Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Heather's Trichy Journey

One of the best things about opening up about having trich is realizing that you're not alone.  Not only am I not alone, I am in the company of some wonderful people!  I "met" Heather when I was a part of an online support group called Trich Support.  I recently asked Heather to do a guest post and share her trichy journey with us...
  • I don't remember the exact moment that I started pulling out my hair. I know that I started being bothered by body hair when I was about 11, and I started shaving my arms, legs, underarms, toes, belly, and private areas soon after.
    My hair pulling started off slowly when I was about 12, but after a few months, it became noticeable. I always wore my hair in a low ponytail, parted down the middle. My aunt was the first to notice my missing hair, which was pretty obvious, considering that I had an inch wide gap along my part. She pointed it out to my mom, who told me to be more gentle when brushing my hair, and to make my ponytails less tight. Instead, I started wearing my hair in a high ponytail with no part, and pulling from the sides and top of my head.
    Over the next 13 years, I tried hundreds and hundreds of times to stop pulling. Every day I'd have a battle with myself. One part of my mind was telling me not to pull, that I could ignore the urges, but the other part of my mind was telling me to give in, that it would feel so good. I tried wearing hats, bandannas, and gloves, playing with silly putty and bubble wrap, rewards, exercising, eating better, seeing a therapist, taking medication, avoiding triggering situations (driving, watching TV, and reading), hypnotherapy, and acupuncture. I would sometimes go days or weeks without pulling. I once went almost a year, but eventually I would fall back into old ways.
    I have curly, red hair. I adored my hair, but I hated what Trich was doing to it. Almost every day I would have someone ask me why I never wore my hair down, how long it was, how curly it was, or why I always wore a headband. I always came up with some kind of excuse and changed the subject. Between making up excuses, trying to keep the damage covered, trying to keep my regrowth from sticking out all over the place, and dealing with the negative feelings I was having about myself, I was exhausted.
    Last summer, one of my best friends got married, and she asked me to be a bridesmaid. We’d been friends since birth, this was the first wedding I had been in, and she was marrying another woman. It was a huge deal. About a month before the wedding, she asked me what I’d like to have the hairstylist at the salon do for me for the big day. I had to tell her about Trich, and that I wasn't able to have my hair done with everyone else. This hurt me so badly, that I had caused so much damage to my hair that I was going to lose out on a special part of the day.
    I decided on that day that I would never give up trying to beat my battle with Trich. I went one day, then two, then a week, and then a month. I've now been pull free since July 20, 2012. I’m not sure what changed. I didn't change anything about my lifestyle or my day-to-day life. I told myself that I wasn't going to pull, and I haven’t. I had told myself this hundreds of times, but something was different this time. I still don’t understand why I stopped, but I’m okay with that. I’m not saying that it’s easy to “just stop”, because it obviously isn't. It makes me so angry when people ask why I couldn't just stop. Why can’t someone with OCD just stop counting things? Why can’t an alcoholic just stop drinking? It doesn't work like that.
    The thought of relapse terrifies me. I think about it every day, and sometimes I think to myself that it would be nice to pull just one hair. Sometimes I find myself touching my hair, but I've always been able to get myself to stop. I think about how much damage I could do in such a short period of time, and that really scares me. I think that even if I never pull another hair in my life, I’ll always be thinking about it. I’m going to take it one day at a time, and be grateful for the success I've had.
    Trich has hurt me in a lot of ways. It took away my self-confidence and my desire to socialize. I spent a lot of time thinking I was crazy and weak. The time I spent trying to suppress my urges exhausted me, and I don’t even want to think about the money I spent on trying different techniques to reduce my pulling. All that considered, Trich has given me a lot. I've met some wonderful people through online support groups, one of whom I consider to be one of my best friends. I’m more understanding of people who are going through different kinds of struggles, and I try to reach out to help them. I’m confident and I believe in myself. And I believe in you too.

Thank you, Heather, for sharing your trichy journey with us!
So proud of you!


  1. Thanks Laura and Aunie!

  2. Great post, Heather!! I don't know how/why I stopped pulling, either. Sometimes willpower is enough, sometimes not, I guess.

  3. Thanks Jody! How is it that I didn't have the willpower for 13 years, and then all of a sudden, I do? Or in the future, I may not have it again. It just doesn't make sense.