Dear Trich – Part Three, A year on.

It’s been a year, one whole year since I wrote my first dear trich blogpost. It was one of the most liberating feeling talking directly to trich through the means of the internet, for some weird unknown reason. I then wrote a part two shortly after and both posts got a very good reaction. A year on I’ve decided to write to the beast that will always live with me.

Here we are again, Trich. Hi. A year ago I was angry, so angry with you. You were controlling my life. You were making me stay up hours and hours at night, making me not forget you were there and forced me to keep pulling my hair. I will never forget these times, never. 

No matter HOW hard I tried to stop, you would not let me. 

Fast forward a year and you are still here. To be honest, you’ll always be here. You still creep up on me day to day. I have now began to accept you will always be a part of me. 

A year ago, you were still my little secret, that only very few people knew about and now every one knows about you. Even to the point that I have now got myself a digital marketing and social media intern to help other people with hair loss, due to talking about you at the interview. I am not ashamed now, when I’m sat on the train, sat in the living room watching TV or even laying in bed to say, don’t mind me… it’s just trich reminding me, it’s still here. 

I have learnt that there are ways to help control it, although not all the time these work. I have learnt that now, if I put coconut oil on the ends of my hair, not only will it give my hair a conditioning treatment, it will help my fingers to slide down.  I also have to thank you actually, trich, for allowing me to have acrylics every month. My nails look sassy because of you. 

I recently went to my hair dressers to get it cut. Both you and I know that hairdressers are not the place to be. Especially when you are trying to explain those bald patches throughout your hair when they lift your hair up or that there are shorter parts at the side where I’ve snapped it off. I was so so nervous before. To the point I made myself late because I just couldn’t face going in. But… I went in. I gave myself right at that last moment after friends had insisted it would be OK before, that it will be OK. This was the time I decided not to hide you behind the excessive bleach use (that I don’t do no more, but only said it because it was easier) and instead spoke about what trichotillomania was. How it effects me and what triggers you and I came out feeling so much better and proud of myself for going in – something I would not of done a year ago. 

This past year you have made me a stronger person. It takes a lot of strength to deal with you everyday. Not only does it drain the life and soul out of you pulling your hair out every single day, but it does get you incredibly down. I feel so alone when I’m pulling my hair as it does make you zone out. But when I get the chance to talk about you, i.e. my interview before, it makes me feel less alone. Even though  my arm to have unbelievable aches every single day, to the point sometimes it feels like I have a dead arm. 

A year ago, I thought I’d never of got this far, a year later I have. You won’t beat me completely. I will keep fighting you day in day out. Maybe if one day you’re kind on me, I’ll be kind on you? 

Maybe see you in a year? Who knows. 

Charlotte.

 

Illustration by me:
ILLO

 

 

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Life as a Graduate Part One.

So… here’s my little insight for you all into the world of a recent graduate. Twelve weeks ago today, I handed in my final major project at university. Crazy! I miss the work load strangely, I miss the knowing that I was working towards something great and I miss seeing my friends almost every day as well as living with some. I also miss the independence uni gave me and how everything was so much closer to me down at uni. Since the uni days, I just feel like every day that goes by I can slowly feel my creativity slip a way a little more, or so I think it is.

I am losing my mind every day applying for six – nine jobs whilst simultaneously getting emailed replies from other companies declining job applications. Some not even giving a few hours and instantly replying saying, no chance. (I once got an email that said I don’t think this role is worth your application – great, loved that.)

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(Pic by my good friend Aisha’s dad – woo graduation day!)

Right now, I am currently in that stage of looking for a graduate job whether that be an internship that pays for at least my travel and food expenses or a junior graphic designer job.

The only thing with this is, many jobs require experience. How am I meant to get real life experience if people don’t give you the chance? That phrase real life keeps coming up. I’m over it. I do, however, have a real big issue with internships that don’t pay and especially now I’ve graduated with a decent degree. I personally feel they exploit new creatives with fresh ideas to build their company up and for what? Many of them… nothing. I know that completing at least even a week of an internship will ultimately become part of your CV.  This way, it can count towards experience every company wants you to have, but internships could also be unpractical if you have no money – like myself. For example, for me to get to an internship in peak hours it would cost me £600 a month on travel only, for free work

I’ve found that the interviews I’ve been to so far have also bigged you up and make you believe you are suitable for a role and then, sadly, will see someone else for an interview and they have better experience than you. Even if that’s just a tiny bit and you’re back to square one. Who would of thought that sitting at a computer all day every day refreshing websites for potential jobs, going to interviews and then restarting the process can be mentally and of course physically exhausting.

I’m also aware that I haven’t finished uni that long ago and I also know that jobs take a while to get but I’m feeling frustrated in this job search and ultimately, lost. Let alone the massive pressure to get a job in the degree you studied the past three years and spent a fortune on. It feels like an endless cycle right now and no matter how hard I try and think… if I don’t get this job or I don’t get that reply, it’s not the right one for me… it is disheartening. I find myself feeling angry that maybe I’m not good enough for the career I want to go into and the constant declines are making me believe it more and more.

When I first got my few replies back about job interviews/phone call interviews I was excited that I posted on my social media and let those really close know. But with the constant not getting them, even though I’m trying my hardest… I’ve began not to let them know. That phrase… build your success silently is coming to my mind. Maybe if I don’t shout about these things, it will work in my favour? I don’t know… my brain is weird.

I have really and truly hit those graduate blues and I’m not sure how many more days I can sit on my sofa, refreshing job applications and watching Netflix I can take before going out my mind. I’m just so so nervous thinking I’m not good enough for my career I want to take. It’s becoming more and more believable the more I get jobs declined.

I just want a chance in this real world, I’m almost over it, already… before things have started.

 

 

 

Confidence VS Creativity

So, it’s got to the main crucial part in my whole degree… my FMP. An FMP is a final major project and it’s the last ever project I will do at university. You will then potentially show future employees after you leave. To me, that sounds scary.

I’ve been studying fashion graphics (which is basically fashion and graphic design combined) for three years now. I have enjoyed myself throughly on the course and I have definitely learned skills I never thought I had or could have. One of skills being digital illustration. My mum is very good at drawing and so is my uncle, so I’m guessing that’s where my creativity comes from. I love showing off the work I’ve created and proud of to people who follow me on social media, people I know and see day to day and professionals at interviews for work experience/freelance.

However, I am not that confident. To be honest it scares the living life out of me the need to be confident about ideas. I’ve never been that person in class that puts up their hand first to answer a question in a full class and I am definitely not that person who voices their opinions to a massive crowd. I have grown to be OK with that and accept it as part of me. This isn’t a blaming game but I do think school and the people who constantly used to tear me down and rip me apart have played a major role in shaping me to be this person. Of course, my anxiety isn’t exactly the biggest help either.

With my confidence not being the best, it effects the way I create for my degree and other pieces of work. I am never, ever confident with my ideas and every time I submit a piece of work I worry for hours and days about if it could of been better. I’m sure lots of people have this too but I will not rest about it. I always don’t think I’ve pushed myself to my full potential and this is probably the main reason why I feel this way. I want to ask for people’s opinions on things more and I want to ask for help if I’m stuck on something but my confidence just won’t let me.

I absolutely love seeing people do their best and do well. Nothing makes me happier and I am 100% routing for them. Yaaassss!!! But with everything I have, I just wish I could do the same for myself. Instead of sitting there for hours comparing myself to creatives I see/follow online and creatives I see on a daily basis, I wish I had the confidence to say “IM GOOD TOO!”

This lack of confidence is something I’m going to try my absolute best with in the last four months of uni – yikes!! I want to be able to leave my degree after being so proud of what I have achieved through my FMP and actually show my full potential and not hide back on ideas. Not to let my brain win when it tells me “don’t do that someone else would have done it better” or “your idea is rubbish, you share that everyone will laugh” I want to come out of this degree shouting my opinions around and not have those awful feelings after. After all, everyone is entitled to their own opinion.


At the end of the day, I am my own worst enemy. If it doesn’t change now, will it ever in the future? Will I get that dream job with no confidence? It’s time to make some changes

Follow my graphic design instagram if you’d like, it’ll be updated with my inspiration and development as well as personal projects along the way. Who knows, there could be more creative posts on here in the future!

Bullying VS Trich

The one thing I love about my blog is that I now have the confidence to share my experiences to help other people know they aren’t alone. That is what I hope to do with this post. In my first ever Trich post explaining an overall of my story and what Trich is I mentioned about bullying. Bullying was such a massive massive part of my schooling. I was bullied constantly for nine years. Right from year three through to year eleven. It was a huge part of my life. I’m not going to go into every single detail about how I was bullied in this post but I will give some examples. I think it so emotional and so upsetting thinking back to this time, how a groups of people can make someone feel that bad. I would still like to know what goes through a bullies mind to make them chose ways to mentally, emotionally and sadly sometimes physically destroy innocent people.

I will talk more of my high school experience of bullying as that is more prominent in my mind. I was bullied, believe it or not, for having a ‘square shaped head’ I know right, ridiculous? I had Spongebob Squarepants shouted, and I mean physically shouted at across classrooms, down corridors, around corners and even in the street. I would have the theme tune hummed as I walked by. I had square head shouted and drilled into my mind every single day whilst in high school that I began to believe I had one and there was something wrong with me. I had people walk by me making square gestures with their hands, a bit like big fish little fish cardboard box. These people were usually in groups which I still find funny now that if I saw them on their own they wouldn’t even think of doing it. You know perhaps showing off to their mates to look ‘cool’ but instead they were awful people and they were destroying someones self belief and worth.

Having words like these drilled in your head for years makes your self confidence and self worth plummet. I still to this day am not as confident as what I would like to be. I used to be so scared to put my hand up in class if I knew the answer, incase it was wrong and the class would abrupt into a laughter and shout horrible, horrible things to me. Now, looking back I shouldn’t of cared. I should of gone for it but they made me feel so so so bad. I have presentations at uni now, which I do almost every week to show how we develop our ideas I still feel sick, I still shake and I still have panic attacks about them now. I blame the bullies for this completely. 

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Whilst they were shouting things at me in the classroom I had to have something which distracted me. I needed something which I could block out their voices and laughter. I needed something that showed them I didn’t care, although I cared so so much. I didn’t have the voice then to tell them to be quiet and go away. I didn’t have the confidence and I 100% didn’t have the power, especially when they were in groups.

That’s when Trich came in. I’ve mentioned before that when I go to pull my hair, most of the time I get into a trance state which I can’t get out of until Trich is satisfied. I barely know what’s going on around me and my hair took full focus. Back then, I used to blame the fact I was nervous onto why I pulled my hair as I had no idea what it was. I used to pull and snap away and away. I didn’t understand Trich at all back then. I didn’t even know what it was so I didn’t have near enough as much frustration with it then as I do now. I got angry because I couldn’t stop. I got told more and more and no one understood that I couldn’t and I was in fact using it as a coping mechanism to get past these awful bullies.

Although this was only one part of what bullies done, they also stopped me from coming out of school and in school on time because of waiting at the gate for when I left. I was so physically scared that I would go into registration late almost every morning and have a teacher walk me to the gate at the end of the day. That happened all the way up to year ten. They stopped me from ‘hanging’ around with my friends at lunchtime and made me be on my own many lunchtimes. They used to corner me in classrooms and in changing rooms and were just so nasty to me, saying awful things that weren’t true. I had rumours made up about me and I was basically the girl they could throw all this shit to and nothing happen because I was that scared. I did tell teachers but I still think to this day they were scared of them too and didn’t want to make a massive deal of it. It didn’t stop at school either, I had messages on Bebo remember them days? that would be nasty. They used to make me scared to log on to see what was in my inbox. I think their mission was to stop me from having any social time at all, in real life or on the internet. Screen Shot 2016-10-02 at 11.38.52.pngI’ve now sat and thought about it and now I’m grateful it happened like that at school. I wouldn’t know now how to stand up for myself without them tormenting me all the time. I wouldn’t know that I have this strength inside me to say enough is enough if it started up again. I would not let anyone, whoever they are, make me feel like that ever again. They may have ‘grown up’ and forgot about the way they treated people like me at school but I haven’t. They have mentally scarred my self confidence and self worth.

If you are being bullied then please please message me. On any of my social media or email. I know what you’re going through 100%. I’ve been there and I’ve done it but trust me it gets better. Please don’t let them take control of you. If you have a teacher you like at school then please go and tell them. You don’t have to put up with it. You shouldn’t put up with it. You can overcome them. You’re so much stronger than you think, trust me.

And finally, to them bullies… THANK YOU for making me the strong person I am today. You may have made my life hell for nine years but now I’m stronger than you could imagine. You didn’t win, I DID, I WON.

Here are some organisations which can help you if you’re getting bullied, they’re there to listen to you also and give the best advice they can… Please don’t be afraid to get in contact if you need them:

I hate you Trich.

Today marks the beginning of BFRB awareness week and I feel like I can really share some of my stories, tips and how I’m feeling throughout this week. I didn’t want my second post for this week to be negative but, I had a really bad Trich night last night which I think sharing the reasons why I HATE Trich will help people who have Trich relate and realise their thoughts aren’t bad or wrong and in fact they aren’t alone.

Recently, I’m going to be honest, Trich hasn’t been fulfront of my mind. This week I just went back to university and a whole lot of work thrown in front of my face and third year is becoming more and more real by the second. As well as other things that are happening I haven’t felt like Trich has really been there. It probably was but I didn’t know about it, that happens a lot too. In the past two days I have had my hair down the WHOLE day. Major major deal guys. I went to an event with my blog which was so lovely to see other bloggers at and I also went to London. The journey to London is twice as long from Southampton as it is from home and Trich does not like long long journeys. When I went to London on the way there I had the horrible horrible constant thoughts of ‘you should pull’ ‘why aren’t you pulling’ ‘you’re doing nothing with your time right now – bingo easy time to pull’ ‘you have neglected me for so long why haven’t you pulled’ and I managed to push past them, try and quiet that voice and managed to beat it. That was until I was ONE… Just one stop away from home and I began pulling. It must of been around 9PM I started and was still pulling and snapping at midnight. It sounds so silly but I had straightened my hair yesterday because I wanted it to look nice, and pretty for once. Straighteners make my hair coarse and it is such a huge huge trigger for me. It was like my mind thought, hellllllll no we are not letting her forget she straightened her hair, she will get them urges to pull and she will pull. I tell you, Trich tries its absolute hardest to ruin any positive thoughts I have with my hair and 90% of the time I let it win… I’m so silly, I know.

Whilst I was lying awake pulling and pulling all these thoughts came to me as to why I HATE Trich. Hate is a really really strong word but I would not wish Trich on my worst enemy. Here are the thoughts that came to me last night:

  • TIME CONSUMING. Holy hell. It wouldn’t even matter if I was at work, if I had to be somewhere Trich will ALWAYS stop me from doing that AND make me spend hours on pulling. When I sit down to do uni work, get ready or something as simple and brushing my hair 50% of the time I’m sat there waiting for it to pass so I can actually do what I was meant to do.
  • Embarrassing. I felt this more on the train yesterday. You know that feeling where it’s busy and you sit there pulling and pulling and pulling and can SEE PEOPLE STARING. I don’t think people realise how sad, upset and little it makes you feel. I wish people minded their own business more.
  • People thinking its ‘weird’. ‘Why do you pull you’re hair out?’ ‘Doesn’t it hurt?’ ‘It’s so weird you do that’ I’ll tell you now, if I could miraculously stop pulling I would. I would stop as soon as. I’ve been suffering from this for years and years. In fact I worked out it was around when I was 8 it began which means I’ve been suffering with this for a good fourteen years. If I could stop wouldn’t you think I had done by now?
  • If I don’t want to get in a photo, or I’m fussing over my hair that’s because I feel so insecure. If my hair is broken at the sides I’m going to make it look less like that. I’m going to want to spend time sorting my hair out, maybe more than other people. I’m not doing it because I’m vain, it’s because I feel so rubbish if I don’t.
  • Self confidence is down the pan. From last night I feel this more. I feel like I’ve taken 100 steps back after my 200 forward. I’m not going to lie I’m frightened my hair will look like it did at the beginning of the year. I’m frightened if one step back will make it go further and further back and I will be back at step one. It’s happened so many times it is possible. I’m frightened.

 

There are many other reasons I hate it, most because I try so hard to get people to understand and it’s hard. I don’t understand it myself and trying to get other people to understand is so much harder than I thought. This week I will be sharing some experiences I’ve had whilst having Trich, some reasons to what I think has caused it and some tips.

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(Photo credit – Instagram)

I’m sorry again this is quite a negative post, but it isn’t always sunshine living with this and where it is sunshine I like to celebrate it, hard.

Just a little note…

University started again this week and I feel like it’s given me a massive smack around the face. Finally going into the final stretch of my university life and head first into third year is so daunting. Suddenly everything feels so real. It’s now all about getting them grades that will help get me my future after. I have so many anxieties about this such as if I actually have the skills I need to be able to do this in the first place. In fact I think this worries me more than it should. Damn you brain

Sadly it means that I’m going to have to step down a little from my blog. I want to try and post every week but I’m not sure it’s going to happen. I’m going to be trying to juggle university with a job and can already feel the stress. I really hope you all understand. 

 I’ve had the most incredible support over the summer from this blog… it is so crazy that five months ago no one apart from myself knew I had Trichotillomania. I kept it as my own little secret away from the world. I was so ashamed of it and I thought even if I went to try and explain to people they would not understand. I mean, hell even I don’t understand it. It’s a difficult thing to understand if you’re suffering from it yourself, let alone someone who hasn’t. Thank you to every single person has got in contact with me after my posts of Trichotillomania. If you suffer from Trich yourself or know someone who has it then please, if you need someone to talk to… I’ll be here always. 

I’m so proud that through my little space on the internet I was able to reach out to people about this awful illness and try and bring understanding and awareness to people literally all over the world. 

Another thing I’m incredibly proud of is THIS. The first picture is my hair two years ago compared to one of my latest selfies (I take way too many!) HOW HAS THIS HAPPENED!!! I’m not going to lie to you all, I teared up seeing this. I’ve always always dreamed of having hair all the same length, ever since Trich took over and… I’M ALMOST THERE. Almost


Hope to speak to you guys soon. 1st October – 7th October is BFRB (body focussed repetitive behaviour) awareness week and Trich falls underneath this. I’m hoping to post through this week. Thank you with everything I have for supporting this blog and I hope you all continue to, even if I may be a little quiet. MUCH LOVE and remember I’m always here if you’re struggling. Don’t fight it alone. You’ve got this.

Happy two years Southampton

Grab yourself a cuppa, this one is going to be long. Today marks exactly two years ago I made one of the biggest decisions and done the biggest thing I’ve ever done; move over 100 miles away from my family and friends. 100 miles away from home.

screen-shot-2016-09-17-at-19-51-46I still remember the run up to going away. I remember every time I went to go and visit my nan. She would have added an essential thing you needed to have when living on your own which I would never of thought of. You know things like medicine – of course you’ll need that at some point unless you’re supernatural and immune to all illnesses, if thats the case please give me your secret. My nan still does that to this day, tops me up with the stuff that I will need but may not already gone out to buy it or wouldn’t necessary bought with a food shop – thank you nan! I really appreciate it.

I also remember my going away meal. The meal where my family got together for a little goodbye to uni and I bought my good friend Shannon along. It was the weekend before I went and I remember then it kicking in that my family won’t just be down the road. That if I needed eggs to bake cakes I wasn’t able to just run to my nan and steal two eggs and instead have to go to the shop and grab six eggs and waste four because I don’t like eating eggs on their own.

However, it meant that I was about to start to gain my own independence and that was exciting. I was about to have all the freedom I possibly could have, not that I didn’t have that before but even more so now. It meant that I had to grow up, quickly. Hell did it smack me round the face as soon as I got there. Once I had grabbed my fob (I was staying in student halls first year, as many people do) and unloaded the car of way too much of my belongings into my room I’ll be living in for the next ten months, grabbed a food shop and saw my dad off which was hands down one of the worst times – ever, I headed back to my room and sat on my bed thinking, what now with tears down my face. Even now when I say bye I always cry, there’s something about your family leaving you down away that is just so so sad.

In my first year I’m not going to lie I got homesick a lot. To the point I wouldn’t leave my room and just lay in bed feeling sad. I missed the whole different lifestyle I had at home which I didn’t realise I had until I moved away. I would call any family member as many times as I could just to talk to them. I didn’t even meet the people I’m currently living now, who lived down my hallway until a few weeks in. Not every one has an experience like that but because I feel like I’m such a family girl, it hit me hard. Looking back on that to now I don’t get it nearly as much. I’ve finally got round to thinking in my head, I’m only a three hour train ride home, it’s not that bad. Besides, it’s so much nicer to go home and see my family after a long while, it feels more… special?

It’s no secret if you’ve read my blog before that I have a mental health illness which is triggered majorly by anxiety and depression. It was life changing moving away from home and battling with that. It’s made me more aware of how to look after myself more and it literally is just me here, to look after myself. If I’m sick and I don’t have medicine in, I have to go out and buy it and still make my dinner and get through the day. This is probably one of the biggest thing’s I’ve learnt. I have had an overwhelming amount of support for this, however. Last year, just after I had started my second year I went to seek help with dealing with anxiety and the way it was making me feel from the uni after advice. It helped me a lot. I’ve wrote about it in a blog post here.

All in all I have learnt a lot about myself. I have a stable job here now, I’ve been passing my university projects and now going into third year and I have my own little uni family. I know more than two people now, I know all the great coffee shops and take aways and I now have people down here who look out for me. I have no idea, how I’ve made it this far without going home… especially after them first few weeks, but I battled through it and still going now. It’s been an adventure for sure. I still haven’t left Southampton and gone anywhere else down the south coast, that is still on my list to do, as well as go the Isle of Wight.

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A massive special thank you to the family and friends who listen to my rants constantly. Who listen when I have something I’m finding difficult and just need to speak it out. Those who give the most invaluable advice and those who check up on me to see how I’m doing. Those who call me for hours and hours because I’m feeling alone and those who text me to make sure I’m OK. I appreciate it so much, so so much. Genuinely. If you have just moved to uni and feeling alone, down, don’t really know what to do.. please please do message me. I would so love to help you and give you tips.

I’m lucky now that I can call Southampton my second home and I’m proud of myself.