Hair Change!

As those of you that follow me and have read my other blog posts know, I have a condition called trichotillomania. For those of you who have never read a single post I have ever written, hi, my name is Julia, and I have trichotillomania. There is no simple answer to what trichotillomania is, but an attempt at one is that it is a mental condition called an impulse control disorder, and it causes me to impulsively pull my hair out. There also isn’t a simple reason why, so I’m not even going to go there in this post.

This post is about a recent change I’ve made to my hair. For me, it was quite a big deal. So, most people that have trich have pretty thin hair. Many wear wigs or hair pieces to hide bald spots or particularly thin patches. For a while I wore hair pieces. I eventually cut my hair really short and got highlights to help blend in with the thin spots (my aunt is a hairdresser, which actually helps a lot). Ever since that moment I have been trying to grow my hair back out and I have been coloring my hair, as a way to appear more confident in it than I really am. I don’t know if it gave off that impression at all, but that’s what I was going for.

For most of high school, my hair was pretty much the same length, save the bald spots and such. I kept my hair around shoulder length and strategically styled it to hide anything that would give away my missing hair (although that was sometimes almost ridiculous because my mom would tell people I was losing my hair (everyone in my family thinks I have alopecia because I don’t know how to tell anyone that I have trich)). Towards the end of high school I started trying to grow my hair out even longer. My main problem spot is the top of my head (the crown). It eventually got to the point where the rest of my hair was long and thick enough that I could hide it by wearing my hair up, which I still do to this day. I’ve gotten slightly more creative with the ways I wear my hair, but nothing too fancy. Up until January 2nd, 2015, I had been growing my hair out. Most of it was down to my waist, and I was almost confident about it, but I knew it was really unhealthy and needed to be cut, because it hadn’t been and the dye had pretty much ruined it.

I told my aunt I wanted my hair cut. I went in. I had my hair cut. Almost 8 inches. 8 INCHES. When she was done, I couldn’t believe it. My hair. It was short. It still goes past my shoulders and is what most people would consider medium to long, but IT’S SHORT. It feels so different. I was so nervous about it because I wasn’t sure if I would be able to style just right. I was afraid losing the length would somehow make it impossible to hide everything. Well, it’s not. And my hair feels SO HEALTHY. I can’t even remember a time it has felt so soft and healthy and easy to comb.

My next goal is to grow out the hair at the back of my crown. You know, that part where your hair swirls or whatever. That is one of my problem spots, but I’ve been getting better. I think if I can make my problem area as small as possible, I won’t have to work so hard on hiding, and I can feel more confident in general. I also think I am going to dye my hair less, maybe stop all together, for the sake of it’s health. But I have to say, I will really miss the purples and pinks.

Do you have any tips or tricks for hiding your problems spots? Do you have problem spots? What is your favorite hair style? What are your favorite hair products? I will probably make a post later about the products I use and what products I think are great for people with trich. Thanks for reading!

New Semester

The spring semester is officially on! I am actually kind of looking forward to this semester, now that I have attended each of my classes. I was absolutely dreading it from the moment last semester ended up until my first classes yesterday and this morning.

So far very little hair pulling! I can’t even pinpoint an exact moment in my memory. No long sessions, no stress, no depression. So far, so good! Hopefully this will continue.

I am considering transferring to a school back home, so that might be part of why I am feeling better about it. I am not sure where God is calling me right now. Last semester was definitely my worst and I don’t want to go through all of that again. I never want to feel that low again. Hopefully this new year and new semester will bring new opportunities, new highs, and new happiness.

Not Just About Trich

I started this blog as a way to sort of anonymously talk about my trichotillomania without fear of judgement, but rather with the hope of finding support and understanding (which I have). This blog isn’t only for that, though. I want it to be about my life. A place I can come to when I need to vent, have ideas, or just want to write about something. It will mostly be about my life with trich, as it is something that affects basically all aspects of my life at all times, but it will be about other things, too. Sometimes I have really strong opinions that I want the world to hear, so I will come to post them here. Sometimes I’ll have a really bad day of pulling, and I might write about that here, too.

I hope to create connections with some of my followers and to gain more as time goes on. I want to talk with people and I want to write about things that will interest others. I know I don’t write very often, but I would like to. As a full time college student, this blog tends to get put off to the side sometimes. I am going to try to start posting at least once a week (even if that means just queuing some posts sometimes). I appreciate all of my followers very much and I am really enjoying having this blog. I’m looking forward to seeing where this leads me as time goes on.

I Promise, It’s Not Vanity

I promise, it’s not vanity.

I know you’re probably wondering why I spend so much time in front of the mirror before I go anywhere. You probably wondering why I redo my hair over and over. Why I don’t just leave it down once in a while. Why I stare at myself, at my hair. Why it takes my almost 20 minutes just to end up with a simple ponytail. Why I always close the bathroom door just to fix my hair.

It’s because you can’t know.

It’s not because I’m vain. It’s because I’m afraid. Terrified. I have no confidence at all. I don’t want anyone to know. I don’t want anyone to see. To see what I do, to judge me, my appearance.

I work so hard on a simple ponytail because it has to cover so much.

It has to cover my insecurities. My bald spots. My new growth. If any hair is out of place, it could lead to disaster. Embarrassment. How do you explain something like this? How do you explain not being able to control yourself? How do you explain to others who have never even heard of this disorder?

That’s why I stand in front of the mirror for so long. That’s why I try so hard to make my hair look “perfect”. Because it’s been years since I’ve been happy with it. Because I have nothing to be proud of, but at least I can pretend.

Depression, Anxiety Disorders, OCD… where’s ICD?

Today in my health class we had a guest speaker come talk to us about mental health. He mostly talked about relieving stress and anxiety, but he also talked a bit about common mental disorders. I’ve also taken a few psychology classes in my time. Never, ever, have I learned about, or even heard about, Impulse Control Disorders. It’s like they don’t even exist. I suffered with trich for several years before learning a name for it, before learning I wasn’t alone, that I’m not a complete and total freak.

Why is this? Why is there such a lack of awareness? There are almost no studies on trichotillomania, as far as I know. Sure, there have been a couple of documentaries, but how are we supposed to improve people’s quality of life if we know nothing about what they are suffering from?

The only people that can change this are people who know about it, namely, people suffering from Impulse Control Disorders and those around them, watching them suffer. Maybe some day more will be known and these disorders will be taught in psychology classes, next to their close relative, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.

Trich Tricks #2

Hello everyone! I have another tip for you all! This one is a lot of fun 🙂

I recently purchased a fantastic head/scalp massager. It is FANTASTIC.

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It is great for stimulating the scalp (basically it makes your scalp feel all tingly and it’s great). It’s a great distraction from pulling. I made a short little video to demonstrate how to use it.

(So, I don’t know how to add videos? Help? Anyway, try these! Super great! Let me know what you think in the comments)

“What is Wrong with Me?”

“I really need to stop (but I can’t) I need to stop… (just one more) I’m going to end up pulling out half my hair (just one more) what is wrong with me… I need to stop… (but I can’t… why does it feel so good)… OK. I need to stop. NOW. (no) yes (no) now (just one more) What is wrong with me?”

Trich is an endless cycle. An endless battle. A roller coaster with more ups and downs than all of 6 Flags.

Sometimes, almost all the time, it just feels hopeless. I feel helpless. I don’t know what to do and I don’t know who to turn to. No one can help. I’m fighting a losing battle, all alone. I’ll never have my thick hair back. I’ll never be able to experiment with all the beautiful hair trends going around today.

It shouldn’t be this hard. I just wish I could stop.