I was 14 when I got Alopecia Areata (hair loss). It started with a small bald spot on my head, but it spread slowly. I did not worry at first, because everyone experienced hair loss. Eventually it got worse and I went to the doctor and hospital. The doctors told me that they could not change anything about it, and I just had to learn to live with it. Alopecia Areata is an autoimmune illness, and a very uncertain illness. For example, you do not know when you lose hair, when it grows back and the speed of it.
I always tie my hair back, because it is the least noticeable and I try to cover everything. Nowadays I can do this myself, but in the past my mother had to do this for me. Sometimes I had to get up 2 hours earlier. I also have neck complaints because I took the wrong postures. I tried to move as little as possible so that my hair would not shift.
I am a girl who likes to look good, because of my hair I become very insecure. I have never been bullied, but people have often talked about me. People pointed at me in the street or things were said about me, for example that I looked like a boy and why I did not wear a wig. This hurts and makes you insecure. I deliberately chose not to pay attention to people’s reactions. I did not want to isolate myself, so I started working and played volleyball. And i havemany good friends that I could count on and I am very grateful for that. Despite not wishing to isolate myself, I did so unconsciously. For example, I did not stay overnight, fit clothing in stores, dated and did not go out. I did not want people to see it I wanted to keep it to myself.
After about half a year I had all my hair back, I remember that for the first time in 3 years I was wearing my hair down again. I felt confident and was satisfied with myself. My biggest fear was that it came back, because alopecia is an uncertain illness. Eventually after a year and a half it did came back, but it is now falling out slowly and when it falls out it grows faster again.
I am 20 year old now and I have more confidence. Of course you do not want people to talk about you and point at you, but I can handle it better now. It is a burden especially for myself because I am confronted with it every day. It is a huge emotional rollercoaster, when I brush my hair my whole brush is full of hair, I find hair everywhere and I get bald spots again. The first few months I collapsed, but I knew I had to get on with my life, because I did not want to stop myself again.
Be who you are
I still have a lot of pictures on social media from the past, many people ask me why I do not remove this. It is a big part of my life and that I should embrace it. I have gained a lot of self-confidence and a lot of insight into people because of my illness and also got a big reality check myself, you do not have to judge people on their appearance. The world must be equal. Because of my experience, I no longer judge people. You have to do what makes you happy and makes you feel good. People should stop judging without knowing you, because this can hurt people a lot.