Tips to help you stop pulling

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A long time ago, I wrote a blog  post about what I used to help prevent myself from pulling. Safe to say that my kit helps but doesn’t stop it, for anyone out there who pulls out their hair, they know how difficult it is to stop.

When I am out of my flat, I do not pull as much, or at least I think I pull covertly. But when I am at home, I don’t have the same restrictions, there are no prying eyes and I feel completely at ease. For anyone who suffers from social anxiety, home is often a safe haven, we don’t have to be anyone in particular here, we don’t have to put on a show, we can just be. It is where I can fully relax, but also where I work out  my issues, by thinking and writing. So home is where I end up letting all my feelings out and that means hair pulling is at its worst here and I have tried new ways to prevent it or reduce it.

I present to you, the latest version of my trich reduction kit! This kit sits beside me on a coffee table at all times. It is pretty messy but I hide it away when visitors come around. All of this stuff pictured above helps to distract my hands but it doesn’t stop it by any means, it takes a huge amount of effort to stop myself from pulling and pick up the squeezey snail and it can be very mentally painful to force myself to do something that does not feel as good as hair pulling and it does feel good. It is a way that we relieve tension, avoid thinking and relax, so trying to do something else is going to be very painful.

I hope that some of this trich reduction kit will help in some way. It is going to be tough though, really tough to stop or reduce your pulling but it is possible.

TRICH REDUCTION KIT 

Nail polish and fake nails 

For me, this is top of the list and a tip I have been using for a while, I even blogged about it before. Painting nails is easy to do, accessible and not only stops you from pulling for a while but it looks nice and makes you feel good! I repaint my nails as frequently as I want, sometimes up to three times a day on weekends, because it is distracting and during the dry time, I do not tend to touch my hair. I do occasionally touch my hair and pull when it is drying, it is so automatic that it is bound to happen, but it is not the worst thing ever, as I can just take the time to re do it. I tend to layer up the nail polish more than it needs to.

This prevention does not have to cost a lot, cheap nail polish will do. I often like using cheap stuff as it chips within hours, meaning I have to re do it. But I do like to treat myself by getting nice ones, like Essie nail polish.

Recently, I have started getting fake nails from Asda and putting them on at home. It takes a while to do and makes my fingers feel funny. It can make pulling and picking feel different too.

This is one tip that only some of us will find helpful, I know a lot of women who do not wear nail polish or wear fake nails, and I have not yet known a man who wears nail polish yet. If you have not tried this it could be worth giving it a shot, even just using clear nail polish as a trial.

Squeezey toys

I find these helpful, as you can see I have a lot of them! When I squeeze the purple one little bits of the ball pop out through the gaps and then I poke them back in, sounds ridiculous when I describe it but it works as a distraction. The others, have little bits coming off them, which can be a substitute for playing and pulling hair. I hold these when I am in a situation where I tend to pull a lot. I had a green snail a while ago and I pulled out all the little bits, which made it look sad but I would prefer it to be sad than me to be bald.

Playdough

This brings back memories from my childhood! It is great to squeeze when watching TV or reading. It is easy to find in shops and fun.

White gloves

I bought my cosmetic white gloves from Boots pharmacy, but you can get these pretty much anywhere. People tend to wear these when they have moisturised (so google says). I wear them when I am not crocheting or knitting, they are best to wear when on my laptop. Get small gloves, so they are tight, as I struggle to do much with mine on – which is good for hair pulling, not so good for typing or anything else. Regular winter gloves would be okay too as long as they do not make you too hot!

Tangle toy

I blogged about this a while ago and it was included in my original prevention kit. I did get this for free, but they are easy to find on Amazon and are good for hands that feel they need to be busy.

Crafts – Crochet, Knitting, Cross Stitch, Sewing etc

This is one of the best distraction methods for me. I end up creating beautiful gifts and things for myself and it stops me from destroying myself for a while. I often spend hours making things and would suggest that if you have patience and want to try something new, take up a craft. Cross stitch is particularly easy to get into, so try this as a starting point.

Lanacane and Germolene

Both of these creams have an anaesthetic of some sort in them designed to numb pain caused by irritation, bites, burns etc, so I find it can numb the skin a bit where I pull, making it feel different. Having a cream on the area makes my hair and skin feel horrible so it is a deterrent too. Also, I often feel that my skin is itchy in the area where my bald patch is, probably due to the broken skin and to hair regrowth, so numbing the area is ideal on these days.

I tend to use these when I know that I won’t be going outside or before I wash my hair as it is very noticeable depending on how big your patch is as both are white creams.

Pain medication

This one is more self care than a prevention technique. When I pull, my arms and neck get sore. So I have to take meds. It could also have the benefit of numbing any irritation that you feel on your skin.

Not in the photo… but can help

Dying Hair

I am actually going to do this later on this evening! This is great. I love trying new hair colours, I feel better about myself, it gets rid of greys I may pull out, my hair is all shiny and it can colour in little light or grey baby hairs that came back after hair pulling. I dye my own hair because I can’t afford it to be done professionally, if you can’t afford it either and also don’t want anyone to see your bald patches, ask a close friend if you don’t feel confident doing your own. Or take it slow with a semi permanent colour, so if it is horrendous it will wash out within a few weeks.

Exercise

I find that doing some form of exercise makes me feel better about myself and more tired, so I can’t pull. I have tried to do more arm exercises lately to try and make my muscles so sore I can’t pull or it makes it more difficult, but it has not been too successful!

I bought a yoga mat so I can follow my Sworkit app at home when I don’t want to go outside and until my gym opens. My hope is always that I feel better about myself after exercise and that I will be too tired to pull.

Cooking

I am not too keen on cooking or baking but when I do, I find it is an hour or two that I can’t mess with my hair and don’t even think to! So if you are blessed with the enjoyment of cooking, go ahead!

Cleaning (my least favourite)

I hate cleaning… but when I force myself to, I do feel better afterwards. Unfortunately, hair pulling means that hair tends to get everywhere. So sweep it up! Easier said than done…if you are also suffering from depression, doing much can be a challenge. I am forcing myself to hoover more, because since I started yoga in my living room, I find the hair on the floor very irritating! But also, it makes me feel good to clean a bit and my partner is very grateful that the hair is gone too. A lot can be done in just 5 minutes, so if you can clean for 5 minutes, then you have achieved something !

 

I hope that this helps and feel free to add your tips in the comments below 🙂

Thankful

I have not posted in a long time, I still have trich and I am struggling to be hopeful or positive about anything. 

The one aspect of my life that I am very happy with, thankful and grateful for are:

– my family (including my partner, mum, sister, brother, brother in law, nephew, granny and some of my aunts and uncles!) 

My partner is wonderful and incredibly sweet to me all the time. I do not know  what I would do without him. 

This isn’t some crazy insightful post that will solve anyone’s issues or mine, but it will help me get there. Positivity is what I need in my life right now and writing this post enforces the positive thinking. 

I feel a bit better just typing this out… Now for some strudel

Long time no post

 

Hello all, I have not posted in a long time. I wish that meant that I have stopped pulling my hair out but it doesn’t. It just means that I have been trying to fill my time with other things to try and distract me. The distractions have worked to a degree, but I still pull my hair out.

What has changed since I last posted is my perspective on my hair pulling. It doesn’t bother me as much as it used to. The main thing that bothers me is the neck pain from pulling my hair that causes headaches and a general feeling of sickness that comes from sitting with my arm in an awkward position. Also, since I last blogged I have realised that my hair pulling is not a big deal at all. I have very thick hair and it is not noticeable, but also the hair pulling should not define me. Having a small bald patch should not make me feel bad about myself or feel that I am any less worthy of respect.

I haven’t blogged about it as much, because I don’t want my life to be revolving around it. I don’t want to be focusing on it all the time, which I feel I would be if I blogged about it. By focusing on it I feel I am letting the urges win. But saying that, I know that blogging about it helps temporarily as I am busy typing away with no time to actually pull my hair, so blogging does help in that way.

So what have I been doing to fill my time? I have been volunteering, knitting, crocheting and trying to do new things.

The main reason I have come back to this blog is because I have realised I am a “scanner”. I was feeling unhappy about my current job and I thought I would do some googling about careers and I came across an article about how people tend to be scanners or divers, divers tend to focus on one career whilst scanners try different things. This made me think about which “type” I was and I am most definitely a scanner, I didn’t need the test to figure that one out! I try a lot of different hobbies and have tried different jobs, and I tend to get bored easily, so I am a scanner! When I try new things I do them very well but I agree with the article that scanners feel boredom and I am wondering if that is why I pull my hair out – because I always need some sort of stimulation?

Why fear boredom though? Why fear the familiar? Why fear continuing to do what I am good at ? These are all questions I think I need to consider.

As far as I know, I am not afraid of completing a project, as the article suggested scanners may experience some sort of anxiety, but it did make me think about all the activities I have tried in the past and what I have not “completed” or have dropped and I think I dropped blogging. So I want to give it another go, along with a few other activities I dropped, like my plan to write up knitting patterns.

Sorry for the ramble, I just appreciate the fact that this is relatively anonymous and want to say what I am thinking here.

 

Holiday pulling – not the good kind

So I am ‘home’ now (with my family in the house that I lived in with them although it is beginning to seem less and less like my own home), and I was prepared for feeling anxious but it is still unpleasant when it happens.

I have not been pulling my hair out too much because I don’t like feeling ‘weak’ in front of my family. I know I am not weak, but I am getting over it. I normally pull out my hair when I am on my own whereas here I am hardly ever alone.

I met with my friend in a pub at 3pm in the afternoon and drank about a  half a bottle of wine! It was really nice to catch up – she had mentioned that she wanted to read my novel that I have written so I felt it was important that she knew about my hair pulling before I gave her it to read !

Even though I am always with my mum, I feel alone in another way. My psychology appointments ended and I am very aware that I am on my own, I am on my own with managing  my own hair pulling, there is no one who will check up on me. I can do it on my own – it’s just daunting. It’s not like I am completely on my own though because some of my friends ask about how I am coping with my hair pulling, when I say some I really mean one – and the other two friends don’t bring it up, I am the one who brings it up when I am drunk or when I am trying to make a point about something to do with cbt and anxiety.

I am trying to be more open about what I think and about how I feel, well because eventually I want to publish my memoir which is incredibly personal!

 

home sweet home

I came home for the first time in months. My brother did not greet me, instead he asked me why I was there and said “why don’t you just go back to uni?”
when we arrived at home he told me that I wasn’t going to go to heaven so I might as well just commit suicide.

Welcome home, go kill yourself.

Great!

Then I go to see my sister who gets defensive when I correct her or have a different opinion. Her extremely mature way to deal with it is to huff and tell me that I speak aggressively.

I am fed up!
but you know what bring it on, yea I pulled out my hair, yea I cried about how I am alien in my home, but bring it on, bring on the crazy – you all will just fuel my novel and motivate me to be successful and live in a different country.

Bring it on.

The real me is coming out of the closet and I have a pen and paper ready to see what you do.

Dazzle me with your ignorance

Procrastination, action, trichotillomania

I procrastinate because when I try to study I end up pulling out my hair while I try to focus. I don’t want to pull out my hair so I avoid studying and I avoid doing my work.

But I have to study, I have to work, and after  I have been forcing myself to work for a while I find that I can’t do my best because that would involve a lot of automatic pulling.

I am no longer seeing a psychologist and I feel very alone. I want to do this on my own but I feel really desperate right now and when I feel like this I don’t study, I don’t read, I don’t do all of the things I need to do for my degree because I don’t want to destroy more of my hair. It gets to this point quite often  – the point that I don’t think my degree is worth the anxiety and the baldness.

SO if I was to ever get a first in my degree  it would be because I have allowed myself to pull out a lot of my hair – which would be pulling any time I was reading or working – which would be perhaps 6 or 7 hours a day (or more). Also if I allowed myself to pull my hair when I studied to avoid stress then naturally I would allow myself to pull my hair when I am trying to relax, which could be another goodness knows how many hours.

If I was to get a 2.1 it is because I have allowed myself to pull a moderate amount (for me) say half the time that I study, so about 3 hours a day, that could be off and on throughout my study period. Some stress would result from attempting to allow myself to pull only half the time that I am working.

If I get a 2.2 or a 3rd it is because I have been trying to stop myself most of the time that I have been pulling while working, which causes me a lot of anxiety. I would be constantly on guard to automatic pulling and then I would be stressed.

This is a vague theory of mine that I will have to sacrifice my hair for my degree. At the moment I am too stressed to work 😦

The same old story again – stress

I have an exam tomorrow. I didn’t think that I was stressed about it until now. I have been ripping my hair out, it makes me feel better temporarily and then I feel really sad.

I had made so much progress and now I have just recreated a bald patch on the back of my head. It is very easy to hide but I know that it is there.

I am stressed out by a mixture of things. My exam is just one of them. I am also worried about going home again and having to put up with them stressing me, I get very anxious when they argue. I am also stressed about seeing friends again and being judged. I recently wrote a novel about my life experiences – it is still  rough draft. A few friends of mine have already requested to read it and that has made me anxious because I have mentioned my hair pulling in it. I know this sounds silly but I am worried that they will think that I am being dramatic. I have a lot of hair, my hair is very thick so it is difficult to see any damage that I do – thankfully – but also that means that they may not believe that I have a hair pulling problem and that I am being attention seeking. I know I don’t need to prove to them that I have a bald patch but I always get that impression from people that they think it is a bit unbelievable. Even my counsellor two summers ago kept saying “where is it?” when I mentioned my bald patch and my sister wanted to see to. I thought that my sister just wanted to see it because she likes scandal – she buys ‘Closer’ and that type of magazine so she must like seeing people’s imperfections being pointed out.

People fail to realise that those with trichotillomania hide their problem so it is not surprising that outsiders have not noticed it.

also it is a pretty big deal to admit that I pulled my hair out – I don’t need to prove that I have bald patches. It is making me very anxious just thinking about it all.

I don’t want attention, I feel ugly and weak a lot of the time for not being able to stop myself from pulling my hair.

When my friends read my book they will find out. Perhaps I will write something like what I have written today in my novel. I was considering telling my friends before I let them read it but I feel very anxious just thinking about that.

I might go make tea to calm down. or put make up on and paint my nails, that makes me feel better about myself and less stressed.