As I discussed in one of my first blog posts on Lucy Writes, I struggle with Trichotillomania. If you want to find out what that is and how it affects me, go ahead and read my blog post on it here. But today I thought I would give you a few top tips I've found help reduce my hair pulling.
First of all, I still struggle with this on a daily basis, and these tips are not going to suddenly mean you don't pull your hair, these are just things I've found reduce the time I spend pulling my hair and hopefully they might help you!
Distraction & deterrent
This might seem obvious but it is not always as easy as it may seem and can manifest in various ways. The obvious is keeping your hands busy. When the urge to pull your hair comes on, grab something else to fiddle with. This could be anything, a stress ball or even just a hairband. For me it's the tactile nature of hair pulling, so literally just having something to stroke, like a soft toy, is therapeutic enough to stop me reaching for my hair.
You can also get friends and family in on this one! As much as I hate when my parents call me out on my hair pulling, it is a good deterrent! I pull my hair way less when I am around people in general, but especially my parents. This is because I know they are going to call me out on it, and it's really annoying when someone highlights your problems!
Take pride in your hair
This is a tricky one. For someone that has pulled their hair for four years now, I have seen a real reduction in the quality of my hair. Because of this it's easy to get down and embarrassed about you hair and think well 'I may as well carry on now'. As well as this, hair takes time to grow, so those shorter sections where you've pulled won't change overnight. However, I tend to pull my hair less if it looks nice, because I don't want it to get greasy or messed up. So, get that long avoided hair cut, treat yourself to some nice hair products and take time over your hair. Maybe learn some new hairstyles to try out too!
Now sometimes, my hair is a mess and despite attempts to distract myself, I just can't leave my hair alone. This is when I turn to a physical boundary, namely a hat. If I am at home (a lot of the time at the moment!) sometimes I will literally put a hat on to stop me getting to my hair. It may not be a very practical thing to do and I try to use it as a last resort, but sometimes that physical boundary is the only thing that will stop me.
It is important to keep in mind the end goal, but also celebrate mini wins. Just reducing the amount of time you pull your hair is a win. You can't go from hair pulling constantly to not pulling at all. Remind yourself that you can stop, your hair will grow back and you are stronger than this disorder. Also some general affirmations are good, such as I am worthy, I am calm and I can conquer this challenge. Really believe that you are more than this disorder and you can win.
Treating the route cause
Now most of these, it's worth mentioning, obviously do not necessarily treat the root cause of Trichotillomania. The root cause of Trichotillomania is often trauma, it then appears in anxious or stressful situations. However, it can also become more of a habit, appearing in situations of boredom or also for me, when I'm thinking. To treat the root cause of Trich, you need to find a better outlet for your anxiety etc. This might be meditation or exercise, breathing exercises or even playing a game. As always if Trich is really effecting your life, you should speak to your doctor. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) is a forming of talking therapy which may be able to help you deal with stressful situations and negative thoughts in a more positive way and thus help your Trichotillomania. But I think the main thing to remember with Trich, is that you are not alone.