February 24, 2006

Seventh day and no pulling

This is my seventh day completely pull-free. I did pull two eyelashes last night, but that's not too bad. My main goal right now is to stop pulling the hair on my head anyways.

On the second or third day that I was pull-free, I was having some major stress in the office and before I even realized it, I had reached up and pulled two hairs from the back/top of my head. I couldn't believe I had done it without even realizing it until the hairs were in my hand. I was shocked and very upset. But instead of letting it ruin my day, I just decided not to count it. I just decided to become more aware of where my hands are all the time. I didn't let that one incident get me down, and I still counted the whole day as pull-free.

It's been a while since I've gone this long without pulling but I'm trying not to take it too much to heart. I could all end again tomorrow. But I'm definitely trying. I'm resisting and really working at it. My main goal is to keep my hands away from my head and hair.

Yesterday we went to the doctor for my monthly visit and heard my son's heartbeat loud and clear. It was a really nice appointment because it was just me and Sammy...my DH couldn't make it. So I was actually able to talk to the doctor about some things that I was worried about without my DH butting in and making comments and ruining my resolve to actually talk about it.

The first thing I talked about was the postpartum depression. I was very honest with Dr. M and told him that I never really even felt myself again with Sammy until she was at least two. It was a hard confession to make. I told him that in my family, I'm the "happy one", and that for me to be depressed is unacceptable. I had buried my depression so deeply for so long, that it has caused a lot of damage. My weight is evidence of that damage. It's going to be a long road back to finding myself after going through all that turmoil. Dr. M was very sympathetic and told me that he would have a prescription for me to start taking as soon as I left the hospital. I felt very reassured and it was a big weight off my shoulders. Then I talked to him about how scared I am about actually having this baby. I'm terrified. I'm so scared that if it happens again, I will die this time. And I just can't leave my babies alone without me in this unsafe family environment. I am their only protection. Dr. M made direct eye contact with me and just said "We'll be ready. We know what to watch for. I won't let anything go uncontrollable this time."

I have to say that Dr. M is probably the only person in my whole entire world that I completely trust without any reservations. And that is a great thing to have.

Later on yesterday, I did tell my DH that I would be taking pills for the depression afterwards this time. He just looked at me and said: "But you weren't depressed with Sammy!" I felt kind of crumpled up inside when he said that. But instead of reacting, I just said: "Honey, if I was severely depressed at any time in my life, do you really think I would let on?" and he just said "No." and seemed a little ashamed. I felt like crying but didn't. Even my own husband doesn't know when I'm so depressed that I want to drive off of a bridge and take my child with me.

Another confession that I made with Dr. M was about my un-safe family life. I told him about my father and his tendencies, and I told him about my mother and her un-protectiveness when we were kids. I told him this is why I can't afford to be depressed. I have to aware at all times, always watching and protecting, and never need time to myself, because I just can't get it. I won't get it.

That is one thing that has changed about me over the past three years. I've let go of the need for time for myself. If I have a doctor's appointment, Sammy goes with me. Grocery store? Sammy goes. And the only way I will leave Sammy alone with my mother is under these conditions: 1. At my house only. 2. Only if I know where my father will be at all times, or if I am going to talk to him about the business. This is the only way that things are safe.

At night when my DH is home, it is a bit easier to sneak in some time for me. I do feed animals at night and that gives me about 20 minutes to myself, and sometimes I'll really hurry and sneak off to the store or something just to browse for 15 minutes. But lately I haven't been able to do this because my DH has been really fatigued (or whatever) and Sammy doesn't want to be with him. That makes it hard. But it is also getting easier for me to completely enjoy the time that Sammy and I spend alone. For instance, we went shopping yesterday and to lunch and the whole time was just very relaxing. When Sammy is with me alone, she is so easy to be with. She's the only person I've ever felt completely at ease with the whole time I spend with her. This is a pretty recent thing. And I really love it. I know that when my son arrives, I will be leaving him alone with DH from time to time so that Sammy and I can still have our times together. This is really important to me. When I realized that we were going to have a son, I said to myself: "Oh good, one for me and one for DH!" :-) Of course, that's not how it'll be, but in the years to come, maybe DH and James will go to a basketball game while Sammy and I go shopping, etc. See what I mean? I think it'll work out well.

Well, I had better get back to important things. Today so far I haven't had any urges to pull so things are good. I feel good and relaxed. I hope these feelings last....for just a while longer.

Posted by Cody on February 24, 2006 7:52 AM


Hey I thought I was "the happy one"! Or wait... maybe I am "the crazy one". ha ha

Hey seriously, I am SO SERIOUSLY INCREDIBLY HAPPY that you were brave and brought up those difficult topics with Dr. M. WOW. That is just such a huge step, that it even lifts a weight off of MY shoulders. I hope you feel good about your talk with him. Those are things I've been worried about too, because I have known those things all along. So I am SO glad to hear that you two have a plan set up and that he is aware of things that are going on. WOW. I am just so proud of you and thrilled for you. Wow. Just wow.

I'm posting this as this is my view about trich. I haven't run across this type of approach anywhere else and I hope it will help others.

I hope this may help. It is my own thinking and observations based on over 35 years of enduring the syndrome. Here is what I think it is:

The impulse to pull is an attempt to get you to “do something”. Typically, the urge will come when you are physically idle. Perhaps you are reading or engaged in another cerebral pursuit. I believe the urge is a mechanism to jog you out of a complacent state and get you to do a task or chore or responsibility that is thought to be urgent. “Thought by whom” is the obvious question and I will address that later. First, I want to make it clear that action is the only response that will satisfy the urge. More thinking about what needs to be done or planning will not suffice. Observing the situation will not work. Only by starting to directly deal with the task, chore or responsibility will you avoid further pulling.

The “who” that is urging is, of course, you. At some level in your consciousness, some part of you is manifesting its frustration or alarm about what “it” feels is inattention to a pressing concern. Classical psychology might use the term “super-ego” to describe the portion of the consciousness that is expressing itself through the act of pulling.

I have found that it is best not to focus on reacting to the pulling but to focus on what the message behind it probably is. Again, spending time thinking about the focus will not help. Getting angry or upset will not help. Action is key.

If this rings true for you too - or doesn't - send me some feed back.

Good Luck All

Dave, Having just read through your letter, I haven't given a lot of thought to it prior to answering. My off-the-cuff response is that there is a great deal of truth (and also research) that "being busy" is a popular answer to the question, "What makes you stop pulling?" Temporarily stop, it seems. I want to point out that trich often manifests in childhood. Children's daily lives are almost always completely out of their control, and that helplessness might trigger any sort of stress response. Whatever the cause of trich, the response is the pulling. Possibly being kept too busy might even be a pulling trigger in children. My heart tells me that it is not underperformed practical duties, but emotional angst that need attention. ..the manifestation of (whatever the cause), is pulling. Any stopping of pulling is very good - but finding out "why", and never wanting to pull again. ...

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