My Alopecia Story – Jamie Duncan

I’m delighted to share with everyone here that I was selected for a music education sponsorship through AAAF’s 2022 sponsorship program, and I couldn’t be more excited about the incredible opportunity.  I am so grateful to AAAF and this community for supporting me on my alopecia journey and wanted to share more about my past, present and personal ambitions for the future – look out for 4th brother!

I think my alopecia story actually started when I was much younger than when I was first diagnosed with Alopecia Areata, which didn’t happen until the age of 27.  At an earlier time in my life, it was never noticeable to me, or anyone else as I recall, as I was an especially cool 90’s pre-teen with a fashionably long-ish middle parting haircut at the time – yo!  When I did have hair on my head, I had thick hair, like my Mum’s I always said, but I do remember a moment one day as a kid, just kind of playing with my hair, and noticing that, as I did, it was coming out in my hands.  I remember thinking, “that’s weird, let me do that again and see if more comes out”, and it did, so I promptly stopped, thinking I might just lose it all if I didn’t!  I didn’t even tell my parents, brothers or friends about it, it was just something that happened and then I completely forgot about it.

That earlier experience did return however, at 27 as I mentioned earlier, and at a time that was easy for me to associate to memory, as my wife Laura and I were excitedly expecting our first child, our daughter Carmen.  After noticing the classic signs of Alopecia Areata, small, Scottish 50 pence piece sized patches, I took myself off to the GP and was duly diagnosed with AA.  It was very much a “do you have any stress going on in your life at present?”, line of investigation, something I think I could always answer yes to, but I was, am, a relatively laid-back individual, and wouldn’t have suggested anything significant as a known source of concern.  Anyway, I was given a treatment of steroid lotion to massage into my scalp and sent on my merry way to see if it helped.

Whether it was the lotion or the excitement of being a new father for the first time I did experience regrowth.  Great, I thought!  Until…  yeah, Laura pregnant again, our beautiful son Donnie this time, and all the signs of progressive AA hair loss all over again.  I personally put it down to coincidence, but whatever it was, this time it wasn’t showing any signs of recovery, not over weeks, months or even years, and I decided that I just had to live with it.  That was probably the first time that having AA was on my mind, and where I was conscious of its effect on my appearance, even though it was no more than about 10% to 15% of my hair back then.  Every trip to the barbers involved an explanation and a lot of people had an opinion on it.  Looking back, I’m actually amazed at how few people actually understood the condition.

Fast forward to a new life in Australia for us all, and at 40 things really took a turn.  I really depended on the AAAF community, as I was losing hair FAST, and EVERYWHERE.  My AA progressed to Universalis and I honestly didn’t know what to do or how to deal with it.  It was emotionally draining, I remember that.  I was anxious and fearful about the state of my general health at that time.  I was waking up with piles of hair on my pillow, showering and handfuls of hair coming out in my hands.  I was open to trying anything and spent months in treatment for steroid injections in my scalp, as that was a priority for me if anything could be done.  I remember experiencing minor benefits in one area, only to be losing hair in another, it was very difficult.  I was never a hairy man, but eyebrows, eye lashes, face, under arms, arms, legs all lost hair and you can’t prepare for that happening or the emotional and psychological impact of that.

I braved the shave.  I took myself to the barbers the first time I decided to do it.  The guys there were great!  We started on a gauge 4, then a 3, a 2, 1 and even zero.  I still wasn’t satisfied and said, “can you just use a razor?”  I got the cleanest shave I’d ever had in my life – and it felt amazing, different, but amazing!  I quickly realised this was something I’d need to master at home and have been shaving daily ever since – you see I still have little patches of facial and head hair.

It was tough, but with the love and support of family, friends and great communities like AAAF, I was able to get through it, and I now spend every opportunity I’m presented with helping less aware people understand alopecia better.  Keeping my mind on family, health, happiness, work and fun is a great distraction from alopecia and that’s where the sponsorship comes in.  I’m an aspiring creative, with a love of house music and I write, produce and DJ for fun in my spare time.  With the support of AAAF’s Sponsorship Program, I was able to sign up to a program of courses at Point Blank Music School in London, where I take classes online, collaborate with classmates from around the world and have had the most amazing time learning today’s technology for producing music.

Remember 4th brother?  Taking the course has given me the confidence to progress my music goals, and this year I kicked a life goal with AAAF’s support, releasing my first piece of music publicly and dedicated to AAAF “4th brother – feels good (aaaf demo mix)” on Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, Amazon Music and others and I hope to release more in the future too.  It’s been amazing to have the support to help develop my skills, build my confidence and share my music and I couldn’t have done it without this support, so THANK YOU AAAF, you do amazing work in support of so many and I really, really appreciate it.
Jamie / 4th brother

Brigette’s Story.

My name is Brigette Lucas, I am 34 years young and I have an autoimmune condition called Alopecia Areata.

My friend in High School noticed that I always had hair collecting on my jumper, like the way a cat or dog’s hair always sticks to your clothes, but in my case, it was my human bio hair sticking to my school jumper. I didn’t think much of it at the time; I had so much hair that a little shedding was okay.

It wasn’t until I was 19 years old, after completing High School and when I’d moved from Rural NSW to Sydney, that my hair rapidly started to thin on my head. I found it hard to cover the hair loss and although social media existed, we didn’t have these little pockets of life where women with hairloss existed and shared their wig reviews, or head scarf tutorials, or just someone else existed with Alopecia. I had no friends losing hair, I talked with my Doc and we got a consultation booked with a Dermatologist.

I was diagnosed with Alopecia Areata.

At the time I didn’t even know what that meant… I was, or felt, very alone, scared and confused. I remember asking the doctor to write the word down because I thought he was using Dr lingo or Latin.

My journey has been long and it hasn’t been a quick, “I’m okay now” not for me, or for anyone just joining this community. I’ve grown with Alopecia. I used to feel that it took my identity and that it defined me… but now I think it’s just an aspect of me.

I like to remind myself that I am more than my hair loss; I’m more than my wig, or my turban, or my balding head and you are too.

So with years of learning, the hurt, the anger, the sadness, the why me?… I’ve decided to let it all go. It crops up every now and then and catches me off guard. I cry about it. Talk to friends about it and then return to letting it go as best as I can.

I’ve found that with my body getting older, it hurts in places… I know I’m only 34 years young, remember? But I’ve decided to take up physical activity to alleviate some of the pain. I’ve started pilates. It has so many elements of dance, which is something I did as a young girl. My body is really excited for the challenge and to be moving again.

I can’t wait to feel good in my bones.

Talk to you all soon about it

Brigette Lucas Xx

Bren’s Alopecia Story.

Bren is a biologist that has lived most of her life with alopecia. She started losing her hair when she was five years old, all while she was going through a very rough moment with her family, but even when that was over, the hair loss was not. Bren tells us a bit about her journey; wigs, revealing her hair loss to coworkers, love, acceptance, and more.

This is Bren’s alopecia story.

Walk in my shoes, by Jo.

The word “alopecia” means hair loss. Alopecia Areata is an auto-immune disease that results in hair loss on the scalp and elsewhere on the body. It can range from small, individual smooth patches of hair loss, to total loss of all hair on the body – including ear and nose hair. Alopecia Areata is not uncommon, and current estimates suggest that 2% of the population will be affected by the condition at some point in their lifetime1. Alopecia Areata can be a lifelong condition, and can deeply affect self-image, self-esteem, confidence, and even mental health. But there is hope. Jo shares her personal and moving story.

EARLY DAYS

One day at work in July 2019, a friend asked me if I had burnt my hair with my hair straightener. She noticed a small 20 cent sized patch of missing hair. I had never noticed it. I saw my GP who referred me to a dermatologist who diagnosed me with Alopecia Areata (AA). Alopecia was definitely something I had heard of. I always assumed Alopecia was the complete loss of hair and not small circle patches.

Rapidly, that 1 small patch transformed into an AA ophiasis pattern (a unique pattern of hair loss, where the hair around the entire outside of my head fell out). Losing my hair and identity was incredibly traumatising and upsetting. I had no history of AA and prided myself on how fit, active and healthy I was. As I have now learned, AA is an autoimmune condition and can impact you at any age and health status.

Despite being a very confident person, I only told my partner, parents, and brother about my condition. I was embarrassed, fearful, and sad that I no longer looked like ‘me’ anymore. The one blessing of COVID-19 was I didn’t have to leave home and answer people’s questions about my hair.

THE BREAKTHROUGH

AA is a hard illness to sit within yourself. There is no cure and not all treatments work for everyone. Unfortunately for me, AA ophiasis pattern is very rare and also very resistant to treatment.

I feel very lucky to have a family who works in the medical field so discussing treatment options and medication came naturally. I joined AAAF (Australia Alopecia Areata Foundation) for support, read medical journal articles on new treatments, spoke to my medical team, and joined other support networks.

As a psychologist, the strategies I ask my clients to use, I had to apply to myself included deep breathing, mindfulness, grounding, self-acceptance, and rejection of traditional beauty standards. I am grateful that I know my partner and family love me no matter what. I feel that having their support also helped me to be brave. There were lots of nights I laid awake feeling anxious and wondering “what if I lose all my hair?” “what if I am like this forever?”.

After 2 years of treatment which included- painful injections, an intense steroid medication, and very expensive autoimmune suppressant medication, I have had some hair re-growth. In April 2021, I relapsed and some new patches formed with incredibly rapid hair loss.

I also started wearing wigs which was another journey in itself. The anxiety of “what if people notice I am wearing a wig and ask me about it?” is huge and one I still have not faced. Other than my family, I have told no one I wear a wig. I still haven’t come to terms with that in myself.

In this picture of me, I was in “remission” and only had small patches easy to cover with my long hair sections. Flares and recurrence can happen at any time, so this disease never leaves me completely and I need to manage my way through the ups and downs.

REFERENCE

AND TODAY

The financial burden I have carried from multiple treatments, expensive medication, and wigs (none is subsidised) is approximately $15,000 to date. I was fortunate that I have good health literacy, family support, and financial stability to try to fight my AA.

Today I have done a lot of work to accept AA in myself and what it means for me moving forwards. In the morning I take my medication, put my wig on and go about my day as a psychologist. I have to see my dermatologist regularly to manage my hair loss. I often remind myself that AA is not my fault and I did not choose this. I have made peace with my condition and know my worth is not defined by my hair or lack thereof.

1. Australia Alopecia Areata Foundation. About Alopecia Areata. About Alopecia Areata | Australia Alopecia Areata Foundation (aaaf.org.au). Accessed 20/01/2022

Advice from the community

Hello, dear Alopecia family. We have spent some time collecting advice from our beloved community, so you could access our ultimate compilation of advice.

Some advice has been edited to allow us to feature each person and to create an enjoyable reading:

Be proud of yourself and everything about you including your bald head, but cover it up when in the sun or when cold. It’s ok to hide if you need privacy or aren’t up for having your uniqueness on display at that moment.

Alana

There is always someone worse off than you. You have people who love you and you can achieve anything you want. I remember as a little girl my prayers weren’t for me but, they were for people worse off. In the long run, it’s devastating not having hair, but it’s only hair.

-Claudia

Never hide, you will only hurt yourself by pretending you’re something you’re not. I’m not saying don’t wear wigs; do what makes you comfortable, but don’t be ashamed or embarrassed, genuine people will be kind and the others don’t matter.

-Chloe

Acceptance is the key to living a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life.

Acceptance is gained differently for different individuals. Some learn peace through yoga and meditation, some need friends and family support, and others may benefit from counseling.

-Linda

My advice to anyone living with Alopecia is to be open about it. The amount of
people who have told me about their alopecia or a family member because I
openly talking about my wigs or because I take them off in front of people has amazed me.
The more open you can be, the more you will find yourself comfortable with
your own hair situation and inspire others to open up.

-Corinne

Be Bold,
Be Bald,
We are all different and that is beautiful.
Please accept yourself and remember your awesomeness regardless.
Learn to love yourself and follow your dreams.
Smile and be happy.

– Pauline

Learn to love yourself as you are and talk about how you are feeling. It may take time to come to terms with your alopecia, and some days you may feel sorry for yourself, but that’s ok. Above all, remember your hair loss does not dictate how you can approach life. Breathe, relax and share in all the beauty around you.

-Bridgette

Practice kindness to yourself, celebrate your differences and uniqueness. Surround yourself a positive, inclusive and supportive community. Acknowledge feelings, don’t try to hide from them. You are beautiful, you are strong and you’ve got this

– Zoe

Do what you feel is right for you and believe in yourself.

– Airlee

Wake up each morning and know that you are beautiful with or without hair.

-Sienna

Own it, take the power from anyone who tries to put you down, because bald is beautiful.

-Kayla

Smile at everyone you meet, then you will always be beautiful

-Michelle

Improve what you can change and learn to accept what you can’t.
You only live once, make the most of it!

-Anne.

Accept that some days you will feel fine with no hair, others you will feel freaky.
Focus on the positives whenever you can – no waxing, shaving, hair removal cream, no hairdressing salons (I use to hate reading magazines and doing a small talk at the hairdressers – haha) no grey hair, a 5 min shower, and the ability to change your style and color at any time!
Have your explanation, and various versions of it ready, so you are comfortable when other people mention your wig or no hair. (Have a version for kids, work colleagues, friends, etc
I used to worry about upsetting people, making them feel awkward when they find out I have no hair…

– Don’t –

Just explain it confidently and that puts them and you at ease.

-Helen

The first thing you are going to need is a strong support system. It is a rough emotional ride and there’s, unfortunately, no book out yet called “So you’ve just been diagnosed with Alopecia”. You may want to isolate yourself but what you need to do is find other people who have this condition and take your Mum or a trusted Best Friend with you. Find a support group in your town or city or start chatting online.
Start slow and try to learn as much as you can about different types of eyebrow wigs, eyelashes, eyelashes, tattoos, and wigs as there are many styles such as monofilament, human, synthetic, virgin, suction, etc! You may decide you don’t want to replicate what you looked like previously and are happy to be bold and brave and out there.

Being in denial is also unhelpful for your wellbeing; blocking out your condition and how you feel about it with any substances is going to do a lot of damage in the long run and it probably won’t help you to grow your hair back.

Be prepared for the unexpected when you tell someone special because others’ reactions can really impact your mental health.

In hindsight, what I can tell you now, is that it’s important to get to a point of acceptance as quickly and as healthily as you can. This happened to you but it doesn’t have to define you. Find out what makes you happy and continue to do those things with people you love. For me, it’s going fishing on the beach, and I sure could use a hat with hair for that!

-Tamara

Photos taken from our 2021 camps.

Access the PDF on advice from the community here.

View the advice slideshow below:

Mental Health, Alopecia, and Meditation

Alopecia is never life-threatening or extremely physically painful, however, the psychological impacts of alopecia can be devastating.

On the less severe side of those psychological impacts are feelings of isolation, embarrassment in social situations, and guilt. Individuals with alopecia may also experience grief over the loss of their hair or socially withdraw.

On the more severe side, alopecia is associated with an increased prevalence of psychiatric disorders such as a major depressive episode, anxiety disorder, social phobia, or paranoid disorder. It impacts an individual’s sense of self and identity and can lead to personal, social, and work-related issues.

There’s no cure for alopecia or the mental health issues that can come along with it. But, in recent years, extensive research on meditation has offered some insight into the potential mental and emotional health benefits of mindfulness. 

What Is Meditation?

First documented in India between 5,000 and 3,5000 BCE, meditation has been around for thousands of years. The main benefit of a meditation practice, in terms of mental health, is developing mindfulness. That is, regular meditation results in a more mindful life.

But what is mindfulness? It’s a state of awareness in which you focus on the present moment. When you’re being mindful, you’re aware of everything happening inside and outside your body, including thoughts and physical sensations. Importantly, you’re aware of these things and you don’t pass judgement on them. You accept that they’re there and you recognize that there’s no need to change them.

Meditation is a vehicle for practicing mindfulness. Of course, it would be difficult to practice awareness of thoughts and sensations in the middle of a busy, noisy room. Meditation gives you the opportunity to tune into these subtle ques and slip into a state of awareness.

How Does Meditation Help with the Mental Health Aspects of Alopecia?

Meditation and mindfulness can relax the body and mind. But science has only just started to look into the less obvious benefits of meditation and mindfulness, including coping with pain, improving attention, and rewiring neural pathways so that we’re able to change habits and other behavioral patterns.

Practicing meditation to develop mindfulness is less about keeping your mind clear of thoughts, as is often the perception, and more about taking the power away from your thoughts and emotions. As you continually practice coming back to your breath and dismissing thoughts without judgment during a meditation, the way your brain and nervous system react in response to intrusive, anxious, self-deprecating, or depressive thoughts in real life also begins to change.

Although researchers aren’t 100% sure quite how this works, a recent study out of Yale University offers some insight. The study looked into the impact of mindfulness meditation on the default mode network (DMN) in the brain. 

The DMN is the program our brain switches to when our minds are just wandering. Having an overly active DMN is associated with unhappiness, ruminating, and worry (about both the past and the future). It’s from this mind state that we question our appearance, diminish our self-esteem, and think all of the thoughts that cause stress, anxiety, and depression

What the researchers found is that meditation can quiet the DMN. What’s more, when the mind did go into the DMN state, people who meditated regularly could take themselves out of it better than others. This may be one of the reasons why meditation is so great at reducing stress, anxiety, and depression as well as improving self-image and self-esteem – aka all the emotional and mental health issues most associated with alopecia.

Getting Started

Meditation is something that’s accessible to everyone. There are no side effects, it doesn’t cost a penny, and you can do it every day.

But how do you get started? We recommend starting small. Trying to meditate for 25 minutes at a time when you’re first beginning is going to be difficult and not achieving your goal could have you quitting before you ever get started. Instead, start with putting three to five minutes aside, and follow these instructions:

  1. Find a quiet space where you’ll be free of distraction for your entire practice.
  2. Take a seat or lay down if it’s more comfortable.
  3. Set a timer for the amount of time you’d like to meditate (beginnings shouldn’t start with any more than five minutes).
  4. Check in and make any last necessary adjustments to ensure you’re comfortable.
  5. Close your eyes, place your hands either palm up or palm down on your knees, and straighten your spine.
  6. Now, notice your breath. Notice your breath as you inhale and exhale and how your belly rises and falls with each breath.
  7. If your mind wanders or thoughts enter your head, which they inevitably will, just notice it, return to your breath, and let it pass.
  8. Don’t pass judgement on your thoughts or yourself. Don’t try to change it. Simply notice and return to your breath.
  9. When the timer is up, don’t open your eye and jump up immediately. Take time to open your eyes to the light and to come back into your environment.

Remember that meditation is a practice. That is, you develop it over time, so don’t be discouraged should your mind wander often or if you find it difficult to return to your breath. Some days will be easier than others and the important things with meditation is that you’re consistent.

Additional Resources for Your Wellbeing

Meditation is a way to practice mindfulness, and mindfulness allows us to be present with our thoughts and emotions without judgment or the need to change them. Bringing mindfulness into our lives takes power away from those thoughts and emotions and, in turn, improves the mental health of practitioners. For individuals with alopecia, this may be one incredible way to deal with anxiety, depression, social phobias, and self-esteem issues.

But there are other ways, too. Check out more support resources here.

The opinions expressed in this article are not that of AAAF, but of their Sponsorship Recipient, Sheridan Ruth. 
Sheridan received a sponsorship from AAAF for her meditation practice. You can also receive sponsorship by clicking here to learn more

Art and Alopecia

Creative practices like art, music, writing and dance have long been known to help support mental health. Arts therapy is a recognized practice with many potential benefits, known to help with communication, self-image, personal development and coping skills.

Throughout the challenges 2020, we’ve seen how arts and creative practices have been very helpful for individuals and families. A range of creative practices have seen a swell in popularity, from mindful colouring, paint-by-numbers for adults and learning viral online dances. Art, dance and music can be great learning tools for young kids and an opportunity for self-expression or exploring emotions for teens and adults.

Continue reading “Art and Alopecia”

How to Cope

Well, 2020 sure is something, huh? 

I had the idea for this article in December after a difficult personal month with family impacted by the bushfires. After some consideration, it felt a little too personal and not relevant enough to others to share to this blog.

And then the last three months happened.

Fires, floods, pandemic, political scandals, workplaces closing down and suddenly we can’t buy toilet paper. That’s just the macro level, big-picture stuff. Underneath all this, our personal lives keep on keeping on.

For me, that start of 2020 has been a house move, the passing of a much-beloved pet, family members battling cancer, and, after over six years of Alopecia Areata Universalis, my brows are growing back. In the wrong place. Urgh.

It’s a whole lot. And we’re all feeling it. Even if you haven’t been directly impacted by fires, workplace closures, or sudden lack is tissues, we’re all feeling the instability and unpredictability. 

Continue reading “How to Cope”

Motivation, Healthy Habits and Alopecia

IMG_2285Submitted by Nellie – You can read more about Nellie’s journey with Alopecia Areata here.

When my alopecia takes something away from me, there is usually an antidote that restores my equilibrium.

Hair needing to be cut into a pixie once some regrowth comes through? A licence to purchase a new lipstick and eyeshadow colours that compliment my new look. Alopecia Areata progressing to Universalis? A new wig cut into a sharp bob in a shade of blonde that I’d never be able to upkeep with my real hair. Braving life in the outside world without a wig at all? Easier to tackle with a new dress that gives me some extra confidence in my appearance. No hair to tie up or pin back? No need to perpetually purchase hair elastics or bobby pins when they inevitably get sucked into the hair-accessory black hole. Being unresponsive to new alopecia medications that seemed to work wonders for most other alopecians? Focus on other aspects of my physical health, applying for an AAAF sponsorship to playing tennis and stay active, have fun and remember that a bald head need not stop me from doing things I enjoy.

Continue reading “Motivation, Healthy Habits and Alopecia”

22 Things I’ve Learnt from Alopecia in 22 Years

  1. It’s not your fault.
    As long as I’ve had alopecia, there have been people saying “Oh but if only you weren’t so stressed/drank this supplement/didn’t eat this food/rubbed this vegetable on your scalp every night, then you wouldn’t have alopecia”. Alopecia is individual, based on a complex gene interaction, and you didn’t bring it on yourself. It is not your fault.
  2. Surround yourself with good people.
    Take care of them, and they’ll take care of you.
  3. Children will sometimes ask awkward questions about your appearance, but that’s okay, because they’re young and they don’t know better.
    Adults will sometimes ask awkward questions about your appearance, but that’s not okay, because they’re adults and they should know better.
  4. However, the huge majority of strangers really don’t care that much about what other people look like.
  5. Lubricating eye drops are a godsend. Go for preservative-free single-use droppers if you’ll be using them for a long time, as the preservatives can have some nasties.
  6. Master the thousand-yard stare.
    Learning how to navigate your way in public with your head up confidently but not checking if people are staring at you is a skill.
  7. Anyone who doesn’t want to date you because of your alopecia is 100% someone you do not want to date. Sometimes you’ve just got to let the trash take itself out.
  8. Find your role models.
    There are so many amazing, inspiring people out there absolutely #WinningAlopecia. Follow social media accounts that uplift you. Remove the ones that bring you down.
  9. Brow fashion styles change. Keep this in mind when making decisions about permanent or semi-permanent makeup options.
  10. Compliments on my hair when I’m wearing my wigs, or on my head shape when I’m going bald (why does everyone do this?) will always make me slightly uncomfortable. That’s okay.
  11. Health doesn’t mean what people think it means.
    Most people think that you start off with a “normal”, “healthy” body, and then something goes wrong. People spend years wondering “why did this happen to me?”. The truth is, there are a million or more different ways the human body can be not-normal. We are all healthy and not-healthy in different ways. Our bodies are unique and different, and things happen for all sorts of reasons and for no reason at all.
  12. There’s nothing wrong with wearing a wig. You’re not “lying” or “hiding” if wearing a wig feels right to you.
  13. There’s nothing wrong with being openly bald. Or having patches. Or having thin hair. Or wearing hats or scarves or turbans. You do you, boo.
  14. Keep a handkerchief with you at all times.
    Necessary equipment for managing teary lash-less eyes, drippy noses or the wig sweats.
  15. You can’t win them all.
    Some people might be uncomfortable about your alopecia, or say something rude, or have strong and incorrect opinions. Other people’s problems are a reflection on them, not on you.
  16. Gratitude is healing. You don’t need to be grateful for your alopecia, but reflecting one what good it has brought you and what you’ve learned can help you find peace with it.
  17.  It’s important to be positive.
    You don’t have to love your alopecia if you don’t want to. But for your long-term wellbeing, it’s important to find how to live with confidence, comfort, and in a way that serves you best.
  18. It’s okay to be upset.
    It’s okay to be angry. It’s okay to feel distressed. You don’t need to feel guilty for your feelings because “it could be worse”. You’re allowed to feel what you feel. But always remember that you deserve to be happy and you will be.
  19. You can choose to move forward.
    We can’t always control how we feel. But we can control how we respond to hardship and how we act. If you need support, reach out. It’s there for you, I promise. If there is something you want to do, do it. Don’t let alopecia hold you back from the things you want. Go swimming, get on that rollercoaster, ask that person out. Pushing through our fears is hard, but living under them is worse.
  20. $8 liquid eyeliner just is as good as $80 liquid liner. You can’t change my mind.
  21. Helping others helps you.
    Volunteering and helping support others living with Alopecia Areata has been the best thing I could have done to help myself find positivity with this condition. If you’re able to, reach out to your local alopecia support organisation (AAAF, Alopecia UK, CANAAF, NAAF and many more) and ask how you can get involved. You could run a catch-up event in your town, take part in peer support, help young people tell their schools about alopecia, and more.
  22. You’re not alone. You can do this.

 

What have you learnt from your journey with Alopecia Areata? What do you wish you’d known when you were first diagnosed? Let us know in the comments!

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