I went travelling with a friend of mine about a month ago. In the lead up to the trip she began to act really strange. Paranoid and jittery. This was very odd because she is usually the calm solitary rock. She’s the girl who had the bluntness to say to me before when travelling, ‘Go away, I need my space – see you in an hour.’
When we finally arrived at the station, I found out why. The poor girl had been losing hair by the clump load. Apparently it had happened before and what I had thought were beautiful natural waves was kinky new hair growing back. The previous time it had thinned but then stabilised and noone had REALLY noticed. This time round it was clogging up the drains and shedding off worse than a scabby sunburn.
My friend turned up with a scarf around her head, topped with a hat and a thin sad little pony tail at the back. She looked like some strange cross between a gangster and a leukemia victim. She’d just been for another hair treatment and was being paranoid about her hair being greasy looking or non- existent.
The entire weekend was filled with moments when she fell apart in tears. I had never seen her like this. The girl who was always stronger than me while I threw temper tantrums and didn’t cope with life. The treatments weren’t working and this was the first time I saw her without a fringe. I had never realised it before but for her the fringe was a safety net between her and the world and now it was falling out.
This is the thing about alopecia. Noone really knows what causes it. So it is difficult to treat. Two visits to a specialist at £600 a pop had done nothing to help. The Indian massage therapist had been more comforting and possible just as helpful with her head rubs.
Beyond the fact that you are shedding worse than a cat, there is nothing really wrong with you. It is not like you have a terminal disease or a disability. Why do you deserve any sypmpathy when there are people suffering so many worser afflictions?
Probably so. But especially for woman, baldness is not an attractive feature. Well, not on the scalp at least…
Even for men hair loss can be traumatic.
There is a reason they call it your ‘crowning glory’.
I wanted to say to her ‘don’t make a fuss about this, don’t stress about it as it’s probably stress causing it, it’s not such a big deal’.
But then I thought about how I would feel if it was ME walking around semi bald with my appearance worsening by the day when I look in the mirror. And I realised it IS a pretty big deal. And that as it is, my friends often point out how thin/bald the crown at the back of my head is and how even this makes me paranoid when I can still have a fringe.
It made the grey hairs on my head something I could still be grateful for. At least they were there. On my head. Where I could dye them and not on the floor with my fallen tears.