Lockdown and Pulling

Writing on here because I’m desperate and out of options. Ever since lockdown my pulling has become 10 times worse, and recently I was told o have to work from home for the foreseeable which is damaging my mental health even further I just sit at home and pull all day.
I cry everyday now and I’m crying writing this because that job and being out the house was the only thing that prevented me from pulling so much. I feel ashamed and most of all ugly, it’s affecting my relationship because I don’t want him to look at me never mind anything else.
I’m a mess. Last night I pulled nearly all my eyelashes out on one eye, and some on the other, it has never been this severe before and even now because my eyes are so sore and bruised from the pulling, the pain is making me want to do it even more. The urge has never been this strong.
I was wondering if anyone else can relate to this and most of all try and give me some advice or help. I’m thinking about getting counselling maybe but I don’t know where to start with trying to arrange that, last time I told a doctor they just gave me a leaflet and I was left feeling even more embarrassed and helpless.

Comments

  • Hey,
    I've been pulling from my scalp for the last 9 years but the intensity of my pulling has reduced over the last few years because I started to recognize when and what was triggering my actions to pull. I completely understand what you mean and I have the same the fact that I pull hurts and makes me want to pull more. If work stress makes you want to pull then find things like fidgets to help you destress or if you feel like you sit in one place and that is when you tend to pull your eyelashes then walk around more. I'm not sure what your work is but if you can keep yourself occupied or distracted once in a while and not resort to pulling when you're in deep thought, that would be a start.
    Yes working from home is hard but there is no harm in going out for a jog or even a walk in the evening. That will help you get out of the mind space that you're stuck within those walls.
    The journey towards being pull free is more of a self-recognition of when where and how your mind gets into the pattern of pulling. I've been 16 days pull free now. Yeah its hard cause you'll tend to slip back into it very often but just remind yourself that you're taking this step to get better.
    You're going to be absolutely fine.
    Lots of love to you
    Kitty

  • Hi 1993,

    Really sorry to hear you're having such a hard time, as Kitty has said the first step to stopping is to become aware of when, where and why you are doing the compulsive actions. Making the actions a conscious thing instead of a automatic subconscious thing is one of the main reasons therapy can help. I would heavily suggest therapy for anyone struggling, if you contact https://www.coaching.care/trichotillomania/treat/ they can chat with you about diff treatments and even if you want to go through the NHS route they can provide help and info. But if you cannot get therapy then please do read up as much as you can online about the condition.

    Some techniques you may find helpful:

    1. Creating a similar pressure as hair pulling on the area e.g. if its scalp hair then using a scalp massager or a dull pointed object (that does not break the skin!! eg. a pen lid) to press on the area. If pulling eyelashes, using ice cubes or a cool spoon to alleviate the itchiness and soothe etc.

    2. Wearing false eye lashes or a wig has worked for some ppl. As a barrier and as a way to feel better about their appearance.

    3. Getting Hypnotherapy from a therapist or going on youtube to listen to subliminals for OCD, there are a lot. You may find something specific you feel works best for you. Just keep them on in the background while you are working. There are binaural beats for reducing anxiety which would no doubt reduce your urges also.

    4. Exercise, just going out for a walk can really help. Also there are breathing exercises on youtube for your urges that can really help.

    5. Creating a barrier between your hands and the hair. Some ppl use gloves or tape or plasters on their fingers. False nails have also been quite a popular choice.

    It can be really hard at times to surf your urges as the behaviour is very ingrained. So learning new coping mechanisms that help you stay on track is pretty necessary for everyone who deals with these behaviours. You only have a certain amount of will power during a day so having a back up plan for when you can't trust your self is very helpful.

    Everyone goes through it through so you are not alone in any way. I had therapy for a few years with the team from this website (link I provided above) and it really helped me so much. I think counselling is a very positive thing to start.

    If your urges are very high I bet that your anxiety must be through the roof, I know my urges are strongest when I'm very stressed out. Looking into different ways to reduce your stress levels such as meditation may also be a good option to help you at home.

    Obv you can always post here as well and everyone can support you this way too. You can totally do this, I believe in you.

  • Thankyou for your replies, they do give me hope even though it’s Monday and I have pulled again which I am feeling really disheartened about 😔 i work as like a call Center from home now, I didn’t used to but my workplace forced me into this job role or else I would have lost my job completely. So now I’m not keeping busy and I’m on my own all day with no one to stop me it has got so much worse. I can’t tell you the amount of money I’ve spent on biotin pills and hair growth serums it’s really got to the point where it’s affecting my life and my relationships as I don’t want to talk to anyone or look them in the eyes incase they notice. I feel a bit calmer today but still quite helpless as I feel whenever I ring the doctors about this they think it’s not a valid enough reason to go and see someone whilst covid is around. I really hope I can get out of this relapse soon I was doing so well until I was told I had to work from home permanently like I actually began to feel good about myself and could maybe look a bit pretty but I’ve gone completely backwards again 😔 my eyes feel very sore, I will probably try the ice cube trick and the plasters on my fingers next.
  • Hi 1993,

    I completely understand what you are going through. My hair pulling also escalated significantly during the lockdown and the thought processes were all very negative. I noticed it was time to get into therapy when my fingers went numb from pulling so much one day. If you are based in the UK, you can contact the "Back on Track" counseling team. They are the mental health and counseling branch of the NHS and you can contact them without a referral from your GP. I have found it very useful. I still struggle though. I was able to remain pull free for 7 weeks and then I had a major hair-pulling week this week. I understand the feeling of being "ugly" and not wanting to talk to anyone and wanting to hide away. But the more you communicate to your partner and close family and friends, more you will build up a support network. There are a lot of strategies to choose from and not all of them would be for you. But it's certainly a trial and error process.

    For me, trying to reconnect with my faith has been really helpful. Then accepting that there are things I cannot change and so I will try not to worry about them. Even if I am having a particularly awful day I still put on some music and dance around the house. It is important to create little pockets of time where you can forget about everything and dance it away. I have written in my progress in the post " I am thinking of shaving my hair off completely". If you read my earlier posts, you realize the similarities between the thought processes. It is very difficult time for you, but I can assure you that it will not always stay like this. Things will get better.

    Try to create a hair pulling diary. Gradually identify your the environment around you that leads you to pulling, identify and name your emotions, your though process before pulling and your thoughts immediately after. Then try to little by little change some of the things that are triggers for you. For instance, for me, my mum asking about my hair is a major trigger. So now we don't talk about it. Or I pull when I'm bored so I create different activities for myself. 3 months ago, I was lying in bed, crying every night and day wishing somehow it would all end. So it will get better.

    Stay well

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