Coming Out!

Googled!

I came across this picture and was reminded of a time when I could barely stand the woman on the other side of the looking lass. One look in the mirror and tears would begin to fall  at the sight of my own reflection or worse, I would feel this incredible urge to break the frame into a million pieces- This started when my hair had begun to thin out .

Feelings of shame and disgust for my reflection had already begun to develop before the BIG CHOP- Luckily for me I was able to devise a temporary solution to the problem … kindly note the adjective “temporary”. Staring at my reflection I would be extremely disassociated from the woman looking back at me. It worked for a while, but what I would later realise was that although I had taken the bold step of going totally bald, I was still in a major state of denial and very much ashamed of the woman who stared back at me.

I would stand in front of the  mirror, but never for too long in order to avoid eye contact with myself, my head was scraped clean so I just ignored that part of my body anyway. Besides, people often mistook me for a model, so that’s who I saw each time I looked in the mirror and not some chick suffering from Alopecia. However, there were those days, which I would now like to call “Unfortunate days“.

In front of my mirror I would come face to face with this very sad lady- Reality dealing me heavy blows  as the feelings of panic, shame and disgust, just to mention a few, would overwhelm me once again. The art of disassociation slowly became ineffective as my unfortunate days became more frequent, and in the end I was flung into a season of depression. I had  thought that scrapping my head and declaring to the world that I had Alopecia was my way of “Coming Out“, but far from it.

The first step towards true recovery would come only after I had accepted myself for who I was. This I accomplished by spending time on a daily looking deep into  the eyes of my mirror image and telling her what a gorgeous thing she was… and still is of course 😉

Initially a very painful and emotional exercise, but overtime I began to believe in her and finally in me too. I also found that talking about my illness with people and writing about it made me associate better with the person I had become-  At some point I could even joke about the predicament. The final step was seeking medical advice.

I happen to HATE hospitals, so even back then I was more inclined to online doctors (covering my face in shame :P). Once I started recovering psychologically, I mustered up the guts to consult and meet personally with a Dermatologist – He confirmed that it was A.A and prescribed what he could, and also told me all I had heard or read up before…

Miss Otaru, there is a possibility that hair may never grow again in those areas… bla bla bla! 😀

Picture-174.jpg

Still scanty in some areas but still loving it! 🙂

Well here I am today, pills, lotions, liquid solutions and herbal remedies after 🙂 … By accepting myself  back then, I am able NOW to love myself come what may.

I realise that there is a possibility that I may have to go back to being bald someday, but whatever the case may be, in the end that lady on the other side of the looking glass will ALWAYS be gorgeous to me 😉

Moral of Today’s post: When “Coming Out” – no matter the situation, PLEASE be sure to take your reflection with you… Its the key to your self-esteem.

Cheers! 🙂

Advertisements

I AM NOT MY HAIR – A Re-introduction to Alopecia

I have for a number of years now been a victim of major hair loss caused by a disease known as Alopecia Areata.

Alopecia Areata is a rare disease and is one of the many types of Alopecia, which involves the loss of areas of hair on the heads of men, women and children alike and other parts of the body such as the beard, resulting in bald patches. The exact cause of Alopecia Areata is yet unknown, although it is generally agreed that it is a disease of the immune system. There is believed to be a genetic component in some cases and a possible link with stress. Alopecia causes your immune system to attack the affected hair follicles mistaking them for foreign cells. This halts hair growth (the anagen stage) and causes a move to resting (the telogen phase) where the hairs are then abruptly shed.

Alopecia is commonly recognized as balding in men, this is not completely true. Not many are aware of the various forms of Alopecia that affect both genders and cut across race and age groups.

  1. ALOPECIA AREATA – as previously explained is a rare autoimmune disease that results in the loss of patches of body and scalp hair causing bald spots in one or different areas on the head or chin.
  2. ALOPECIA TOTALIS – another rare autoimmune disease that causes total loss of hair on the Scalp.
  3. ALOPECIA UNIVERSALIS – A third variant of the disease that results in the loss of ALL body hair, hence the name “Universalis”.
  4. ANDROGENETIC ALOPECIA Commonly known as male pattern baldness. It is not classified as an autoimmune disease but is induced by the genetic makeup and is hereditary.
  5. TRACTION ALOPECIA Like Androgenetic Alopecia is not a disease but is influenced by pressure on the hairline from overly tight weaving, which results in receding frontal hair, most commonly suffered by women as a result.

These are just a few of the various forms of this disease, and with this brief introduction I hope to set the record straight- ALOPECIA is not just about balding, it is the unwanted, uncontrollable loss of hair from the head, face and other body parts and in some cases the entire body. The application of Steroid based topical creams and topical Minoxidil solutions on bald patches, and Steroid injections on such spots are some of the presently available treatments of Alopecia Areata but a cure for hair re-growth is yet to be discovered.

As a victim of major hair loss that has spanned over 5 years now, I have witnessed first hand the ignorance of many towards this disease and the social stigma that comes with that ignorance. There are people who see hair loss as a form of spiritual attack rather than the real, human,  medical condition it is. I am also aware of the traumatic psychological effects this disease leaves one with in place of their hair – Depression, Anxiety, low Self-esteem and Shame are a few of the scarring emotional traumas brought on by the disease, and in a society so fixated on aesthetics, “Weaves and Wigs” are a fantastic approach to hiding this humiliation – I should know, I do know because I’ve been there. Luckily I was fortunate enough to discover others like myself within my vicinity and also got connected with online support groups- Sharing my pain with others helped me through my ignominy and finally resulted in me taking my power back and finding the courage to shave my head and find a voice louder than mine by creating this blog “Hair Chronicles”, where I write on my experience with major hair loss and re-growth, in the hope of encouraging others in my position.

The essence of this post isn’t to encourage individuals with Alopecia to get a haircut, Heavens No! Rather it is to create public awareness towards the various types, particularly the rarer forms of the disease, and allow victims hiding behind wigs to realize that they are not alone. There are many of us living with these diseases, even public figures such as the American Olympic gold medalist Joanna Rowsell who was diagnosed with a chronic case of Alopecia Areata at a very tender age. Medical research is being carried out internationally to find a concrete cure to the disease and I am ever positive that someday very soon they will find one, but until then I hold unto the constantly uplifting belief that “I am NOT my hair”… This is the message I desire to convey to Alopecia victims and “People” in general today.

Cheers! 🙂

My next hair experiment… GINGER TREATMENT!!!!

So I’ve been doing some more digging around for literature on herbal remedies for hair loss and regrowth, and today I finally came across the spice Ginger roots! “Now why am I not surprised” I thought as I read through the articles. The tingling sensation one would get once its been applied to the scalp is enough to force those lazy follicle back into action.

Anyway, I’ll be testing some of the remedies along with some other Garlic and Onion remedies I’ve found once I take me weave down… Wish me luck! 🙂

Now worries, you’ll get a status report… but I imagine that will come say a week or two from now.

Henceforth its “LESS Ginger in my beer and MORE of it in my Hair!!!”… 😀 … BTW- you can find the articles on the remedies I’ve read up on below:

  1. Ginger Hair-Grow Scalp Treatment Formula
  2. Ginger Treatment for Hair – LIVESTRONG.COM
  3. Ginger Treatment for Hair – eHow Style
  4. Chinese Recipe to Prevent and Reduce Hair Loss

Please feel free to share if you have any home made remedies of your own.

Cheers! 😉

My Hair Journey so far…

Hello there! 😉

I know its been A WHILE, but guess what! I’m still too lazy to write, so I have made a little video and a picture gallery in form of a slide show (below) in order to fill you wonderful people in on all my hair accomplishments since my last post 🙂

Watch and enjoy! 🙂

INTRO (V-Log)

🙂

Hair Story Pictorial:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I do hope you enjoyed that … Holler if you will- I’d love to hear from you. 🙂

Cheers! 😀

Before and After Alopecia stories

Just drew out some other videos from my YouTube stash. The ones below are based on the experience of Gail Porter…. Watch and be inspired!

Gail Porter in 2008:

Gail Porter in 2010:

The story is now pretty old, but I do hope you are still encouraged by them. They gave me hope in my time of need and today I can proudly say that it was worth it!

Before

After

Cheers! 🙂

The Internet, a worth ally in time of battle

2008 was  a pretty depressing time for me I must tell say. Yeah, so I cut my hair and smiled all the way home, but that didn’t stop me from filling less of a woman when reality shoved its foot up my behind. I was a man now!… OK, maybe not, but I could easily have been mistaken for one with my back turned while in a shirt and a pair of baggy pant, which I wore ever so often.

At that point I went out less and then found a new love for browsing the world wide web. In doing that I luckily came across articles and videos that helped me realise that I was not alone, and that the feelings I was experiencing were only natural.

There were videos on emotional encouragement, lifestyle, medical updates, some people even made funny  “what if” videos of female celebrities gone bald.

Just found one of such videos in my YouTube stash and thought to share it with you:

I realise now that one of the greatest steps that helped me battle the physical and emotional challenges posed by Alopecia  areate was being informed.

Take the time to search for others in a similar situation and learn from their experience and/or research, and I’m not just referring to hair issues but to all types of personal challenges. Whatever the problem, whatever the battle, its best not to go it alone. So draw on the strength of others, even if its from the video or article of a total stranger… I did 🙂