2. Dealing with the grief of losing your hair

If you’re just now dealing with losing your hair, or have been living with alopecia for years, grief and frustration are either immediate or distant memories. I was nine months old when, after an almost fatal allergic reaction to milk, I developed my first bald spot. About every seven years a bald spot would appear on my head, but just as quickly, it would leave, until I turned 30.
It’s difficult to put words to the grief I’ve experienced over losing my hair. I went through all the typical stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance) in the beginning, to varying degrees, but there was never a time when I experienced just one of these emotions. While I can say I’ve accepted the fact that my hair isn’t growing as it used to, I don’t accept that I have to feel less than good about myself because of this disease.
I used to think all the good that defined me, and that I identified with, accompanied my loose hair as it washed down the drain. Every day I earn a new notch in my alopecian belt, and after 13 years and counting, I’m more humble relating to others’ struggles, and am better able to direct that perspective toward myself. I’ve learned that I’m still a good friend, still a beloved daughter, niece and aunt, and valued co-worker. I’ve learned that I can show people what it means to be strong, have heart and self-love, and be an example of how to treat oneself. I’ve also learned that life, and all there is to love about it, doesn’t go away when we lose our hair.

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