My journey with Alopecia started 7 years ago, when my single worse nightmare became a reality. I lost my 15-year-old daughter to Rett Syndrome. After her passing, I started to lose my hair. I tried everything. Finally, a doctor diagnosed me with stress-induced Alopecia.
The thinner my hair became, the more anxious I became. It didn’t help that I worked in the beauty industry; I used to tint my hair with powder and that thinned my hair. I was exhausted from the stress of losing my hair and explaining my condition to everyone, including strangers. People would stop me and ask if I was going through chemotherapy. When I told them that I wasn’t, there were more questions. It was a struggle, because I didn't want to share the loss of my daughter to strangers. Occasionally, I would end up doing so, when some refused to stop asking about my condition.
I had a mentor who was very supportive and finally talked me into getting a wig. It broke my heart walking into a salon that carried wigs. I was in tears as I told my hair loss story to the stylist. We decided on a short pixie cut. I had no idea how much wigs cost, so when he told me it would cost $1,500, I felt panicked. Thankfully, he agreed to take payments on it so that I could have it for my birthday. The wig equaled a down payment for a car, and this was not how I wanted to spend that money! Nevertheless, I bought the wig as a gift to myself on my 40th birthday. Since then, I have switched to synthetic wigs that cost around $150.
The anxiety of being a woman that had to wear wigs prevented me from many life experiences. All my friends went to do hot yoga together, but I stopped going. I also stopped swimming; instead, I would just sit and watch. I avoided any situation that could cause problems for me wearing a wig. I even refused to ride in my friend’s convertible when the top was down. Worst of all, I stayed in an unhealthy unloving relationship in fear that no one else would find me attractive.
My boyfriend at the time stopped sleeping in bed with me and for the last year of our relationship, we were not at all intimate. I came to terms with the belief that I would grow old alone and broke up with my boyfriend. It is better to be happy and alone than unhappy while in a relationship.
The struggle continues. I had stopped looking at my hair at all; I am always avoiding mirrors. One time, two of my close friends came over to my apartment while I had my wig off, and they both noticed that my hair was growing back! When I looked in the mirror, I was shocked to find it thicker. Now, I am able to live without a wig. My tinted hair powder masks just how thin it is. However, I still have the constant feeling of anxiety that I would lose my hair again, and this prevents me from being excited of how much has come back. This is where I am in my journey.