I was tired, tired of hearing it all.
“It’s just hair”
“It will grow back”
Yes it is just hair and yes it grows back eventually but whilst it was falling out, it excited my Anxiety, and the stress and depression was the only thing growing.
People were always trying to make me feel better with their words however it was little comfort to me.
“Have you tried this or this or this?”
Trust me I have tried everything!
I have Alopecia Areata and I have done since I was 17.
The only thing harder than dealing with hair loss, is thinking you are the only one this is happening to.
Imagine that though, being 17 and your hair starts falling out.
I first noticed it when I was in Majorca on a girly holiday, I had extensions weaved in and they got so matted and my friends were taking them out for me and they noticed a small bald patch. I never thought anything of it at the time.
I have always had long thick hair, the reason I had extensions in was because a hairdresser basically hacked my hair. It was awful, the worst haircut you can imagine and I had to get extensions to cover it up.
I am not a fan of anything fake although there is nothing wrong with it, it just isn’t for me.
I also had braces at the time and i wasn’t happy with how I looked, I had this awful haircut, these ratty extensions and braces AND I was 17! At that age my appearance was really important to me and I was feeling so low.
A couple of weeks later I noticed this bald patch had got bigger, much bigger and another bald patch had appeared.
I went to the doctors, who ran tests for iron levels and thyroid and all tests came back fine.
That was when I was diagnosed with Alopecia, I had never heard of it before and after researching I thought I would lose all my hair.
I was very depressed, no matter what someone said to me it didn’t make it better. “But you’re lucky you have thick hair” I didn’t feel lucky, they had no idea how I was feeling.
Soon I had lost around 65% of my hair.
I was referred to a dermatologist and prescribed steroid mousse, it didn’t make a different.
I was then having steroid injections into my scalp, slow re growth in small areas but not enough.
I then got offered PUVA, an ultraviolet light therapy treatment.
I would have to stand in this machine which was basically a sunbed fully clothed and sit and wait.
After a year my hair finally grew back, but I was very paranoid.
I became aware that the first thing I noticed about someone was their hair.
I would use special shampoos and didn’t really like brushing my hair at all.
I am always getting bald patches here and there but they aren’t too noticeable.
However 5 years after my first episode with Alopecia it returned again BIG time. It had come back to haunt me.
This time I was 22 and I was going through a lot what with being a single parent.
Back to the hospital I went and this time they gave me stronger PUVA treatment, I would have to take these special tablets but they made my eyes sensitive so I would have to wear UV protected glasses.
After another year of treatment, it grew back again.
I used to get so upset because I felt so misunderstood and expected everyone around to understand, I wanted them to be empathetic and/or sympathetic.
I have accepted I have Alopecia Areata and that my hair can fall out anytime it wants to.
I try to not get so stressed about it anymore, I’ve lived with it for 10 years now and I’ve come to terms with it. In fact I kind of embrace it, I am not embarrassed anymore.
I sometimes feel empowered because if I look at it differently its like my bald patches are my scars from times of stress and being run down, and when they grow back that time has healed and its all okay again.