More Than Just A Bad Hair Day

More Than Just A Bad Hair Day

Like with my self care post earlier this month (in which I referenced what would be this post), I have also been denying something else for almost an entire year.

Last year when I was interviewing for elementary jobs, I went in and got all my hair chopped off. It was two-fold: I donated 16 inches (again!) and I also needed “elementary teacher hair.” Typically, this is short hair. [Because lice, y’all.] I didn’t realize how short the stylist cut my hair until days later. It was also uneven!! Not like anything could be fixed, but this was when everything started.

Y’all, my hair is shorter now over a year later than when I got that haircut. I can’t tell you how many times I heard from coworkers this past year about my new short hair or hair cut. I got my hair cut on June 13, 2017! I hadn’t gotten it cut!

What they saw was what I was trying to cover up.

With the impeding school year approaching and the mounting fear that I would have to return to my school and not get one of the jobs I interviewed for and not be with The Man (that Dick!)…I began pulling my hair.

It wasn’t a big deal at first. Until September rolled around and I had a bald spot on the crown of my head. I could not wear my hair down. But I continued pulling. Not as bad, because hair grew in and the bald spot was no more. But in the process of waiting and as the year went on, my hair was all janky, so I took the well-meant advice of my school secretary and trimmed it up myself.

UH. NO. NEVER DO THIS.

I ruined it. l definitely could NOT wear my hair down now. So I wore my pitiful patch of hair up in a teeeeeny pony tail all year as another bald spot near my right temple began to show scalp.

My two closest coworkers zeroed in. My mom slowly caught on. Even my youngest brother noticed. My mom’s friend/my health coach noticed even though she hadn’t seen me in months, maybe a year or more.

I refused to acknowledge that there was anything to this. I just kept saying it was like a compulsory behavior when I would get stressed (reality with my diagnosis of anxiety and depression: overwhelmed).

Except I was trying to lie to myself, knowing full well I had seen someone talk about trichotillomania on social media before. Hair pulling, not hair eating. That is exactly what I had. Exactly what I was doing. Exactly what I was ignoring. What I was hiding and pretending was not a big deal. Trichotillomania is a body-focused repetitive behavior classified as an impulse control disorder which involves pulling out one’s hair. Hello, girlfriend.

When The Man and I split in March, I immediately started looking into stylists for hair extensions. Easy fix! No one will ever know because it will all grow out while looking great, was my thought process. UH. NO. My hair was so short, extensions were a no-go. I had to wait 8-10 weeks to check again. In the meantime, I started on a fancy hair shampoo and conditioner to help. My May visit came…and still a no-go. But there was growth, not like I could tell. Another 8-10 weeks and I should be ready to go.

Except…no. I kept pulling until I essentially was almost shaved on the right side of my head. Like short, stubby scrubs on the ground. I couldn’t even hardly put up my hair anymore because it wouldn’t stay in the ponytail. I had to use so many barrettes and bobby pins it looked ridiculous, and still the hair would slide out and pouf up, making me look some kind of scary diabolical. Do not even get me started on when I wake up in the morning. It first was like a finger in the light socket, but as it grew and thickened, it was straight up Chewbacca in the light socket.

Fast forward to July. I thought by now my hair was thick enough we would be ready to go. It is really thick, I just didn’t think it was growing out. My stylist said it was, she could tell, but she was crestfallen at what she saw. Y’all. She almost cried. And she talked about her own fight with bulimia when she was in her 20s and urged me to see someone, and if not that, to at least riddle out what my triggers are.

Except…I don’t know what they are. Honestly, I don’t even think I have any anymore. The initial catalyst was the idea of returning back to my school. Yes, I’m still there, but things regarding the circumstances have changed:

  1. That principal is gone. The new one is leaps and bounds supportive and despite his hard poker face, he is very personable and supportive. I know it bothers him a lot when there is something going on with one of his employees.
  2. I am no longer with The Man and driving back and forth, back and forth every weekend with all the stress and anxiety tied to all of that.
  3. I no longer live where I did, renting a single room. I have my own space and nothing is crammed.
  4. I now have a lab for my yearbook staff. We do not have to do everything 100% after school in the evenings to get the entire yearbook done in increments of one meeting each week. I can now actually teach my class as it should be during the actual class time during the school day, every day. (I know, don’t even get me started on that mess.)

 

Symptoms

There are some specific symptoms, and I don’t have all of them. I have tried to stop, and even when I try…I can’t. Like I said, it is like an obsession. And that’s also why I said I don’t have any triggers anymore because I do it almost all the time now: driving, sitting at work during my planning time working on stuff, at home watching TV or reading or on my phone, while I’m talking to people face-to-face (my mom and two favorite coworkers). I definitely feel embarrassed and ashamed and it is out of control, so I don’t want to go anywhere I strictly don’t have to. And I want to wear a hat ALL the time, no matter where I go. While I was diagnosed in December with anxiety and depression, I believe I have had those for years and was never diagnosed because I gave no signs to my doctors and I didn’t seek out information about it until December, and I went for other reasons. I knew I had anxiety and I wanted to be medicated and it was unrelated to the hair pulling. When I do pull, I definitely have a behavior: first, it is the hairs that don’t feel right texture-wise. The coarse ones that stand out or have some other anomaly. Then, it is the ones that are too long in that section. Stupid, I know. Trich is like the cousin of OCD, but I don’t have any OCD behaviors like counting or washing hands.

  • Recurrent pulling out of one’s hair resulting in noticeable hair loss
  • An increasing sense of tension immediately before pulling out the hair or when resisting the behavior
  • Pleasure, gratification, or relief when pulling out the hair
  • The disturbance is not accounted for by another mental disorder and is not due to a general medical condition (i.e., dermatological condition)
  • Repeated attempts have been made to decrease or stop hair pulling
  • The disturbance causes significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning. Distress may include feeling a loss of control, embarrassment, or shame and impairment may occur due to avoidance of work, school, or other public situations.
  • Hair pulling may be accompanied by a range of behaviors or rituals involving hair. For example, individuals may search for a particular kind of hair to pull or they may try to pull out hair in a specific way.

The other thing about distress in other areas of functioning is intimate relationships. People with trich can avoid intimate relationships for fear of having their secret, which is very shameful to me, exposed. This is true for me. So true. I went on a few dates until the one I liked acted like he died back at the beginning of May. Since then, I have talked to guys and wanted to go do something fun but at the same time I don’t. What happens when my tiny ponytail falls down and the barrettes and bobby pins start hanging by threads? I can’t wear my cap everywhere with every type of attire.

I am facing the fact that I have trich. I have it. I can’t lie. I can’t hide it. I can’t pretend it’s not happening. I was just lying to myself for almost a year. I still want to get the extensions, so here’s to hoping for September! In the meantime, I have bought a silk cap to wear to bed so my hair isn’t as insane in the mornings, especially with wearing my CPAP, and I also realized I can wear it around the house during the day too. It keeps me from pulling, so who cares? No one’s here anyway.

I am also looking into buying a special bracelet to wear that tracks your movements for the behavior – so behavior therapy, which is the recommendation besides medication. I predominately pull with my right hand (and I have figured out it is because I have more muscle on my right arm and better motor control in my hands than my left side). Originally I thought of getting a band for each hand, but they sell separately and are quite pricey. Since my right is the source, I’m only going to get one band. I hope and pray that it works and helps me.

It is more than just a bad hair day. But what do I say when coworkers give me the questioning looks or a gentle inquiring comment without giving away too much personal information?

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Top Ten Tuesday: Back to School Freebie

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. For the list of past topics and future schedule, click here.


Back to School Freebie – SCHOOL ESSENTIALS

I think most of you know I’m a teacher – a middle school teacher – and I’m also the yearbook advisor and UIL Coordinator. I have suddenly come to a realization that if you get googly-eyed and wiggy about office supplies, you probably should be a teacher. There is nothing like accidentally stealing someone’s Flair pen or using too many of their Post Its to have an unsaid death ray stare war going on. So, with all that, I’m going to share all my favorite school essentials!

 

Everything starts with a good composition book. Every year I start a fresh one with my class, and last year and this year I have bought my partner and I matching composition books. Last year was camo, this year is sparkles! Previously I used a huge 5 section notebook for all of my teacher business, but that is coming to an end. It’s been five years. Time to start over, and I’m going to do it with a composition book! I also have a separate comp book for going to my reading/writing trainings to keep all of that together in one place.

Flair Pens are every teacher’s favorite thing. If they tell you otherwise, they are lying. Unless it’s Post Its. I didn’t use Flair Pens really until this past year and I did so sparingly. But this year, kids buckle up! We gonna Flair it up!!

Post Its are the most beloved paper product in all schools. Teachers hoard them. We cry when they are gone. We use them like they fall from trees at trainings…as long as they are provided by the venue. I love using Post Its. I use them in my composition book to cover things up and then I can flip them up (like question on top, answer underneath), cover pictures in texts, write quick notes to myself, jot down Johnny’s mama’s number and name so I can call her at 4:00, give to a kid for their own reminder, use as an emergency hall pass, not to mention when I give them to my students to write something on for an assignment and stick it to the board or the door on their way out. And yes, colors matter.

Yes, that is duct tape. No, I don’t use it to tape across the mouths of smart alecks. For every unit we have, I make my students create a duct tape tab in their composition books. We can easily flip back and forth to get to things quickly, if they need to look for something from a previous unit I can tell them to look at their sunflower tab, and it helps them take a little ownership of their own notes. They put the tabs how they want on the new unit page. They can go down the side in order, out of order, nice and clean and even, wonky, whatever. It’s also an easy way to show them it’s OK to make mistakes, but don’t repeat them.

Highlighters are our life blood in a reading class. We have to find and identify all kinds of things, not to mention differentiate between things. I always want my kids to have two different colors for that reason.

Ticonderoga pencils!!! These are THE best pencils in the world. It is not a lie on their packaging. I hate those wooden or plastic faux wood pencils. They break and the ends become horrible. Or worse, the entire lead inside will be all broken or broken loose and the pencil is useless. This does not happen with Ticonderoga pencils. This is a place to splurge!

I love Crayola’s products, and we use markers a lot to color code things in our notes. I like the non-classic packs because they have more interesting shades and variations of color.

 

This year I am also going to try to use the Crayola Super Tips in my journal working with notes to also help offset important items in color but without the tip being too large or creating too thick of a line.

 

Welcome to 6th Grade!

Yes, nearly all of this was mine and my partner’s for the first six weeks of school.

What gets you all riled up for school starting?

Book Blogger Hop ~ Posting Reviews

book-blogger-hop

The Book Blogger Hop is a weekly meme hosted by Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. Each week poses a book-related question. The hop starts on Friday and ends on Thursday. The purpose is to give bloggers a chance to follow other blogs, learn about new books, befriend other bloggers, and receive new followers.


Where do you post your reviews besides your blog? (submitted by Elizabeth @ Silver’s Reviews)

I post reviews to my blog first (although most are scheduled, so they actually post later). I always review the book on Amazon and Goodreads. If it is a NetGalley book, I also post my review there in the feedback section for the particular book.

I used to be really bad about cross-posting. I’d put it off for almost the entire year, and then it was a nightmare going back and doing all three for all the books I read that year. I have gotten really good about it now!

My Favorite…Newly Released Book

My Favorite.. is a weekly meme hosted by Maureen’s Books. In this meme, we share every week something we love with each other. Because let’s face it…The world can be a dark place and it’s time to share something positive.


Newly Released Book

Uh…like….I don’t know? Y’all know I don’t keep up with new releases. I do not.

However, I do NetGalley, and I recently went in and did the big nasty and downloaded even more books. *sigh* I’m never going to dig myself out of the hole. These are two that I really want to read because of the titles!

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Books to Pull You Out of a Reading Slump

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. For the list of past topics and future schedule, click here.


Books to Pull You Out of a Reading Slump

Generally, I don’t go back and re-read a specific book during a slump. But if I did, the book would be either Outlander or Bloody Jack.

Typically my go-to during a REAL slump is a middle grades book because they are light, fun, and about friends and relationships.

If I don’t have a MG on hand, I will go to my back-up: romance.

What are your books?

Tuesday Teaser & Intro: I Love You More

first-chapter-first-paragraph

Synopsis ~ I Love You More

One man, three wives, the perfect murder. A scintillating novel of betrayal and conspiracy.

Picasso Lane is twelve years old when her father, Oliver, is murdered at their summer beach house. Her mother, Diana, is the primary suspect—until the police discover his second wife, and then his third. The women say they have never met—but Picasso knows otherwise. Picasso remembers the morning beautiful Jewels showed up at their house, carrying the same purse as her mother, and a family portrait featuring her father with two strange boys. Picasso remembers lifting the phone, listening to late night calls with Bert, a woman heavily pregnant with Oliver’s fourth child. As the police circle and a detective named Kyle Kennedy becomes a regular fixture in their home, Picasso tries to make sense of her father’s death, the depth of his deceit, and the secrets that bind these three women. Cunningly paced and plotted, I Love You More is a riveting novel of misplaced loyalty, jealousy, and revenge.

 

Part One – Rumors 

(The Events Surrounding the Murder)

PICASSO

The rumors started before my daddy’s body got cold. I’d made my peace with the liest by then – lies I’ve learned are a necessary evil-and, being from the South, I’m used to cloying (that means sickeningly sweet) smiles, but I hadn’t figured on the sideways glances, hushed talk, loud silence. Feigned ignorance. I mean someone’s dying had always made the front page of the Hollyville Herald. Even Mrs. Morgan’s twenty-year-old cat got a paragraph, but not my daddy.

 


Teasers

It all started three years ago when the first lady showed up at our house. I was ten years old at the time….I figured she was selling religion.

 

Sociopaths are expert chameleons.


Would you keep reading? 

tuesdayTeaser Tuesday is hosted by The PurpleBooker. Post two sentences from somewhere in a book you’re reading. No spoilers, please! List the author and book title too. Link up HERE.

First Chapter/First Paragraph/Tuesday Intros was created by Bibliophile By The Sea and is now hosted by Vicki @ I’d Rather Be At The Beach. To participate, share the first paragraph (or a few) from a book you’re reading or thinking about reading soon. Link up HERE.

Sunday Post ~ Working Hard

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It is a weekly news post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase the books and other goodies you’ve received, and share news about upcoming events on your blog. Be creative and personalize it! To get in on the Sunday fun day, see the rules here: Suday Post Meme.


All week we were back to work. I spent literally all week in meetings and trainings. I didn’t have any time to work in my classroom, and I still have one big project left to do. I have to get it done on Monday, as well as get to planning all the small details of the first few weeks.

Thursday was Meet the Teacher Night. I was very upset – almost to the point of not even caring anymore – when the call came in that we could not advertise for parents to buy yearbooks. There were already 500 cups of popcorn with labels on them. I had to take all of them off and my officers were confused and bewildered, as was I. I think I met all 75 kids in my first period class. I don’t know where they are all going to sit, but that’ll be a first day problem.

I took my painting back yesterday morning to fix. I didn’t like my name or the crazy hippo. It still didn’t turn out like I wanted, so now I have a fat blue turtle.

I wasn’t able to start my new book this week like I had hoped. I came home mentally or physically exhausted every day. I hope to get some reading in this weekend. I did get around to some visiting, though!

@sissybearla