I have Trich, but Trich doesn’t have me

This title is inspired by a documentary shown on the Bio Channel on television, easily one of the most inspiring documentaries I have ever seen (while Imelda Marcos’ documentary was easily the worst). It was entitled, “I have Tourette’s, but Tourette’s doesn’t have me”. (Tourette’s refers to Tourette’s syndrome, the OCD that affects thousands (or even a few millions) of children around the world)

You see, as I mentioned two posts ago, I have a mild case of trichotillomania. I have this disorder for years, but I have been fighting it only recently. One of my greatest fears right now is to not be able to live a full life, because this trich thing causes me to feel bouts of anxiety, depression, worry, stress, humiliation, frustration, and confusion all at the same time. At times one of those emotions shadow all my other, more pleasant emotions inside of me, as if it will never disappear.

I understand that many people are worse off than me. I understand that some people have lower self-esteems than me, that people really suffer from depression, which lead them to resort to hurting themselves. I understand that some people are leading quite stressful lives that I myself cannot imagine what it feels like. This is exactly why I feel more frustrated than ever – I am not able to handle this as well as how other people cope with their own more difficult foibles.

I worry so much about how I am wasting too much time straying my fingers over my hair, or even just thinking about pulling my hair (which is even more aggravating), about whether I am making it worse, which will even make it harder to control in the future. Sometimes I do not feel like myself at all, or that I get overly anxious and tensed that what is left are harrowing thoughts, like: I am touching my hair again. Will this get worse? Am I doomed to this self-inflicted, time-wasting craziness? I wonder if I will ever stop worrying about weird things too much like normal people. OK, I’ll stop now.

Here I am again, writing about an utterly meaningless matter although I badly want to write about something else. But I know I need to fight this thing inside me, and I believe letting this all out will help me avoid making it even worse. I have read somewhere that when you share your goals with other people, you become even more motivated in achieving it. :)

Now you may speculate, how am I doing with this trich thing? Is this still affecting me very badly? Yes, I still have these urges and still have bouts of unpleasant emotions, but I can say that every day has been a learning experience, and every day I wake up comes a bright hope that I will fully let go and be (pull-) free.

And I want to share the things I’ve learned from the my trich battle:

1. Habits, especially the bad ones, can be unlearned. Yes, it does take a long time, but when you tell yourself positive, bad-habit-killer phrases like, “This has to stop for my own good”, accept that you need to change, it is already a big step.

2. Happiness is a choice. The pursuit of happiness and balance in life is something I still need a lot of work on, but there is one happiness principle I am quite sure of: Only you can control your happiness. Not the weather, not trich, not appearances, not grades. Rather, having positive thoughts, responses, and actions make us happy. :)

3. You may just need a little more patience than you think.

4. Always be gentle with yourself. I am guilty of always beating myself up by harboring negative thoughts about my bad habits. But as time passes, I realize that giving yourself time to grow, to heal, and to become empowered again is as important as pushing yourself to your fullest potential. (I hope I’m still making sense here)

5. Embrace your imperfections as well as others’.

6. You are not alone. I realize more and more that every other person on this planet experience the same frustrations, obstacles, distresses, and sadness at some points in their lives. And talking about it, sharing your struggles with others who care to listen may just be one of the most effective ways to heal your troubled self.

7. Think happy thoughts.

8. Smile. The universe will smile back to you.

To explain number 8, here is a quote from Eat, Pray, Love, the most wonderful, life-changing memoir written by Elizabeth Gilbert:

p. 206 Sean, my Yogic Irish dairy farmer, explained it to me this way.

“Imagine that the universe is a great spinning engine,” he said. “You want to stay near the core of the thing–right in the hub of the wheel–not out at the edges where all the wild whirling takes place, where you can get frayed and crazy. The hub of calmness–that’s your heart. That’s where God lives within you. So stop looking for answers in the world. Just keep coming back to that center and you’ll always find peace.”

I have trich, but trich will never, ever have me. :)

This will be my last post about trich, and I will start moving on and pursuing more meaningful things in life.

When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.

~ Lao Tzu


4 thoughts on “I have Trich, but Trich doesn’t have me

  1. Hi Tess,

    I have both Tourette’s and trich (mild cases of both). I found all your wonderful stuff when I got a Google alert about the Tourette’s documentary (one of my favorite little shows of all time … those kids are my heroes; they’re all teenagers now. :) )

    I am so highly impressed with all your intelligent thoughts about approaching this. I am especially jealous of how young and wise you are in general, and with all the great stuff you have out on all your platforms – you go, girl!

    Something to think about: If your trich is minor, you might consider just learning to coexist with it at some point. Maybe not right away, but someday down the road. I know a woman who has a more severe case who does a lot with hats and scarves, for example. Of course, it might be different for a young woman who’s dating. But don’t let it run your life, as you say!

    I am very well aware of the phenomenon of it “having to feel just right,” which also occurs with Tourette’s. Have you sought out support groups or therapy to discuss this? Sometimes even mild medication can help you control those urges. I’m having some success with one that’s called Tenex (brand name) or guanfacine (generic name) in the U.S. But of course everybody’s case is different, and different meds work differently with everyone.

    Definitely keep at all your efforts. I recommend any and all zen approaches. :) Google “Desiderata.” But really, I can tell already that you are going to go far in life, silly habits or not.


    • Hi Bruce!

      First of all, it’s Dess, not Tess. :)

      Thank you so much for taking the time to read this entry! Writing has always been a comfortable form of expression for me, and I really wish to be able to empower and inspire other people through what I write as well.

      Thank you again for your message. This just made my day. :)

      From your reply, I can also tell that you are a wonderful person. It feels great to know someone who is going through the same silly habits. Don’t let it get the best of you! It’s good to hear that medication is working for you.

      As for me, I don’t take medication since I haven’t told my parents about this (they have enough troubles on their plates now), but I am finding other ways to overcome it (like self-control, discipline, and headbands :D).

      I wish you all the happiness in life. I Googled “Desiderata”, It’s really beautiful! Funny, before I knew it was a poem, I have heard some lines from it being quoted everywhere.

      From what country are you from? Hmm I wonder if you will still get to read this. :)

  2. Hey Des! Wow another powerful post! Oh dear you’re the 2nd person I know on the net (met her online) who has this case. You must really be exhibiting a lot of anxiety but I am glad that you have finally found a way to control this. Keep on living des!

    And love the quote from Eat, Pray and Love! Must really be a wonderful book. :D tc now!

    Have faith! :D

  3. Dess,

    How embarrassing for me to get the very first thing wrong … your name! Sorry about that!

    I can certainly understand your situation considering medication, especially with your parents. Even without your parents to think about, most people with milder cases opt not to bother with meds. They can get expensive, and their side effects (usually sleepiness) can be more trouble than they’re worth.

    Forgive me if I already said this, but: The most important thing to remember about OCD-type stuff is that every case is completely unique. Anything I say about my experiences will have many similarities to yours, but there will always be differences. It’s definitely not an “all solutions fit one problem” situation!

    I’m glad you liked Desiderata. I thought from all of your writings that you just might. :) Oh, and I live in the U.S. I am always so excited to make a new friend all the way on the other side of the world. (I hope you are sleeping well. … Or, maybe you are up in the middle of the night surfing the net … :)

    Peace and love,

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