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Trich: From the Beginning to Where I Am Now

My journey has been an odd one since January 2013...when I began to feel a change in my hair texture.  I don't know if the change occurred because of natural aging and hair does over time or if it was the addition of anti depressants to my daily routine.  I have always been a fidgeter, a nervous type of person.  Easy to startle and not fond of being poked or tickled or touched without warning.  Since I can remember I have loved the softness of my hair and have always played with it, braided it, unbraided it, braided it again and just always twisting and twirling.  I never thought anything of it really and only a few people seemed to notice.  As I got older, I looked a little childish twirling my hair so I began to pay more attention to it and lessen that habit around others.

Well, in 2013, somehow my hair texture was different and as a certain hair twirler, fidgeter, OCD type person, I began pulling out and inspecting these hairs.  They were soooo curly, so different, so course compared to my perfectly straight and smooth head of hair.  To me they just did not match, or feel pleasing to me while I twirled and braided.  So out they went.  It seems that I didn't quite understand it and didn't need an explanation really until I had created a wider part and two small bald spots on my head.  I felt like a crazy person that I could let this happen, when my hair meant so much to me.

Since that time, I have struggled with Trichtillomania or Trich and we call it.  It's not OCD but more like the lack of impulse control and it's something I have had to face straight on.  There is no ignoring it and I don't know if I'll ever have a 100% no pull life, but I hope to.

For the last 5 years, I have done a lot of soul searching.  I've worked through crippling anxiety and hopeless depression and come back from it.  I am healthier now than I have ever been and with a better understanding of myself an an appreciation for my unique gifts.  I've worked with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) which certainly has helped my battle with anxiety and depression and has become a safe place to grow, ask questions and to not feel so alone.  Because of this self-work, I feel a certain calmness that I never thought was possible, thanks to my "ME TEAM."  I call them my "me" team because they are all there for me in my corner to help me become my best self.  My Therapist doesn't psychoanalyze me. She listens.  And man, what a different a life can be when you have someone to do just that. Listen.  We are working together to realize the triggers of my trich and ways to forgive myself for how harsh I am on my own flaws and failings and to better love the imperfections that make me who I am.



In 2014, I was diagnosed with ADHD and suddenly everything made sense.  Another member of the "ME TEAM" has made it possible for me to slow down, listen, absorb and complete things.  I never thought it would be possible, and now it is.  Now I am not fighting to say something in a crowd, or interrupting people, or acting out, or doing so many things I thought I needed to do, because I can think beforehand.  Once I realized this and tested out which cocktail would help me be my best self, I began to see the possibilities of a real career.  I had the ability to finish a project without breaking down and to handle stress more easily.  I was able to listen contently to someone explain something and share their stories without me trying to bud in with my opinion so I wouldn't forget what I wanted to say.  I also realized so much why I worked better while playing with my hair, or biting my nails or tapping my foot, because I always needed my brain to be stimulated so I could focus.

While I got healthier on the anxiety/depression side of life and got rid of my eating problems, the anxiety or the whatever it is, comes out in the form of trich.  Whatever I can't control or understand or manipulate, I know I can ease some type of imbalance my making my hair more perfect, by locating imperfections and removing them.  It's a feeling of success and then immediately a sense of failure, because I pulled out another beautiful strand of hair, contributing to another empty spot on my head.  I don't want to do that.  I don't want to have this problem.  But it happens without me knowing.

So how does one retrain themselves to not do something they know they do, but they do without thinking?  I've joined online communities.  I've heard of people shaving their heads and joining support groups and attending conferences.  There\s a unique network of us that have BFRB's or Body Focused Repetitive Behaviors.  From hair pulling to skin picking to much more, many people struggle with BFRB's and are not sure how to get through it and are surrounded by families and friends that do not understand and offer little support.  To stop, is not something you can just do.

It makes me sooo sad to hear stories of teens living with their parents who just make their child feel worse because of this odd problem.  Making a trich sufferer feel bad about their habit doesnt make ANYTHING BETTER.  "Trichsters" as we have been known, are very sensitive people and already are trying their best to be better.  Compassion is what we need and support.  Tell us we are beautiful and help us on bad pull days.  If someone comes to you for help, listen.  Punishing a friend or child for having these odd BFRB's only makes them feel more alone and more imperfect.

A photo posted by Alexandria Embleton (@alexinhwood) on

To be pull-free or pick-free is a goal for all of us, but it's the habit that gets in the way and there isn't enough research to pin-point why we do what we do.  Instagram has been a helpful tool for me to connect with others and to also share my days with those who are on the same path.  It's hard to admit to have this odd problem, but we are all human and none of us are perfect.  Each of us has some weird thing, quirk, or issue we wish we didn't.

Do you have trich?  Do you struggle with this also?  Feel free to email me @ alexinhwood@gmail.com and connect with me on my social profiles.  I think we can all help each other stay strong and to support each other.  You are not alone.  You are beautiful with or without eyelashes or eyebrows.  Wigs are fun and so are clip ins!  No matter what your journey may be, I am here to help and I understand.  But remember: LOVE THYSELF
A photo posted by Alexandria Embleton (@alexinhwood) on
I plan to share more of my progress and I am working to grow back the bald spots and aim to be pull-free.

Please follow my Twitter and Instagram for posts and updates regarding #trich and other wellness tips.

The following books/products and people are helping me with my journey and I would recommend each to anyone that suffers...

BOOKS

Amazon
Buy it on Amazon

HAIR PRODUCTS

WELLA:

Oil Reflections Anti-Oxidant Smoothing Oil

Buy at Ulta.com
VIVISCAL Hair Filler Fibers
Buy at ulta.com

SALON IN A BOTTLE
Buy on website
Great for trouble spots and ways to make hair seem thicker

CLIP ONS

Excited that my hair is growing longer. I finally can get it all up into a cute bun for bad pull days when I need to get it out of my way. Sitting and watching TV and driving are my biggest challenge since I'm not doing anything with my hands and naturally go to play with hair and braid it or feels it or my go to " put it up and then take it down and then put it up again" that drives my family crazy because it's distracting and also seems so unnecessary to them. When my ADHD meds wear off, I have trouble at home when I'm relaxing and don't have enough focus on much of anything. I am mindful and working all these things because I cannot wait for the day when there are no bald spots to hide and my hair is thick and fluffy again! #roadtorecovery #trich #nopullday #anxiety #wellness #ADHD #supportoninstagram #hairapy #lovethyself
A photo posted by Alexandria Embleton (@alexinhwood) on





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