Losing hair due to alopecia areata can affect the way people see themselves and the way others see them, and other people's attitudes towards this change can seem alarming. Yet, the most influential talk may be the self-talk. It's not uncommon for women and girls with alopecia areata to feel self-conscious and assume others are judging their looks. It is important that sufferers know that they are not alone and that there are steps they can take to keep in control of their lives.
#1 Noticing what's different
One of the most important things that sufferers who are coping well have come to grips with is knowing that it's human to notice anything that is different in our environment --- and that includes people who look different. It's a hard-wired, primitive part of us. Had humans not been on high, visual alert in pre-historic times when it was eat or be eaten, well you get the idea! That others notice your hair is frequently not personal. Not only that, self-consciousness leads to assumptions that others are looking at hair when they're actually not.
#2 Feeling good leads to looking good
Feeling good is closely linked to looking good, particularly when a person's appearance has been altered in such a way. Strike out on your own to chat with hair specialists and makeup artists. Or organize a pamper party with friends because no matter who she is, most every woman (hair loss or not) has something she wants to feel better about with her looks! Learn new make-up tips, improve skin condition or just relax with like-minded people. It doesn't have to stop there! Whether you're a go-it-alone girl or socially wired, even one new style tip with clothing, accessories or makeup can boost good feelings and alter your self-talk. Sharing new-found self-improvments with friends provides a safe outlet and positive feedback.
#3 Being you builds confidence
Of course, no two alopecia areata sufferers are the same. While some will find confidence and strength in other people and wear their new found baldness with pride, others prefer to maintain at least an illusion of hair. There should be no value judgment attached to either option.
Finding balance and confidence after a diagnosis of alopecia areata may take time. But, it is possible with the right support and information. One of the hardest things to come to terms with is the misconceptions of other people. While you might be naturally inclined to feel that any medical issue is off-limits for sharing with friends, you may be surprised to find that opening up just a bit about alopecia areata and your baby steps toward living well can bring much relief.