I had not had trouble pulling for almost 3 years and now I'm sitting awake in tears with, to add insult to injury, loose hairs stuck to my tears.
I worked so hard to stop pulling and I'm angry with myself and disappointed that I didn't identify the triggers and do something. I feel sick.
Does anyone have advice on how to move from feeling frozen with upset to doing something about it that is productive?
Background on me
I started pulling my hair at age 15. I remember it clearly and then it sort of fades as something I still did that I wasn't as aware of. I graduated high school a hair puller but no one would've noticed if they looked
College was different. The pressure of cramming for exams got to me and visible bald spots made their first appearance on my head. I used clips and headbands and (in my eyes) concealed well.
It is clearly a stress triggered behavior for me because, when I got my first grown up job.... boy did things go down hill. I'd find hairs covering my work space, I noticed I adapted to typing with only one hand, leaving the left free to navigate through my scalp seeking our hairs that were not like the others. That's my thing. It started as just one or two and once I got those weird ones out, there would be nothing I'd need/want to pull. Unfortunately, that's not how it works.
I had such a small amount of hair by 25 that I started looking at wigs and would spend 30+ min a day with hairspray and Bobby pins hopping to walk out of the house looking sort of normal. I was living about 40% of my life and avoiding the things I most wanted to do (go out with friends, date, dance, gym). I was miserable. I'd gained 35 pounds on my usually 120 pound frame. I'd had it.
I finally had good health care coverage and started going to a behavioral therapist. It took a while (and a lot of money) to notice a change and I was also taking an SNRI and anti anxiety but it started working. I pulled less and less and, after 8 months I was pull free! For the past few years I've done all the things I'd avoided and had boyfriends.
Now I'm 30 and approaching the height of my pulling and I don't know what made it start again. I do know the anti-anxiety med I was on before helped a lot and I can't take it now because of studies showing it can have long term damage. Honestly? I'd rather risk it and have my life back.
I feel so alone in a time when my friends are getting married, having kids and I want to be there too.