Hi new friends to be. I wanted to write and introduce myself in hopes of making some new acquaintances and finding some support. I am not 100% sure this is the right place to post. Afterall I am new to my hairloss diagnosis and even newer to participating in forums. Please gently guide me in the right direction if this post is off course. To be honest, I still feel a bit shy about being open with my feeling about hair loss, but I thought I would give this a shot.
The recent official diagnosis of my androgenic alopecia (female pattern baldness or FPB) has thrown me for a loop and there have been bouts of crying, depression, and lots of self pity over the past couple of months, but otherwise I would consider myself a happy and generally upbeat person. I love to cook, eat, and sew vintage dresses. I work in fundraising. I am married to a wonderful man and together we travel and explore when and where we can. More than a great head of hair, someday I would like a dog, a house with a cozy kitchen, lots of vintage clothing, and time to bake every day.
My hair loss story began when I was 21. I studied abroad in Ireland, where I boldly got a very short haircut (think Felicity) with my curly locks. Well, being abroad was lonely for me and by the time it was over I had developed my first and only severe bout of depression in my life. With the sadness, I started worrying about my short haircut because I could see my scalp and worried my hair was thinning. But... of course everyone (including myself) thought this fixation on thinning hair was a byproduct of my depression and anxiety.
Well, the anxiety and depression self corrected after a few months back home, but the fear about my thinning hair has never entirely dissipated. During times of stress I always ended up at the bathroom mirror inspecting my hairline, and I swear finding evidence of thinning. However, my loved ones and husband always saw my concern as a remnant of that sad period of my life and assured me I was stone cold crazy to worry. "You're fine" they would say. "You have plenty of hair" was the common response. And so I would put the worry to rest, temporarily.
But this summer a hairdresser in my hometown was styling my hair for the first time in four or five years, and she gently asked me if I had noticed the change in hair texture on the top and sides of my head. My heart sunk, and upon further inspection with a hand mirror I realized that indeed, my hair is significantly thinning all over and especially on top. Yikes!
Now, 7 years after my official worries about thin hair, I have been officially diagnosed with androgenic alopecia (the dreaded female pattern baldness!) by two dermatologists, and the loss is visible even to those loved ones who always denied my worries. In some ways it is a bit of a relief to hear the diagnosis, as now I know I was not crazy with anxiety all these years. And in trying to find the bright side, I admit that if I had to choose between a chemical imbalance in my brain or a chemical imbalance in my hair follicles, I choose the follicles every time!
I am in the first months of the official diagnosis and just starting to come to terms with the full realization that my head of hair is a temporal state. I find myself wavering between feeling comfortable and confident in my ability to handle this situation with grace, and absolutely sick to my stomach and stricken with fear about the ways this condition might affect my life and my dreams and my relationships and my overall happiness.
As I mentioned, I feel shy and a bit awkward with this right now, but I look forward to easing myself into the forums and the FPB group. I plan on learning from others' experiences, sharing my own, and hopefully becoming more and more confident in my own strength, beauty, and worth with or without hair.
I would love to hear from some of you, just to know your stories and where you are at with your diagnosis. I have lots of questions to bring to discussions and the forum and I look forward to getting to know you. Thanks!