Defining Me. Defining Curly.

Hello if you’re new here, I’m Anastasia and I have body-focused repetitive behaviours as well as generalized anxiety.

Need a refresher? Take a look at my 7 Day Trichster Series.

Some quick FYIs:

Trichotillomania– the unwanted urge and unprovoked “habit” of pulling your hair out from eyebrows, head, anywhere really.

Dermatillomania– the urge to pick at your skin.

Cheek Biting– the biting of lips and cheeks.

That’s not why we’re here today however, I’m here to get back into blogging. It’s been over two years and so there’s no time like the present- right?


Since I can remember I’ve hated my hair’s texture. In my view it is not wavy, not curly, just frizzy. As someone who cannot stand varying textures in my hair it drove my trichotillomania up and down the wall. Despite comments and praise when wearing my hair natural I have always HATED it.

Sure, there has been days it has “behaved” and I’ve accepted it’s wild vibes. However, these days of acceptance and self-love have been few and far between. Generally I can handle a few hours with my natural hair flowing before resorting to a pony-tail.

This month I have been changing that view, and letting my hair be itself, or least I’m attempting to.

With some research and an ultimate goal of self acceptance I’ve put down the straightener and picked up new products and Youtube videos. I’ve learned a lot and am happy to report with every passing day my hair is getting healthier and the curls are showing their true gorgeous selves. My acceptance of this new journey is still in the works, some days a bun still is my favourite relief, but everything is a work in progress.

Not sure what else to say today, but I’ll be back sooner than later (I hope). Enjoy the trip down memory lane in the The Cycle.

“As long as you live, keep learning how to live.” -Lucius Annaeus Seneca

 

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7 Day Trichster Series

In 2016 I embarked on a personal journey to talk about Trichotillomania and BFRBs for seven days. It was the most rewarding, and most difficult thing I’ve done.

Take a read through this tag.

For more recent blogs, and more general mental health focus as well see “Blogs“.

When things are good.

Sometimes it’s hard to write when you’re feeling good. Sometimes it’ scary.

I’ve been struggling to write lately.

Struggling to find a topic, struggling to sit still and write, struggling to find the motivation. Partly I think it’s because I’m not struggling right now, things are good.

When I started blogging there was no goal. There was just a need to talk, to write and to reach-out. When I started blogging pulling was fine. It was there, but it was alright.

As the blogging progressed passed the first #7DayTrichster series it was alright, but things were also not fantastic. Stress, an odd time emotionally and other life events got in the way. Pulling was bad.

Listening to the stories of others is hard emotionally, rewarding yes, but hard on the brain. I found myself frustrated by the lack of awareness, of endlessly hearing of the lack of support. Of hearing others struggle I became exhausted.

Writing more meant dealing with more.

Every blog, every share made me want to pull more. Made me more frustrated, more sad.

Things have turned around now, things are looking up. Things are good. 

So now I sit here re-evaluating. Not only for myself but for all those with Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviours. Do I keep writing, despite not feeling it? Or do I focus on something else? Do I continue to share via this blog when the feeling strikes?

I don’t know.

I’m in a good place, but an odd one. Bare with me folks. I’ll be back.

In the meantime I’d love some inspiration- send me some ideas? 

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Let’s Connect! Want to collaborate? Suggest a post? Ask a question? Meet to chat? I’m all ears! Send me an email or connect via @AnaSmallwood on twitter or  @timetotalktrich instagram. 

 

 

Things are a changing!

Change is good, and this blog is certainly been on it’s own journey since it began but two months ago. What began as a seven-day series has morphed into a connection with a community I feel is still very unrepresented in the mental health community. I’ve heard far more “I thought I was the only one” stories than I’d care to admit.

Individuals who feel ashamed, feel unrepresented by many, feel scared, feel alone.

It’s frustrating- I’ve been there. 

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This blog is just starting, but as it stands it’s but one voice in a cloud of many.

Trichsters, those with BFRBs are living and sharing our stories individually, reaching to few, desiring for more. It’s time we connect, grow a force, grow a LOUD voice.

Over the next little while there’ll be some changes. Good ones I hope.

I’ll be looking to do collaborations. Welcoming emails, guest-posts and will be sharing the content of others. I’ll also be reaching out to the general mental health movement to help boost awareness- join me. 

NEW ways to connect:

Instagram: @TimeToTalkTrich

Email: timetotalktrich@gmail.com

Twitter (As Always): @AnaSmallwood

Let’s make some noise! 

-A

 

Looking Forward, Acknowledging the Past

A week of emotions, a week of self-discovery, and a week of learning.

I started this journey not with a goal, but with a desire to share. I’ve done that now, and it feels great. However now I feel the need to find a goal.  A goal that will make the voices of those who suffer with BFRBs finally heard, better understood. Those voices I’ve heard, those who hide, may some day they too may someday feel like sharing- unashamed.

A journey starts, but never truly ends. So to this blog will not end. I’ve still got questions to answer, qualms to share, and people to hopefully educate and influence. I’ll be looking for topic ideas, questions and guest writers so stay connected.

Thank you to all who helped with starting the journey, your support and love has meant more than I could ever say in words. For the those who have liked, shared, retweeted and reached out you have made this journey possible, and needed. Love you all ❤

Not the end, just the beginning.

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Not Alone- Day 7 of 7 Day Trichster

Mental illness of any kind affects more than the individual who’s mind it inhabits. It affects families, it affects friends, it affects romantic relationships, and it affects daily life.

This is the reality. 

Long and lustrous hair is the desired, perfectly shaped nails are the expected, and clear dewy skin is the ideal. It’s understandable that those with BFRBs feel shame and lack confidence when not fitting the mould. Compliments on my hair appease more to my ability to hide, and less on my confidence. A lack of confidence that has changed my perception of self, but also affected those around me. Shame- transferred to those relating to BFRB sufferers; family, friends and partners. 

There’s much fear in telling a partner, and any friend you have a mental illness, regardless of what it is. There’s fear of rejection, fear in a lack of understanding, in a lack of support. I’ve told partners and friend my story in the past, but never to it’s true reality. Trichotillomania is hard to describe, but also hard to understand. Often times it’s been easier to let leave the details aside, and say “I pull at my hair sometimes.” I’ve never divulged that I suffer from other BFRBs. Partners of the past have been ashamed, angered at my lack of wanting to speak up, and been frustrated “Oh just stop it already!”. I’ve tried, believe me.

Growing up BFRBs also affected my relationship with my parents. No one wants to see their child suffer, struggle and their confidence crash. It couldn’t have been easy to see your child in such stress and feeling helpless, especially as parents. Parents are supposed to be able to fix the problems of their kids, but what happens when there is no bandaid? My parents, particularly my mom had to deal with this. Begging me to stop, to find another habit, struggling to understand. I was hurting, but so were they. As I look back it was a lack of understanding on my part, on their part, and as a family a lack of discussion. We’ve talked about it now, and in the future I’ve no doubt the conversation will continue and bring us closer. 

Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviours have tested and continue to test my relationship with me, with my confidence. There’s something about hating what you do, seeing it affect your appearance, unable to stop that kicks you down time and time again. Living with BFRBs cause questions in every part of life, and primarily makes you question your abilities.

“How can you, with bald spots in your head, wearing fake eyelashes, and yearning to pull, persevere?”

“How can you succeed when somedays they feel so un-confident it’s a struggle to leave the house?”

“How can you focus when you wonder if the person next to you in class is noticing your fake eyelashes, if the person to your left can see your tufts of hair and bald spot?” 

“How can you be confident, and stand in front of audiences, cameras and peers when all you want to do is hide?”

“How can you present when your cheeks hurt so bad talking seems impossible?”

“How can you grow feeling that those you love think what you do is shameful?”

“How can you attend an event or go to a party when you feel so unconfident you’d rather not move from the comfort and safe-haven of your room?”

“How do you stand explaining a short tuft to a hairdresser for the fifth time before finally just saying it was a hair straightener accident?”

Somehow you do, you have to. You take a deep breathe, find the courage and move forward.

I have Trichotillomania, I have Dermatillomania, and  I have other BFRBs.

I am a Trichster, but I am human too, and I will succeed. I will persevere, despite this illness I live with.

For all the others out there: you are not alone, you will succeed, you will persevere, you are loved.