To kick off our Womens Wisdom guest blog series we have the wonderful Amy from South Wales!
Here's what she has to say:
My hair began to thin around the time of my 21st birthday. Thinking I was dying it too much and using heat such as straighteners etc. I thought nothing of it. But as the days went on more and more hair started to fall out, it went for little bits on my pillow to waking up to clumps. Within about 4 weeks i lost 90% of my hair, it happened all so quick and I didn’t really have any explanations, I was left confused with what was happening to me. I went to the doctors 3 or 4 times and each time I left with the same answer, you have 'alopecia' no one knows how it is caused or triggered and theres nothing we can do to help it grow back. It’s unpredictable.
I felt lost. Looking in the mirror was such a hard task, I looked so different, I was bald. A bald GIRL. I couldn't get my head around it. I felt like a freak, I felt ashamed. I felt my life was over, how could I go about as I normally did? How could I achieve things with the way I felt? How could I afford human hair wigs? I felt like every door was closed for me and my anxiety and depression got in the way of almost everything.
It’s almost like I was given alopecia to help others going through the same thing.
I still have my down days, everyone does. But I feel completely different now, I have a fiancee who stuck with my through the whole transition, he kept me calm told me I was beautiful and kept me focused on the import things in life. He was such a big help. We have a beautiful daughter now who keeps me busy and makes me realise that there is more to life than hair. I feel more empowered that I am myself, I have helped loads of people by doing some work with BBC news on alopecia, working with BBC sesh doing some sketches about the perks of alopecia (bring a positive vibe to the subject). Loads of people have messaged me and I have been able to guide them in the right direction to products, help, advice pages etc. It’s almost like I was given alopecia to help others going through the same thing. Although I felt awful at first, I did adapt very quick, I didn’t really have a choice. I'm the type of person who tries to make the most out of every situation and count my blessings. I'm still alive, still breathing. I have a roof over my head and friends and family who love me. It could be worse right?
I faced so many challenges at first. From not going out for weeks because I couldn’t come to terms with what I looked like. Not being able to answer the door, not feeling confident enough to go swimming or the gym. Getting used to wearing a wig, doesn't seem like much but when its not your own hair it gets so annoying and can come out of place, it can also become really itchy and irritating. At the time of loosing my hair I was forced to take time of work as I worked with food and my hair was falling out every time I turned my head. That was a big challenge to give up work as I’ve always kept busy and liked earning my own income. It was challenging coming to terms with the fact I had no control over the situation. I like to be in control and know whats going on not having that, or any answers was so frustrating.
At first I hated myself and because I didn't have any answers I kept asking myself what did I do wrong? It was a constant battle in my head about what if I did this? or what if it was this that caused it? I was beating myself up all the time about something I couldn't control. I would walk off from a mirror and tell myself how ugly I was, how weird looking I was now. As time went on I sort of accepted the fact this is how I was going to look from now on, so I might as well embrace it. The moment I put my first picture on Facebook without a wig that was the moment I didn’t have to hide the fact I was bald. Everyone knew now so there was nothing to worry about, a bunch of opportunities came my way since that photo such as articles with the metro and daily mirror. I've made videos with BBC news and BBC sesh, and now writing this article to raise more awareness with Love Your Damn Self. I have my days where I feel down and I still can't fully accept I’m like this, but I try my best. I put on my makeup, choose a wig, find an outfit that makes me feel better or do other things to occupy myself/make myself feel better.
I'm so lucky that no one has ever expected anything from me. I know some people expect you to wear a wig if you're bald, especially if you’re female. But to be honest within today's society it is more acceptable to do whatever you please and express yourself in any way. I think if this was to happen to me years ago I would have had a more negative experience but in today's times people are more sensitive, understanding and have more knowledge of differences. As soon as I put my first bald selfie up I think everyone just expected me to continue being myself, and that felt good.
Life is too short to be worrying, especially about the things you have no control over.
My advice to other women is; do not waste your time trying to be something you're not! Embrace yourself as much as you can, even your flaws! Life is too short to be worrying, especially about the things you have no control over. Of course we all get upset over things, but it’s important to know when to just sit back breath and evaluate a situation realistically.
Never bottle up your feelings, it makes everything 100% worse, if you don't like talking to people, a diary could be another alternative. There are plenty of positivity groups, forums and other social media platforms that can help you with whatever you are facing. I also find a nice healthy diet, plenty of fresh air and a daily walk makes me feel better about myself. Looking after yourself is really important. But don't beat yourself up about going a little wild either, everything in moderation. It’s okay not to be okay and everyone needs to understand that. We are all human and in this together. Try your best at everything you do, have passion, be confident and don’t be afraid to give something new a go :)