Trich Confession

SO Confession time - 

I wound up pulling after almost a year without pulling. 
i was ashamed and disappointed. I caught myself in a trance and couldn't' stop. If you have trich you may or may not know that everyone has different states of pulling AND within that everyone is totally different whether the pull one way or another or multiple.  

When I am aware I am fully able to control my pulling and have been able to for almost a year. I think this is where the meditating and affirmations have really come in because they've taught me to be aware and taught me to breathe through tension. 

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But yesterday i was studying and I just started pulling until the entire top of my head is SO THIN - along with a bald spot on the back right hand side. 

To be honest I've been thinking about getting a topper anyways to help my hair look longer while it grows out, so this just solidifies the plan. The things that I'm doing to move forward, though, are the most important in this case. I see so many people with trich get mad at themselves, and beat themselves up, and give up. 

I am not giving up. Instead I'm going to get back to writing my affirmations and breathing and meditating, which I have not been doing to be honest.  I am taking progress pictures every week because even though seeing the damage sucks, seeing the improvement matters even more.  

I've been sick lately, I've been dealing with the miscarriages, I've started a new job, I'm studying for my real estate license and I think all of that is just adding up to make me more stressed and it came out in a trance of pulling. 

I was telling Steve how bad it makes me feel about myself and how much it truly sucks.  But i had to remind myself that THAT attitude is where in the past I would just give up and not continue to work on myself and my pulling. I'm also trying hard to wrap my head around embracing this disorder, over coming it, and de-stigmatizing it. Sometimes i feel by not pulling I'm giving into the stigma that it's "bad" and the reason it's "bad" is because we're told it is - and we're told we look ugly with bald spots. And the truth is I've been so inspired by women with hair loss like alopecia etc that have taught me to just embrace their bio hair - so can I embrace my biohair and hair issues? But can I embrace it while not pulling? 
I often feel bad comparing to women with alopecia because it seems like we are CHOOSING to  pull out our hair while theirs is falling out, but the truth is trich is not a choice, It's something deep in our bones that is from trauma and at the same time CAUSES trauma. It's complex. 

That's 100% what makes posting these pics so hard and 100% why i need to share them. To remind me that none of us are invincible. This is overcome-able but incurable and that if I can do this, so can you! Are you struggling? Please leave a comment and let me know what your biggest struggle is with trich. 

Life Failures

What is something you THOUGHT you really wanted but then realized you were wrong. 
Was it your college major? A relationship? 
You know a year ago I decided to try to work from home in order to nurture a family while running my own business. 
It seemed like this bomb dream job, but over that year I learned that it wasn’t for me. 
I loved spending time helping my committed clients and coaches. 
I loved coming up with fun free challenges
But I hated feeling like a failure for not helping EVERYONE
I hated not having a clear vision while I was surrounded with others who knew exactly what they wanted
I hated feeling less than
I hated working hours and hours for what seemed like little traction
And that lack of traction was all because of my own lack of vision. 

I’m really grateful for the BS that’s conspired in the last few months that’s helped me get back into a full-time job that I truly enjoy
I’m really grateful that I have seriously the most supportive husband who pushes me every day and tells me how proud of me he is. 

As a perfectionist it can be really hard to feel like you “failed” but that’s why I never see changing your path as a failure. Everything we due in life propels us toward our true north as long as we are true to ourselves in moments of choice. 
Do I date this person or not? 
Do I take the job or not? 
Do I quit my job or not? 
Every time I’ve made hard choices I’ve been rewarded EVEN if it didn’t seem like it at the time.  I'm really happy with the balance I'm working on now and the ability to find what I need out of life I got from my Network Marketing company which I still love, am still active with. Being a beachbody coach has been a game changer because I would NOT be here right now without it.

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It's Funny How It All Starts: The Journey to Helping Others with Trichotillomania

3 years ago we bought our house.  It was in July that I started coaching people through their health and fitness journeys while I kicked mine back off.  I started coaching in order to help make some extra income for my family. We were in a bad place, but through it I found that I LOVED helping women make connections that she couldn't make on her own. 

  • Why she was emotionally turning to food
  • Why she was afraid to let go of the weight
  • Why her struggles with weight have lasted so long
  • Giving her a community of support to turn to
  • Giving her a toolbox to use but she had to use the tools. 
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See I went to school for Higher Education - I got my Master's of Education because I wanted to help guide college students. I enjoyed what I did - but I think this was guiding me to my future purpose.  

I spent years trying to fit my trichotillomania.  YEARS FIGHTING. AND FIGHTING. 

One day - it clicked. Why am I not applying the same principles to weight loss, binge eating, emotional eating, to THIS? 

You see when I tried to fight my binge eating urges, when I tried to starve myself, none of it worked. But when I started to take care of my anxiety, my stress, and my emotions, it helped me learn how to tune into my body more. 

So I did the same thing with the intention of ending my pulling.

I started to say positive things to myself.

  • I am not going to pull my hair because I don't feel good when I do
  • I can stop pulling my hair
  • I have trichotillomania but I do not let it define me 
  • I can overcome my trichotillomania 
  • I don't have to fight this I can work with it
  • My disorder causes me to pull, but I can over come my disorder 

I started to celebrate small victories and victories like doing the work necessary RATHER than celebrating ONLY pull free days. I celebrated the moments i stopped pulling, I celebrated the moments i could get hair cuts. 

Even more than that - I started to love myself. I started to share this journey and stop seeing it as something I had to hide. I stopped seeing it as shameful. Because WHY am i ashamed of something I can't control? We are ashamed because we are told to be. JUST like how we are told to be ashamed of our bodies and our fat.  We hear so many terrible messages about what we should be like, how we should respond. 

Let me tell you something, we think trichotillomania is WEIRD and so we hide it and then this shame and pain makes us dig into it even more.  Let me tell you something, EVERYONE does something "weird" to deal with their stress and anxiety. We also do this because of a COMPULSION. It's not a choice. WE KNOW THIS. YET we still blame ourselves. We still feel ashamed and we still feel alone.  

But you're not alone. 

Once you start to just FCKING LOVE YOURSELF bald spots and all THAT is when you can make the change. When you can celebrate the work you're doing for yourself every day - to not pull because of how it makes you FEEL not because of how it makes you look, that's where the magic starts.  ANY change I truly made and stuck to was because I wanted to be strong and love myself.  

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This doesn't mean I feel perfect and love myself in every moment. Just like ANY relationship, sometimes it takes work. Sometimes it takes reminding yourself that you have worth, that you are beautiful, that you are strong.  

AND THAT is how I have found that there are certain behaviors you can do daily to 

  • Build your self-love and self-worth
  • Develop the tools to stop pulling through daily mindset development
  • Learn to stay present in the moment 
  • Create a mind and body connection so you can stop pulling as soon as you recognize it
  • Make it work for you since everyone is so different. 

This is how i developed my $12 course to help you develop your OWN pull free life and what that means for you, what works for you, what makes you feel GOOD and like you've overcome your trichotillomania.  You get lifetime access to the videos and documents to help you get through this.  

Try using these tips above to work on loving yourself and see if it can help you start to work on your trich. I know I compare it to a fitness journey, and maybe you've never been on one THAT IS OKAY.  Just think of it as any life change - it takes time, it takes work, it takes patience, and it takes trust in yourself.  Work on these things. And if you STILL feel stuck check out my course HERE!

About Me: 20 years with trichotillomania

20 years is a long damn time. 

20 years of continually doing something day after day can make you feel like it's impossible to ever change that behavior. 

We hear all these sayings "it takes 21 days to build a habit" which is a myth, actually. But we forget that sometimes the hardest thing isn't BUILDING a new habit, it's breaking an old behavior that has become ingrained in you. 

I don't remember when I ACTUALLY started pulling. I remember bits and pieces of when my trichotillomania started. 

I remember being in my favorite class in 5th grade and looking down at my shoulder. I saw a hair and i saw the cuticle and thought it looked neat. I started playing with it, rolling it in my fingers. Then I remember at some point pulling a hair out of my head. I didn't get the same type of hair so I tried again. 

and again. 

and again, until I found that the rough hairs had that same cuticle. 

This then turned into hunting out "rough" hairs and pulling them out. THEN i started to bite off the cuticle to see what that was like. 

AND THUS my trichotillomania had evolved. It would still evolve more. 

I remember that when hair would grow back, sometimes I'd get an ingrown hair. The pressure would hurt and I would think that if I could pull ONE hair it would reilieve the pressure. SO I would go on a pulling spree looking for the one hair to pull to make that spot feel better. 

Patches on the top of my head and missing about 3 inches of hair in the front and around my hairline

Patches on the top of my head and missing about 3 inches of hair in the front and around my hairline

From around 6th grade through college I would ocassionally pull my eyelashses. It was mostly when they were bothered by an ingrown eyelash or certain types of mascara when I started wearing makeup. I stopped pulling my lashes just kind of out of nowhere - THAT took no effort. 

My hair on the other hand was another story. I remember realizing at some point that if I pulled a certain way, I would be able to pull out the hair with the cuticle and get that piece I was looking for. So now almost every hair I pulled was "perfect" so I would pull more and more and more. NO relief would come. 

It sounds completely bizarre to an outsider but to someone who struggles with this disorder it's all too familiar. 

And that's what makes it SO HARD. You create this behavior, you reward this behavior, you become OBSESSED with it. And you do it over and over knowing that you shouldn't. 

That comebo

That comebo

I started with a few bald spots that were completely bald but then it spread to the whole top of my head being thin - almost like female pattern baldness. I remember for YEARS my bathroom was coated in a dusting of hairspray. I could smell it and taste it constantly. I would guarantee you I probably have a build up in my lungs of it.

So many ribbon headbands

So many ribbon headbands

In college I tried to hide it with thick ribbon headbands and a combover.  There was a solid couple years where I did this weird "bump" thing in the front that was still thin AF and had a ponytail at the bottom.

I felt unattractive and had no confidence. It wasn't until after college I finally decided to purchase a "hair piece" I purchased some Jessica Simpson Hair-Do clip in bangs. For the first time, I actually felt a bit of confidence about  my hair. I eventually bought a wider piece that acted as a part.  But as I bought hair pieces my bald spot continued to grow and grow and grow.  I had to keep buying bigger pieces until I had a clip in piece that covered the entire top of my head. 

It took me a long time to find ways to make it look "natural" a lot of practice and youtube videos. I would make sure that the clips were flat and "perfect" which often meant they pulled my hair too tight creating traction alopecia where the hair follicle is completely damaged and may never grow back. 

The constant fear of having to explain this if I was found out was real. Every time I was in an unavoidable situation where I'd have to share it was torture and scary. No one has heard of it so it's not like you can just SHARE it - you have to say what it is, explain it, and hope for no judgement. Examples: getting my hair done for events I was in, explaining why I wanted to do my own or to the hair dresser what was going on things like that. 

Me with my hair topper.  Top Form by Jon Renau in 6RN . This is a clip in piece and was very expensive.  

Me with my hair topper. Top Form by Jon Renau in 6RN. This is a clip in piece and was very expensive.  

I would spend so much time fixing my hair to go to the gym to cover my bald spots with bobby pins, hair spray and head bands that my arms would be sore and I'd have a headache. TO GO TO THE GYM. Because I'd get too hot in a hat. 

All this time I so badly wanted to quit but I did not know how. I didn't like any of the counselors or therapists I saw. None of them truly understood this disorder. 

I didn't have money to pay for anything extra to help me. 

The "barrier system" was great for the beach and feeling like I was living my life, but it was also very frustrating and had a lot of drawbacks. 

The "barrier system" was great for the beach and feeling like I was living my life, but it was also very frustrating and had a lot of drawbacks. 

But what's funny is the last straw that made me quit WAS a waste of money. I had found this company that offered these "hair barriers" for women with trichotillomania. It's essentially a hairpiece that glues onto your pullspots so you can't access them so you can eliminate the behavior. It was expensive and there were no salons close so I opted for their "DIY" package. I hated it. I didn't like that it would smell because I worked out so much. I didn't like that it would itch. I DID like waking up with a "full head of hair" lol but that was about it.  I spent over $800 on this and cried feeling like I'd wasted our money because I hated it so much. HOWEVER I decided that was it. I was going to quit. I was fucking DONE. SO if it cost $800 to finally be DONE and to face this disorder rather than hiding from it FINE. 

At this point I shared with my social media following what I'd been struggling with rather than in secret groups and with my husband and felt F R E E. I can't even describe it.  I shared my battle. I bought fun wigs now that people knew what I was struggling with. AND FINALLY in an attempt to just START FRESH I shaved my head.  

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Shaving my head opened up my eyes to ways to finally quit I hadn't realized - NOT shaving your head that's not required. BUT it took away the focus on my hair and helped me focus on other stuff. It's help me develop a method for "quitting" and "embracing" trichotillomania I never would have known if I hadn't just gone for it. I'm telling you my life is in a totally new place. 

One of the first  wigs  I bought when I opened up about trichotillomania and decided to stop hiding it. This is a synthetic lace front from Nikki Bella Hair - I believe this is the "Kylie Monogue" inspired model. 

One of the first wigs I bought when I opened up about trichotillomania and decided to stop hiding it. This is a synthetic lace front from Nikki Bella Hair - I believe this is the "Kylie Monogue" inspired model. 

I focused on my heart, on my inside. I stopped hating my disorder and figured out I'd have to work with it not fight it if I wanted to win. 

I found that there are so many people like me who feel lost and alone. They hide it well but area constantly wondering if they are hiding it at all. 

See trichotillomania creates this state of fear you're CONSTANTLY living in. You become so obsessed with the behavior you have and hiding it. It becomes a constant strain on your heart and an constant feeling of inadequacy and that you aren't good enough is in your head. It also created this unrealistic goal fo perfection. I always wanted my make up and hair perfect because I could actually control that and not my hair. I thought that being "pull free" meant going from pulling one day to NEVER pulling again. 

Next I got this blonde one so I had a "normal" hair when I needed to look more put together like a wedding.  Jon Renau synthetic Miranda  in 24BT18S8

Next I got this blonde one so I had a "normal" hair when I needed to look more put together like a wedding. Jon Renau synthetic Miranda in 24BT18S8

It added to an even unhealthier relationship with myself over 20 years.  When I started to view it that pull free is a PROCESS and not a destination - much like when I worked with fitness clients - it helped me develop an A HA moment. It helped me see what SO MANY of us get wrong and WHY SO MANY of us fail over and over and over again. 

I'm glad this disorder is a part of my life now because my appreciation for BAD hair days is on another LEVEL lol I actually like bad hair days now because it's not a bad bald spot day.  I am grateful for the people I've met and been inspired by. 

We all have our "trich" story if you struggle with trich. Maybe you pull differently or from a different area. Maybe you use tweezers while I used my fingers. It doesn't matter. They all fucking suck because we make ourselves feel like shit for a literal ADDICTION we've created in our bodies. We sit there and feel bad about ourselves perpetuating the anxiety and the behavior. We create a cycle we can't dig out of, even when we have every intention of changing. 

A  List UK Hair "The Mandy"  - LOVE this full lace human hair affordable wig! I wish I had gotten it custom fitted so I recommend that. 

A  List UK Hair "The Mandy" - LOVE this full lace human hair affordable wig! I wish I had gotten it custom fitted so I recommend that. 

It's ridiculous. But it doesn't have to stay that way. There is hope. BUT ultimately it also DOES NOT have to mean being "pull free" many people with trichotillomania have found joy in not getting hung up in it. Trust me I wish I could log the hours of research I've done on this topic - I'm sure you know what I mean.  There are people who have embraced it and feel fulfilled. EVERYONE is different. Don't be embarrassed or ashamed of it because you don't need hair to be beautiful or eyelashes. It's what's in your heart. We have to let go of the self-hate we develop with this disorder.  To be honest I STILL struggle with the stigmatization when I go to explain it to someone in person. I hear my voice crack and struggle to get the words out. 

I'm here for you if you relate to this. I'm here to offer you hope and to share this journey every step of the way. YES it is hard but YOU can do HARD things. 

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199 days pull free and counting