Tuesday, April 23, 2013

How to Deal with Trichotillomania (the hair pulling disorder)

Those of you who don’t know what Trich is, consider yourself lucky. (It’s an anxiety disorder where you pull out your hair) I promised this entry a little while ago in my post “How to Deal with Anxiety” so hereit is.  So maybe not a lot of people suffer from Trich or even know what it is. But I figure, since I battle it myself (a mild form of it)and I’m pretty knowledgeable in the area and it would be ridiculous not to post about dealing with it for the others out there who need a little help. And by dealing with it, I mean stop pulling forever. I’m proud to announce it has been over 150 days since I lasted pulled and I am determined to never go back.  So let me save from your painful world of Trichotillomania. Read on.

First, answer the following questions on a piece of paper:

Why do you pull? Is it compulsive or deliberate? When did you pull for the first time? Where do you pull? (Location on your body) When and where do you pull the most? (Example:  6 pm while doing homework)What measures of prevention have you already taken? What measures worked? What didn’t? What are the consequences of pulling out your hair? What are some of your favorite memories?

These answers will help you to better understand your Trich.  Now there’s two ways you can quit: The twenty one day method, or by deciding to stop now. If you choose the twenty one day method, for the next three weeks, every time you pull you remind yourself why you shouldn’t pull, what the consequences of pulling are, and why you are quitting in 21 days. After your three weeks are up, quitting is apparently a lot easier. The method I used though is just by deciding to stop. No, it’s not that easy and you’ll have to fight yourself tooth and nail every time you get the urge to pull, but with my tips and some mental toughness, you can get through this. 
-          Start a journal. Record every time you pull and how you felt about it afterwards. Make it a goal of yours to never fill the entire journal.

-          Mark your calendar with a smiley face for every day you are successfully in not pulling. Put a frowny face on the days you fail

-          Itch the area you want to pull, but don’t pull

-          Wherever you pull the most, be it in your bedroom or in the living room, place sticky notes around the house to remind yourself not to pull

-          Wear any kind of jewelry or watch to play with to distract your fingers from pulling (earrings work awesome)

-          Whenever your hand goes up to pull, make it into a fist and hold it at your side firmly for a count of 10

-          Use a stress ball

-          Distraction. Is. Key. Draw, do homework, sing, clean your room, eat something, play with a pet. Refrain from reading a lot of watching a lot of T.V. because once you zone out, and your Trich is compulsive, you’re back to square one.

-          Okay, this is going to sound weird, but pulling out the fuzz of fuzzy socks gives the same satisfaction of pulling your hair. So you can try doing that instead.

-          Whenever you have the urge to pull, get up a walk to a specific place. This sounds stupid, but bear with me: Try to convince yourself that as soon as you get to that place, everything will be okay and the urge to pull will pass. Eventually, it will actually work.  (I did it with my mom’s classroom at school at it really worked!)

-          I tap my middle finger and thumb together really fast and the rhythm seems to distract me.

-          This works for some people, but no others: Stand up and look at yourself in the mirror with your hands behind your back.  Hold that position until the urge to pull passes.

-          Whenever you want to pull list all the consequences of why you shouldn’t in your head.

-          Or bring yourself back to a happy memory in which you would never want to pull and try to feel the same way as you were feeling. 

-          Be careful. As you’re fighting Trich, new habits to replace the old might pop up. Be just as hard on them as they can become just as addicting.

-          Weeks two and tree are the hardest.  It’s going to take a lot of will power to get through it: a lot of mental toughness. But you can do it. And if you can get through them, the next few weeks will feel like a breeze.

So there you have a few tips on how to stop pulling out your hair and beat Trich for once and for all. Because, I know how much it rule your life. And it’s time for you to take command again. It’s not going to be easy. It’s not going to take just a day, or a week, or even a month. It might take longer or shorter depending on the severity of your Trich.  But in the end, it will be completely worth it. I promise. You can do this. I only hope you believe in you as much as I believe in you <3

Feel free to email me or comment if you have anything to add to the tips list, have any questions of want to share your own success story.  I’d love to hear from you!

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