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Archive for January, 2008

Snow Day

We have a snow day today so I don’t have to go to work.  I’m very thankful that I can go back to bed and get some extra sleep.  However, I can already tell from being up the last 30 minutes, that attempting not to pull (any more) today is going to be a MAJOR struggle.

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OMG!! Stop it!

I forgot how much it itches to have new hair growing in.  I am trying SO hard not to just yank everything around it out, but my head itches like I had poison ivy or chicken pox.  I wish I knew of something I could put on it to make it stop, without making my hair white & icky looking.  I just hope it all grows quick so that I can be over this new growth phase very soon; before I can’t resist pulling it all out or scratching it to death.

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I experienced a new first yesterday at the mall.  I stopped by the Clinique counter to see about a new color scheme for my eyes.  She did a quick application for me and then asked if I used mascara.  I said that I do, but only when I have all my eye lashes.  She replied with “Yeah, you have a void.  Are you a picker?”  I told her yes, that it was a disorder that I have.  She asked if it was like OCD and some of the regular questions.  But then she proceeded to tell me how her son compulsively rubs his fingers together to the point of having really big callouses and rubs holes in his clothes as well.

Ok, no biggie right?  Except for then she proceeds to tell me that the best thing to do for disorders like this is just accept that you have them and live with the behavior, because the consequences of it can’t really be bad enough to need to try and “fix it.”  I told her that when you have a behavior that can suck up literally hours of your day because you are so engrossed in it, it becomes a problem.  I told her that because women in our society place a very big importance on hair and hair-dos, that when you don’t have any hair it is extremely stigmatizing.  I told her of the psychological scars from being teased and taunted through all of middle school (which she tata’ed and said couldn’t be bad enough to still bother me now).

I was trying to remain calm and educate her rather than going off on her.  But what nerve!  If she doesn’t have the disorder herself, then she doesn’t get to judge whether or not I’m handling it the right way.  I don’t care if her son has something similar.  That doesn’t make her an expert in Trich.  She said that if my family were more accepting of my disorder that it probably wouldn’t be a big deal to me.  Um, my family has always been super supportive of me, so that obviously blows her theory out of the water.

Anyway, it was a practice in restraint for me.  It’s the first time that I’ve spoken about the disorder to a stranger unless I was in the wig shop or the hair dresser’s chair.  I guess I need to remember from now on to not go in for a makeup consultation unless I have all of my eye lashes.  Geesh.

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So the good news is that I went the whole weekend without pulling.  I don’t know how, because I wasn’t actively resisting.  I just didn’t have the temptation really.  So I want to know how to make those days happen more often!!  I just can not figure out why some days it is so easy, and then some days it is ginormously difficult.  Not fair.

 The bad news is that today is one of those days that I’m really struggling.  I don’t want to spoil the fact that I went 3 days without pulling.  I want to be able to make it 4 in a row.  But I sit here at my desk between sessions and have caught myself a few times.  I can’t wear my winter hat in my office because it is already 100 degrees in here, not to mention, I’d look like an idiot.  I can’t figure out what tools I need to put in place to keep from pulling at work.  I’m kind of out of ideas.

I’m at three and a half days so far.  Only about 12 more hours to go…

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I was planning to work today. Really I was. But the teachers at school didn’t reply to my notes or emails about whether or not they would be in their rooms for make up sessions today (because we had a snow day on Tuesday). So, instead of doing all of that extra driving, to potentially only see one classroom of kids, I just decided to stay at home. Such is the joy of being a private contractor! What sucks is that I don’t get paid for the time I’m not working. However, I’ve decided that I’m setting aside some time today to practice, write a couple of songs, research song ideas, and then make whatever visual materials I need for the songs. Such is the life of a special ed. music therapist. This way I can still bill for working, but I don’t have 1.5 hours of pulling temptation to deal with (I mean driving).

Being self-employed was a decision made partly due to my hair pulling. While it has resulted in way more driving than I would like, having a flexible schedule is very good for me. I can go do things when I need to. I can schedule therapy sessions and doctors appointments and all of the other things that I need to do to take care of myself. If I really need a mental health day, I can just call and reschedule. It has its downsides though. For the last 4 years, I had crappy health insurance that wouldn’t cover mental health care. Therefore, I couldn’t go to therapy because it was too expensive. I got around that by going through a county mental health program and saw a social worker. It was slightly helpful but not the right match for me. Not getting paid for the days I miss and that can’t be made up really stinks. I love working on a school schedule (although I do work all summer) but the breaks we do have are financially difficult.

Now that I’m married I have good (well, reasonable) insurance again and have found a therapist who is a better fit. $20 copays are much more my style and allow me to take better care of myself. Now, if we could just figure out something that works! I guess it has already been 18 years, so what’s another couple? Argh. I just want it to get better. That reminds me that I need to post hair photos at some point, and also info about medication therapy and CBT.

So far, I’ve pulled a little this morning, but then got one of my good hats on, so now I’m doing better. I need to get some projects worked on today so usually that helps with keeping my hands too busy to pull. Then I have dance class today (scary because I can’t pull my hair back anymore without bald spots showing, so I’m not sure what I’ll do about my hair for class.) Then I have a 1.5 hour drive by myself to my parents house. I’m going to have to remember to keep my hat & gloves on at all times! Tomorrow a meeting in the morning. What a fun weekend!

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Weird Day

Today was sort of backwards. Normally I don’t pull during the drive in the morning because I’m eating breakfast or drinking coffee, or it’s colder so I’m more likely to have glove & hat on. This morning, I couldn’t keep myself from pulling for some reason, but then on the way home didn’t really have a problem at all. Needless to say, I pulled more than I would have liked (well, once is more than I would like). Hopefully the rest of the night goes pull free so that I can keep it to a minimum.

I wish I knew what to do to make those urge-free moments more frequent. I just don’t understand why some days are easy and some days are not. Why was I able to be pull free for months last spring, but now I can’t stop myself once I get started? This disorder makes no sense. It is the most frustrating thing!

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Today is a struggle for me. I’m back at work for the first time since last Thursday. So that’s almost a week. I wasn’t feeling so great during the days I wasn’t here, so I did a lot of reading & sleeping. I had my nice fuzzy hats on all weekend. My pulling was very minimal, which was awesome. I felt like I was making at least a little progress.

But now that I’m back at work, sitting at my computer between sessions & during lunch, I keep finding my hand traveling up to my head. I can’t wear a hat here at work, and I’m still resisting the fact that I probably should start wearing a wig again (bald & thin spots are visible on the back of my head & I have to wear a headband to cover damage in the front). So anyway, my hair is easily accessible and I’m immersed in one of my biggest trigger situations.

What frustrates me even more is that for the four years I’ve worked here, I’ve never pulled at work before. I suppose that is because I was wearing a wig the whole time. But even this summer, once I “outgrew my wig, I didn’t pull. Pulling at work started this fall. I wish it would stop. I’m writing this in hopes that I can keep my hands busy and keep my mind aware of the temptation so that I don’t get stuck in one of those situations where I start pulling without even knowing it.

So I’m at two pulls for today. Compared to a lot of days, that isn’t bad at all. But I still have half the day and a whole drive home to resist through too. Thanks for listening.

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