Hello, I’m Amber and I’m a Trichster

Yeah that sounds WAY cooler than what it actually is. Trichster or Trickster is what people who have Trichotillomania call themselves and each other. What is this Trichotillomania you ask?

Trichotillomania or Trich as it’s often called and which I’ll be calling for the rest of my time talking about it is a compulsive disorder. It’s similar to skin picking, nail biting and other compulsive habits. Trichsters pull out their hair. Usually it’s head hair or facial hair, some do pull out body hair. I personally pull out my  head hair. I’ve always yanked my hair, raked my hands through and pulled some out. It’s something I’ve always done when I’m aggravated. I’ve also always bit my nails, my toenails are nonexistent due to constant picking and my cuticles and the skin around my finger nails is frequently trashed due to picking. So honestly now that I know more about Trich it’s really not a huge surprise that I’ve progressed to to full blown hair pulling.

I also have Bipolar 2 which is a milder form of Bipolar, if my moods aren’t regulated correctly I am prone to extreme anxiety and after a recent massive anxiety inducing series of events Trich reared its ugly head. Which in turn made me have an ugly head. 

I am now missing a large portion of hair on the front of my head and have bald patches scattered around the rest of my scalp. It started in my sleep or that twilight period where you’re almost asleep. I’m not sure which but I do know I woke up with patches of hair missing, then as time progressed I found myself doing it while zoning out watching television or reading. And now? I can’t stop. I don’t even usually realize I’m doing it. I did however promise to be honest about this stuff with you my blog readers so I will admit that at times when my anxiety is at a peak I purposely grab a small section of hair and pullllll on it till it releases from my scalp and it soothes me. 

Sounds sick and weird I know. “Just stop doing it” people would say. Well you know what? I would LOVE to just stop but I can’t. I tell myself to stop, I tell myself I’m not going to do it anymore and hours later or the next day I’m doing it again, whether consciously or not. 

I’ve looked for resources on Trich and there are some out there but there don’t seem to be very many people who talk frankly about their experiences. I can totally understand that. It’s embarrassing as hell to be honest. I mean really embarrassing. It looks bad, it sounds bad and people think it sounds like something a crazy person would do. In reality a large portion of Trichsters are completely normal well adjusted people with no other underlying mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety etc. This is their only issue, and I’m going to guess that it may be even harder for these people to admit what’s going on. 

So there you go. I’m going to try to start keeping track of if I pulled, how much I pulled and when I did it. I’m also going to share what I’m doing to prevent pulling and what methods I’m using to cover up the bald patches. I’m doing this in the hope that I can help someone else. 

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New Year, New Direction

So it’s the year 2013, wow right? It’s amazing to me, another year gone and to me it’s just crazy.

This year is going to see a new direction for my blog. I will still be recommending Etsy shops, I will still be sharing giveaways, freebies and awesome deals. I’ll still be doing those things and sharing my opinion on different things. However I will also be adding some things.

I have bipolar 2, mental illness is not well understood by a majority of the population of… well let’s face it it’s not understood by a large portion of the people on this planet.  I also have Trichotillomania. This is a compulsion type disorder that doesn’t get talked about a lot because it’s embarrassing.  It’s something that’s hard to share because most people will look at you and say … “well why don’t you just stop it?”

So in the new year I’m going to share these things. I’m going to share the struggles I have, I’m going to try to be frank and honest in sharing everything, in the hopes that it will help another person get help.

I will also be sharing my crafting projects. I’m a die hard crafter. Have been forever it seems. My first job was at a craft supply store. My school projects were always crafty to the extreme, I started scrap booking before it was popular even, I have some awesome scrapbooks from high school.

So there you are. These are the things that I’ll be sharing and talking about. I hope that something I post helps you, entertains you or educates you. If it does all three that’s even better!

I really really LOVE giving gifts and It’s the Thought That Counts

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Seriously I LOVE giving gifts. I love to go find things people will like (whether they knew they like it or not). I like finding awesome deals so I can give as much as possible. I love wrapping them all up in special paper, fancy bows, decorations…color coordinating them.

The picture above is from a combined birthday celebration we had for my middle daughter, my husband and my mom. Being a mom she does get some presents but face it when you grow up and have kids the whole flow of gifts does slow to a trickle compared to back in the day when you were a kid or teenager.

So I got to surprise my mom with a pile of stuff I knew she would like, stuff I found and just knew she would love. I adore doing this. Seriously the anticipation of waiting for others to open the gifts you got them is better than the anticipation of waiting for Santa as a child in my opinion.

I love the surprised looks, the OMG seriously you got this for me? The laughing or whatever other reaction there is. Of course you give the occasional dud but hey, that’s just life.

So here is my Christmas wish for all of you. I wish for you to ENJOY the giving of gifts. It doesn’t matter whether they are big, small, they were free, or expensive. Enjoy it. Spend a little time thinking about the people you are giving gifts to and think about what will put that smile on their face. It doesn’t have to be a car, or some elaborate vacation. Just things that let them know you care about them.

It seems like that gets lost in the holiday season nowadays it’s all about bigger, better, newer, faster. That’s not what’s important. It really is the thought that counts. Make sure that your thoughts aren’t bitter, or harassed because you just HAVE to get such and such new gadget for so and so. That’s not a gift given with a happy heart, so what is the thought that comes with that gift? If the best thing for YOU is to go out and buy a 12 pack of gift cards, if that’s something you can give joyously, well then do it! If the best thing for you is to make a gift then make it. Don’t spend the next month stressed to the max. Sure there will be some stress. Scheduling is always hard, the stores are crammed, try to remember that it’s the thought that counts and do what it takes to keep those thoughts in a good place.

Soap is evil, Lotion is drying, Chapstick is chapping…

So, I’ve always had massively dried out skin, I was never one of those people with the grease problems. No zits, no oily hair. Yes I was lucky in that way. However, there are those of us among you that have the “perfect” complexion that have massive issues in the opposite direction.

What problems you ask? Well, how about the little dry bumpies that cover my arms from elbow to shoulder? The splits, cracks and flakes that cover my fingers from hand washing, the flaky scalp that has NOTHING to do with what is traditionally called dandruff. I mean hey I tried dandruff shampoos and they either made the flakes worse or caused splits and sores on my scalp.

My self diagnosis? Super duper extra dextra dry skin! Dur. I mean really doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure it out. So my solution over the years has been lotion, lots and lots and lots of lotion. Till recently. Recently I ran out of my favorite body wash and just used my sugar and oil scrub instead, forgoing soap completely. Oh my goodness the difference was ridiculous. I didn’t go get new body wash and just decided to keep going with the body scrub.

Then from there, I researched my lotions…did you know that they put DRYING agents in most commercial lotions? Yes in the very things we buy to moisturize our poor dried out skin they put drying agents such as multiple types of alcohol and petroleum based products. My take on this is that they want to addict us to the products. To make it necessary for us to reapply over and over and over again throughout the day to keep our skin from feeling dry. Look at people who use Chapstick, I have heard a lot of people say that they are “addicted” to it. Well, yeah their skin probably is, they get a feeling of moisture from it while the petroleum slowly kills off their skin. Thus billions of tubes of Chapstick are sold.

So I started researching and discovered that the all natural people are actually on to something. Yes I know natural is better, I mean I’m not a complete idiot, but with some stuff I didn’t realize it made SUCH a difference. I decided I would be making my own lotions.

So I whipped up some body oils and sugar scrubs, I made them for me and for my mom. Well we both love them. I will admit to using fragrance oils rather than essential oils. They are WAY cheaper, someday maybe I’ll be able to afford the essential oils for all my uses but right now the fragrance oils are working out just fine. My skin looks a billion times better as well.

My next step was going and ordering shea butter and some specialty oils and making my own lotion/body butters. It’s WAY different. The feel as it goes on is different in a massive way. For a couple of seconds it feels like it’s ridiculously oily, then bam it soaks in and your skin just feels nice. Even with cracks on my hands it didn’t burn or sting it just soaked it. My hands are now looking much better and I’ll soon be starting on my feet.

My next step is going to be the figuring out of hair products, I’ve heard of people who don’t shampoo and stuff. They use vinegar and other natural things to clean and condition their hair and that’s probably what I’ll be trying next.

Do you want me to document my experimenting with that here on the blog? Let me know!

Do you REALLY need a TV that badly?

I have something to say. I’ve seen a lot of people basically saying that people who are “lucky enough” to have jobs at places like Walmart, Kmart, Target etc should have NO problem working on Thanksgiving. One reason given is that there are service men and women overseas who are away from their families. Another is that they should basically be happy to have a job at all, another reason is that hey, other places are open so they should suck it up and deal with it.

I have some observations to make. The people who work retail do so for a reason. If they wanted to be in the military and be away from their family they would be. They would have joined the army to make money rather than working at WM. The fact that so many people are out of work right now, and struggling to make it should not make it OK for companies, rich billionaire assholes and boards of directors to treat their employees like crap. You don’t need a new TV THAT much. You don’t need a new tv soooooo desperately that you should feel okay with the fact that people are away from their families, kids are missing mommy or daddy etc.Yes there ARE some places that SHOULD be open on holidays, there are essential jobs that DO need to be done, like nursing, doctors, cops etc. Yeah it sucks that they have to do what they do on the holidays but hey it’s an essential thing they’re doing. They’re saving people. They make just a smidge more than minimum wage though. They have actual benefits and are compensated fairly.

Oh but you say Target is paying their employees holiday pay too!!!! Yeah well jack squat times 2 is still jack squat. They do ask for volunteers first but I guarantee you that not all the people hauling themselves away from their families volunteered to do so.

10 or so years ago when we forgot to have an ingredient on hand for our meal we HOPED that the 7-11 or some other gas station was open and that they maybe had the ingredient. The grocery stores were closed, all the big box stores were closed. They SHOULD be closed. There SHOULD be a few days of the year like Thanksgiving, Christmas etc that we should STOP.

Just stop the normal every day crap, the shopping, the hurrying, the scurrying, the worrying and we should just take that time to be with our family. Don’t want to spend time with them? Fine, don’t! Spend time with friends, spend time alone relaxing, spend time helping others. Just take a break and do something that ISN’T totally selfish, isn’t stuff centered, isn’t me me me me centered.