Alopecia Areata grief – can you relate? These might sound familiar. If they do, you're not alone!
“Oh, good grief. Not falling out again!”
“Good grief ... not another cancer support group recommendation from a total stranger.”
“Geez, I should be done feeling grief stricken by now.”
Hair loss in women may create the feeling that other people who grow hair normally are whole, whereas the woman with alopecia herself (particularly alopecia areata) feels less than whole.
The women we interviewed for our post Grief and Loss Along the Alopecia Areata Journey clued us in how they 'turned the corner' to cope with their feelings of loss and grief.
Figure competitions have been it for me. If I can’t control the disease and hair loss, I can change my body in other ways. I am a stronger, kinder, more well-rounded person, mom and wife. I am a goal achiever. There will not be a finish line with alopecia universalis, so I like to set and conquer other goals.
I found a book by a woman who also has alopecia. I also wanted to turn my loss into empowerment. I’m still working on that! I started seeing a counselor and looked up bald jokes online...I needed to laugh as laughter just feels good!!
The thought which altered my sense of loss and hopelessness was when I finally decided that since I had to deal with seeing my appearance, then everyone else would just have to figure out a way to deal with the stark, glaring, undeniable reality as well. That was when I was able to venture out in public wigless. In fact, I became determined to be accepted without hair. My stubbornness kicked in and helped me to overcome my previous reliance on wigs and need to appear to still have hair.
My daughter (age 7) says about her alopecia areata: "It’s just hair, and the only thing that matters is what’s on the inside'. I have a harder time with it than my daughter does. She might lose all her hair, but we'll figure that out when or if the time comes.
Tips to Help You
- There’s no set time line for the pace you take to move forward from the grief of hair loss.
- Your hair journey is yours. It has little to do with how much other people understand alopecia.
- Somehow, some way, tell your story. There’s no right or wrong way to do it.
- All intense feelings are OK.
- Accept intensity as proof that you’re a person who cares deeply.
- The Kubler-Ross concept of stages of grief may not apply to you.
- Write: Keep a paper or digital journal. You never need to look at it ever again.
- Draw: Go graphic with a stick person’s head bursting with feeling-words.
- Talk: Recount the story of your hair loss nonstop from beginning to end to a trusted confidante.
We love to hear your success stories. Tell us about your turning points.