Monday, February 17, 2014

For Closure... The Post about Alcohol

Why I don't drink alcohol, Trichotillmania and Alcohol

I've been putting this post off for a while—not because I don't think it's important—but because I was hesitant to put my personal beliefs on this topic out in the open for fear of rejection, fear of judgement against me, and most of all—fear of failing. I'll explain more in a bit, but I wanted to begin this post with a disclaimer that the following content is my own personal opinion & perspective, and in no way do I judge or disagree with you if you don't make the same choices I do.
________________________________________________________________________________________

I think I've always had an unhealthy relationship with alcohol. I won't get into the details, but let's just say that I've seen it tear apart relationships & destroy the health and lives of several people who have been very close to me. Growing up, I told myself I would never drink, because I didn't want to see my life head in the same direction that I had seen so many go in before me.

You can probably guess where this is going. I had my first drink at age 18 and began going out with friends when I was 21. While I never enjoyed the "downtown" scene—when I went out, I tended to order at least one drink with dinner. And the way I did it, one drink turned into two, which turned into three, which turned into... well, you get it. I wasn't able to just stop at one. Now, I wasn't having drinks all the time, as you may presume. I'm talking once or twice, maybe three times a month. Nothing too extravagant.

But as the years turned and I found myself in troublesome times, alcohol was where I sought my refuge. Never a fan of strong-tasting drinks, beer or red wine, I would sip off the stresses with a margarita, a Malibu & Diet, a glass of Moscato, or a pretty & ├╝ber-sweet cocktail. And like I said before—it was never simply just one.

The additional drinking led to weight gain (roughly 30 pounds more than I am now) and insecurity, and of course—more drinking—lots and lots more drinking. I suppose I should also include the fact that while I drank I was such a different person, and that was the kind of person that truly no one wanted to be around. I was a destructive person when I drank. I destroyed relationships, I destroyed people's feelings, I destroyed my own self-confidence. In addition—though I never realized it at the time—the more I drank, the more I pulled out my eyelashes and eyebrows. It was a downward spiral and though I knew how to get out of it, I didn't want to. I thought it was too enjoyable... too fun... not worth it to give it up.

Fast forward a few years to 2013, where drinking wasn't so much of a priority but I still had one here and there—one margarita while out on the lake, one glass of wine at a fancy dinner, one hot toddy while up at our favorite mountain resort. Ever since I became a Christian in 2012, I had begun developing a conviction that I shouldn't drink at all—but I could never justify giving it up completely. I didn't think I needed to.

Then, last fall after my trichotillomania & pulling had gotten so much better, I realized one distinct correlation. I wasn't drinking like I had been... at all. It had been months since my last drink and I had hardly pulled out any eyelashes or eyebrow hairs, whereas before, I pulled and pulled each time I drank. I knew that my decline in drinking had helped lead to my decline in pulling. So I gave it up. Right then and there, I decided I was done with alcohol. For good.

However (here's where we get into what I mentioned above about being hesitant to post this)—I gave it up quietly. I made this decision after praying about it and talking it over with Daniel, and essentially only told my parents. And I did it so quietly out of purely selfish and misguided reasons. I was leaving the door open to the possibility that if I did have a drink in the future, that I wouldn't be held accountable for my actions because I hadn't told anyone that I'd stopped drinking. Wait, what? Yes. I'll say it again, I was leaving the door open to being able to still drink in the future. I'm telling you, I have an unhealthy relationship with alcohol. I wasn't able to just let it go. It was as though I thought I needed it or might need it in the future. I was afraid of failing—so I didn't tell anyone about it.

So this post, right here, is my public declaration. Despite whatever opinions, thoughts or judgments about me & my beliefs may be cast because of it. I haven't had a drink since last fall, and I won't drink ever again. I'm doing this for myself, for my husband, for my family (and future family!), for my trichotillomania, and mostly—because of my faith in God, the convictions He has given me, and the path he has placed me on.

This is one of those long-winded, wordy posts that will surely drive people to click that "X" at the top of their screen. But this is one of those posts that is so important for me to share. I've always said—I love to share my story and put myself out there—and this is just one more page of my story that I don't want to forget, and don't want to go on without sharing. Please remember, I don't judge anyone based on if they do/don't drink or what their stance is on the topic. I hope I didn't come off as judgmental by publishing this post. This is a very, very personal post and it took me a long time to gather the courage to write it. But I knew I needed to... for myself—and for closure. Here's to holding myself accountable, once and for all.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Trich & TV

Trichotillomania, Pulling While Watching TV, Pull-Free, Eyelashes and Eyebrows

As many of you know, my biggest personal struggle is with trichotillomania and pulling out my eyelashes and eyebrows. Sometimes it's a daily battle to not pull, other times it's hourly, other times it's hardly even present at all for several days. But here's an update about my pulling.

In December, Daniel and I cancelled our TV service. We got rid of cable and opted just to keep our streaming Netflix subscription. We aren't big into watching TV—we typically only watched Castle on Monday evenings and then some football on the weekends. But here's the thing—despite how infrequently we were watching TV, almost every time we did, I would begin to pick and pull at my eyebrows and lashes. I do the same thing when I read. It's the times when my mind is distracted and my hands have nothing to do that they always wander up toward my face to search out hairs to pull. What an inconvenience.

Though I knew that one of my triggers for pulling was when I was watching TV, I didn't necessarily relate the two as going hand-in-hand almost every time until we cancelled cable. I remember sitting on the couch on New Year's Day, watching an episode of Arrow and pulling out a single eyebrow hair. I instantly scolded myself, reminding myself that I had wanted to try to be pull-free in 2014. Needless to say, since our cable was cancelled right around that same time, I haven't pulled since.

That's where my epiphany came in... if the temptation is there, I'm probably going to give into it (I'm working very hard on practicing repentance!). My trichotillimania + watching TV = pulling. Therefore, my trichotillomania - watching TV = no pulling. I know that my pulling doesn't always occur when TV is a factor, but since it's the biggest one, it makes sense that we got rid of it. Saving money and no pulling? It's a win/win!

In addition to everything mentioned above, for the last two years, I've had my eyebrows professionally waxed, thinking that if someone else was doing my tweezing & waxing for me that I'd be less-inclined to pull. Unfortunately, that wasn't quite the case because for those last two years, I've also regularly pulled my eyebrows out, though not to the extent that anyone but Daniel or my esthetician would notice. I think that since I would go anywhere between 2-4 weeks between appointments, if my eyebrows got too long or too scraggly that I would be more inclined to pull. January 2nd was my last eyebrow appointment, as I've decided to maintain my eyebrows on my own to try something new. And remember how I said my last pull happened on January 1st? 2014 has been this whole big fresh start that I wasn't anticipating, but I'm soaking up every minute.

I think the moral of today's story is this: if something isn't working for you, change it. Big change, small change—doesn't matter—just make the change and respond accordingly. The only person who has control over what you do is YOU. And I know this much... I believe in you. ♥

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

BeauTrichful Magazine

BeauTrichful Magazine, Trichotillomania support magazine

Every quarter, a new edition of BeauTrichful Magazine is released—a publication from HelpMe2Stop.org that strives to increase trichotillomania awareness and help those suffering connect to people who can help provide services and treatment at lower costs.

Since BeauTrichful Magazine has been released, I've read every edition, and even have had feature articles in their Spring 2013 and Summer 2013 editions. This quarter, I was lucky enough to be chosen as the cover and feature story for the Autumn 2013 release. Inside the magazine, you'll see my article about how trich is my "gift", read inspirational stories from many other people who also have trich, check out a makeup tutorial for creating thicker lashes, and see tons of before and after photos of people who are making changes in their lives to overcome this disorder.

If you're interested in giving back or helping support this amazing organization, click here for a variety of opportunities. I'm so grateful for this magazine and the support and awareness it's bringing to the trichotillomania community. Please take a moment to read the Autumn 2013 edition of BeauTrichful Magazine below. Enjoy!

Friday, September 27, 2013

This Isn't a Deal Breaker.

Trichotillomania, eyelash and eyebrow pulling
Jacket: c/o Joules

A couple years ago, I learned that my trichotillomania triggers were stress & change. Anytime I moved, changed jobs, classes started or ended, and began or ended a relationship—I had to watch out and be ultra-conscious of my pulling and try so hard not to pull. I never did very well with my attempts and always found myself without any eyelashes or eyebrows.

This past year, for the first time since my late teens, I've had much better control over my pulling. A couple months ago, I was even able to go just over 11 weeks without pulling a single eyelash or eyebrow. Lately though, I've been having a harder time. I haven't pulled any eyelashes, but my eyebrows aren't doing as well as I'd like. I don't have any blank patches, but parts of them are sparse. I think this whole move into the new house has thrown me for a bit of a loop and I've started pulling occasionally again.

But through everything—each trial—the one thing I've learned is that every day is a new day and just because I've been stuck in a rut of doing something before, doesn't mean I have to still do it. Just because I've pulled a couple (or a lot) of eyebrow hairs here and there for the past several weeks doesn't mean that I have to pull them all out again. This isn't a deal breaker. I may be down at the moment... but I'm not out.

I suppose this is my attempt to blog about it—to get it out in the open that I've started pulling again—and once again, a public affirmation that this disorder does NOT control me, WON'T hold me down, and I WON'T let it get the best of me. The pulling stops now... I can do this.

Matthew 15:28 "Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly."

Monday, August 26, 2013

My Aha Moment

Mutual of Omaha Aha Moment about Trichotillomania

A couple weeks ago, the Mutual of Omaha Aha Moment Tour 2013 came through Boise. I had received an email from one of their coordinators a couple weeks before, asking if I'd like to come record my "aha moment." I was honored to have been asked, and immediately knew what I would talk about—trichotillomania.

For years and years, I've struggled with trichotillomania—and still do occasionally. Here's my Aha Moment about how I was freed from it—not cured—but freed. It doesn't hold me down anymore.


Blogging has changed my life, in more ways than just helping me control my trichotillomania.
"I always thought that I didn't have anything to offer anyone. I thought that my words couldn't make a difference and that my photos couldn't make a difference and that I couldn't help anyone. By simply blogging and taking photos and sharing my story, I realize that I can help other people and that's been huge for helping increase my self-esteem and just really getting me out there. Everybody has a story that they can share and a person they can help if they just put themselves out there."
Thank you for reading my story (here & at LastLash—the "anonymous" blog mentioned in the video). It means the world to me. YOU are part of my "aha moment."

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Trich is Your Gift

Trichotillomania
Trichotillomania

A couple months ago, I met a woman and her daughter for lunch and spoke to her daughter about my trichotillomania. The daughter, a beautiful 16-year-old girl who also has trich, was looking for someone to talk to, since she had recently come out to her parents about her disorder. Despite emailing back and forth with people all over the world about trich, I had never met face-to-face with anyone else who has trichotillomania. It was a wonderful meeting, and we ended up talking for over 2 hours. We departed with a giant hug and an exchange of phone numbers, and this girl and I still text back and forth to check on each other.

About a month ago, I got an email from her mother (who writes a blog about her daughter's pulling here). In the email, the mom said something that resonated deep within me. She said:
"Thanks for all your help thus far. I hope you know how much God has used you. Which means……TRICH IS YOUR GIFT. ;-)"
I had never thought about it like that before. My gift? I think she's absolutely right. We are all made a certain way for a reason, right? When I began blogging about my trich in 2010, I was putting my story out there since (at the time) there wasn't another blog about trich that I could find. I never knew the impact that my one small blog could have on so many people all over the world. But now? It's a way to offer support, guidance and inspiration to many who struggle with this on a daily basis. It's a form of ministry to me, and I'm using it to share my faith and how powerful I believe prayer truly is.

I have mentioned before that my trich has been less of a problem recently, but it's not gone. In fact, since May 1st, I had been pull-free. Notice I said HAD. Last night, I pulled an eyebrow hair. Just one, from my left eyebrow while watching TV, but still... I did it. I broke my 14-week pull-free streak. However, I didn't let myself get overly down or upset about it, I just told myself that it was OK, and tomorrow was a new day. And guess what? It is. Today IS a new day, and I'm going to continue to use this gift that God has given me to help and inspire others. I may have pulled one eyebrow hair, my first in over 14-weeks, but you know what? My eyelashes and eyebrows are THERE. They are full, they are long... and just because I pulled one doesn't mean I'm going to pull any more.

If you're struggling with trich (or anything, really) think of today as your starting point. Today is a new day. It's your time to shine.

Trichotillomania

And now a question for you, no matter where you're from or what you do/don't struggle with or whether we have the same beliefs or not... this applies to everyone... What is your gift?

Thursday, July 18, 2013

A Simple Summer Look

striped top and high-waisted skirt
Top & Earrings: c/o Olivia Wares (shirt, earrings), Skirt: Francesca's, Sandals: Steve Madden (similar), Hair Clip: c/o Lilla Rose by Rachel, Bracelet: made from the original belt that went around this shirt c/o Olivia Wares, Hairstyle: Messy Bun Updomessy bun updo
black filigree earrings
Lilla Rose Flexi Clip
striped top and high-waisted skirt

Finally, finally I'm able to show you this shirt that I wore in a ton of our Seattle vacation photos. It's so comfortable and looks great with shorts (seen here) or tucked into this high-waisted skirt. Originally, there was a thin fabric belt that went around it, but it didn't sit quite low enough to hit my waist, so I cut it off and re-purposed it into a fun little bracelet "stack" of sorts.

If you're wondering where my Goal Bracelet is, it broke—and scattered beads everywhere—while I was competing in the 3-legged sack race with my sister on the 4th of July, and I haven't taken a moment to re-assemble it. But I'm still counting the days! It's been over 11 weeks! Hooray!

PS // Love the hair accessory in these photos? Don't forget to enter to win a hair clip of your choice from Lilla Rose here!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

LastLash Testimonials

trichotillomania testimonials

Hey guys. I'm building a testimonials page for my blog LastLash... and I'm asking for your input.
  • Have LastLash or my posts about trichotillomania helped/supported/inspired you? 
  • Have you made any changes because of it? 
  • Has reading my posts encouraged you?
If you'd like to leave a testimonial (it will be anonymous unless you request that I use your name) about how LastLash has helped you in anyway, I'd be forever grateful. You can leave your testimonial in the comments or email me directly here. I'd love to hear from you!!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Goal Bracelet

Recently, I showed you the Trichotillomania Pull-Free Bracelet, but I think it's time for me to show you how to make one, and how it can fit into the bigger picture. The one I'm showing you today is the Goal Bracelet, and it can apply to anything you're working toward, whether it's days being pull-free like me, pounds lost, days without doing "insert your goal here," or counting all the achievements you've made—it's just so versatile and I am excited to share it with you!

Here are my 4-steps to the fool-proof Goal Bracelet. The supplies you'll need are: pony bead lacingconnectors, and craft beads.

Goal Bracelet

My 3 big tips:
  1. I prefer mini pony beads over the standard size because they're so much smaller! I like my Goal Bracelet to go with me anywhere (in the shower, in the pool, on my long runs)—I never take it off—so having something that's not only waterproof but small and streamlined is important to me.
  2. I have tried several methods for this, and the triple-wrap is the best that works for me. I find that wrapping the bracelet 3-times helps so it's easier to put on yourself each morning, since you can keep it snug while you're inserting the connector into the pony bead lacing. I always hold the side with the connector against my palm with my left hand, wrap it around my wrist 3-times, and then insert the other end with my right hand. I've tried using a single-strand bracelet for this, and I drop it every time.
  3. The knot at one end helps prevent beads from slipping off. Sometimes, my fingers slip while I'm putting my bracelet on and I drop it ... if there's no knot at one end, the beads usually scatter all over the ground. I haven't had a problem since I started using the knot.
    • The knot also helps if you're like me and want a specific bead pattern... this way I don't have to figure out where it stops or starts!
What goal are you looking to achieve? Would you use a Goal Bracelet to help? If you make one, tweet or instagram me with the hashtag #GoalBracelet and be sure to tag @auniesauce! I'd love to hear your feedback!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Trichotillomania Pull-Free Bracelet

trichotillomania pull-free bracelet

If you follow me on Instagram, you've seen lots of photos of mine lately all about my Pull-Free Bracelet for my trichotillomania. I thought I'd give some background as to how I came up with it, what it is, and how it works!

In December of 2011, I was having a particularly rough time with my pulling. I couldn't stop, and it was really making me depressed. If you haven't read my past archives, I pull out my eyelashes and eyebrows (though it's not quite so bad anymore). I realized that I desperately wanted to stop pulling, and I came up with a reward system that would help me keep myself accountable. It ended up being the Pull-Free Bracelet. You can read the post that inspired the bracelet here, and read how to make the bracelet here. It's simple, and just requires some pony bead lacing, connectors, and craft beads.

Basically, for every day that I go without pulling, I add a bead to my bracelet. I did really well with it for a while, and eventually, I took it off. A few weeks ago, I got a couple emails from blog friends (Laura, Anna, and Ginnetta) with trich, telling me they were going to start the bracelet on May 1st and wanted to know if I'd like to join them. Not only is it helping keep me accountable again, but I'm helping provide a little bit of motivation to these ladies! Now, we've even got a couple more people joining us in the bracelet making! It's so exciting to see an idea take flight... and actually be helpful.

I like the idea of reward systems like this because they can work for anything and any goals you may want to achieve... whether it's adding beads for pounds lost in a journey to a healthier lifestyle, days without biting your nails, or anything that would make you want to look down and say, "Wow, look how many days I've gone," this is just a neat way to see it in action. Here's to being pull-free and having a bracelet full of beads!

PS / / The watch is made by Rumba, in case you're curious!

Friday, May 3, 2013

You're Going To Save Someone's Life

trichotillomania

It's funny how you can meet someone for the first time and begin talking about one thing, and 20-minutes later you find yourselves almost in tears and hugging like forever-friends.

This happened to me recently when I was helping Apricot Lane celebrate their one-year anniversary. I ended up chatting with a customer's mother, and when I mentioned that I was there because I was the special guest and a blogger, her first question was, "How do you even make money from that?" That question always makes me laugh a little because people always assume that if you're a "blogger," then you don't do anything else. I was quick to tell her that blogging is my hobby, but I work full time for a hospital. We hit it off well and began talking all about medical-talk (she has a Master's in Pharmacy), diabetes education (I used to work for a diabetes center), and eventually wrapped back around to blogging. She asked me why I started blogging.

This is always the question that makes me cringe a little because it's the point where I say, "I love to write!" or when I tell them the real answer, which is:
I began blogging to have a place to write about my trichotillomania (which I still suffer from). In 2010 I didn't have any eyelashes or eyebrows and I needed help. I couldn't find any other blogs or information online about people's first-person stories of trich. I started my blog LastLash to keep myself accountable with progress photos, to write down my struggles, and to have a place to go when I needed to vent (you can read my very first post here).
This is usually the point where people get really nervous because they don't know how to deal with the fact that I just told them I have a disorder, or they become intrigued and want to know more about trich. This kind woman was the latter. We started talking all about my trich and what a struggle it's been. She, the pharmacy expert, asked me if I was on medication for it. I told her no, and she was rather surprised, because most disorders like this require medication to get through the day-to-day. I then told her (again, another topic that sometimes turns people away) about how I pray to help me reduce my pulling. I told her that while I'm not cured, praying has seriously been a blessing to me and has truly answered so many of my cries for help when I'm having a hard time and wanting to pull. Even for people who aren't spiritual, if you can take that "need to pull" and replace it with a focus on something else, you can resist pulling.

While she was at the checkout counter, we started speaking about other people who have trich. She mentioned that she'd seen it on TV shows, but had never met anyone who had it. I told her that I meet new people through email daily who have it. I get emails so often, from 9-year-olds to 60-year-olds, from North America to Australia to Africa to Asia, from men to women, from people who just started pulling and people who have been pulling for almost all of their lives.

I don't know what breaks my heart more, reading an email from someone who has been a puller for 27-years and hasn't told anyone ever about their disorder, or reading an email from a 12-year-old who is embarrassed and afraid to go to school because the kids make fun of her. None of it is right. I have such a burden to help these people who struggle day in and day out like I do with something that is so small, yet affects us all so much. The one thing that I want every person with trich to know is, you are beautiful. You are wonderful. And you can do it.

After I told this woman a few of the stories of the emails, I found her in tears. I was almost in tears. She looked at me, gave me a huge hug and as she left the store she said, "You're going to save someone's life. You know that, right? You're going to save someone's life."

Up until that moment, I had never thought about it like that. Me? Save someone's life? But what if it's true? What if putting this disorder out to the world could really help someone that much? But I know it can. When I started LastLash, I was depressed, I was insecure, I was on a downward, scary spiral. To be honest, LastLash (and the journey it's taken me on) has saved my life. If I can help, inspire, or even be the shoulder to one person who has this disorder—I couldn't ask for anything more. I know that trichotillomania can be embarrassing, frustrating, and scary. And no one should have to do it alone. So that... THAT is why I started blogging. That's why I'll continue blogging. And that is a burden that will never be heavy on my back. It's a burden of love and support for others—and the fuel behind all this blogging fire.

Thank you so much to the wonderful lady who talked and cried with me this past weekend. You have told me something that I will never, ever forget, and continued to inspire me—along with the emails I get from the people around the world with trich—to never, ever give up. Thank you.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

A Real Look at Trichotillomania

trichotillomania blog
Scarf: c/o Kintage
trichotillomania blog
trichotillomania blog

You guys know why I started blogging in the first place, right? It was to have an open and public place to talk about the disorder—trichotillomania—that has affected me for the past several years. I began my blog LastLash in 2010 so I could tell the world my story, and document it for all to see.

Since then, I've received countless emails from people across the world who also deal with this life-changing disorder. Through every email, it never ceases to amaze me how open people are—how people pour their hearts into their words and tell their story to a complete stranger. I am so thankful for it...

I think it's time for a trichotillomania update. I got an email last week from a woman who's been struggling with trich for 26 years. Twenty-six years. She had finally reached a point of desperation and emailed me—the first person she's ever contacted about her struggles—to see if I could help her or point her in the right direction. It is times like those when I wish I was a professional... but I'm not, I'm just me—a fellow stranger across the internet who also happens to struggle with trich. What a beautiful email I got to share with a woman who I will never probably meet, but feel like I already know because of our disorder we share.

With my trichotillomania, I don't think there was ever a point where I enjoyed destroying my eyelashes and eyebrows. Oh, and talk about a self-esteem killer—I became very depressed at my worst stages of pulling, and I knew I needed to make a change. It was only when I decided to—and made a conscious effort to—that I began to actually see improvement in my pulling. Having trichotillomania is like an addiction and in fact, has been compared with having an addiction to heroin. Heroin. In other words, this isn't something you can just stop. But if you try and pray and seek treatment, it IS something you can gain better control over.

When I talk about my pulling on this blog, I know you can get an idea of what it looks like to have absolutely none or sparse eyelashes and eyebrows. But today, I want to show you. I want to give you a real look at the trichotillomania I've struggled with for over 10 years, and I also want to show you how far I've come. I've said it before—I AM NOT CURED, I STILL HAVE AND STRUGGLE WITH TRICHOTILLOMANIA—but it's not anything like what it used to be.

trichotillomania

What a blessing life is. I'm so thankful for how far I've come, and I have so much hope in my heart that I will be able to stop pulling completely someday. If you have trich or something you struggle with and you're ready to make a change—do it. Call your mom, your best friend, a doctor, a counselor—anyone who can help—and take your life back. Now is the time.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

An Update.


The last time I posted about my trichotillomania, I mentioned that it had gotten a lot better.
I wasn't pulling as often, and my urges weren't as crazy.
I got a lot of comments and emails congratulating me on being cured, on making it through, on beating it.

But here's the thing... I didn't do any of that.
My trich isn't gone. I'm not convinced it will ever be 100% gone.
Even at the time I wrote that post, I mentioned that it was something I still struggled with.
It's just not as bad as it used to be.

My pulling is heightened and seems to be triggered around times of high-stress and change.
Lately, as you can imagine, there's been lots of stress (good and bad), and a lot of change.
To tell you I made it through the wedding without pulling a single eyebrow would be a lie.
But I was able to control the pulling, and didn't do anything that created any noticeable changes.

Until this last weekend.

Without getting into everything (or anything, for that matter), that's stressing me out...
it can just be said that I was having a hard day and that evening I found myself in front of the television.
That's always when I pull the most.
I ended up pulling out a good chunk of eyebrow hairs, creating a big, ugly gap in my left eyebrow.
It's not anything that you'd walk right up to me and scoff at—I've had years of practice of covering these things up—but it's something that I notice.
I went to the bathroom to see the damage I had done, and immediately began crying. Sobbing.
I was really upset.

I had just gotten an email the day before from a mother who said I was someone her 9-year-old daughter looked up to.
They were encouraged by the progress I had made. 
And then the very next day, I did that.
I was incredibly frustrated, embarrassed, and discouraged.
How am I supposed to be a "role model" when I mess up so badly?

After a couple of moments of desperation on the floor of the bathroom,
I went and found Daniel.
He knew I was upset.
He cuddled and rocked me in bed until I fell asleep.

Daniel helps to cease my pulling more than he could ever know.
By holding my hands, keeping me distracted, and tapping my hands away when I reach for my eyebrows, he is preventing these pulling meltdowns.
I'm so thankful for him and his support.
I wouldn't be able to do it without him.
Or the prayer that I mentioned before.
Prayer has truly made a huge difference. It helps the healing.

Since that last pulling episode this past weekend,
I've realized how conscious I need to be about my pulling.
While I don't struggle with it like I used to, I'm still vulnerable.
I'm still fragile.
But I won't let trich break me.

I am bigger than it.
I am better than it.
I am stronger than it.

And I'm telling you all this not to look for a shower of sympathy.
I'm telling you because some of you have asked for an update.
And I wanted to be as honest as possible: trichotillomania is still something that I deal with.
I'm also telling you because I know that some of you also have trich, or something that you struggle with day after day.
And even though it may get you down once in a while, you are strong, beautiful, and you are a fighter.
If—for even one moment—you feel yourself falter, let it remind you that you are human—you make mistakes—but you won't be defined by those mistakes.

If you're struggling with something—anything—reach out for help.
A hand to hold, an ear to listen, a shoulder to cry on, a friend—because it can make all the difference.

--Thank you, Daniel. YOU are my best friend, my shoulder, and the one I couldn't do any of this without. I love you.

Monday, October 22, 2012

the trich post.


I haven't posted about my trichotillomania in quite some time.
In fact, the last time was in May when I mentioned I had just gone through a bad episode of pulling.
I was struggling with the pulling of my eyelashes and eyebrows.

I was embarrassed, and I was determined to make a change.

If you've ever seen my old pictures
you've seen...
I had no eyelashes or eyebrows.
There have been times when I have had absolutely none at all.
For a person who used to get most compliments about my eyes,
hurting myself by ruining my best feature really tore me apart.
I didn't know what to do, I didn't know how to stop, and I lost touch with myself.
This is something I've been dealing with since I was 16,
and this last May—something broke free within me.

Since that last post in May, not only have things changed, but life is different.
In every way.
I wouldn't say I'm completely "cured" from my trich.
Not my any means.
But it doesn't haunt me the way it used to.

I get emails on a daily basis that ask,
"What is your treatment? How do you do it?"
My answer has one response.
Prayer.

See, I've tried every remedy in the book.
Counseling. Meds. Psychiatry. Hypnosis. Acupuncture. Exercise. Wearing gloves at night so I don't pull.
Nothing seemed to do it.
So I turned to the one place where I wasn't in charge.
I began to pray.

In September, though I still dealt minimally with the pulling,
I had a life-changing experience at our church's Encounter.
There was a period of anointing, and a healing tunnel.
I went through that tunnel of outstretched hands.
I sobbed.
I lifted my own hands and cried out, asking for forgiveness, healing, and peace.
I let everything out that was bottled up inside of me,
and gave myself over to Him.

It's amazing what can happen when you let go.

I still have the occasional urge to pull, but it's not anything like it used to be.
I don't sit in front of the mirror for hours every night, analyzing each remaining hair.
I don't watch TV with my hands glued to my face, tugging and ripping apart my eyebrows.
To be honest, I don't even really think about it anymore.

And this isn't something that I did.
I could not have done this alone.

I've been putting off writing this post,
in fear that some of you would turn your backs on me.
In fact, almost every time I write a faith-based post,
followers scatter. Criticism rises. I become a target.
But then I realized, why am I scared to tell you the truth?
I am not embarrassed. I am free. 
And for those of you who are my brothers and sisters in Him, you will always stand beside me,
and I thank you so much for that.

No matter what your disorder, insecurity or faults may be,
know this—you are always loved.
And you know what else?
You can make a change.
Life is too short to suffer.
Embrace your mess. Say a prayer. Set yourself free... make that change  

Mark 5:34 "He said to her, 'Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.'"

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

eyelashes.

- alanis morissette

 Just a little quote for you today.
You may not have trichotillomania like I do, 
but I'm sure you can equate this to your life in one way or another.
Whether it's fancy cars, big muscles, shiny pairs of shoes, or big sparkly rings— 
none of it is important.
YOU are important.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Pulling Back.


As I have mentioned a couple times previously, I have trichotillomania. Though I try to pretend like it doesn't affect me too much, I am faking it. I honestly struggle with it every day.

It is the worst when I am stressed. Last year, after all my crazy life drama, I pulled out almost every single eyelash and eyebrow.

I feel like every time the seasons change, I also go through some life changes. This year, I'm not stressing about big stuff-- but instead it's lots of little stuff. I've got things going on at work (good stress, but stress none-the-less), I'm preparing for my best friend's wedding in Oklahoma in a week, I've started getting more serious about my blog, and I'm also trying to get in shape for summer. All of that is compounding into one big lump of stress that is really beginning to get to me.

The title "pulling back" in this case has a double-meaning. Yes, my pulling has become more frequent (hence, the pulling is "back"), and I've also created a couple sparse patches in my eyebrows and eyelashes that I really have to work at to cover.

Pulling back also signifies what I've been doing with my friends. As I pull, I begin to feel more self-conscious because I don't feel like my eyebrows or eyelashes look right, and I feel as though everyone is staring at me (which I've been informed they're usually not)... but still.

Each Tuesday, I go to acupuncture for my trich. 2 weeks ago, my acupunturist told me that the way he treats me for my pulling is the same exact way he treats someone with a heroin addiction. Did you read that? He treats my trichotillomania the same way he treats a heroin addict. No-- my trichotillomania won't kill me, but it IS an addiction. I have a legitimate issue with brain chemistry that makes me desire to pull out my eyelashes and eyebrows. It's SO HARD to resist the urge.

Sunday, I skipped church. Honestly, I decided not to go because of all the eyelashes I had pulled the evening before while watching TV. I didn't want my new group of friends to see me with bare patches. I don't want them to know about my trichotillomania. I was embarrassed.

It was only after I skipped church that I realized the huge mistake I made. Instead of skipping church, it should be that moment immediately after I pull when I make the decision that I NEED to go to church. Pulling back from God during the times when I'm most stressed and at my pulling-worst is not what I'm supposed to do. In fact, I should instead be praying and seeking God more often. His love is what I need most in times like these. 

So right now, and for the next little bit, each time I pray, I will be reaching out to God to ask him to help me to stop pulling. Maybe each time I feel like I want to pull, that should be when I should begin praying. I want to get rid of this "pulling back" and not only work on strengthening my relationship with Christ and my trusting and loving new relationship with my friends from church, but I also really want to be able to say "NO, I DON'T SUFFER FROM TRICH ANYMORE."

Each day is a small step in that direction. And I'm officially taking the first step. Right. This. Very. Moment... No. More. Pulling. Back.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Ugly Urge.



As you read in my post yesterday, I have trichotillomania.
I wrote this poem on January 8, 2012, 5 days after beginning my pull-free bracelet journey.
I'd like to share it with you today.
Don't worry... I'm not upset or down or anything—
(I promise!)
It' just feels good to vent via poetry once in a while.


Pull.
Just one at a time.
Maybe more.
Whatever I can get.
Uncrontrollable urge.
Pull, pull, pull.
It doesn't even matter.
I am ugly anyway.
Everyone notices.
I can't hide it.
I can't stop.
I can't quit.
Maybe I don't want to.
It feels good.
No pain.
I love the feeling.
But not the consequence.
This one is hard.
This one sticks out.
This one feels right.
So I pull, tug,
Destroy.
UGLY. Ugly. Ugly.
I am ugly.
The urge is ugly.
Trich is ugly.

bloglovin

Monday, February 20, 2012

Hi. My name is Annelise. I have trichotillomania.

 // Sweater: Ross // Dress: Wet Seal // Tights: Betsey Johnson @ Burlington Coat Factory // Boots: Steve Madden

I recently did a guest post for Kristan over at adelynSTONE.
For the first time on a blog other than my own, I opened up about my trichotillomania.
It is a disorder that has affected me for half of my life.
But it does not define me.
In fact, I believe I am stronger because of it.

******************************************************

When I first came in contact with Kristan, she asked me this basic question,
"What made you start blogging?"

Oh wow... such a simple question. But I did not give her a simple answer. I replied back,
"Honestly, I began because I have trichotillomania. I blog about it here. It's the disorder of pulling out your hair... I pull my eyelashes (which used to be my best feature) and my eyebrows.
After beginning that blog, I added a nail blog, then a 365-day hair project blog, and now I'm blogging for fun on Aunie Sauce as well. It takes a lot of time but I really love it. I just like to put stuff out there and write."

In that small reply back to her, I told her one of my deepest and darkest secrets.
That I have trichotillomania.
Most people don't know what it is.
Surprisingly, Kristan did.

She replied right back and asked me to guest post about it.
It was probably that moment that I threw up in my mouth a little bit.

See, talking about your biggest insecurity, secret and downfall is not something that most people like to do.
It's not a comfortable topic.
But for me, I knew I had to.
It just felt right.

So... about trich (trick).
It's the disorder of pulling out your hair.
Most people pull their scalp hair,
whereas I focus on my eyelashes and eyebrows.
At one point in time about 2 years ago, I didn't have a single eyelash or eyebrow.
You're probably thinking, "Ouch! Doesn't that hurt?"
The answer? NOPE.
Not in the slightest.
In fact, it feels really good.
Pulling releases endorphins, such as serotonin, that make people happy.
So unfortunately, it's horrible because it makes me look ugly, and it feels really, really good.

A few years ago, I was really struggling.
I was depressed. Lonely. So down on life.
And then I began blogging.
I told myself that even if not a single person read my blog,
I needed to put my issues out there for the world to see so I could hold myself accountable.

And now? Now I have readers from all over the world who suffer from trich.
I get emails from Madagascar, China, and the U.S. of A.
So many emails.
People reaching out to say, "Thank you. Thank you for blogging. Thatnk you for putting your struggles and triumphs out there. Thank you for helping me realize I'm not alone."

See, more likely than not, you know someone with trichotillomania.
And they probably don't even realize they have it.
It is a disorder that can overtake—and destroy—your life.

I've seen counselors. Taken medication. Gone to hypnotherapists...
and now I'm currently going to acupuncture.
Slowly, I'm beginning to realize that the only way I can stop the pulling, the urges, and my depression is within myself.
ME.

Recently, I have begun embracing my trich.
I am constantly thinking of new methods to help stop my pulling.
I've also learned that overcoming trich comes with learning a lot about myself.
Bravery, courage, humility, integrity and pride.
Each of those qualities is ESSENTIAL to moving forward in life, and progressing above and beyond this disorder.
If I can do it, the person who you may know can do it, too.

Anyway... I thought I'd share just a bit of what goes on behind the scenes @ Aunie Sauce.
I learn new things every day, and I hope this post gave you a little insight into something new, as well.
If you know anyone who pulls their hair, obsesses about their eyelashes, or who even could use some help, send them my way. I can also be reached anytime at my email here.

I hope I am able to touch at least one person with this story of mine.
Because it's a big one. A true one. And one that needs to be shared.

bloglovin

AddThis