I’m not afraid of roller coasters anymore.

If you have trichotillomania, or any other kind of hair loss on your scalp, you probably know how terrifying roller coasters can be. No, it isn’t the height, loops, drops, climbs, sharp turns, nor even the insane G-forces that cause our trepidation. It’s the horror that our hats, wigs, or painstakingly structured and sprayed hairstyles might fall and leave our bald spots exposed to the world. And, our fear is not in vain. This nightmare actually happens. Awhile back someone caught such an incident on video and posted it on the internet. And, of course, it went viral. Such a jerk to have posted a video of that! And, no, I’m not going to link to it or even search for it. I’m going to allow the lady in that video to hold onto whatever dignity she has left.

So, even though I live in Dallas, 35 minutes away from Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington, I have never bought tickets or taken my daughter…until now. Woot woot!

My hair is NOT fully regrown yet, but it is grown enough that my ponytail effortlessly hides thin spots and regrowth. Even if it gets loose on a roller coaster, I can take it down when I get off the ride and put it back up without flashing a shiny bald white expanse to the crowd.

I’m not scared of anything anymore…

(Except leaving my hair down…oh yeah, and water slides. I have to grow it enough by summer to be confident at Six Flags Hurricane Harbor. We have season passes for both parks. Eeek! 😬)

Here are my latest pics:

Front

Left


Crown


Right

Where Did The Summer Go…and What Did I Do With My Hair? (It must be around here somewhere.)

So, how in the world did OVER TWO MONTHS pass since my last post?! 😖

Oh yeah…that’s right. I started a second job and Pokemon Go came out! I now work at Starbucks 20-30 hours per week and CVS 40 hours per week. The rest of the time, I’ve been hanging with my dog, daughter and friends, sometimes swimming, sometimes watching movies, reading books and playing Pokemon Go (I’m almost level 17, now).

The best things about my life, nowadays? 

  1. I can actually pay my bills again, and I’m still loving our new apartment. (Our apartment sign is a Pokestop!)
  2. I like working and I’m not going to work stressed about not feeling ready, like I always felt as a teacher.
  3. I don’t take my work home, so my time at home is actually MY TIME (unlike when I was a teacher).
  4. My daughter is happy with her life and our home, as well.
  5. I’m still walking often and am still under 200 pounds. (Yay! It’s the longest I’ve stayed under 200 in years!!!) AND, I can now hatch Pokemon while walking to and from work, and I pass two Pokestops and 3 Pokemon gyms on my way to and from work. 😁
  6. I’m too busy to pull my hair…most of the time.

The bad news? Well… My hair has still not grown back much. It basically looks the same as it did in my last post, which you can read here

I messed up. A few weeks ago, while I was plucking my eyebrows (which I don’t do obsessively), I noticed some unruly gray/silver/white hairs on my head. I plucked some of those, but after about 20-30 minutes of that, I fell out of control and became a trichotillomania pro again. After an hour or two (or I don’t even remember how many), I had pulled several areas nearly bald again. Grrr. So. Frustrating.

Anyway…I’m better now. Still, I’d like to date again someday, and I’d really like to offer my future mate a girl with a prettier head of hair than you’ve seen on me, so far. Also, I’d like to inspire my daughter with what I can do with some self-control and through faith in what God has already done for me.

Here’s hoping for some inspiring pics in my next post! Thanks for reading. ❤️

Trich Progress

Yay! I’m making progress. I’m using all kinds of shampoos right now, too, just to mix it up and keep things interesting. I think my hair looks prettier when I use different products each day.


I’m also under 200 pounds. I got all the way down to 197 today. I’m aiming to end up as a fluctuating 120-145, eventually. But, I don’t care if that takes 10 years of slow and steady loss. Slow and steady wins the race, they say…and I’ve become a very patient person after having trich for almost 25 years.

Hang in there, friends with TTM! Life with trich can still be rewarding and fulfilling. 

Would You Be Confident and Happy if Your Hair Looked Like This?

It kind of looks like baby hair. Peach fuzz. Only with thin spots. Thin spots?

Okay, they’re not just thin. 

Bald.

What an ugly word for a woman. 

I’ve pulled very little, lately, from the right side of my head. This is the encouraging photo in this set. Can you believe I said “encouraging”? 


This is the back view. What would it take for me to be discouraged, right?

Well…

A lot.

Look what I have to be thankful for:


Could be worse, right? A whole lot worse.


I am blessed to have such a comparatively small burden to bear. Think of the debilitating disorders, disabilities, difficulties and horrors that others face! 

I almost feel selfish asking God to take this from me. What vanity.

If I want this gone He’ll support my efforts, but no–He’s not going to rescue me. Someday, I will be strong enough in Him to overcome this; but more importantly, I’ll overcome the vanity, entitlement, self indulgence and escapism that keeps me trapped.

May it be so, and soon!

The Uneven Regrowth and What-Am-I-Going-to-Do-With-This-Hair Phase

The hardest time to avoid pulling hair is when the hair mania worlds collide–it’s itchy, there are sores, the regrowth is uneven with some remaining bald patches, I’m hormonal, there are gray hairs everywhere, it’s weird-looking no matter what I do, and I can’t pay my bills.

Luckily, I’m not there yet. But I will be in a few days. 

I pulled about ten days ago. And a few days before that. And a little bit almost every day for a week before that. It was early and long PMS, I think. Actually, from ovulation to PMS my hormones just hung around a bit more than usual this month. I’ve just finished my period, so I am probably okay now, hormonally. That’s great, because I’d otherwise be pulling right now. My regrowth is tingly and annoying, and there are gray hairs everywhere, and I’ll most likely go negative in my bank account tomorrow and need help paying rent in two weeks. I have not gotten child support for this month. Arghh! I’m going to apply for a part-time job at Starbucks, and I’ll try to get some students for music lessons or classes…as soon as I’m finished unpacking. I moved out of my storage unit, finally, so I’m glad that bill’s gone. But…what to do with the stuff?

Anyway…I’ve noticed a pattern that might be helpful to others with trich. My hormones gradually increase right around ovulation (about a week after I finish menstruating), then they fade over a few days. I’m steady for a while, but not at my best. My hormones spike again a few days before my period and reach their pinnacle up to 12 hours before menstruation, then they are suddenly gone within a day. Days 2-11 from the start of menstruation are usually my least hormonal, and most productive, days of the month, when I can think clearly and function efficiently (that’s where I am now, though my best days passed more quickly this month–I’m already on the decline). It’s a struggle to focus and function at all on my high-hormone days, and that’s when I’m most likely to not care about the consequences of my choices (and, thus, when I’m most likely to pull my hair).

I haven’t pulled at all from the top of my head because I’m afraid it isn’t growing back–or won’t. I’m starting to think I’d better cut my losses and stop gambling with my hair. I’m trying to walk away with what I’ve still got and be grateful I still have hair. 

I think I’m ready to stop pulling–for good. My remaining hair is just not worth risking, and I’m quickly going gray. I’d like to see my beautiful hair all grown in, long, and styled nicely–for once. I’m 36. It’ll soon be too late. God, give me strength and grace!

Exercise, Hard Work and New Beginnings

I’ve gone several weeks without pulling my hair. I think that OGX’s hydrating teatree mint shampoo strengthens my hair and makes it look nice. I think that the Burt’s Bees acne treatment helps take away the itch. It contains salicylic acid from willow bark. It burns a bit when I apply it to my scalp sores, but it dries them out and makes them feel better and go away faster. Knowing that I’m being proactive and doing something about the sores is enough for me. I just can’t pretend they’re not there.

With that said, I don’t think that the products are the only reason I have not pulled recently. I’ve noticed a pattern. I pull more before a big change, less during and immediately after the change, and more again once I’m back in everyday mode trying to recover from the mess of the change. What do I mean by change? Well, in this case it’s a move. I’ve moved to a new apartment. But, I’ve noticed similar results from things like vacation, a new project, a new job, or a new relationship. I may pull my hair before the preparation begins, but once I jump in and start working, and all the way until I’ve overcome the biggest hurdles, I don’t pull my hair. Then, when I’m at the wrap-up phase, I sometimes will go back to pulling. Or, maybe not pulling, but other obsessive binge behaviors, like eating, watching movies, reading, or going out and spending money on fun (if I have money). I moved into a wonderful new apartment about a week ago. I’ve unpacked the absolute essentials, but I have literally not had the time to do more. I’ve either had to work, sleep, take care of personal business, or work on writing projects every moment for the past week. Because I’m so busy, I really don’t have much time to do anything “extra”, including pulling my hair out. Actually, some hair from the very top of my head has grown to about 4 inches in length. Unfortunately, it’s not much. But, time will tell.

Working at CVS as a shift supervisor does not pay well. I don’t get paid anywhere near what I got paid as a teacher. Two weeks ago, my car was repossessed. I just couldn’t make the payments. I’ve had to walk and ride the bus almost everywhere. I will also, occasionally, rent or borrow a car. Not having consistent transportation requires that I plan well and walk–a lot. It has also kept me from being able to over-commit to things away from home. All of these things help me to have more peace. Knowing I’m getting exercise, not being overwhelmed with more than I can manage, and planning ahead all help me to feel secure and settled within myself. I am happier and less overwhelmed, so I naturally pull my hair less. Actually, I haven’t pulled at all, lately.

I am not suggesting I’m “out of the woods” as far as trichotillomania is concerned. Once the novelty has worn off, I am very likely to revert back to bad habits. I’m just communicating the progress and patterns I’ve noticed in my own trich journey. 

As I said before, time will tell whether it is lifestyle, chemistry, proactivity, or novelty that have the greatest influence in my final recovery. Or, perhaps they all work hand-in-hand. 

Please comment if you have thoughts, experiences, or solutions you’d like to share!


Ebb and Flow

So far, so good on the regrowth. I’ve pulled a tiny bit, but the salicylic acid (Burt’s Bees from my last post) seems to help. It dries out the scalp acne quickly and gets rid of the itch. 

I’m moving into my new apartment this week. I pick up my keys in the morning. I’m excited about a new beginning. My car was repossessed, so that’s a new beginning, too. I work a mile from my new apartment, so I should be okay. I’ll save money and simplify my life–and get fit walking, biking, rollerblading and taking public transportation.

I’m glad I’m not teaching. I have been writing a lot, as a copywriter, copy editor, and theatre critic (not getting paid for most of it, but still developing a portfolio). I may start submitting blog posts to online journals and sending article queries to other publications. 

I may get a second job, part-time at least. I am sick of living with debt and want to start saving, instead. I’ve negotiated lower rates on my phone and Internet plans, and I’ve discontinued my car insurance. That should almost cover my living expenses.

I’m also cleaning out my junk and getting rid of a lot of stuff. It’s very liberating to let stuff go. I’m just donating. I don’t have a yard, so I can’t do a yard sale, and selling online is just not worth the time for the money I’d make. My stuff isn’t worth much.

I’ve been too busy to pull my hair much, and I have been okay. I expect that I will pull even less once I start walking everywhere.

I feel like I’m following God as He leads, but I’d rather be walking with Him. I need more time with Him. That’s my next most pressing goal. I’ll let you know how it goes.

As always, thanks for reading, and prayers for you and yours. Happy Easter!