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!