Heidi showed us the power of her friendship in helping a close friend to live well with alopecia areata. In this follow-up we find out how Heidi does it. In fact, she told us how alopecia areata resonates with her own life, even though she herself has normal hair.
Her insights are very cool. Enjoy! Guest commentary from interview with Heidi S. of New Jersey.
We’re all a work in progress!
I’m glad that Allison and I have each other to push on to be better versions of ourselves. As far as alopecia, I’ve definitely been the go-getter. Because it wasn't talked about in her household it’s almost like she’s been living a ‘double life’.
Because I’m a makeup artist, being excited to help my friend includes beauty suggestions: trying new lashes, different lash glue, and different brow color. I admit, I’m always trying to nudge her out of her comfort zone, but I totally understand her boundaries if she feels uncomfortable. I knew that if anything, I would help her cut down the time on her makeup routine and show her some game-changing products.
I also suggest things like going to a meet-up with other women. I know there are times of frustration, disappointment sadness, fear or anxiety so just addressing them and having someone validate the emotions helps.
It also helps to laugh! We like to come up with funny responses to questions she gets asked a lot like “Is that your hair?” or “Have you tried Biotin?”
How I First Found Out
I first found out Allison has alopecia areata when we hung out with a mutual friend in a small setting. Typically, she doesn’t talk about it to people she’s just met, so looking back that was definitely a sign that she trusted me.
Losing your hair like Allison did can take a huge toll on your self-confidence especially when as you’re growing up the condition you have isn’t spoken about. When that happens, you aren’t reassured of your beauty.
As you can tell from the photo, Allison is absolutely gorgeous!
She can learn to love herself inside and out
For the majority of my life, I had a lot of the same feelings Allison did, but not for the same reasons. I had the feelings of not believing that you’re even worthy to be called “beautiful”. It’s taken some work, but I’m at a point I never thought I could get to. I know Allison can get there, too.
My goal is that one day she can learn to love herself no matter how her hair looks and she can see how beautiful she is on the outside. To me, the beauty of her friendship and who she is on the inside directly matches how beautiful she is on the outside with hair on, without it, you name it.
My Tips: When your friend has alopecia areata
- Listen to their story
- Validate what they feel and what they’ve gone through.
- Do your research to become more knowledgeable and comfortable talking about it.
- Ask sincere questions.
- Know when to respect their boundaries.
- Challenge them out of complacency in their journey.
My Tips: When you have alopecia areata
- If you have a friend that you trust, don’t be afraid to be vulnerable because that’s when growth happens.
- Tell your story when you can; it doesn’t have to be all of it.
- Make people aware. A lot of people don’t know what alopecia is. Making them aware is the first step.