I am 51 years old and dealing with hair loss since I was 19. I am an identical twin, and we both experienced hair loss at the same time in our lives, which seems to support the hereditary link. There were and are no other relatives that we know about who experienced this. After 31 years of dealing with this issue, there have been many cruel and insensitive comments. I remember every one. I think every boyfriend I ever had has asked at one time about my hair loss and some asked in a cruel manner. I was recently married and the day after my wedding an old friend visited for a post wedding celebration. I hadn’t seen her for a long time (mind you she is a grown woman). She sat in my kitchen, in a roomful of people and described running into an old, longtime forgotten mutual friend. She told this woman that she was going to be traveling to my wedding and “of course you remember Debbie, you know, the woman with the really thin hair”. Then she said, “I told her how could you forget Debbie, I mean, she has the thinnest hair I have ever seen!” This she said in my kitchen, in front of my new husband, other guests and the day after my wedding!!!! I was appalled, sad, ashamed, etc. Thankfully others were not listening intently, engaged in their own conversations, but nevertheless, the words hung there for eternity for me.
There is a woman in my neighborhood that I avoid, because she gazes absently above my forehead when I am speaking to her (my loss is due to male pattern baldness). She doesn’t look in my eyes when I speak. I don’t know if she does this absently or on purpose.
Going to the hair stylist is always stressful, especially if the chair I am sitting is not private enough. Usually the stylists are empathetic and they tell me that they see hair loss often. It’s the other customers who absently gaze at my head while they themselves are being serviced. I have left good stylists just because their salons do not offer privacy.
My aging mother who has never had this problem, is now losing her hair to the aging process. She still has more hair that my sister and I. Her comment? “I am devastated. My hair is beginning to look like you girls (meaning my sister and I).
There have been so many other words that hurt. I have a beautiful 18 year old daughter who has not experienced this kind of hair loss yet and I am worried about her. I don’t want her to suffer as I have and my sister. She is on the pill for lack of a period (Nortrel, which I have never seen mentioned here). So far, no hair loss thankfully.
I am just recently mentioning my hair loss to people who seem uncomfortable with it. I tell people who are unduly curious that “I have a condition called male pattern baldness, it is hereditary, the luck of the draw”. This seems to quiet their non-verbal discomfort so we can move on to other things. It also makes them feel a little guilty for being nosy or
distracted by my hair loss. It’s amazing how well this works. I should have done this years ago. It just says “yeah, I know I have hair loss, you don’t have to tell me” as if they have an uncontrollable urge to let me know I have spinach in my teeth.
I thought for sure I would lose my hair after my pregnancies. My hair thickened wonderfully while pregnant, and just went back to normal afterwards. I hope this gives some hope to those who are afraid of what pregnancy might do to their hair). Since then, my hair loss has stabilized, but menopause is round the corner. My sister and I style our hair in the
bangs and french bob style and this seems to conceal the scalp the best. Some days I am not bothered by my hair loss, until some idiot points it out to me verbally or non-verbally. I wish I had thick glorious hair, but I have learned to live graciously without that dream fulfilled. I try to remind myself that hair loss is on the lower end of the “awful things that can happen” scale.
I wish I could offer more positive comments, but hair loss has been a very difficult hurdle for 32 years. I’m still not “over it” and possibly never will be. It would be easier if people weren’t so ignorant. Most people aren’t, but the ones that are I can never forget.
Thank you for letting me vent this morning.
Thank you for taking the time to share your story. Reading your words I’m reminded of the insensitivity of society and often wonder how many other people where raised in barns. Never in my life, even if I had never suffered with hair loss, would I have ever displayed the cruelty, rudeness and insensitivity that I read about about and encounter in my own life. Ultimately the words that hurt the most our ones said by our family and close friends. My dad previously made remark about my hair loss that has forever made me feel self conscious whenever I am around him. I feel he is judging me or I am less than now, or perhaps I should be doing something to help myself, though I am already doing everything I can. He did tell me once that if he could he would give me all his hair, which was sweet, and if I could I would take it! I’ve also given up on talking to my mom about my hair loss since she started losing her hair after menopause it seems she doesn’t really feel for me and always, however unintentional, turns the topic back to herself and how much it bothers her, all the while overlooking my tears and suffering. My sister and law has stated that “wow she can’t imagine what it would be like to lose her hair, that would be like the worst thing ever.” Indeed I suppose it is for many women.
I’m so sorry for all your suffering. You sound like such an incredible, strong woman and I really appreciate you sharing your story. I wish the world were different, I wish we would be accepted for who we are, I wish people would practice simple common consideration of others. I wish… I wish… I wish… I now wish for myself to be stronger, to face world and all of it’s harshness, I wish to be thankful for and appreciate this life, the one I’ve been given. I no longer pray for miracles for my hair, but rather for the strength to deal with it.
I feel so fortunate to have the opportunity to meet such wonder women such as yourself from all over the world.