull out a hair that i really wanted to. Life would be fine.
The last step I added was to think about something that made me truly happy right after I let go of that hair i so desperately wanted to pull out. Every time i felt like pulling out a hair, i would try my trick of just letting go right before pulling and then think of my pets, my family, and owning a massive private island. The trick started working more. Now everytime i would think about pulling out a hair, i would feel a sense of happiness instead of feeling anxious and feeling that i would "just have to pull that hair out!"
What I would suggest to anyone suffering from trichotillomania is to just simply try the trick. When you feel like you really need to pull, get to the point right before pulling and just let go.... Breathe, think of something completely relaxing and say to yourself, "ok now for the next ten minutes i am not going to even touch my hair. Time yourself, literally time yourself and every time you succeed, you will feel just that much better. After a while of trying this out, I stopped pulling my facial hair out. A while after that, my need to pull at my eyebrow hair and head hair had slowly dimmed too. The trick was working. I had reached a point where even when i wanted to pull my hair out and i did my trick, the time i would set for myself to "not touch my hair" was getting larger and larger. After a while, i wound myself only doing this trick once or twice a day. Just a simple 10 second trick that had taken the place of a lifetime problem.
These days i still have a very small trich problem but it is nothing even remotely noticeable anymore and it continues to get better. I am now a college graduate with a degree in international business and my self esteem is through the roof because I know that if i was able to conquer my trichotillomania problems than I can conquer anything.
I hope this helps even one person :-) ,