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Hi, I've been a trich sufferer for more than 20 years, with a few periods of remission, none lasting longer than 18 months.
Until very recently, I felt deep shame, guilt, and regret about my disorder. I am a perfectionist, and I tend to blame myself and judge myself sharply when I feel I've failed at something. My expectations for myself are not realistic and unattainable, and I think this has contributed to the vicious cycle of my disorder.
I tend to pull when I am under-stimulated and when I am facing a task that seems insurmountable or challenging. Initially, I think I pulled in an effort to remove hair that I perceived as "different" from the others, or from my idea of perfect hair. But once it became a habit, I think I pulled primarily to satisfy the need for that second-long pleasant sensation.
My disorder has limited my ability to be my true authentic self. I have had to hide my disorder from friends, family and loved ones. I have lied to them rather than reach out for their help.
I am on the path to recovery now, although it's very early days. I feel very anxious and I worry that I will let myself down yet again. I want to stop. I want to be able to wear my hair any way I want. I want the freedom of being outside on a windy day with my hair down. I want to feel my partner's hands running through my hair without the immediate thought that I have to hide it from him. More than anything, I want to get to a point where this is in my past, and I don't even think about it anymore. It seems impossible now, but I need to make it happen.
Some of the things I'm trying:
Keeping a journal of thoughts and feelings, and being 100% honest with myself in it;
Replacing sensory stimulus with neutral or positive stimuli, for example putting on nice-smelling lotion on my hands, drinking very cold, flavoured water, anything that is a pleasant sensation for sight, smell, hearing, touch or taste while having no negative impact on my health, to try and satisfy that urge without causing any damage;
Keeping track of successful days with no pulling in my agenda and journal, and planning small rewards for milestones;
Repeating mantras like 'Every hair belongs on my head', and 'I want a full head of hair more than I want to satisfy this immediate urge.';
Trying to remove the shame and blame aspects of the disorder so that I can deal with it objectively.
Would love your thoughts!