My Replacement Behaviors for Hair Pulling, Skin Picking or Nail Biting

So you have your Keen bracelet, your "self care alarm," as per our Keen family member, Adrienne. Now what?

Well, now it's time to acknowledge your need for self care when the alarm sounds. How can you do that? Simple, practice replacement behaviors for hair pulling, skin picking or nail biting. These are essentially alternatives to skin picking, hair pulling or nail biting - things to do INSTEAD of engaging in these behaviors that send us into a vicious cycle of negativity and loss

Here are some of my favorite replacement behaviors that have been helping me reduce my hair pulling. These substitutes either help me generally reduce stress in more positive ways than hair pulling does or have helped me replace my hair pulling behavior during the exact moment of need -- when the Keen bracelet "alarm" sounds! 

I hope you will try some of these replacement behaviors for hair pulling, skin picking or nail biting for yourself and let us know what your favorites are in the comments to spark some creativity for others in our Keen family.

All in all, it's basically about taking care of yourself physically, emotionally and spiritually. This is a lot harder said than done, because let's face it, day to day of life gets in the way! But, if you can find even some balance, it will go a long way to helping you reduce your skin picking, nail biting or hair pulling tendencies.

Even if you don't have the Keen bracelet for trichotillomania, skin picking or nail biting YET, these ideas should still be able to help you!

Replacement Behavior 1. Sleep - I have always been a night owl, usually not sleeping until 2 or 3 in the morning, as you may have read about in one of my #WearYourAwarenessWednesday newsletters. For almost a decade I did not realize that sleep was my biggest trigger. Now it's my #1 replacement behavior for hair pulling.

It is only in using my keen bracelet - and tracking my hair pulling behavior with the app - that I was able to see the data sounding the alarm that I really, really, needed to be asleep.

Replacement Behavior 2. Exercise - So, I personally don't make it to the gym. EVER. Instead, I've found subtle ways to ensure my body is getting some movement each day - especially training myself to stretch when I sense my hands 

But, I have found other ways to ensure my body is getting some extra movement each day. I try to take the stairs when I can & at night, while putting my son to sleep I stretch, do plank and sit-ups. At work, I try to use a standing desk to help with my posture. And of course, having my sons & chasing them around keeps me very active!

If you don't think there's time in your day to go to they gym - that is ok! Perhaps like these hotel maids, all you need is a shift in mindset of how your daily activities are really giving you the exercise you need. One of my faves is doing stretches to put the dishes away as I unload! :)

Replacement Behavior 3. Deep Breathing - Among other things, Keen's button will actually initiate a deep breathing guide within its charging light. Essentially, the light breathes in and out with you.

The beauty of deep breathing is that you always have it with you! My personal favorite technique to help me, as taught to me by twitter-friend & psychologist, Dr. Ali Mattu, is thinking of it as smelling a hot, delicious slice of pizza (breathing in) and then blowing out birthday candles (breathing out).

Replacement Behavior 4. Therapy - I'm not afraid to say that I can't overcome trichotillomania alone. A few years ago I went to a therapist to help me uncover and face deeply rooted traumas and negative beliefs from my childhood. In the past few years, I have overcome these issues, which in turn reduced my need to pull out my hair.

Replacement Behavior 5. Block the Hair Pulling, Skin Picking or Nail Biting - In the past, I have tried to simply make it harder on myself to get to my eyebrows or eyelashes and engage in compulsive hair pulling behavior. These are a few of the methods I've used: 

  • Vaseline
  • Fake Glasses
  • Bandaids

Of these, Vaseline is still very much in my arsenal. Not only does it make it slippery, but it also keeps the prickly regrowth smooth, which is a huge trigger for me. 

habitaware-gratitude-replacement-behavior.jpg

Replacement Behavior 6. Gratitude - Each night I take a moment to pause and give thanks for one good thing that happened. By focusing on the good, I am able to build my happiness muscles.

My BIG TIP here is to not just focus on good things that already happened, but to give  also give thanks for things that have yet to happen.

All you have to do is complete this sentence with a goal you want to attain in the future:

"I am happy and grateful now that _________."

And of course, one of my "now that" statements of gratitude is "I am happy and grateful now that I have full lashes & brows."

aneela-idnani-habitaware-keen-bracelet-trichotillomania.jpg

Replacement Behavior 7. Being Nicer to Myself - I definitely suffer from severe negative internal self-speak. I have the perfectionistic tendencies of a Trichster and I tend to beat myself up, often blaming myself for things that are actually out of my control. With the help of my psychologist, and by instituting self affirmations, I was able to reverse this chatter and not be so hard on myself.

Using Keen daily was also one of the nicest things I could have done for myself. It has been a huge help in making me more aware of where my hands are when I pull - and with that new found awareness I am able to truly take advantage of the 6 ideas above and practice, practice, practice until they are now becoming my go-to, automatic responses for my trichotillomania triggers.

Click here to learn why others choose Keen! >

About Keen by HabitAware

HabitAware makes Keen, a smart bracelet that helps manage nail biting, hair pulling, thumb sucking, and other subconscious behaviors. Customized gesture detection brings you into awareness and helps you develop healthier habits.

Order now & sign up for our e-newsletter for helpful strategies, news & important product updates:

Conquering with Keen: How Adrienne Broke Free from Trichotillomania

38-year-old Adrienne lives in Michigan and has had Trichotillomania for 25 years.  This is how she’s Conquering with Keen Awareness, in her own words.

From "Best Hair" to Hair Pulling Disorder

HabitAware-Testimonial-Review-Adrienne-Trichotillomania-Awareness-Bracelet.png

My hair was my “thing.” The thing I was known for. The thing that put a quiet, introverted, awkward girl in the yearbook for “Best Hair” right next to the popular girls. But, it was considered “big” hair - curly and frizzy to all the quintessential “mean girls” of middle school. So just before high school, I began to wish for simple, manageable, straight hair. I thought if I could just have less of the thick coarse hairs, all of my hair would be better. That was the start of my Trichotillomania.

I grew up in the early 90s, just before the earliest days of home internet, when a person’s social life was 95% in person and 5% on the phone. Social media, chat rooms, and online support groups didn’t exist. As a result, I was utterly alone with my hair pulling. For the first ten years of my hair pulling I didn’t know other people did what I did. I didn’t know there was a medical word for hair pulling: “Trichotillomania.” I thought I was weird, I thought I was gross, and at times I thought I was cursed.

My hair pulling focused on eliminating the coarse hairs eventually graduated to automatic pulling that I didn’t realize I was doing until the hair was gone from my head. I was convinced there was something morally and spiritually wrong with me. My mom did what she thought was best. She went about silently vacuuming the piles of long blonde hair off the floor, occasionally asking me if I wanted to see a therapist. She even got me a kitten, so my hands would stay busy petting and playing with her. But as far as my mom and I knew, I was the only one in the world slowly making myself bald, strand by strand.

In my early 20s, something magical happened. I stopped pulling my hair almost completely. I wasn’t trying to stop any more than I always had. But, I stopped enough to regrow my long, blonde ringlets. I experienced college life with hair, and it was glorious! I loved having hair. My Trichotillomania gradually returned, but I was able to limit the hair pulling and hide it for 6-7 more years.

Living with Trichotillomania

Two pregnancies in 3 years plus all the accompanying hormones, followed by the demise of my relationship with my children’s father took a huge toll on my hair. My curls had all but disappeared as a consequence of pulling the thick curly hairs and leaving the thin, fine, straight ones behind. Every day, I spent over an hour in the mirror trying to get my ponytail just right so the bald spots were hidden. I would tell myself, “STOP, just STOP, STOP already!” only to find my hand in my hair a few seconds later. I was completely out of control.

Trichotillomania, like any Body Focused Repetitive Behavior (BFRB), is incredibly pervasive. It worked its way into every part of my life. I hated leaving the house because I was always self-conscious about my hair. I was going to work, paying bills, trucking two tiny humans back and forth to school and daycare, and raising them to be kind, honest, and loving. However, because my hair never looked “put together,” I never felt like my life was “put together.” My kids never had playdates because I hated being around other parents whose very proximity to me reminded me that my life still felt like a wreck. My career suffered. I put up with a job that was beneath my skill level working for a boss who loved to humiliate me. But, I didn’t feel like I could present myself as a candidate for a better job the way I looked. I rarely dated for similar reasons.

Even when I seemed to be winning my battle with Trichotillomania, I could never go a day, let alone an hour, without thinking about it. I was constantly cleaning up hair, and it wound up in the most awkward places. I would obsessively check files of paperwork before I handed them to coworkers, afraid a tiny curly hair would be stuck inside one. My kids would pick up their toys, which would be covered in my discarded hair. Cold and windy days instantly made me aware of my thinning spots. And forget about swimming in the summer - getting my hair wet in public was not going to happen.  

Finding Trichotillomania Support

I finally found the Trichotillomania social media support groups that were filled with ideas on how to stop hair pulling: amino acids, beanies, and castor oil. I made up my mind to do everything, try everything, exhaust every resource within my means to bring my Trichotillomania under control. It took a few weeks for me to have a pull-free day, but I did it! Followed by another and another. But, I was “white knuckling” it. I couldn’t let my mind drift away from the constant repetition of, “Don’t pull, just don’t pull, DON’T PULL!” The minute I tried to focus on anything else, my hands were back in my hair. It was incredibly stressful and exhausting. I felt like I was a tiny hair that was being stretched almost to the point of snapping. I decided I needed more help.

habitaware-keen-trichotillomania-awareness-bracelet.jpg

The social media groups also talked about the habit tracking bracelet that alerts you when you are about to pull your hair. Since all my hair pulling in the last 20 years had been subconscious or “automatic,” I thought I was an excellent candidate for the Keen habit-awareness bracelet. Once I had my two Keens trained, I felt I was finally able to relax knowing that I would be alerted before I pulled my hair. I finally felt like myself again. That feeling alone was so worth it!

Supporting others on their Trichotillomania Journey

I recently started a Facebook group called 'Curl Trichs' for people suffering from trichotillomania who have curly, wavy, or otherwise textured hair. I started this group because I was looking for something like it and it didn't exist. There are Curl groups and trichotillomania support groups, and there are overlap in members. But there was no group specifically for curly-haired trichsters, and I thought there should be. 

habitaware-keen-awareness-bracelet-trichotillomania-adrienne-review.jpg

Curly or textured hair complicates trichotillomania and trichotillomania recovery in many ways. Many people with the disorder look for coarse, kinked hair to pull, and many of us curly-trichsters, find that ALL our hair is coarse or kinked. Disguising our spots is more difficult than our straight-haired trichster friends.  Blending regrowth isn't as simple as flat-ironing it (unless we want to spend hours flat-ironing the rest of our hair). Finding hair pieces to match one's curl pattern and color is nearly impossible.

Curl patterns, coarse hair...curly hair is deeper than these texture. I've talked to so many curly-haired trichsters who grew up hating their hair, even before they started hair pulling. Maybe their mother didn't know how to care for curls, maybe the person was teased or taunted about their hair. These things can resonate through a lifetime, and trichotillomania is generally a lifelong disorder (but trichotillomania recovery is possible!) Embracing and cultivating my curls with natural products and techniques specifically designed to help curly hair has changed my attitude about my hair and helped my trichotillomania recovery tremendously. So, I wanted to have a place for curly/wavy/kinked/textured haired trichsters to trade tips, DIY recipes, product info, but also to vent, celebrate each others victories and to provide support to one and other. That is my hope for the group. It's a closed group but for the meantime it is searchable. If anyone is looking to join, you can search 'Curl Trichs' on Facebook or just click here!

Retrain Your Brain with HabitAware, the Trichotillomania Awareness Bracelet

I wanted to make the most out of my investment in Keen. I decided to “retrain my brain” as HabitAware suggests. Keen is an amazing tool, but tools need to be utilized to do this extraordinary thing. Just like an alarm clock doesn’t force me to get out of bed and go to work; the keen vibration alone wouldn’t retrain my brain. I began taking the advice from the HabitAware blog and other sites regarding Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. I wanted to replace my behavior with a healthier choice.

⏰ 🚨Keen is my self-care “alarm.” 🚨⏰
— Adrienne

If my Keens start vibrating, I take a deep breath and drink a sip of ice water. If my Keens keep vibrating, I adjust my posture and do more breathing exercises. If my Keens still keep vibrating, I get up and walk somewhere, even if it’s just to the restroom to wash my hands or put cold water on my face. The vibration alerts me that I’m about to pull my hair, and I respond by relaxing my body and mind. Keen’s vibration is a hair pulling alarm… but it’s also a “self-care” alarm.

I can’t pinpoint exactly when it happened, but something inside me changed. Subtle physiological, emotional, and mental changes precede pulling. Stress and anxiety start to build, but it happens so subtly, it is easy to ignore. I began recognizing all the little micro changes BEFORE my anxiety bubbled over and before my Keens vibrate. Those feelings are now my “alarm,” letting me know it’s time to decompress before I reach the point of searching for a hair to pull. I use breathing, yoga, exercise, music - whatever it takes to eliminate the stress and anxiety.  Just like Trichotillomania can permeate all areas of a Trichster’s life, substituting positive behaviors for destructive ones will resonate in other sectors of life. This type of self-care required for this process is so beneficial to physical, mental and spiritual health.

I feel more comfortable, so I’m a better role model.
— Adrienne

Since I started using Keen, my hair has completely filled in. I know it’s just hair and it shouldn’t matter. But I love that I don’t feel cold breezes on my thin spots anymore. As soon as I quit hair pulling, I stopped finding stray hairs on everything. (It’s taking much longer to break the habit of obsessively checking paperwork before handing it off to coworkers - but I haven’t seen a stray hair in a file or on a stack of papers since!) More importantly, I’m calmer and generally just more relaxed. I feel comfortable talking to other parents, so my kids’ lives have gotten so much better.

habitaware-keen-trichotillomania-awareness-bracelet-adrienne-review-success-confident.jpg

Plus, I’m more confident and that alone makes me feel like I’m a better role model. Last month I swam in a hotel pool with my kids and I was 100% comfortable. For the first time in a decade, I even went to the salon for highlights to celebrate 7 months of Trichotillomania recovery!

I would absolutely recommend the Keen habit tracking bracelets to anyone with a BFRB, such as hair pulling, skin picking, or nail biting. Keen by itself is a great tool to alert a person before they pull their hair. And the support at Habitaware is exceedingly helpful during the entire process (and forever afterward too!).

But the real magic is in the process of replacing the behavior while retraining your brain and the healing that results when a person commits to it.

 
Adrienne-habitaware-keen-review-quote.png
 

Thank you for sharing your inspiring story, Adrienne, and for committing to retraining your brain! Getting to help good people like you every day is the real magic for us!

Wishing you CONTINUED love, strength & awareness,

HabitAware-Team-Support.png
 

About Keen by HabitAware

HabitAware makes Keen, a smart bracelet that helps manage nail biting, hair pulling, thumb sucking, and other subconscious behaviors. Customized gesture detection brings you into awareness and helps you develop healthier habits.

Order now & sign up for our e-newsletter for helpful strategies, news & important product updates:


The cost of (not) treating Trichotillomania or Dermatillomania

I’ve heard some people express hesitation about Keen - maybe it’s the cost or maybe it’s the fear of the unknown. To that I ask, What have you already SPENT, or LOST and what can you SAVE or GAIN from Keen awareness? 

Hair pulling is about more than just hair loss. Skin picking is more than skin deep. Nail biting is more than the tip of your finger. It's the physical, mental, social and emotional toll that brings the largest cost for us to bear.

To be clear, Keen's purpose is to help you with the first step of behavior change awareness. You can't change what you don't know. It's still work, but made easier with the power of awareness that helps you make healthier choices.

The cost of ignoring hair pulling, skin picking or nail biting

We've talked before about BFRB mindset and how we can work to reset our overall mindset.

Denial sometimes seems to be the first phase of how we see our BFRB, especially when it first onsets. We try to ignore it, sweeping it under a rug (literally + figuratively), hoping it just goes away. 

But it doesn't. It festers. It boils up. It entangles us. It infects us - physically in the form of skin lesions and infections, like our friend Lauren experienced - and mentally, as it steals our ability to lead fulfilling lives.

  "I wish I was a baller," like my childhood hero!

"I wish I was a baller," like my childhood hero!

For me personally, though I tried to ignore it, my fears of being found out led me to avoid social interaction. I still remember one time in elementary school screaming at my dad to "turn the car around" as he drove me to a friend's pool birthday party. 

In high school, the emotional toll my trichotillomania took on me reduced my self-confidence to the point that I quit two things I loved: playing basketball and playing saxaphone. 

If I had to put a price on that, it'd be the $71,635 I lost out on that Google tells me is the average salary for a WNBA player! Not to mention the MILLIONS in endorsement$$$!

What have you avoided because you ignored your BFRB? What have you lost out on?

Friendships? Jobs? Skills? Moments of Joy?

YOU CAN GAIN THEM BACK.

The cost of covering up hair pulling, skin picking, or nail biting

habitaware-eyebrowpencil-trichotillomania-cover-up.jpg

Similar to ignoring our BFRBs, I think at some point all of us with hair pulling (trichotillomania), skin picking (dermatillomania) or nail biting issues shift to a mindset of "I'll just hide it."

This typically means using cover ups and spending time consumed with worry and wonder if someone notices.

Some examples are wearing a wig or hat or bandana on your head, putting makeup over skin imperfections, using false lashes, or getting micro-blading / tattooing done over your eyebrows. 

I'm no stranger to cover ups. For most of my life, I hid behind eye liner and fake smiles. 

At base level, the costs of these cover ups can vary - wigs, depending on quality, can be anywhere from $50 to $5,000! And while one-off eye pencil and foundation purchases aren't too costly, they do add up to a $100s per year -- Think about how much you've donated to your local MAC or Sephora or Ulta! 

And let's be honest, you can't put a price on the time your mind spends wondering if someone is noticing. 

I've been in business meetings before where I couldn't concentrate because that thought just echo'd in my mind!

The cost of therapeutic treatment for trichotillomania or dermatillomania

If you have a mindset of being ready to face your BFRB, your go-to will be psychological treatment. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Habit Reversal and other therapies have been developed or adapted to specifically treat trichotillomania and dermatillomania.

Having worked with a psychologist trained by the TLC Foundation for BFRBs, I highly recommend it. Although the strategies gains are invaluable and therapy is by far the most effective treatment for trichotillomania today,  it has its drawbacks.

In the world we live in today, great mental healthcare is a luxury. Before Keen, I was working in advertising, where I had the favor of access to insurance that covered my trichotillomania treament visits. While I didn't track how much I spent on therapy, I do know that this can run upwards of $1,500 for a full course of trichotillomania or dermatillomania treatment.

After a while, I found my conversations with my psychologist to be so much like having coffee with a friend, that I decided to stop.  I was also very much in a good healthy place and was moving to China for 3 months for HabitAware - making consistent visits impossible! And consistency is key, but hard to achieve with rigid work requirements that may not allow for time off for visits like these, or overwhelming family needs.

Additionally, there is a lack of treatment professionals that truly understand these behaviors. I've heard time and again stories of BFRBers going to therapy for help to just here "Oh, Just stop!" This is why I support BFRB.org as they work to train professionals. 

What can you gain?

So yes, there's a financial cost to your trichotillomania, dermatillomania or other BFRB. A financial cost regardless of whether you ignore it, cover it, or face it. 

But there's also these invisible costs - the things you lose by denying yourself the chance to really take control and manage these conditions. 

Our Keen family is doing just that. For what cost? For about $150. That's $13 a month (or forgoing two cups of coffee), Or $3 dollars a week, Or 41 cents a day. Do that math!

Can you change your life enough with Keen awareness to afford 41 cents a day?! 

How can you NOT afford to?

Look at all the life you GAIN when you are in control of your BFRB through awareness:

  1. Time:  Spending 5 minutes in the bathroom instead of hours

  2. Social:  You are able to meet so many more people because your BFRB isn’t holding you back

  3. Professional:  With new found confidence comes new opportunities to ace the exam or go for the promotion

  4. Financial: As our hair grows in and our skin heals, we don’t need wigs, makeup and extra clothing to hide our BFRB damage.

  5. You:  Engaging in self-love & feeling good about you, not because your skin, nails or hair are perfect, but because you've faced this BFRB adversity head on. You've proven your ability to take on anything that comes your way. 

Make no mistake. Our mission is to help those with BFRBs find their awareness and to decrease the stigma of BFRBs across the globe. We've put our heart and soul into this product and the BFRB community. We want YOU to succeed and that is why:

1) every Keen is made with LOVE and a a 90-day money back guarantee

2) we offer free, video chat training where we help you find tune Keen for your needs because each BFRBer behavior is unique.  

We GAVE UP a lot to bring Keen to market because we knew what OTHERS COULD GAIN from it.

We thank YOU, Keen family for SPENDING this remarkable journey with us & we hope you'll share in the comments with us what you've GAINED.

love, strength & awareness,

Aneela & the HabitAware team


About Keen by HabitAware

HabitAware makes Keen, a smart bracelet that helps manage nail biting, hair pulling, thumb sucking, and other subconscious behaviors. Customized gesture detection brings you into awareness and helps you develop healthier habits.

Order now & sign up for our e-newsletter for helpful strategies, news & important product updates:


Community Spotlight: Kelsey: A Renaissance Woman, who just so happens to have Trichotillomania

YOU DESERVE TO BE

Meet Kelsey, she's a Keen family member, a volunteer for TLC Foundation for Body Focused Repetitive Behaviors (BFRBs) and an advocate for BFRB awareness. I met Kelsey through a mutual friend at the 2016 TLC conference. A year later, Kelsey gave a speech to share her journey and trichotillomania solution.

  “I hope that my story can bring hope to anyone who’s struggling with a BFRB.”

“I hope that my story can bring hope to anyone who’s struggling with a BFRB.”

In her speech Kelsey shared how she started hair pulling when she was 15, spending 8 hours a day pulling out hair, and sharing how she had “bald spots all over and eventually ruined my eyesight from looking too closely at my hair in front of a mirror.”

Like many of us, Kelsey’s hair pulling disorder was misunderstood: “I was deemed crazy, and just went with it.”

 

At her second BFRB Conference, Kelsey decided to stop going with it. Instead she decided to take charge of this ugly disorder, trichotillomania and vowed to stop hair pulling that day.

Today, Kelsey manages to stay in control of her hair pulling disorder by wetting her hair and wearing a hat everyday, in addition to using Keen.

HAIR PULLING INSPIRES A "RENAISSANCE REVIVAL"

HabitAware-Kelsey-TLCBFRB-Piano-Playing-Renaissance-Woman-With-Trichotillomania.png

Kelsey has a background in scientific research/chemistry, but has spent the last 5 years pursuing her love of music & education as a piano instructor in Berkeley, CA.

Taking a leap of faith to pursue a new phase of her professional career, Kelsey applied to the Wright Institute to study Clinical Psychology. Though unsure if the school would accept her, Kelsey was keen to make this career switch because of her mission to eliminate the stigma associated with mental health.

This is surely a renaissance moment for Kelsey as she strives to absorb new knowledge and gain new talents in the world of psychology, talents beyond her existing skills of research, music and teaching. It's her "great revival" as she pursues a path of personal fulfillment, one I hope you realize you can achieve too!

I find Kelsey inspiring on so many levels:

  • Even though Kelsey knew she'd be up against more experienced undergraduates who studied psychology, she didn't let fear or doubt stop her from trying.

  • Like many of us in the BFRB community, Kelsey is dedicating her time to bettering herself so that she can give back to people suffering from excessive hair pulling, skin picking and nail biting.

  • Kelsey openly shared her BFRB journey with the university application committee to shed light on how detrimental hair pulling disorder, skin picking and other BFRBs can be and to explain why she wanted to return to school.  

What follows is an edited version of this application essay - and Kelsey's story of renaissance and revival:

HabitAware-Keen-Bracelet-Kelsey-Bee-Keeping-Renaissance-Woman-With-Trichotillomania.png

“With a piano in tow, I made the 2,000-mile journey from Texas to California. I was in pursuit of a new career and a way of life far different from what I had known. This five-year renaissance period transformed me from a research scientist into an artist, self-starter and leader in the mental health arena. 

After a decade of pulling at my hair, I attended my first trichotillomania conference, alone. I didn’t realize how much it would shape my life. Three intensive days of workshops, support groups and speakers later, I found myself imbued with the sense that I had to do my part to reduce the stigma of mental health disorders, especially those involving body-focused repetitive behaviors (BFRBs). My first essential task when I arrived back home was to organize a support group on the West Coast for both those affected by these impulses and their loved-ones. We met weekly to discuss the relevant literature and treatment techniques I learned about at the conference, and created a strong network of support. The absolute joy that resulted from these meetings led me to attend my second conference as a dedicated volunteer. My goal was to learn as much as possible to ultimately defeat my own habits and eventually assist others with the same seemingly impossible task. 

 

As I stared out the window on my flight back home, I made the important decision to stop pulling out my hair. For two uncomfortable and painful weeks I felt the withdrawal of the reinforced dopamine rush that used to accompany every pull. But with my newly discovered support network and reduced feeling of shame, I was able to completely enter recovery and live a pull-free life. Soon after, I progressed to the volunteer coordinator position with the Trichotillomania Learning Center (TLC) and started playing an even larger role in organizing and coordinating the largest conference for BFRBs. The most rewarding (and terrifying) part was when I began speaking on panels about my experience and recovery from trichotillomania.

HabitAware-Keen-Bracelet-Kelsey-TLCBFRB-Conference-Renaissance-Woman-With-Trichotillomania.png
 

I would like to transfer my passion for this underrepresented population to a more clinical and therapeutic setting. Through the PsyD program at the Wright Institute, I hope to learn more about how to help this community.

Alongside my volunteer work, my six-year stint as a research chemist helped me to foster a creative and analytical mindset for solving problems. I became versatile in many fields, such as catalysis, biofuels, therapeutic biomimetics and nanotechnology. Yet despite having gained these skills, I started to feel stuck. I started to feel a lack of satisfaction in my day-to-day work that grew from not being able to see the direct result of my work in people’s lives.

HabitAware-Kelsey-TLCBFRB-Piano-Teaching-Renaissance-Woman-With-Trichotillomania.png

With this awareness, and my need for more human interaction, I started teaching piano after my long days in the lab. The immediate response my students gave from their own joy of learning was worth pursuing, so I left the world of chemistry in search of more of this kind of personal fulfillment.

Luckily, the music industry welcomed me from the start. I quickly grew from substitute teacher to a highly requested full-time instructor. Shortly after, I took on the responsibilities of a project manager for an innovative music school, where I developed the business and entrepreneurial skills to start my own independent studio. My students consisted mainly of adults, all looking for some form of release from the stresses of everyday life. And as I guided them through the anxieties of starting a new instrument, and their apprehensions about playing in front of others, I realized the potential therapeutic effect of art, especially music. My lessons weren’t simply a place to learn the notes on the staff; they were a time dedicated to self-expression, building confidence, improving mood and accomplishing goals. It was then that I realized that I wanted to learn how to enhance these same abilities within a wider array of people and settings.

My ultimate goal is to treat and bring awareness to stigmatized disorders and be a strong advocate in the mental health field. I hope to incorporate my compassion and mentoring skills with my familiarity in research to accelerate recovery in all areas of health.”


HabitAware-Kelsey-Conquering-Keen-Renaissance-Woman-With-Trichotillomania.png

Kelsey, your drive to get "unstuck" is an inspiration. thank you for sharing your story & all you do as a TLC BFRB Volunteer. I hope others will see from your story that achieving fulfillment & happiness is a journey it itself and not an end goal.

wishing you love & awareness,


About Keen by HabitAware

HabitAware makes Keen, a smart bracelet that helps manage nail biting, hair pulling, thumb sucking, and other subconscious behaviors. Customized gesture detection brings you into awareness and helps you develop healthier habits.

Order now & sign up for our e-newsletter for helpful strategies, news & important product updates:


How to stop what you're doing and think about what you're being.

YOU DESERVE TO BE

Yesterday’s “To Do” list was so never-ending that I never got around to writing to you! Lists are my thing – they keep me organized and productive. They also keep me a little over-busy, anxious and exhausted. Which got me thinking about all the “doing” I’m doing and wondering if it’s helping me be me. 

baby-sleeping-habitaware.png

I wanted to share with you all the things I believe I deserve “To Be.” This list is something I created years ago and now recite every night to my two sons. Last night, as my younger son cried in his crib, I rubbed his belly and whispered these words of being, softly. He immediately quieted and his eyes drooped to dreamland. It was magic, which means I was being magical!    

OK, here goes, my TO BE list:

  • Happy, Healthy, Kind
  • Loved & Loving
  • Fun, Friendly, Funny
  • Peaceful, Grateful, Giving
  • Ambitious, Focused, Favored
  • Faithful

Tell me, what’s on your “To Be” List!

FROM “TO BE” LIST TO “BUCKET” LIST

Since we’re talking about lists, The Heart & Soul Academy Annual BFRB Retreat is a Bucket List must for any BFRB'er ready to recover. More than a meet up, Christina Pearson’s love, light & leadership will help you become whole again.



“Who is Christina?” you may be wondering.
She is our voice. She is our ambassador. 28 years ago, Christina founded the Trichotillomania Learning Center, which is now BFRB.org – the nonprofit pioneering research for a cure, educating treatment professionals and bringing our community together. The movement to our BFRB recoverystarted because Christina wanted more than to check off a To Do list each day - She wanted to bring life to life by BEING.
 

 

“What is the BFRB retreat?” you may be wondering. 
 

I usually end wishing you love & awareness,
but today, as Christina does, I hope you will "Be Well & Be Loved,"


About Keen by HabitAware

HabitAware makes Keen, a smart bracelet that helps manage nail biting, hair pulling, thumb sucking, and other subconscious behaviors. Customized gesture detection brings you into awareness and helps you develop healthier habits.

Order now & sign up for our e-newsletter for helpful strategies, news & important product updates: