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The following post is a from a blog post that was originally published by me on the Wigs and Head Covers Community Site, but is equally relevant that it shoud appear on here:
For those alopecians or hair loss sufferers who experience gradual thinning or episodes of TE (telogen effluvium) or AA (Alopecia Areata), the process of losing hair can be a roller coaster ride of ups and downs. It is so hard to watch your hair falling out for months and to see balding areas develop, but then perhaps to have a period of remission or mental respite, where you hair grows back or does not fall out as much, which raises your hopes.
For me, this is something I struggle with. I was lucky enough to have a remission period at the end of last year (2008), where for a few months no hair (beyond what is normal for anyone) fell out. I felt a surge of hope; that perhaps my years of torture had finally ended as I watched my hair thicken a little. There were still areas where no hair grew, but even so, it was fascinating and heartening to watch hair growing and not falling at the same time. Then one day, it was as if someone had flicked a switch. Large amounts of hair were falling out during my daily shower and I watched, with a heavy heart, as over the months my hair returned to its previous state.
It is incredibly difficult in these circumstances to keep a cheerful disposition about the whole situation. I think I am fairly lucky that I managed to eventually accept that I have no control over my hair loss. I came to a realisation a few years ago that I can either be as happy as I can regardless of what is happening with my hair or I can allow myself to fall into the bottomless pit of depression and upset. Finding a balance between coping and acknowledging what has happened to you, or is currently happening to you, is hard. It is, however, something I recommend seeking and striving for, as it is unhealthy to have complete denial that you are losing your hair, but at the same time it is unhealthy to let your hair loss situation dictate your life and happiness. Accepting that there is nothing you can do to change things is a good start. It is not your fault and you can only try different treatments to see if they work. Accepting that you may never find a cure and working with what you have is, in my opinion, the key. On that note, I have found that taking an active interest in how I look and finding cosmetic solutions such as wigs, hats and scarves has really helped me to feel that my hair is not the ‘be all and end all’.
There are ways that you can really help yourself and this whole process of losing hair is a continual adjustment. I realised the other day, when I was staring in the mirror at the same sorry state my hair was in this time last year, that I can either sink or swim. I choose to swim! I am allowing myself to have moments of grief, to feel the loss and wish that my hair were different. However, my main focus is on thinking what I can do to make myself look the best and to develop a strategy for this winter (2009/10) that will have my head feeling nice and warm, comfy and attractive all at the same time.