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Mia Anom , 13 Apr 2019

I can’t stop pulling but I don’t know how to get help.

I can’t stop pulling and picking but I’m too ashamed to tell anyone. I really want to stop but I don’t know how to get help.

2 Answers
May 08, 2019
Hi Mia,

I’ve had trich for a long time, since I was 11 or 12, I’m 27 now. I’m still not where I want to be exactly, but things are getting better.

I think it’s common for trich to accompany anxiety and/or depression and can also add fuel to the fire with already high anxiety. Having trich has given me some social anxiety also and made me feel bad about the way I look.

It’s awesome that you want to stop. You can do it! It will take a lot of patience with yourself, and a lot of forgiveness.

I could have benefited from more therapy over the years I’m sure, but haven’t kept up with a therapist. I didn’t feel comfortable with the OCD therapist I went to in high school and even felt discouraged by them at the time, though that probably wasn’t their intent.

One thing that one therapist suggested is just noticing the times when I pull the most. Just being aware of when those times during the day are and then taking steps to avoid pulling at those times like wearing gloves or taking a shower so I had wet head hair (less desirable to pull than dry hair for me). I didn’t dedicate myself to these practices.

More recently though, one thing I would do is instead of pulling and pulling, I would try to slow things down/lessen the amount of hairs pulled by delaying pulling each hair as long as possible- tugging, feeling the hair more instead of pulling it out right away. Of course, this is still not very helpful. But might help lessen the damage.

I noticed this year that the number one place I would pull was while I was driving. So I do keep a hat in my car, and would wear gloves in the winter too. Keeping this routine would help!

The most important thing that has helped me has been using affirmations and practicing breathing. With trich I feel that it’s such a mind body disconnect so as I’m learning more about how powerful breathing, meditation, yoga etc can be for the body and brain, I’m excited about getting some control over my trich tendencies, and already I’m seeing progress.

For me, my trich has been a part of the bigger monster that has been my self-doubt, low self worth, anxiety, depression, etc. It’s not as easy as just putting on a pair of gloves or avoiding the urges. I think the first step to healing yourself is wanting to stop, which is awesome because that’s where you are now! :)

In a nutshell, things that have helped me tremendously in the past 3 years:

-eating more mindfully; mostly plant based, making sure I’m getting enough veggies and fruits (any doctor will tell you to eat more veggies! It can be so difficult in this world of processed foods/a western diet-but so much disease stems from the food we eat-and recent research is showing that imbalance of bacteria in our gut can have a significant impact on our brain health- look up The Broken Brain podcast if you’re interested! Lots of helpful info on brain health)

-drinking less alcohol

-meditation and breathing. Simply pausing to take three deep breaths has been very helpful

-affirmations. “My hair is beautiful”. “I am beautiful”. “I am capable”, “I am strong”, “I am smart”. Might seem ridiculous at first to say these things to yourself, but these help tremendously to reprogram yourself. They say trich can stem from childhood trauma, and that’s a lot to deal with when turning this kind of disorder around- repeated affirmations have helped so much, not just in the area of trich, but also helped to better my self image in all kinds of ways.

When I pull- and don’t notice at first maybe, and then realize I’ve taken out a few hairs- my response is always a feeling of shame or sadness or frustration. But instead of beating myself up, or pulling further now- my practice is this: stopping my hands from what they’re doing and instead holding my hands flat on my head where they were just pulling so I feel the warmth of my hands on my head- and I say some affirmations “I love you. I love my hair”, whichever ones resonate with me that day. Then, 3 deep breaths (4 counts in, 4 counts out).

Often I find I pull when I’m avoiding something I need to do. So sometimes taking out a pen and paper and making a to do list can be helpful. So having a pen and paper in my room has been good.

Also, having someone to talk to about when you feel defeated- someone who can lift you up- would be wonderful- if you’re lucky enough to have someone in your life who can be there for you, open up to them!

And if you’d like to be trich buddies of sorts, feel free to email me! I don’t know anyone with trich, so have been going through this alone all these years.

Good luck and lots of love
July 04, 2019
Hello. I know the feeling of "I can't stop." We really can though, and we need to believe we can, and reprogram our thoughts. A lot of good suggestions were given by Panfloot. I just joined trichstop and am paying money I can't really afford to have a therapist go through an 8 weeks program with me. But then again I can not afford to keep going the way I have been, destroying my self esteem and looks, having to wear a wig. I had a huge all night pulling spree recently and got no sleep. It spurred me to pay money at trichstop for a program. At first I thought all the things I am reading I already knew from my research. But I hope to learn more about myself and my feelings and how to deal with them differently, and how to break this awful addiction of pulling. I just started the program on July 1st and many times was about to pull but stopped, remembering my program and that I want to quit pulling. It is such an ingrained habit. I have only pulled out 1 hair once, and another time 2 hairs, then stopped right away. I was disappointed but did not beat myself up over it. Certainly am doing much better than before. Not saying you need to spend money. Coming to this forum for help and support and learning ways to cope better so you are not resorting to pulling could lead you to being pull free.

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