Find Me on Instagram @TimeToTalkTrich

Follow along on Instagram! Doing more reposting on there, and daily updates.

Have a fantastic Thursday everyone.

-A

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The Cycle.

Those who don’t have Trichotillomania must wonder what it’s like. Do I constantly pull? Is there always an urge? What starts it? There must be a lot of questions.

Maybe here’s some answers.

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It generally starts with some boredom. A day in the car, a long movie, an evening by myself. Activities I generally enjoy, cherish even- but ultimately my Trich loves to take advantage of. It begins with a tickle, a slight urge, one pull. 

Other times it’s an effect of another symptom. A dry scalp begins a path of destruction. Picking a scab, starting another, one where once there was none before- skin picking. Repeatedly picking, healing, picking, healing- rarely healthy. 

On the daily I pull a few hairs here or there. Odd lengths, weird textures, nothing substantial. Sometimes however it gets a lot worse. Days when the world just doesn’t seem right, when I’m “not okay” for an undefined reason-lost in thought. Then is when I pull until it hurts my head, and my fingers ache. When I shake in realization of what I’ve done. When I feel so much hate towards myself, my own actions.

Most days things are good, I rarely pull, and picking isn’t a thing. 

Other times I stare in amazement at the bald spots I’ve been able to create. Baffled at how I’m going to hide another patch of short hair. Wondering if anyone will see the blood from the scab I just picked through my blonde hair. Vowing for the millionth time I will stop this time. 

Feeling once again- unattractive, unworthy, annoyed at myself.

There’s days I wish I could  just get rid of the itch, the urge, to pull. To take it from my brain and throw it to the floor instead of the hair that currently lives there.

Other days I welcome it as a distraction. For it provides control, it’s part of who I am.

I haven’t been in a welcoming mood as of late, and I’m okay with that.

I wonder what’d it’d be like to be pull free. To really feel like me, and not me + this friend I call a BFRB.

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Let’s Connect! My goal in this blog is to create a community, help others and in turn grow myself. This is not just about sharing my story, but those of others- 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 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

 

Planes, Trains, and … Hair- Travelling w Trich

It’s been a busy couple of weeks! The past two weeks it seems I’ve spent equal amounts of time away, that actually at home. For the homebody in me, it’s exhausting,  but traveller me absolutely LOVES it! As I amp up for another adventure next weekend I’ve been thinking of ways I tackle Trichotillomania when travelling. Looking at the pulling I’ve been doing the past few weeks, some of caused by travelling, some by other instances in my life, I can honestly say travelling takes its toll.

As I’ve mentioned before in Day 2 of #7DayTrichster I pull mostly when bored, and the fact is travelling might as well be a prescription for boredom. Long flights, endless car rides, and bus trips equal an urge to pull, but also a tight enclosed space in which giving into said urge is sometimes impossible.

And so with the goal of helping others, and myself for the next bout of journeys, I’ve made a list of helpful tricks for your next road trip, plane ride or cross-country adventure!

  1. Prepare- When I’m stressed, and when I’m unsure or feel “out of control” I pull. Feeling like I’ve forgotten something or being worried about missing a flight makes this feeling much worse. To avoid such a feeling I tend to make lists well in advance, pack strategically and always, always plan to be early. Sure this doesn’t always work- but hey that’s life!
  2. Gum & Candy– This one is my favourite for plane rides. The whole “Chewing gum stops your ears from popping!” concept is a great excuse to chew far more gum and eat more candy than is probably healthy. Keeping my jaw busy for whatever reason helps me avoid pulling and candy seems to provide the same reward.
  3. Find a Friend– The introvert in me is not going to just talk to a stranger on a plane, of that I’m not suggesting. But a friend to text on a long car ride, or a bored friend to type a message to via Facebook in the airport has been helpful in the past.
  4. Fiddle Toys- When it comes to plane rides I’ve yet to find a fiddle toy, aside from the odd hair elastic on my arm that I feel comfortable travelling with. My favourite as of late Bucky Balls is essentially tiny magnetic balls which stick together and can be shaped into many things. Yet I worry travelling with it on a plane, and would rather not have it confiscated so it stays home.
  5. Hats & Headbands– As mentioned in Day 3 of #7DayTrichster I have a whole bunch of ways I style or hide my hair to avoid pulling- when I travel those coping mechanisms certainly come with.
  6. Naps on Naps- Sometimes trips are just best spent napping. I’ve been known to just fall asleep and wakeup when we get there. Makes the trip far much faster too!
  7. Give Into The Urge- Sometimes travelling is stressful, and honestly when the urge gets to me- I give in. Discretely I’ve pulled and felt better-off for it, and then able to get on with the trip.

This is by far a comprehensive list, I’d love your suggestions, fiddle-toy ideas or experiences!

Let’s Connect! My goal in this blog is to create a community, help others and in turn grow myself. This is not just about sharing my story, but those of others- Want to collaborate? Suggest a post? Ask a question? Meet to chat? I’m all ears! Send me an email or connect via @AnaSmallwood

#FridayFriendDay-CanadianBSN

Fridays are for friends! This week we focus on The Canadian BFRB Support Network

Fridays are for reaching out to others in the BFRB community and sharing their stories.

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Google BFRB in Canada and one organization will pop-up. The only support network I’ve found in Canada, and one that has provided the stats for many a blog on my page. They’re supporting those with BFRBs and they are building awareness <3.

They too post blogs, they too use tags, they too need to be recognized- take a look at this leader of BFRB Awareness in Canada.

Blog: canadianbfrb.org/bfrb-blog 

Twitter: @CanadianBFRB

Website: canadianbfrb.org

Happy Friday friends!

-A

The Dreaded Hair Dresser

I have never been one to find relaxation or joy in going to the hair dresser.

For me, and others with Trichotillomania, going to the hair dresser is not as simple as just well, going.

It makes me nervous, it makes me feel guilty, it stresses me out.

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I’ve often blamed my extracurriculars on my bald spots and short hair.  Some hair dressers have accepted my “oh up-do accident!” or “I accidentally burnt it on a hair straightener” excuse. Others have looked at me, laughed, and said, “sure hun”.

Regardless of their reaction I always feel vulnerable, I always feel guilty, and I always feel self-conscious. For when going to the hair dresser inevitably I’m forced to stare at my worst enemy, my hair, for hours on end. Watching a hair dresser dye my short hair pieces, struggle to hide them after blow drying my hair and worse talking about it.

It creates urges to pull, and ultimately guilt. 

Explaining to a hair dresser you have Trichotillomania is hard.

Someone who makes their living cutting and styling hair, understandably, finds the topic difficult to comprehend. Their reactions over the years have been mixed…

I’ve had hair dressers scold me for doing what I do,

I’ve had hair dressers ask so many questions to a point where I felt like hiding,

I’ve had hair dressers relate to other clients with the same illness,

I’ve had hair dressers acknowledge it, both the good and bad, and move on with conversation.

There’s been positive and there’s been negative, but above all conversation has been key. I used to just hope hair dressers wouldn’t comment. Spending the majority of the time anxiously waiting, waiting for my secret to be discovered. As of late I’ve been honest, and it seems to help.

Tips for the Appointment:

  1. Be Honest– Share what you live with, it’s scary yes, but will make the experience better when it’s out in the open.
  2. Hold Your Ground– Sometimes one side of my hair is shorter than another. This is because I tend to pull exclusively from one spot. Ive stopped hair dressers from cutting my hair really short to even it up. It’s your hair, you need to live with the cut.
  3. Do your research– Look for hair dressers with certifications, experience, and recent graduates from accredited schools, they are more likely to have taken classes talking about trichology.
  4. See the positives– Yes it’s stressful, and yes it’s not easy, but at the end it will make you feel better, even if momentarily. View it as pampering yourself, regardless of how your pulling is at the given time.
  5. Distractions-One of my coping mechanisms is holding a hot beverage, and that definitely applies at the hair dresser. I find relaxation in keeping my hands busy at the hair dresser, especially with hair in my eyes and free time to spare. I always bring a coffee or ask for one, and when I can’t drink it I play with my rings on my hand.

*These are just my experiences, not necessarily a comprehensive list or one that will work for everyone. 

Check-out this list from the Canadian BFRB Support Network of suggested BFRB Friendly Hairdressers