Ten Truths from my Alopecia Journey

80427854_10157275466804398_3913179368066646016_nMichelle Ogbonna

My Alopecia Journey began many years ago, when I was 15 years old,  in Year 10 at High School. I was in the Drama Club, and one evening as we prepared for a performance, someone styling my hair exclaimed: “Oh look , you have a little bald spot right at the back of your head !” A few people laughed, including me, and I didn’t give it much thought, as it stayed the same for about 2 years.

During Year 12,  however, a few more little patches appeared, and in the year after I left school, those few little patches became many little patches, which joined together to become big patches, and I could no longer hide them with careful styling.

I wore hats and scarves to hide my patchy scalp,  and struggled terribly with anxiety and depression.

During that time, there were many lies I told myself and believed about myself and my future.

Now,  I am  43 years old, and my life is far different than I had expected it would be. Here are 10 of those lies and 10 of the truths that have replaced them.

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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.

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Young Kids and Alopecia Areata

Alopecia Areata can occur at any age. Did you know that it most often first presents during childhood?

Alopecia Areata is a complex condition. A lot of resources about it are very medical and difficult to understand. For very young kids and families supporting them, this can be a challenge. We’ve collected some of our best resources for helping young kids to understand alopecia. These resources can be helpful if a child has alopecia themselves, or if they have family or friends living with the condition.

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Handling Questions – Alopecia Tips for Kids

Have you ever been asked a question about your alopecia? How did it make you feel?

Sometimes questions can be okay. Other times, it can be annoying or upsetting, and you may not want to answer.

Why do people ask questions about your hair?

Lots of people have Alopecia Areata. Yet some people don’t know much about this condition. Some people may have never even heard of it. People might ask about your hair because they don’t understand and are curious.

Sometimes, people think that the hair loss is caused by something else. They might ask specific questions, like “Do you have cancer?”. In this case, people might be asking because they feel worried about or concern for you.

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Alopecia Travel Tips

Whether you’re hitting the snowy slopes or heading north to escape the winter chill, this time of year is amazing for travel. But travelling with Alopecia Areata can have some new complications and considerations.

We reached out to our Alopecia Support Groups for their best travel tips and advice to create this infographic. We had some amazing ideas and suggestions, and some stories of travel successes and challenges.

Click here to view the full-size infographic

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