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Trichotillomania


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#1 cinzbenz

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Posted 10 August 2004 - 07:09 AM

I've had trichotillomania for decades. It started when I was 7. I pulled out all of my eyebrows and eyelashes one night.

I almost went bald from pulling out my hair a few years ago; now it's just my eyebrows again. It's just hard to stop it at night when I'm trying to get to sleep and I'm very anxious that I can't sleep.

Does anyone else have this problem? Have you learned any techniques for controlling the impulse? I've spoken to the doctor about it, but he hasn't had any suggestions.
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#2 cinzbenz

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Posted 10 August 2004 - 02:06 PM

I was sitting here pulling a little on my hair when I posted it. It's a terrible habit. I know people look at me and wonder why I look so strange. as though I have some disease that's causing my hair to fall out.

I get hysterical, too. And the more hair I pull out, the more nervous I get. Arrgh. :Oo:
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#3 Hypnogroovin

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Posted 04 September 2004 - 07:37 PM

Hi there,

I just read your post and wanted to reply.  I am a hypnotherapist in San diego, and have worked with a number of folks with trichotillomania who found success.  As you may know, pulling the hair is a habit, usually brought about to deal with a disturbing emotion, just like a smoker who lights up when stressed.  The reason that hypnosis has been so successful is that it targets working with the subconscious mind, where most patterns and habits are stored.   I would consider looking up a hypnotist in your area and discuss your options.  Also, here is a web site that may be of interest - http://www.trichotillomania.co.uk/
Best of luck!

#4 Lizzy

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Posted 02 June 2005 - 09:22 AM

:hearts:
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#5 TankDiveGirl

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Posted 14 December 2004 - 10:40 AM

I know this is kindof an old thread, but i figured i'd post a reply.  i, too have trichotillomania.  I pluck everything below my scalp really badly, and i pluck my scalp some.  The only thing thats REALLY safe are my eyebrows, for some reason, but the two worst areas for me are my eyelashes and my pubic hair...ive learned that if i keep everything below my armpits shaved, i have less instinct to pull it.  I guess its the old "if its not there, you cant hurt it" thing.  I also have several other impulse control issues, so i guess its all related..

Good luck!
Tankie :santagrin:

#6 Lizzy

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Posted 15 December 2004 - 04:40 AM

:hearts: Tankie!  Just join in where ever you feel comfrotable.  There's lots of support throughout DF, whether in recent threads or historical ones.  

:wave:
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#7 Guest_OMTA_*

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Posted 20 December 2004 - 02:36 PM

I have had "trich" most of my life.  I am a 46 year old male.  I looked like I had male pattern baldness.  I would tie knots in my hair and play with the knots for hours, then pull out the hair trying to get the knot out.  I finally resorted to shaving my head.  You can imagine the looks and comments I get.

#8 firelizardee

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Posted 26 October 2005 - 02:39 PM

I didn't think that trichotiloimania was an OCD thing. I've always pulled and twisted by hair. I keep it long otherwise I'd go crazy not being able to sit and twirl and pull at it. I also pull out my hair, search endlessly for split ends and snap the ends of my hair. My floor at home is usually covered in loose hair.

I have 3 sessions of group therapy a week and I'm sure there's piles of hair around my chair.

In fact I twist and pull at the hair so much that my arm and shoulder hurts.
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#9 Lizzy

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Posted 07 November 2005 - 03:57 AM

I used to suck the ends of my hair: when I wasn't looking for split ends. Now it is short I can't so the habit has gone away. I scratch my scalp a lot when reading though :hearts:
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#10 starlight

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Posted 21 January 2006 - 02:44 AM

I have been pulling my hair for four years now. It started out as just pubic hair than it went to pulling at the hair on my head, the pubic hair pulling became worse and caused sores. I haven't been able to tell anyone, I feel too ashamed about it and I keep thinking I will be able to stop it, but I can't. I will pull when I am upset and thats when I pull the hardest and I will go into a kind of trance and just keep pulling at my hair. Now I have started to run my fingernails along my hair to cause split ends and pull endlessly at all the split ends. I also bit my nails and pick at my skin is that connected to the hair pulling?

#11 firelizardee

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Posted 22 January 2006 - 07:27 AM

I think its all caused by the same problem, maybe anxiety.

I too do the pubic hair bit, but its been ok for a while now.

Eileen
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#12 Lizzy

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Posted 23 January 2006 - 04:21 PM

Hi there <WAVE>

"I feel too ashamed about it ...... " you are what you are: for many reasons. Anxiety comes out in many different ways. I make a list when my compulsions get too obvious - and try to do something else!

What stressors you most?
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#13 starlight

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Posted 04 May 2006 - 11:43 PM

Lately I have been picking at my spilt end to stop myself from pulling my hair out. That helped a little but I am still pulling. I avoided getting my hair cut because I didn't want anyone to see the back of my head, it has a ton of short hairs from where I pulled my hair it kinda feels like it was shaved when I touch it. I'm getting my hair done for prom and I am even more nervous about that because it is a friend from church doing it and I don't want her to notice. I explained the short hairs to my hair dresser as being from picking at some spilt ends that I got once my hair got too long, but I don't know if she will believe this story or not.

#14 Lizzy

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Posted 05 May 2006 - 08:58 AM

A qualified hairdresser will be familiar with the traits of obsessives ;-)

She may even have coping strategies to suggest!

I have lots of little annoying habits which I suppose are OCD in nature or maybe compulsions rather. Like picking my nails, pulling my hair ...... it's what makes me ME! How are you today? What are you wearing for the Prom? [which is short for ......... <scratches head . ;-) ]
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#15 starlight

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Posted 07 May 2006 - 09:25 PM

I wore a royal blue dress to prom, it was really fun and my hairdresser didn't question me about my hair. I was doing great earlier today. I did pull at my hair a little today because I got worried that one of my friends might have upset someone and I was feeling a little out of place at the meeting I was at because most of the people were older than me. Tonight became really bad when I found out my best friend's brother was in a really bad accident. He was in a comma and only had a five percent chance to live, but I just found out he is doing better and now has a 30% chance to live, but he is still in a comma. It's hard because my friend lives on the other side of the state so I can't be with her, but I resisted pulling my hair again after I found out.

#16 woefulshygal83

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Posted 09 May 2006 - 05:28 AM

I too pull out my hair..and its so stupid beause one of my things is a care so much about others will think of me in particular my hair, but when I am particularly anxious I just start pulling it out and can't stop. Then I worry about what I have done which makes it worse. Its a never ending cycle. I don't know how I got started I have just done it for years. Whats worse I can't even control doing it when my friends are around, so they shout at me and tell me to stop, which makes me even more anxious. Argh why can't I stop

#17 Lizzy

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Posted 09 May 2006 - 10:13 AM

Welcome new peeps <wave>

My friends used to tell me when I was chewing my nails and fingers but it hasn't made much difference :-). Each time I hurt myself I think I should stop but I continue. Same with searching for chin hairs ;-) or fiddling with my wedding ring. Old habits die hard :-)))

You are not alone. Our habits are what makes us US!
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#18 woefulshygal83

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Posted 09 May 2006 - 11:03 AM

kinda had a bad night last night, pulled out my hair to the point where my arm was in agony.at least I'm no longer living at home and my mum won't find hair everywhere and shout at me for it. but i still feel really guilty and ashamed afterwards

#19 Killian

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Posted 09 May 2006 - 11:27 AM

I find that just sitting there I pull worse. Like watching TV, being on the computer, driving the car...that sort of thing. Perhaps you could get out and start walking if you find yourself pulling? Anything to give your body something else to do. Hmm...something with your hands maybe...a craft? Like knitting, or crossstitch or something. If you find yourself pulling then you could start working on it. You may always pull when you're stressed, but learning to stop it when you catch yourself doing it is key. A little bit isn't a problem, but when it's a lot it really affects how you feel about yourself. :hearts:

Try not to worry about last night...just focus on things you can do to make tonight a better one! :shocked:

Killi :bump:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Fly the way you do
The way you dream when love is new
Try to understand
It couldn't last the way you planned

And I know for certain
Every time you fall
You will rise again
Above it all

~~~~[from You Will Rise Again (Capercaille)]~~~~

#20 woefulshygal83

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Posted 11 May 2006 - 10:25 AM

Got my hair cut yesterday in an effort to stop me pulling so much. Hope the hairdresser didn't notice too much. But she didn't say anything even if she did notice. Hopefully my short hair will allow me to calm down a bit.

#21 starlight

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Posted 11 May 2006 - 11:14 PM

Wow woefulshygal83 you sound just like me. I know what you mean about feeling guilty about pulling and then pulling even more because of it. I do the exact same thing and I cut my hair short hoping that would help and worrying if the hairdresser would notice. For me writing in this forum helped a lot because this is one place that you aren't trying to keep this huge secret and you don't feel guilty about talking about when you pulled because there are lots of people just like you who pull as well. My friends don't know about my hair pulling, but I think they suspect, so at least I don't have people yelling at me to stop because your right that wouldn't help at all. If it was me I would just pull even more later when I'm alone because of the guilt. Keep writing in the forum it really does help.

#22 woefulshygal83

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Posted 14 May 2006 - 12:23 PM

Yeah exactly thats what usually happens. I have been doing ok. Haven't pulled my hair for a couple of days. Though me being a pessimist I believe its only a matter of time before I start pulling. Its good to know that there are people out there like me struggling with similar situations. Although its different with each person I am glad you can identify with me and I with you. Thanks for your support

#23 cricket

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Posted 14 May 2006 - 05:33 PM

I've been pulling out my eyelashes for a few years now. I went to my Dr about it and he just looked at me like I was weird. :hearts:

#24 starlight

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Posted 14 May 2006 - 11:43 PM

Some people just don't understand it I guess, or he just didn't know what to do or say. I just realized today that I get the urge to pull when there is tension, or people are getting mad/upset and when I feel out of place, I know there are other things that trigger it but I haven't pin pointed those yet. Like the times where I start pulling and kinda go into a trance as I heard it described I guess thats what I do sometimes I stop thinking I don't really see whats infront of me I just start pulling for a long time and once I stop pulling I'm shocked how much time had passed. Does anyone else do the trance thing, I'm not always like that when I pull but sometimes I am. Congrats wuefulshygal83 on not pulling for a couple days, I can't say I've done as well I pulled today I think because of all the tension with my sisters boyfriend being around :hearts: yeah can you tell I don't care for him too much.

#25 Lizzy

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Posted 15 May 2006 - 03:21 AM

he just looked at me like I was weird ...... "'

all the world is strange - except you and me: and even you're a little bit ........ ;-)))

we can't alter yesterday but we can enjoy parts of today. Don't be ashamed! Drop that ...... it's done, it's over, try not to dwell.

Try to deal with what makes you 'pull'. For me it's habit, it's comforting to pull out the chin hairs or pluck my eyebrows - but I do it with tweezers; consistently checking for more :-)

Each to his/her own. 'I am what I am .......... '
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#26 woefulshygal83

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Posted 15 May 2006 - 06:22 PM

I totally do the trance thing. And I definately pull when there is tension in the air. Its like how I deal with alot of things. Its what comes natural weirdly enough. When I am in that trance its not till I am out of it do I realise 1 how much times has passed and 2 how much hair I've pulled. It got really bad at one stage when I was living at home with my parents. Literally there was my carpet and on top of that was a carpet of pulled out hair. Thats when I knew I had a serious problem. But even though I get that guilt and those other negative feelings, it is also incredibly soothing and comforting. So I can't stop.

#27 woefulshygal83

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Posted 15 May 2006 - 06:26 PM

As for your doctor cricket, some doctors are more understanding than others and more aware of certain problems and how to be helpful other unfortunately have the bedside manner of an angry hippo. Your not weird and your certainly not on your own in this. As you will have ready many of us including myself deal with problems and in this way. Don't let one ignorant doctor rule how you view yourself.

#28 starlight

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Posted 16 May 2006 - 12:09 AM

For me its soothing as well to pull. When I realized I had a serious problem was after being in a trance state and pulling so much and so hard I caused sores that started to bleed. I just did the trance thing again like 5 mins ago which is why I felt I had to write. I think because this is my last week of highschool and because of problems with my sis because of her boyfriend. I did find something that helps me calm sometimes, a music box, any music box I found that tinkling music sound sooths me and I'm less likely to pull but sometimes I do the trance or I get too upset and it doesn't work. Does anyone else here bite their nails or pick at their skin?

#29 starlight

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Posted 16 May 2006 - 12:11 AM

Quick question I forgot to ask does anyone have problems with sleeping sometimes, any kind of sleeping problems?

#30 woefulshygal83

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Posted 16 May 2006 - 02:09 AM

I have never had nails on my hands ever I bite them so much, if I am not biting them I am biting the skin around them. I too have problems with sleeping. There are so many things that go with it. If I cant sleep then I pull. Just in a trance lying in bed pulling. When I eventually get to sleep I wake up in the morning with hair everywhere suprised I have any left on my head. I think I am so anxious because all my university friends are leaving in may because they have finished uni. So on the 27th May I will have lost all my friends. I have tried making new friends over this past year. But no one was interested. So when my friends go I will be all alone. Nothing to distract me from the constant worrying no one to be myself with, no one left at all.

#31 starlight

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Posted 16 May 2006 - 11:19 PM

I'm right with ya on the change thing, I'm graduating and now I'm leaving all my family and friends to go somewhere that I don't know anyone. But at least both of us will always have people on the forum to talk to, so neither of us will be friendless. I always have problems with sleeping I end up staying up really late because I just can't sleep, but I don't really want to be awake and I don't want to be asleep if that makes any sense. I just sit in front of my mirror and start to pull and go into that whole trance thing. I think there is alot that goes along with trichotillomania too that most people don't know about. I never realized people did the same things I do like biting nails, picking at skin, have a hard time sleeping. It's nice to know I'm not alone. Today was a really good day I didn't even get the urge to pull my hair, I think I owe that to this little kindergardner I was helping, her grandpa was in a bad accident and was in the hospital and she started to cry. I had the chance to talk to her and try to make her feel better and I think I really made a difference. Mabe it just helps to feel like I'm helping other people with their problems instead of being the one with the problem. Does anyone else with trichotillomania have a family member with depression?

#32 woefulshygal83

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Posted 19 May 2006 - 03:05 PM

Sorry to moan but there is no one else to talk to. Had a really really bad day today I really feel like pulling, but I am trying so hard not to. I had a completely exhausting day at work I can barely stand today my back and legs are in agony. Its not going to get better. I had two job interviews earlier in the week they said I would hear by today...so far nothing. So I don't think I got them. Its because I am not good enough and I shouldn't have applied in the first place but for some reason I thought I had a chance of getting away from my current job and going into something less strenuous and stressful. Who am I kidding I am destined for nothing.

#33 starlight

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Posted 21 May 2006 - 12:00 AM

Hey you are actually trying not to pull that is more than most people would be able to do. I know how hard it is not to pull when you feel like that and the fact that you are actually trying not to says a lot. Even if you don't get those jobs, eventually you will get a better one. Everyone goes through those crappy jobs that it seems they are destined for, but eventually you have enough of those kinds of jobs you are able to get a nicer job. No one is destined for nothing its just a matter of whether or not you take it when its there. Eventually something better will come along and then just make sure you grab it. And you should keep applying no matter what because either you will stay where you are temporarily or you will get a better job. You don't have a chance to lose anything but you will have a chance to win.

Edited by starlight, 21 May 2006 - 12:01 AM.


#34 woefulshygal83

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Posted 21 May 2006 - 04:38 AM

Thank you starlight for your words. You always make sense and make me feel better about things. I did manage not to pull. Which was weird considering how stressed and depressed I was feeling then. I guess perhaps I don't have to use it to cope with life. Last night was a bit better, I went to the cinema with a couple of friends and had a good time. So it made me forget the whole job thing for a while. Thanks again starlight xxx

#35 starlight

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Posted 22 May 2006 - 02:13 AM

Its about 1:10 am here. I am having problems sleeping again. I'm not sure what set it off. I pulled a little earlier but very very little just a few strands, but I'm still feeling a little depressed, I'm not sure why. Sometimes I just have these nights where I can't go to sleep and I just stay up for hours and the later I stay up the worse I feel. I feel like I can't go to sleep but I don't want to be up either. My best friends brother died on thursday. He was only 23. He fell asleep at the wheel and hit a tree. Mabe it just finally sunk in and thats why I feel so depressed tonight. Mabe another part of it is no one knows about my hair pulling, sometimes it feels like this huge roadblock that keeps me from becoming really close to anyone because there is this whole other side to me no one knows about. I don't usually go on like this I guess its just one of those nights, but I do feel better now.

#36 Lizzy

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Posted 25 May 2006 - 05:26 AM

Falling alseep at the wheel can have devastating consequences. So sorry for your loss.

As for not sleeping - it's common with many people for many reasons. I usually read, have the TV or radio on low; plan my shopping list and gardening tasks for the next day but then i want to get on with them ;-).

Sitting and watching the garden at night can be soothing, if it's nice enough I go sit by our ponds.

Another trick I try is to 'hear' music in my head, then do an imaginary slow ice-skating routine to it. Sometimes that lulls me enough to drop off! Do you have a bed-time routine which soothes you?
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#37 woefulshygal83

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Posted 26 May 2006 - 03:37 AM

Last night was my last ever possible night of refuge and sleep. You see my OLDER brother has a habit of screwing up. So he did this week when my mother told him explicitly not too. You see my dad is really ill and waiting to get test results back to see whats really going on. And today is my great aunty jeans funeral. Today in a two bedroom flat I am taking in a third person to stay in my room. My brother. He is going to be staying at mine for three months so he cann sort out stuff because I can't say no and I am a dormat.

I have always been there for him but when I have needed someone he is no where to be seen. My mum is really really stressed she was having her own life or death issues and she has to look after my severly disabled younger sister. But my brother only thinks of himself. I actually don't have any money myself since I am in debt from uni and am about to fund another uni course. But still I got keys cut that cost 22, went out and looked for jobs for him to get him back on his feet. Sorting out the house for him. And he hasn't once yet said thank you for taking me in. I mean I know those two words are difficult like his inability to say sorry without adding the words but or it happened because.


I know this is a rant and terrible because I should be more understanding of my brother but this is just the tip of the iceberg of what he has done. Though I know you should nevefr judge someone for their past. This is mainly difficult because of what he has put my mother through.

I am worried because I don't if I can cope. I can barely cope myself. I am on anti-depressants for depression and anxiety. I have never mentioned the whole hair pulling thing or any other thing to my doctor. Because well don't think he's the type to understand. I broke down the other day. Major panic attack and crying and everything. I hurt my friends feelings without meaning to. Everything is a mess. Yet I HAVE to support my brother, make sure he isn't a problem for my flatmate or parents. Make sure I support my mum and dad with the problems with my dad. Make sure I support my sister because she is not stupid she will know something is going on she is 18 now.

Bascially I am supposed to be the logical one, the hard working sensible one. So I need to hold this family together. Otherwise, Well I don't want to even think about that. But I am hardly stable myself.

Though when I look on this forum there are so many people with bigger problems than myself. I feel ashamed to blurt them out to you guys. Because I have no right. But there is no one else I can talk to. I am sorry.

#38 starlight

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Posted 27 May 2006 - 03:39 AM

I had and have problems with my sister too. She caused lots of problems and at the same time I discovered my dad was back on anti-depressents. I was angry at her for being so selfish and not even being around long enough to realize what my dad was suffering, after all he did for her. I'm still angry sometimes for the choices she has made. But I realized that I was making myself sick by trying to be the calm sensible secure one that fixes everyone else's problems. She is my older sister and so I felt like at the time that I was being forced to act like the 20 something year old and she was acting like the 17 year old, I wasn't supposed to be the example but I felt like I had to. I thought if I just tried to handle everything myself I could keep it from falling apart, I thought I had no choice. I was wrong. I wasn't helping anything by trying to do it all myself. I wasn't helping my sister because by trying to act like the example and hold the family together I became bitter and angry towards her which she sensed. By trying to hold the family together I was making myself sick with stress, my hair pulling became worse, and I became distant even though I made sure I was always around. I became in worse condition then the rest of my family. I couldn't help anyone in that condition, no matter how much I tried to convince myself I had to hold everyone together. So my advice I guess is you can't take care of anyone else before you take care of yourself. If you are happier with yourself then you can have more positive relationships with others like your brother which will help your family alot more than making yourself sick trying to hold everyone together.

#39 woefulshygal83

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Posted 27 May 2006 - 06:52 AM

Thank you. I am sorry for your loss. Thank you for your advice. I hope your ok. x

#40 woefulshygal83

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Posted 31 May 2006 - 01:52 PM

Well my brother has been at mine for a few days now and I am really agitated. I missed taking my meds for a couple of days so I felt like crap and I haven't slept at all really. Hopefully it will improve. But I can't complain too much now that all my friends have left at least I have the company of my brother. It will just take time to get used to.




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