Wow, just wow. It has been a huge week for me mentally and emotionally!
And now I am here to tell you the story about how I told people about my alopecia!
What is alopecia?
For those of you who are unsure of what alopecia is, it is an autoimmune disease that causes hair loss.
This hair loss can be in the form of patches (Alopecia Areata), Total baldness (Alopecia Totalis) or Hair loss over the entire body (Alopecia Universalis).
I have Alopecia Totalis (AT). This condition can affect anyone of any age, race or gender.
My story of alopecia
When I was 17 I got diagnosed with alopecia.
Within 48 hours I went from a full head of hair to no hair at all, and it was incredibly distressing.
I went from loving life to feeling like I had no life overnight.
Being in high school at the time, it made the process even more difficult.
I clearly remember going to school the next day and within hours I was being teased – that is where my anxiety truly started to kick in and take over my world
From then I went through my 20s hating myself.
Whenever I looked in the mirror, I felt like a complete failure.
“What kind of woman loses her hair? I am a total freak”
This was my daily mantra, and I didn’t know it at the time but it was severely impacting my self-esteem and the way I interacted with people.
Constantly on the defensive, even those who knew about my condition were always faced with an angry young girl, who felt like she didn’t belong anywhere.
I remember the day I told my fiance about my alopecia…
I remember when I told my fiance, Jack, about the condition I had.
We had never met at the time, only talked daily and I was terrified that if he came to meet me he would be disgusted.
When I told him, I remember clearly that he let out a huge sigh. “This is it“, I thought. “This is over before it has even begun!”
Then he hit me with his thoughts…
“Is that it? I thought you were going to tell me that you were a man!”
We laughed, I felt better, and nearly 4 years later we are happily engaged with a gorgeous girl.
When I came to the island a few months after telling Jack, I met Jacks mother Michelle.
A few days after I landed, she took me to the hairdresser to get her hair done. I didn’t say anything.
Then, when I was showering, I noticed that the shampoo she had bought me was for dyed hair (my hair is a red colour often).
That is when I realised that she had no idea about my hair.
So, we told her. She was horrified! She thought that she had insulted me by buying me the shampoo and taking me to my most hated places – the hairdresser!
She had no idea, so of course, we just laugh at it now.
It has taken me 14 years to build up the courage, but last week I told everyone about my condition!
How I told everyone about my alopecia
A few weeks ago I went over to Michelle’s, we were having a few drinks and a really great chat.
The topic became about my hair, and I made a passing comment that I should just post it on Facebook for the world to see – because I was so sick of feeling ashamed about my hair.
She encouraged me to tell the world, but I let it pass.
But then it played on my mind!
Maybe I should tell everyone about my alopecia!
Get it out there, and then I can no longer stress about who does and doesn’t know!
So, I did exactly what I said I was going to do – I made a public announcement on my islands facebook page!
Here is my exact post
I chose to announce it on the local facebook because this meant I would be telling 1,300+ people in one go!
And the reactions were far from what I expected!
(Names and images have been blacked out for privacy)
Nearly 120 likes – that is almost 10% of the population! (if only my blog has such a high conversion rate, ha!)
And the responses were lovely, caring and supportive.
I was blown away by the support shown by others – people I had spent so long avoiding because I was worried about what they would say!
What my anxiety had to say about it all
My anxiety was not happy with the sudden freedom that I had found!
It was kicking my butt left, right and centre. Constantly reminding me that people now knew, and trying to convince me of how much I had failed by making the post.
But you know what I say?
Screw you, anxiety. I am my own person and nothing you say or do can change that!
I really wish I could honestly convey the emotional relief I have felt from this part of my journey.
I feel like the huge-ass baggage I’ve been dragging with me for so long has finally been tossed away!
What I have learned from this experience
The older I get, the more I truly understand that life is too short to be controlled by negative emotions.
I’m taking back control of my life – and that is my message to you.
For nearly a decade and a half, I have been controlled by something shitty that happened to me, and that affects my life daily. But it is my story, and I am going to own it!
My only regret is that I didn’t do it 10 years ago!
No matter how crappy things seem, there is always a way you can take back the control and kick ass!
Don’t wait, because your life is precious.
I have complete faith in you! <3