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After Car Crash, Woman Starts Compulsively Yanking Out Hair In Fistfuls

PA Real Life

Languishing in a coma after a devastating car crash that left her with a traumatic brain injury, a woman has recalled how it sparked anxiety so severe she began to compulsively yank her own hair out.

A stressed teenager after interrupting her schooling by moving from England to Australia and back again, Fi Dalziel, 32, had developed an absent-minded habit of pulling on her split ends.

By the time of her 2010 accident, hotel cleaner Fi, of Southwell, Nottinghamshire, had grown into a confident young woman – only for her injury to have a dramatic impact on her mental health.


Fi was left with kiwi-sized bald patches (PA Real Life/Collect)

Developing trichotillomania soon after, where sufferers cannot resist the urge to pull their hair out, she said: “Having the brain injury made me feel isolated anyway, like I was in my own little world and so then the pulling got worse and worse.

“With the stress of everything I'd been through, I was yanking my hair out in clumps. It felt good to get it by the root."

Fi's life changed forever as she drove along slippery country roads in Lincolnshire in July 2010 to meet some pals.


Fi said she is now feeling much more confident (PA Real Life/Collect)

She recalled: “I was driving to see my friends. We were all going to go to the gym together, then hang out.

“I was going along these country roads where it had rained recently – the first rain for ages – so they were slippery.

“The last thing I remember is pulling into a car park to phone my friends and ask the way. They said I was five minutes away and they'd see me soon. But I never made it."


Fi before having her Intralace System fitted (PA Real Life/Collect)

With no memory of what happened next, Fi had to piece together the sequence of events through others – finding out that her car had come off the road and crashed down a bank.

A passer-by spotted the wreckage and phoned emergency services, who were soon at the scene.

“Apparently, the paramedic thought I was dead at first, but then I started mumbling," she said. “They had to sedate me and bring me out through the back, as my door was smashed."

She continued: “I've always been a safe driver – never speeding, or using my phone, or anything like that. Police concluded that it'd been an accident, most likely because of the slippery roads. In a way, I think I'm lucky I don't remember it."

At Lincoln County Hospital, where she was treated, doctors discovered Fi had sustained a traumatic brain injury and for three days, she lay in an induced coma, as medics worked on her.

After being brought round, she remained in hospital for another month and had to learn to walk and talk all over again.


Fi as a youngster, before her trichotillomania (PA Real Life/Collect)

“My frontal lobe had been damaged, which has a lot to do with cognition and communication," she added.

After being discharged, Fi, who went on to complete an 18 week rehabilitation programme at the Oliver Zangwill Centre in Ely, Cambridgeshire, moved back in with her dad in Nottinghamshire and began the long road to recovery.

Physically, she made good progress, but the mental anguish caused by her accident was severe.


Fi showing where her hair had been pulled away (PA Real Life/Collect)

“My brain injury affected everything, especially relationships," she said. “I lost a lot of friends as they didn't understand that I was different.

“To them, I seemed physically fine and back to the old me, but I wasn't.

“The differences were subtle, but I struggled a lot with memory and felt very isolated. My confidence completely plummeted, and I started pulling my hair more and more."


Fi's hair now (PA Real Life/Collect)

At her worst, singleton Fi completely shut herself off from the world, terrified nobody would understand.

Embarrassed and fearful, she hid her bald patches with headscarves or clip in extensions, before eventually buying a wig, which she wore for two years.

She continued: “When I started pulling my split ends at school, I wasn't especially academic, and I'd moved over to Australia then back again, so my schooling had been interrupted."

She continued: “I didn't get my GCSEs when I should have. I ended up feeling really stressed with it all.

“But it was nothing like what happened after the crash and I overcame it as much as possible by keeping busy, regularly exercising and seeing friends."

Unlike her teenage years, when her habit was very mild, after her brain injury, Fi developed full blown trichotillomania, leaving her with kiwi-sized bald patches.


Fi used to use clip in extensions and headscarves to hide her bald patches

(PA Real Life/Collect)

“Growing up, I'd taken such good care of my hair. It was my crowning glory," she said. “I felt guilty that I'd done this to myself, but it was a vicious cycle of feeling sorry for myself, then pulling to calm me down in my darkest days.

“It was a sort of escapism from my ruminating thoughts, like a safety net."

Eventually, near breaking point, Fi remembered a BBC documentary she had seen years previously about trichotillomania, which featured Lucinda Ellery, a hair loss specialist.


Fi showing her bald patches (PA Real Life/Collect)

Having tried virtually everything else, including a £300 ($346.75) course of hypnotherapy, Fi figured it was worth asking Lucinda for help. Then, around the end of 2014, the pair met for the first time.

“Lucinda was absolutely amazing. She made me realise the support was out there," Fi said.

Following their first meeting, Fi went back to Lucinda's London studio in March 2015, where she had an Intralace System fitted.


Fi before her trichotillomania (PA Real Life/Collect)

It involves fitting a piece of mesh between existing hair and the scalp, then adding real human hair to it.

Fi continued: “Everyone there was so reassuring and talked me through everything. The support was phenomenal, and that's what helped me push forward and give me confidence again.

“When I saw my new hair, I was so overwhelmed. It was the first time I had properly smiled in so long. I can wash, dry and style it and it really does feel like my own."

Since the end of 2017, Fi, who continues to have her Intralace System refitted every six months, has also been having cognitive behavioral therapy to help her combat her trichotillomania once and for all.

She added: “I wish I'd read stories like mine when I started pulling my hair, as I didn't understand it at first.

“But I want others to know that it's nothing to be ashamed of, and you don't have to hide away if you don't want to."


Fi now (PA Real Life/Collect)

She added: “Now I'm still pulling, but not nearly as much. After meeting with Lucinda and her team, I've been able to rationalise it more, and see that I'm not alone or abnormal.

“Now, I have every confidence I can stop pulling for good."

For information, visit www.lucindaellery-hairloss.co.uk

A version of this article originally appeared on Press Association.

We're all self-conscious about something, and it doesn't help when our faults get thrown in our faces. You don't want doctors hinting that something is "weird down there," nor do you want someone to tell you you're balding. WE KNOW.

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When you know your kids backwards and forwards, this is the best tool in your arsenal.

Getting our kids to listen to us is not always the easiest of tasks. They're willful and stubborn, but we've got a mighty weapon they are rarely prepared for: reverse psychology. Getting them to convince themselves to want to do something against their own initial intentions takes some work and a whole lot of creativity, but a little sneaky manipulation goes a long way. Here are some clever parents' tricks that are definitely worth taking notes on.

Redditor u/LeanderD Asks:

Parents of reddit, what's your best example of reversed psychology on your kids that actually worked?

He Floated His Idea Through A Back Channel

Giphy

Wanted to name my boat. Anything I would think of was dismissed as stupid by my 13 year old son. After deciding on a name, I confided to a male friend my son liked. Made my friend suggest the name as though it was his idea. My son thought the name was perfect. Done.

calypsodweller

We Always Want What We Can't Have

One of my best friends through childhood used to be punished with no salad if she misbehaved. She cherishes salad now and would always try to eat as much as possible during school lunch. Coincidentally, her now husband used to be punished with no books, it had the same effect. I think it's hilarious that they'd be hitting the salad bar and library like some black market their narc parents couldn't reach hahaha.

cookiearthquake

A Deceit That's A Cut Above The Rest

Giphy

Don't know if this counts, but, at my high school (private, boys only) in the 1960's, they made a big deal about how long your hair was, and would occasionally order a boy to go home and "get a haircut".

I thought it was stupid, until years later, a master confided to me at a reunion that the policy was deliberate. The school figured we'd spend so much energy rebelling about hair length, that we would ignore other aspects of teenage rebellion. (Not?) Surprisingly, they were mostly right.

FrankDrakman

Damn! That's smart. Wow.

fangxx456

Oh they don't like long hair?

I'll show them. I'll grow my hair out as lon- what?! No I don't want to go "party"? I gotta try out this horse shampoo.

DankeyKang11

The Forbidden Book

Hi I was a victim,

There was a forbidden book that I was not allow to read on the shelf. My parents said I could only read it if I behave myself.

It was summer holidays and I was playing games all day (after 6 hrs of summer homework). One day I was home alone and had the opportunity to grabbed it. I read like half of it in one go. It was 5000 years of Chinese history.

Safe to say I was bamboozled.

oddstodd

Flowers Of The Queen

My parents always told me my broccoli were the flowers of the queen and that I really shouldn't eat them, or else the queen would get very upset! I, of course, ate the whole broccoli in a few seconds.

Subwoofy

I'm telling the queen and she's gonna be pissed

draculacletus

Sleeping Beauty

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I taught my kids when they were toddlers that no amount of yelling, shaking or hitting can wake a sleeping adult. The only thing that works is a gentle hug and/or a nice kiss on the cheek.

Edit: Probably needed some more details for the reverse psychology aspect to be clear. It went something like this - Step one, tell the kids I'm going to sleep and nothing they do will wake me (head buried face down is the safest position). Step two, after the initial onslaught dies down pretend to awaken on your own. Tell them you got a bit of nap left in you and nothing can wake you, especially not hugs and kisses.

DrMethusael

Holy sh*t...if my daughter woke me up like this I would buy her a pony.

All-Seeing_Elon

I am saving this comment because this will save lives if I ever have kids, stg.

smerter

A Walk In Someone Else's Shoes.

Split custody with my ex. When my son was around 10, he visited two weekends a month. I was waiting tables and didn't have a huge amount to spend, but he was so needy from divorce (and I'm not blaming him, it was ugly), he begged constantly for MORE when he was with me. Whatever more was, it didn't matter... he'd be eating ice cream cone and begging for teriyaki.

I finally realized that he just felt empty, and getting MORE whatever from me wasn't filling him up. His next visit I handed him $100 in cash and told him it was our food/fun budget for 3 days and two nights, and he was in charge of it. I bought him his own wallet to carry. We figured out how many times we were going to eat and what we were going to do, and he paid. He got to keep whatever money he had left...thought he was rich...then realized just how much everything cost. Well. Shoe on other foot then. If we had no money for food, we ate leftovers - and I didn't contribute more to pot. After a few weekends of running short or not getting something he actually wanted because he was foolish with funds, he started to really think about how to spend that money. He budgeted and kept to his budget. And a few times he actually went home with a little cash for his private stash.

Many years later, he thanked me for this. It really changed the way he thought about money and love.

Augumenti

This Is Worth Giving A Shot

Took my 3 year old son to one of those doctor's visits where he was going to get a shot. He was worried about the shot on the whole drive over, almost to the point of tears. We get to the doctor's office and a nurse subtly lets me know that my son is not just scheduled for 1 shot, but 5 of them in the same visit.

I turn to my son with an exaggerated smile and tell him, "Good news! They figured out how to take that one big shot you were going to get and instead break it up into these 5 little tiny shots so it won't hurt nearly as much!"

You could see the relief wash over his face. He stopped squirming and relaxed completely. He took the first shot and even smiled and said "It's true! The small ones don't hurt!"

We actually made it through the third shot before the effect wore off and reality kicked in. Still... I counted it as a victory.

blackbird77

Put This To The Taste

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My mom would tell me she only lets me eat soup after candy and she'd only buy me candy that i didn't like. After a few times, i stopped trying and begged her to let me eat soup first. She gave me a smirk and told me go ahead. This doesn't sound as evil as it was. But trust me i suffered.

turkeypr0

So what was the candy?

Poster_Main

Mint chocolate, raisins, stuff like that. I still hate them to this day. Who the f--- thought while eating chocolate "hmm id like some tooth paste with this."

turkeypr0

This is Truckin' Awesome

Mum had sworn a bit around the house.

When 4, while out at the supermarket, I said F word really loudly.

Very quickly and intently, she asked if I had just said "Truck" and said that was a bad word and not to ever say Truck like that again.

I thought that was the bad word so used that when being naughty.

GodOfTheThunder

The "Silly Mom" Routine

The "Silly Mom" routine.

My kid, and a few other kids I've known, would balk at getting ready to go. I'd grab their clothes and say, "Well, if you won't put on your clothes, I guess I'll put on your clothes. Cute shirt, by the way! Does it go on my foot?"

NO!

"Does it go on my head?"

NO! IT GOES ON ME!

"Oh, that's right, thanks! So, it must go on your legs, right?"

NO!

"I just can't figure this out! Where does this adorable shirt go?"

[kid grabs shirt and puts it on] ON MY TUMMY! SILLY MOM!

"Oh, thank you so much! Now what about these pants? Shirts go on tummies, so...the pants go on the tummy, too, right?"

NO!

[continue until kids have dressed themselves]

I would also do things like hand the kid my keys and say, "Alright, you're driving, I'll sit in the booster seat in back," attempt to feed the kid by putting a spoon up to his ear or his belly button, and attempt to put away his toys in the refrigerator.

insertcaffeine

Some Foot For Thought.

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My mum would always yell at us "if you don't do X, you have to go to bed without socks!"

I never wore socks anyway, and I'm ashamed to admit that this worked.

Splittsky

That would work really well on my son, or make him cry for a really long time... He's 3 and over the last few weeks has decided that he is fully unable to sleep without socks on.

PJQueen

Toddlers man. Completely unpredictable.

SheaRVA

I'm Greens With Envy

My mum had a friend that would put vegetables on her own plate and not the kids.

When the kids asked she would be reluctant to share, "that's grown up food. But I suppose I can let you have a little."

Her kids grew up loving vegetables.

I sat at the dinner table for 3 hours staring at the yucky cauliflower I refused to eat.

laik72

This reminds me of an instance when my child convinced my wife and myself to change our plans for dinner. We were in a grocery store to pick up something quick and easy to eat that we wouldn't have to prepare. Our daughter, wanted none of that, she demanded that she wanted a salad from the salad bar. We started to argue back, but then realized: "Our child demands that we feed her vegetables for dinner instead of a microwaved meal, why are we saying 'No?'"

We had salad for dinner that night.

Galaxy_Ranger_Bob

The Power Of Choice

I don't so much know if you would call it reverse psychology, but I didn't realize it until my dad told me this.

When there were chores that needed doing, he noticed if he asked me to mow the lawn, I would complain and procrastinate. But if he asked would I rather mow the lawn or wash the windows, I'd pick one and just get it done.

Shattered my brain when he told me when I was in my twenties. I use it when I'm coaching or baby sitting all the time and it almost never fails.

AppealToReason16

The Boy Who Cried 'Ouch'

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I've done this one with tens of kids. Any time a kid gets "hurt" (falls down on grass, gets gently hit in the face with a ball, etc.) instead of stopping the activity to pick the kid up and see if they're ok you just scoot them off to the side and resume. Within 10 seconds of not getting all the attention and seeing the fun is resuming they pop right back up and are magically healed.

This of course is only for the "injuries" that aren't actually injuries.

pedanticProgramer

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