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A lot of people with Trichotillomania, do not openly admit it.
It’s becoming more known as people come together on social media and other forums to discuss their hair pulling, but for the most part, a lot of us keep it to ourselves.
I have a whole blog here about it but I don’t talk about it to your average person about it or even my best friend…although her husband did find me on Instagram but oh well.. he never said anything.
The only person that really has any knowledge of what is going on is YOU (if you’ve been reading) and my husband.
I have a couple of girlfriends that also know and are supportive but my husband definitely sees the brute of it.
I’ve been with my husband for 14 years, there’s really nothing he hasn’t seen when it comes to my insecurities and BFRB’s.
If you know someone has Trichotillomania, it really is a privilege on your part to know.
However you came to know, the fact that you do know makes you someone significant in our lives.
Here’s some practical advice to help you help someone with Trichotillomania.
Related Article: How Do I Help My Child with Trichotillomania?
Are They Aware When They Pull?
Is the person with Trichotillomania aware they are doing it?
I know with me I wasn’t aware, not at all, then I would catch myself into the act and be so ashamed of myself.
If that’s the case, the first thing you need to help them is to find a way to make them aware when it’s happening.
You want this to be an approach that isn’t shaming, it can be a touchy subject, I know.
How can you help someone who doesn’t even realize what they’re doing to themselves?
For me, that answer was Keen.
Keen is a habit detection bracelet that looks like a Fitbit.
It alerts you with a gentle buzz when you’re going to pull your hair.
The bracelet is lightweight, so even kids can use it.
I needed two bracelets because I was pulling with both hands, if the person is using both hands, two bracelets would be best.
I know for me, once I was aware of what I was doing, I was able to come up with ways to distract myself.
For me, Keen has been an absolute blessing.
Are You Emotionally Supportive.
I have really bad days. The kinda days when I pull my hair out and really hate myself.
I loathe myself so much that I emotionally begin to break down in a lot of areas.
Failure is a big one.
I run my own business and it’s a huge trigger for me.
I don’t go to work 8-5 and come home, I work all day, all the time.
I really don’t want too but I’m mentally a maniac in a lot of ways.
My husband has the awesome privilege of staying home with me to run this business.
You can imagine that he’s got to be VERY emotionally supportive to do that.
Even on my worst days, he’s supportive.
He doesn’t skip a beat.
He tells me things like ….
“You’re the most awesome person I have ever known in my entire life”
He will say things like that in the midst of an emotional breakdown.
He’ll say it when I’m in a state that most people would never approach someone in.
He’ll stand in the most awful moments with me and tell me,
“There’s no one I’d rather be with on this planet than you!”
Maybe the person you’re dealing with isn’t your partner, maybe it’s a friend, maybe it’s your child?
Build them up!
Maybe they need a hug?
Maybe they need a kind word?
Being emotionally supportive in the midst of a very awful moment has done wonders for me.
My husband has been able to snap me out of the craziest moments by staying emotionally supportive.
Are You Being Helpful?
Nothing says emotional breakdown like being overwhelmed with tasks!
Anyway you can help someone with Trichotillomania in everyday tasks, helps!
If you notice that something is looking particularly frustrating, step in and help.
Or if you have forewarning that the Trichster is going to be doing something that might cause anxiety, be proactive and help before anxiety levels rise.
My husband and friends are really awesome at this.
I tend to overwork myself, it’s a really bad habit but my brain goes on hyper-drive a lot of days.
My husband is great at being proactive, if he’s sees I’ve got a particularly lot of tasks at hand OR he sees that maybe I’m already starting off on the wrong foot for a day, he’ steps in and helps.
Sometimes he just takes over the task so I can go read and calm myself.
The WAY he takes over the task is so critical.
He’s emotionally supportive, he doesn’t take over out of frustration, he gently comes in with kind words and offers to help anyway he can.
If he sees I’m not handing over the task at hand easily, he stays but he begins saying kind words to calm me.
Sometimes he starts joking, making fun of things and people so I’ll laugh.
Eventually, he’s just so dang nice I let go and let him help or I snap out of the mood and finish up on my own but with much more peace.
Are You Making Them Feel Worthy?
Most Trichsters don’t feel beautiful or worthy of life.
I’m in a lot of groups, this isn’t just my opinion, it’s a fact.
If you know someone with Trichotillomania, a good way to help them is to make them feel beautiful!
Self-loathing is a huge part of this.
Don’t look at bald spots and don’t ask if they pulled today.
Every single day, make a point to say something uplifting about that Trichster.
If you have a child with Trich, build up their confidence.
Tell them that they are beautiful or handsome.
Make sure they know that they are a joy to be around.
Point out every amazing quality.
Find every single opportunity to build that baby up in love.
Confidence is really beautiful on anyone.
When you have confidence, you can light up a room with or without hair at any age.
Are You Using Words of Affirmation?
Say kind words.
Your words have the ability to fuel the fire already burning or to put it out and save the day.
I’ve learned over the years to be an encouraging person because I see what it does to people.
Your kind words can make someone’s entire day!
Whether it’s an adult or child you’re dealing with, words of kindness and love are healing in so many ways.
Insecurity is a big part of this, it’s why so many of us don’t say anything to anyone about it.
I deal with a lot of insecurities from childhood that I’m overcoming one by one.
Kind words mean the world to me.
Every chance you have to say something uplifting – take it!
Not sure if you have ever read the book, the 5 Love Languages, but wow, words of affirmation are definitely my love language.
Which brings me to my final suggestion.
Do You Know Their Love Language?
There are 5 different love languages and every person has at least ONE that they really understand.
It’s the language that will communicate your love to them the most!!
You could be doing a million things right but if that isn’t the Trichster’s love language – there’s a communication breakdown regardless of your efforts!
If you feel like you’re spinning your wheels…
If feel you like you’ve been as supportive as you could possibly be…
If you feel like you just can’t reach the Trichster you love…
Get the book!
There’s one for adults and one geared towards children, so it depends on what age you’re working with but being able to fill someone’s emotional tank is HUGE!!!
As someone battling Trich, I can tell you my emotional tank empties a lot quicker than the average person.
Knowing my love language has really helped me in a lot of ways too, I know what I respond too.
For me, it’s words. For others, it might be gifts or acts of service?
If you really wanna help someone with Trichotillomania, these books are exceptional because they help you speak to them in a language they will understand.
When they can understand your love for them, it breaks down so many walls of insecurity and self loathing.
Maybe you feel like you’ve tried everything and they just don’t hear you??
Then you need to find the language that is going to help them understand you.
I actually was told about the book years ago by my pastor and mentor and it has been a huge help on my relationships with my children and husband.
I have a lot of support at home and I believe it’s because we know how to communicate in the right love language for that particular person.
If you really want to help someone with Trichotillomania, these 6 things have helped me immensely.
I’ve totally been able to resist urges and come back to reality when my husband takes the time to nurture me in these ways I’ve described.