Ok….Let me start with, in the beginning, this blog might seem a little "all over the board." I'm going to go from the very beginning to (basically) NOW. Talking about what it is like for me. And I'm sure you're all wondering, what about all the years in-between. I'll get there. I promise. But for now…
There are sooo many different severity levels of Trich. Just like anything, I'm sure. People say they bite there nails and I'm all, "um…really? I'd kill for nails like yours" You get the point. So let me explain just how deep my Trich goes. I have read a lot (and I mean A LOT) about Trich. I have read that it's just hair and that if you "skin pick" you are in a whole different "disorder" etc. Same with nail biting, etc. Experts can't seem to agree on what falls into what category. They also can't seem to agree on if Trich is the same or just similar to "obsessive compulsive" The difference (the argument is) is that Trich is is subconscious and OCD is not. If you are OCD you KNOW what you are doing, and you just can't stop. Trich, "they" argue….you don't even realize you are doing it…and therefore, they put it in a whole different category on it's own. I'm here to tell you….I don't give a shit what they say. Here's how it really goes. It's true, When I first start to pull, I have no idea I'm doing it. But once I consciously realize I am….it doesn't make it any easier to stop. Especially if I have found that one hair. When you have trich and you find that one hair…the one that feels thicker..you can't stop until it's gone. So, yes, even when I realize I am in the act of pulling it is almost impossible to put my hand down until I "get it." And then….well, it's downhill from there. See post 1 where I talked about how it feels good. A sense of relief. Like scratching and itch. Hence the downward spiral of having a full blown "pull session" followed with the guilt and shame.
But I digress. I was talking about levels of trich and what all is included in the category. Hell if I know!!!! I pull my eyelashes out. I pull my eyebrows out. But I don't stop there. I bite my nails. For those of you that know me, you know that I've had fake nails on, well, basically, forever. It stopped me from biting my nails but made pulling worse (because it's easier with nails). Now reverse it. In the spirit of really really trying to stop pulling I've taken my nails off, but I bite them till they bleed. No joke.
I have NO eyelashes. None. I have NO eyebrows. None. I have NO nails. I hope my next statement doesn't offend anyone because it is just how I relate. I have always said about myself, "I feel like a cancer patient when I have no makeup on" My face is a total blank slate. Maybe a blank porcelain doll is a better wording, but you get the point. (I should disclaimer this paragraph with "at my worst." As I work on healing and NOT pulling…at the current moment, I don't have "none" but …. I had a nice set of brows going and then had a "session" and started all over again….with none. The majority of my life, up to and until this point of trying to heal, NONE very much was the case).
I also bite the inside of my lips. I used to bite my cheeks, too, but somewhere along the way, that just stopped. My dentist asks me EVERY.TIME. if I chew (tobacco). People stare at me. Clearly I look funny when I do this, distorting my face as I chew my lips to nothing. It feels the same to me. Has the same sense of "relief." Impossible to explain.
I also, in the spirit of trying to "divert" the pulling from my face, have pulled out my leg hairs. I have never admitted that to anyone before. It's not exactly something you just go around telling people. So, let me be clear…this is not easy for me. I could sit forever with a pair of tweezers and pull out all the hair on my legs. I know…"doesn't that hurt?" No. It feels good. The idea (and I read this as a real remedy) is to satiate your brain so you don't pull in more obvious places.
But never, ever the hair on my head. I have always wondered about that.
I can't leave my house without makeup on. I am a prisoner in my own body. And I hate it. Even as I sit and write this…as I pause between sentences I immediately start to chew my lips. Scratch lipstick off any routine of mine! People tell me, "try fake eyelashes." (so sweet). They require something to adhere them to in the first place! Even worse with the fancy extensions salons now do. They have to have something to glue them to. I only have skin. There is NOTHING there. Swimming? Forget about it! HA! God forbid I get my face wet. My eyebrows will come off. Or worse…they'll come HALF off! (Sidebar: A friend of mine just recalled a night that we went out dancing, and half my eyebrow sweat off and all she had was a red lip liner…we filled that bad boy right on in. It was dark! True Story). When I was in high school and had to take swim in Gym it was terrible. I had to put my makeup on just to put it on again. I tried like hell to not put my face in the water (but I also wanted to pass!) I wouldn't do anything that might upset my face.
So you're probably wondering about the Triathlons. I found (as usual, it was discontinued…the good stuff always is) a Waterproof makeup sealer. (made by benefit…it was called 'shelaq'). I go into triathlons, and any race really, with full on makeup. I have goggles that are a different fit so that (hopefully) they don't wipe off the makeup. Ideally, the goggles will work the FIRST time I put them on so I don't have to touch and adjust. When I take them off, I start at the bottom and they come right off. During Transition, I whip out my mirror and makeup and fix them before I start on the bike. ha ha…no….I'm just kidding…I don't do that! On the bike, when I am sweating, I do, however, take great care in not wiping across my brows. (oh yes, all this thought WHILE I am racing). And at the end…go ahead…go back and look through my pictures….. Not very many without my sunglasses on! Pathetic isn't it?!?! Ideally, this year, you'll see some pictures WITHOUT my sunglasses!
So, my severity level is high. Extremely High.