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Becoming Comfortable With Yourself And Embracing Hair Loss

Discussion in 'Living with Androgenetic Alopecia' started by VeeBee, Jan 24, 2018.

  1. VeeBee

    VeeBee New Member

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    Hi everyone,

    I am a fellow Androgenetic Alopecia sufferer. I am an Indian woman from Singapore. Currently I live in the West Coast of the US.

    I have been facing this issue for the last 10 years, and in those years, I have come a long way from the person I was. When I was first diagnosed at age 18, I was devastated, lost, confused and hopeless. I spent many days crying in front of the mirror. I couldn't find anyone who would hear my story...people would dismiss my concerns as something that was trivial. I would also get comments whenever I would go to India about the thinness of my hair, and my scalp being visible. I became self-conscious and defensive when the issue of my hair loss would be raised.

    Now, after all this time, and because of the immense support from my spouse, I have at least made some headway into the emotional trauma of hair loss. He reminds me of all the things I have, and the things he likes about me. This has helped me realize that people still love me in spite of my hair loss (something I never thought possible when I was diagnosed!)...but the battle is still not over. Although I have finally (!) opened up to my close ones about my hair loss, I still fear unsolicited comments from other people. I do sometimes worry about revealing bald spots in public...so I tie my hair up ALL the time. Unfortunately some people lack empathy/emotional intelligence, and they just stare at my scalp or make a rude comment.

    So my question to you is this: how do I gracefully embrace my hair loss, and become more open about it? I can't get over the "what will others think about me" problem.
     
  2. hairlosshelp

    hairlosshelp Established Member

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    I'm not sure how helpful my response will be to you. The truth is, I'll probably never embrace my hair loss. The fear, pain, bouts of depression, feeling of ugliness, etc. will always be there. Just yesterday I was about to give a major presentation and noticed the amount of hair on the floor near my seat. My hair. Treatments aren't effective either. I stick to it because I don't know what else to do but I've lost hope at getting back a normal looking head of hair. I'm truly envious of everyone who doesn't have Androgenetic Alopecia. Still have no idea how I can have two parents with full heads of hair and girls with fathers who went bald early don't suffer from this. The only thing that works is not letting it consume me and focus on other things. Dwelling on my hair loss everyday wasn't doing a damn good thing for my life.

    As for being open about it. I mean, it's pretty obvious to everyone that I have thinning hair or thin hair. But I don't personally see how being actively open about it will really help me, as that will end up causing me to focus on it more than I do these days.
     
  3. losing_it

    losing_it Established Member

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    I've always been pretty open about my hair loss. Mostly because it started at age 22 when I was very healthy, so I was more confused about it than anything. I talked to a lot of friends and family about it because I didn't understand what was happening. It's not my fault, so they aren't going to judge me for it. I don't talk to strangers about it, but all of my close friends and family know. I think it's nice that my friends and family know, so that I don't have to hide it from them, and I also have a lot of different people I can talk to about it.

    As far as strangers go, unless they have hair loss themselves or have someone very close to them with hair loss, they just aren't going to understand. Just as I didn't "get" the emotional toll that hair loss takes on people prior to my own hair loss. They might think, "wow, just get a wig," but they don't understand how intimidating that is. They might think "jeez, just use Rogaine," but they don't understand that Rogaine isn't a miracle drug for hair loss.

    I think the thing to realize is that we have a chronic, uncontrollable issue. Due to that, we experience an intense and lengthy bereavement. There will be bouts of denial, depression, anger, and bargaining. Sometimes we will find that we've reached acceptance, but then we might back pedal into one of the other stages of bereavement. And that's perfectly normal. If you break down the psychology of hair loss, it allows you to understand your emotions from a scientific perspective, and that helps. Don't beat yourself up for being sad over something that is sad. Don't make yourself feel guilty for being sad about your hair (an example would be, "there are paralyzed people out there, and I'm upset over my hair- I'm so selfish!" No, you're not selfish, you are allowed to feel upset over your hair loss). Don't run away from or try to suppress the negative emotions. Just try to recognize your feelings, without judging your feelings as "good" or "bad."

    I hope that helps. It's hard to put down some of these deeper thoughts into words, but I guess the bottom line is, be kind to yourself :)
     
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  4. Tulip

    Tulip New Member

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    Yes, VeeBee, embrace it! I have been bald or nearly bald for almost three years after losing my hair within two weeks. I wear wraps at home and wigs when I'm out, but when I got sick of wearing the same style wig I started changing them all the time and when people I work with looked at me funny I'd say, I haven no hair. I wear wigs. I'd already told my close friends and my partner is fine with it. I find most people react with intense curiosity and respect, and if it's a woman she wants to know all the wig details and wishes her real hair could look like that. And little girls are completely enthralled -- I've had wig parties for the kids, and I have my friends' girls vote on my wigs after I give a little fashion show. It's been an adventure. Although I would NEVER go outside bald. Too much staring and judging. It helps that I live in a busy multicultural city where women wear wraps, hijab, hipster beanies, and everyone's hair is a crazy color. It's all part of the mix. Try to enjoy it. Most of the time I do. And everyone is sympathetic when you tell them so no need to keep it a secret. (I haven't told my mother,she's the only one.)
     
  5. DivyaJ

    DivyaJ Established Member

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    I'm 36years old. I started losing hair when I was 16. I had beautiful, long, luscious hair that would reach my waist when braided. I live in India. I have androgenic alopecia. I have extremely thin hair on my crown and thinning temples as well. I can absolutely identify with everything you just said.
    After 20 years of trying different medicines and treatments, I have finally decided to live with it and be happy that I don't have alopecia areata or universalis.
    Over the years I think I've gained confidence...My hair loss has become a part of me... It's normal for me now...Sometimes I think I'm not me, not unique without my hair loss...there will always be insensitive people who give unsolicited advice or make insensitive remarks...But I just decided I need to be bold enough to put them in their place.
    I do what I can for my hair, but I know it will never grow back. Instead I have decided to concentrate on things within my control...Such as weight loss and fitting into a lovely dress :) I still style my hair, colour it, curl it...
    My friends and family have been incredibly supportive. And I do what I want to enjoy my life. I'm just glad that I don't have a debilitating illness, which could have easily been the case since autoimmune disorders can take other more serious forms too.
    Read about this model who suffers from alopecia universalis http://www.stuff.co.nz/sunday-star-...ve/322052/The-rare-beauty-of-Anna-Fitzpatrick
    I decided that if I am conscious about it, I'm giving others an opportunity to comment on it. Instead, if I own it...People will look at me differently.
    The world is a funny place, if you are brazenly confident and call a torn dress fashion, the world will praise you for your creativity. So if you carry yourself in a way that says "my hair loss makes me unique and makes me stand out," they'll probably envy you. :D
     
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  6. VeeBee

    VeeBee New Member

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    What a beautiful thought ! It's all about perspective in the end, isn't it?

    Thank you for that, it completely made my day ! Giving you a virtual hug there !
     
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  7. VeeBee

    VeeBee New Member

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    You have a great attitude ! I need to learn from you.
     
  8. VeeBee

    VeeBee New Member

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    Wiser words were never said. Totally agree with you on this !
     
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  9. VeeBee

    VeeBee New Member

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    True...this has been my approach towards hair loss...relatively neutral (but sometimes very, very negative). I wish I could embrace my loss the way some of the others have been able to here on this forum.
     
  10. Tanger

    Tanger New Member

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    I am an also an Androgenetic Alopecia sufferer . I had beautiful hair that began thinning at the age of 17. I too have a very supportive husband that has helped. However, as a high school teacher in a public school, the comments made are often very cruel. I tried using scarves and other head-coverings. I prayed that my hair be restored; however my natural hair has never grown back. I was a part of the trails for Nioxin. and the hair that did grow was very fine. Finally after all of these years, I decided to start wearing a wig. It has made all the difference for me. I am now treated as a normal person. I wish I had taken this step earlier. I know I was passed over for higher positions due to my appearance prior to the wig. There are so many terrific wig designs and ways that make it impossible to detect that you are wearing a wig. There are many You tube videos that review different wigs
    . I did the embracing of hair loss for over 30 years. I have three daughters who have the same issue and two of the three are wearing toppers or wigs. Thank God they will not go through the stares and comments that I did. They saw first hand what I have gone through and they are embracing the fact that they have thin hair that detracts from your appearance.So why not use the solutions that are available- get over it and get a beautiful wig.
    Tanger
     
  11. SouthIndia

    SouthIndia New Member

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    Divya, I am here on this site, because I am the devastated mother of a 17 year old girl who has FPHL (probably androgenetic alopecia, though we could not find any obvious abnormal hormonal levels). She has had miniaturisation of her hair since the age of 9, and the FPHL was diagnosed after a massive telogen effluvium type episode a year ago. We currently live in hot and humid South India. So your story really interested me.
    How did you manage in school and/or college? Did you ever try wigs or toppers and what was your experience with that?
     
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  12. Fros

    Fros Member

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    In my effort to avoid the "weird looks" from colleagues and friends regarding my hair loss I was and still am very open about it. It's been 2 years now that it has become noticeable but from the moment I was diagnosed with Androgenetic Alopecia I was like "I a am losing my hair, I will loose all my hair, I am using powder to cover my bald spots and don't be surprised when I come into work wearing a wig ... or with a shaved head"

    But this doesn't mean that I am comfortable with my hair loss ... I think I just did it because I wanted to avoid their looks and fearing/wondering if they had noticed and if they were taking behind my back.

    I still get stressed when they are standing over me or when we are our and the sun is shining on my oily scalp which you can clearly see through my thinning hai...

    I don't think you can ever embrace it fully you just try to learn to live with it and if you can manage to not think about it 24/7 then you are a winner ? Try to not let it take over your life (I am currently trying to do that and it's a hit and miss, some days are good some days are bad)

    Also invest in a good hair piece ... that's what I keep thinking of when I will finally have to shave off my hair and it does help me feel lighter!! (I am evening dreaming of making a wig-room for myself )
     
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  13. DivyaJ

    DivyaJ Established Member

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    Hey there, sorry for the late reply. I don't come on here very often. So, here's my story.
    Growing up, I had really beautiful, long hair. My father would never let me or my sister go get a hair cut at a beauty salon since he feared they would cut off too much. So, he insisted on cutting our hair himself. I was tired of braiding my hair, taking care of it, washing it, etc. Got too used to people commenting on how beautiful my hair is, etc. I have had my own version of "Maggie cuts her hair" :)
    So, by the time I was 16 and my hair started falling, I barely noticed it. It started with a bald patch at the nape of my neck but which grew back. And then the thinning of the crown started. We visited a quack and he said my scalp couldn't take the weight of my hair which is why it is falling :D so I gladly went to a salon and chopped off over one foot of hair, straight up to my shoulder.
    Thus, having said all of that...I barely noticed my hair fall. I couldn't care less. However, once my scalp started showing...it hit me...but for some reason, maybe due to lack of knowledge or options, I never thought of alternatives although people suggested wigs etc. I hated the thought of wigs...I didn't want to hide myself behind a wig, I decided either my hair is growing back else I will just carry myself well with what I have. So, no, never used wigs or anything of that sort.
    By the time my hair fall was really bad, I had already completed school...thankfully. All through college, I would get looks but I think I got by...and if people passed comments, it was probably behind my back so it didn't really affect me.

    But if you are thinking about wigs...check out this site https://freedomwigs.com/ they manufacture custom made wigs with natural hair that absolutely looks natural. I contemplated this but they do not have a branch in India...the closest is Singapore. And, second, way too expensive for me. Also, check out https://www.dhiindia.com/ - they have other alternatives as well...permanent solutions.

    Currently, I'm toying with the idea of shaving my head. A couple of days ago I shaved an inch of my scalp to see how it looks and how I feel. Working up my courage.

    They say that a form of autoimmune disorder such as this could be triggered after undergoing a particularly stressful phase. I went through a stressful phase at 14/15 years of age, which is when my hair fall started. Did your daughter go through something like that?
    You are a really loving mother to be here looking for solutions for your daughter. This is unsolicited and please pardon me, but may I say just say...your daughter could do with a lot of encouragement, love, and understanding so that she gets to be a confident person despite this rather emotionally crippling disorder that most people, especially in India, fail to understand. She needs to have a thick skin. And I think acceptance is very important. She will learn to deal with it and work around it than hope for solutions. That way, in case her hair grows back, it will be a pleasant surprise and the cherry on the cake.
    Apologies for the unsolicited advice, but am just sharing my experience.
     
  14. RoxyT

    RoxyT Member

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    I want to thank everyone who commented on this thread.

    I've been psychologically/emotionally affected by hair loss for less than a year, so I'm still sorting out my feelings and fears. I've found it freeing to read a wide range of perspectives. My main take-away: However we feel--whether it's sad, despairing, angry, sassy, etc.
    --it's 100% OK

    Hair loss provokes a lot of self-judgement in me. It may be hard to accept my appearance and the lack of control over the situation. But I can and will accept my feelings about this experience. I refuse to add another layer of judgement upon myself.

    It's all love.
     
  15. Mukul

    Mukul New Member

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    agree
     
  16. Aarti Kashyap

    Aarti Kashyap New Member

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    Are you from other country and suffering from baldness and looking for hair transplant in India not get worried, visit MedSpa for experts hand and best results within low cost of hair transplant surgery.

    https://www.besthairtransplantsurgeon.com/
     
  17. inphoenix

    inphoenix New Member

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    It's so nice some of you can come to terms with your hair. I cannot. I'm so stressed out yet I do know that stress makes it worse, but as it worsens, the stress worsens. I think going to work with this hair is devastating as I've worked in the same place for years and I know the change is very noticeable.
    I've researched it for years and there is nothing that can be done. I guess that is what I need to come to terms with. Living with it has changed me as a woman. I feel my life as I once knew it is over, and that is what I'm having a hard time with.
    I went to the mall today and thought about buying a new top, or bag would cheer me up...but wound up driving home empty handed in tears. Clothes, makeup...nothing makes me feel better.
    Also, doctors don't listen, or seem to care. Wigs...well its too hot in Arizona for those and they look so shiny and fake....at least most I've seen. Having a hard day , week, month and even worse... not sleeping. I know this is a depressing post..but I've been going thru this since 2002 and I'm never been this down in the dumps before.
     
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  18. TinaM1968

    TinaM1968 Established Member

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    I feel the same way now. Sometimes I come to a place where I think “ok I can live with my hair like this as long as ...” then I just heat worse and I have to find a new way to hide the loss. It’s tiring no one listens anymore or even seems to care I went from someone who never hairsprays blow dried or hardly looked in the mirror to fix my hair to doing all that all day. I’ve onky been dealing with this since 2014 so my heart goes out to you. I don’t think I can ever come to terms with it either. Doesn’t help I’m not even diagnosed with anything drs are a joke
     
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  19. inphoenix

    inphoenix New Member

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    yes..its so hard! I don't know if being diagnosed would even help. Thanks for the reply!
     
  20. TinaM1968

    TinaM1968 Established Member

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    No I don’t think for me it would make a difference. Hair loss is hair loss either it’s gojng to stop or not at this point
     

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