The Truth About Alopecia is That It’s a Constant Battle
By Lauren Jackson, Renata Hair Co., Grapevine, Texas
It’s just hair.
That’s something only people with hair say.
How many times I’ve heard those words come out of people’s mouths as I cringe at my first memory of my own hair loss?
The day my hair started falling out was actually not as bad as you might think. At first, you think it’s just a one-time thing and this one bald spot is as bad as it will get. Almost a year out and it’s only become worse. And, it’s my new normal.
I remember one of my hardest days. I woke up with a pile of hair and ran my fingers through my already pathetic hair and my heart sank. It was like I was a cancer patient going through chemo. I cried, begging for it to stop.
Life at the salon was really tough for me. The truth is, no one can fathom the amount of grief that one goes through when one loses their hair. A lot of my clients wrapped their arms around me and cried with me but a few had zero compassion or any understanding. I wrestled with whether I even wanted to continue doing hair. Honestly, it became so gut-wrenching for me to talk about hair all day when I was losing mine more with every passing day.
One person said, “Well sometimes God takes what we are most prideful about.” Can you freaking believe someone would actually say that? It pissed me off to another level for so many reasons. First of all, I’ve never had great hair and it’s never been something for which I’ve been prideful. Secondly, I don’t know what God she knows, but it’s not mine.
I had another client tell the receptionist the day I was most depressed, “Well this is the last time Lauren will cancel on me. I’ve found a new hairstylist.” I thought, “Well thank God, she did me a favor.” People can be so self-centered and mean while I’m trying to figure out how to continue to be passionate about the very thing I am most devastated about — my hair.
The truth about alopecia is that it’s a constant battle and a forever fear. No one can tell you how long it will happen, how much hair will fall out, or if the end game is complete balding. The other hard part about alopecia is that it is an autoimmune disorder that usually comes with other immune issues. People don’t always talk about what goes on inside their bodies because the focus is on the obvious outward part of hair loss.
A lot of us who struggle with alopecia also seriously struggle with complete and utter exhaustion, feeling nauseous a lot, frequently getting sick because our immune system is all messed up, and so many other health issues. The immune system can’t function correctly when it’s constantly fighting your body. And, alopecia is an incurable autoimmune disease.