This is what happened: I'm in my first year of university and have met amazing people. However, one of my best friends of 6 years revealed me her secret and it absolutely shocked me. I never knew it would happen to her. Then I made a new friend at my university and I found out that she had a ruptured brain aneurysm when she was seven and multiple brain surgeries over the past 8 years. She's so positive and always smiles. Just this week, she had a seizure and a group of students at my school helped her. She was so thankful for that act of kindness and grateful for everything in her life.
Here, I only have hair loss (AGA) and a hearing disability with the resultant speech impediment (hence I've faced - and am still - people judging me based on that). I've been depressed over the past 6 years over these little things (hair loss and hearing disability) and yet these girls I've met have gone through so much in their lives and I haven't even heard them complain of it. In fact, I've been wanting for a human hair wig for so long but after finding out about the incident of my friend having a seizure, my desire to get a wig seems insignificant.
I feel so ashamed for complaining so much and not being grateful for everything in my life. I really don't know how to explain this feeling but I realized that I need to be grateful and that my hair loss seems insignificant compared to what others have gone through in their lives. I hope you understand what I'm trying to explain as I'm at a loss of words at the moment.
I completely understand your thinking! After I rapidly lost all of my hair last January, I was devastated and angry at the world. Soon after, my very best friend was diagnosed with lung cancer and has had to suffer through chemo and radiation. I was able to use my hair loss to counsel her as she lost her hair and we actually laughed as we learned to tie scarves and wear wigs together! I feel so fortunate to have my health and have been able to find strength that I never knew I had. I have NO problems that can compare with what your classmate has been through and faces everyday. You display amazing strength and a positive attitude which is inspirational. I hope that you can use your experiences to counsel others. Thanks so much for sharing your story! I feel inspired by you!
My grandmother always told me "there is always someone who is worst off then you ....." ..... It is sad to hear about your friends but you can count your self luck compaired to what they have to go through ..... Next time you see them, give them a BIG HUG and tell them you "love them and keep their friendship in your heart ...." .... I sounds like a little thing but they, and you, will feel better and your friendship will last for ever .....
Alopecia takes getting used to no matter what form you have. It is devastating to some if not all at first. I look at alopecia as my cross to carry in this life. I have other health issues that seemed to have come with the alopecia, yet it was the alopecia that devastated me. Shame about how you handled your disease will not do you any good. It is good you are putting some perspective on what you are going thru, concern for those around you is a good thing now that you have done this. DO NOT beat yourself up for what has been, but go forward and show love to all around you as you have learned one important lesson, you can not look at people and know what they have or are going thru, show patience to and compassion to all, as my grandma used to say, always be proud of your behavior this day.
I understand your feeling ashamed but we also need to start realizing how fortunate we are to be educated about different things in our lives and more understanding toward others and their disabilities. Also, it is amazing how many of the people we know have disabilities that most are unaware! I am thankful that although I've had cancer, I have alopecia areata and my hair loss is not from chemo! I also had a hearing loss due to an allergy but had hearing until approximately second grade. During the time I wasn't able to hear, I felt like I was sitting in my own little world and, unless I had the energy and desire, I didn't ask to have someone repeat what they had said to me (which sometimes is still true) which again left me in my own little space. I am thankful that now I can hear with very little hearing loss! I am now also more aware of the loss others feel due to their disabilities! Until we've been there, we truly don't know!
Don't feel ashamed it is a loss. I feel the same way, someone will always have it worse but hair is important. Hang in there.
each day is a new opportunity to feel thankful and realize that we all are blessed. forgive yourself, you have done nothing wrong and are very kind and loved by those around you.....
This may be a turning point for you with your alopecia. I had a similar experience back in 1988. I was in the process of losing my hair and I was a wreck about it. I was a flight attendant for Pan Am and when 103 was blown up over Lockerbie Scotland in December of 1988 I lost 2 friends on the flight. It helped me to get my hair loss into perspective. I never again fell into the trap of drowning in my own loss. It's natural to do that, we've all done it at one time or another, but seeing yourself as part of a world that has such sorrow and hardship in it, it is possible to see your own loss in a different light. However, don't feel guilty at all that you complained about having AU. It IS a loss and you had every right to feel the way you did. Now that you see it differently, life will be better for you in addition to your being grateful for the things you DO have.
I have had ALopecia Areata since AUgust 2013, and have decided to shave my hair off in the next week or so. I am excited about the new possibilities that I can create by being bald and getting to wear different wigs. Great for an actress :)
However, I have had my fair share of suffering and I learnt that it's ok for me to feel what I'm feeling. To grieve, to be sad. It's healthy and important. BUt there is a difference between sadness and suffering. Suffering stops us from moving forward, and I have had enough of those days. But to cry is good, and healing. DOn't feel bad because of what you are feeling, this is your journey. You can find support and inspiration in your friends. I had shift in me, where I stopped fighting what I'm going through and started embracing it. ANd I am so grateful that all that's "wrong" with me is that my hair is falling out. People will keep giving you advice and kind words, like I'm doing here, and you'll take it in...... but when you are ready, your shifts will happen. When it comes to wigs, I love Jon Renau. They have synthetic wigs that are just as good as human hair, for $200-$300. I love Patti's Pearls, as I felt so supported and comforted, by just watching her videos.
Remember, it's ok for you to feel sadness, but be aware of negative thoughts that creep in ( all those nasty things we say about ourselves). We all have that little voice, but when you start being aware of it, you can catch it in its' tracks when it says something that doesn't serve you. We make all that stuff up ourselves anyway.
Most of the amazing, inspirational people and leaders in the world, have gone through tremendous challenges. See it as a blessing. You are alive and you are here, right now, and that's perfect. There is nothing insignificant about what you are going through, and you can't measure that with what your friends are going through. Talk to them, share of yourself..... and allow them to the same. Connect with the people that inspire you, and just be YOU.
Let me add to the voices saying that you have a right to your feelings. This is a loss as much as if one lost a limb. You're not "complaining," you're grieving. For me, one of the most frustrating things about having alopecia (universalis in my case) is that well-meaning people try to make you feel better by saying "it could be worse." They don't realize it, but they are denying your emotions by focusing on the fact that alopecia areata doesn't kill you. However, this is a very psychologically isolating condition. I have made the decision to not wear a wig, but what goes with that is that -- except for a NAAF convention (!) -- I'm usually the only hair-free woman in the room. Short of hair, I do all I can to look beautiful -- clothes, makeup, jewelry -- but the key is to working on truly *feeling* beautiful. And then you will always shine.
I would like to clarify one thing before more members post on this thread: I have androgenetic alopecia, not alopecia areata. So I still have hair but it's much thinner compared to how it was before the onset of hair loss. So I can use Topper/Toppik (the powder) to hide my scalp and wear scarves around my neck, so the space between my neck and hair is filled (if you know what I'm talking about). It's so thin that it has been traumatizing for me and whenever I take pictures, you can see through my hair and heck you can even see what's going on in the background by looking at my hair!
At the moment, I unfortunately cannot buy a human hair wig as it's expensive. So that's why I'm waiting for summer by which I can accumulate my savings to purchase one. Also, I'm in school and would not be comfortable to "suddenly" wear a wig in the middle of the year. So...this wait has been brutal for me so far.